Reports that the Vatican intends to force the resignation of the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland over the paedophile priests scandal have been dismissed by his spokesman.
Cardinal Sean Brady has apologised for his role in the handling of sex abuse cases. He has said he wants to work towards a just resolution of a case being taken against him by a man who claims he was abused by Father Brendan Smyth but not enough was done to stop his attacker.
The Northern Ireland Assembly prepared last night to order an official investigation into child abuse in Northern Ireland after details emerged of more attacks on children by members of the clergy.
Cardinal Brady's spokesman said: "This kind of headline on a story I would not dignify with a response. We are entering Palm Sunday and Holy Week and the universal Church is focused on the celebration of the Resurrection and all that it means for the Church."
The Times reported today that nothing less than Cardinal Brady's resignation will diminish fury at the highest levels in Rome over his role.
"Ireland needs a fresh start," a source in Rome told the newspaper. "By clinging on, he is putting his own interests before the Church's."
Dr Brady apologised last week for his role in a church tribunal on allegations made by a 14-year-old boy against Smyth, a priest whose case brought down the Irish Government in 1994. The victim was sworn to secrecy after the proceedings.
But according to the newspaper, the view in Rome is that this has not gone far enough and there has been no popular groundswell of support for Dr Brady in Ireland.
The cardinal is in a legal battle with a man who claims he was abused by Fr Smyth and faces calls to withdraw his defence.