Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Cardinal Sean Brady’s future in doubt as he meets with abuse victims

Embattled Cardinal Sean Brady's campaign to stay on as head of the Irish Catholic Church could be decided today when he holds talks in Armagh with victims of child clerical abuse.

Last night John Kelly said he will tell Cardinal Brady that he needs to be “open” about his future.

Mr Kelly said that his group, Soca Ireland, will directly ask the Archbishop of Armagh: “When can we expect his Eminence to bring to an end the speculation about his future as cardinal and Primate of All Ireland?”

The pressure on the 70-year-old Cardinal to offer his resignation to Pope Benedict has been intensive for a fortnight over his involvement in the church cover-up of a serial child abuser.

Cardinal Brady admitted that in 1975 when he was a priest in Co Cavan, he swore two children to secrecy about their abuse by paedophile monk Brendan Smyth.

He asked for forgiveness and said he was ashamed, but would only resign if asked by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Cardinal pleaded to be allowed to stay on as “a wounded healer” to fully implement child protection measures in the Irish Church.

Although Cardinal Brady set himself a deadline for his decision of May 23, Pentecost Sunday, after consulting with friends, clergy and victims as to whether he could remain in office without losing his moral authority, he is under |renewed pressure to bring this date forward.

It is understood that last Thursday the Cardinal issued invitations to a number of victims groups to meet him in his residence.

Included in the Cardinal's busy round of talks will be prominent victims such as Marie Collins and Michael O'Brien.

Asked if SOCA would be calling for the Cardinal's resignation, Mr Kelly said: “Following the meeting we will be holding a news conference.

“I'm sure we may know a bit more if he ends the speculation. We will see what clarification we can get out of him.

“Mr Kelly said that he would tell the Cardinal to back the call by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin for the whole truth to |come out into the open.

“A major concern will be to find out if Pope Benedict supports a national inquiry of all Irish dioceses,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly added that he would tell Cardinal Brady that television stations around the globe were interviewing Irish victims as abuse cases were emerging in their own countries.

“We will tell the Cardinal that the abuse crisis will get worse for the Vatican and the Catholic Church.”

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