Belfast Telegraph

Cardinal rejects resignation calls

The beleaguered head of the Catholic Church in Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady has vowed to stay on as he attempted to distance himself from a secret inquiry into one of the country's most dangerous paedophiles.

Even though he was part of the 1975 investigation into allegations Father Brendan Smyth had attacked at least five children, the Cardinal blamed superiors for failing to stop the evil priest abusing over the next 20 years.

Rejecting growing demands for his resignation, he declared: "There's no cloaking over or brushing under the carpet.

"We're not hiding behind procedures. There was no desire on my part to cover up, it was to make sure that this abuse stopped."

Cardinal Brady, who is due to retire in 2014, faced renewed and deepening demands to quit over the scandal after it emerged a then 14-year-old victim of Smyth's warned him in secret interviews that it was likely the late priest was abusing five other named children.

"I was shocked, appalled and outraged when I first discovered in the mid-1990s that Brendan Smyth had gone on to abuse others," he said.

Amid the clamour for his resignation, Church sources indicated an assistant would be appointed to support the Cardinal by the end of the year - at least two years after the request was first made. It is expected the coadjutor bishop will ultimately take over in the Armagh Archdiocese when the Cardinal retires aged 75.

The Primate - a canon lawyer and part-time diocesan secretary at the time - said he regretted some actions during the inquiry but insisted responsibility for the Smyth scandal does not lie with him. He blamed Fr Kevin Smith, the superior in Smyth's Norbertine Order.

He also claimed that as a priest supporting the investigation, even under today's rules which enforce mandatory reporting, he would not have been the person responsible for alerting authorities.

The Cardinal also claimed his role in the internal Church inquiry - officially recorded as note-taker - had been deliberately exaggerated and misrepresented in a BBC documentary.

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