Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: It is now time for Brady to resign

The clamour for Cardinal Sean Brady to resign from his position as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland is gathering momentum with political leaders on both sides of the border joining in the criticism of his handling of child sex abuse cases.

His protests that he was just a functionary with no authority when he conducted interviews with children in 1975 who had been abused by notorious paedophile Father Brendan Smyth does not excuse his inaction then or subsequently.

He may have passed on the information to his superiors in the Church, but he also had a moral and legal duty to inform police and child protection agencies of the crimes committed against the children and fears that others were at risk - fears which were later realised. And it is incredible that he did not pursue the matter as he rose through the ranks of the Church or confess his role when Brendan Smyth was later unmasked.

It is also baffling why the RUC or the PSNI have never asked the Cardinal about what he knew about the child abuse crimes in the wake of Smyth's conviction.

Little wonder there is much anger on both sides of the border about how the Church tried to keep the crimes of paedophile priests hidden and how police in both jurisdictions seemed powerless to intervene to protect children at risk.

The sex abuse scandal has seen a fracturing of the relationship between Church and state in the Republic, which is a healthy development. It has also seen large numbers of Catholics leave the Church, disgusted at the actions of the hierarchy. Cardinal Brady seems intent on washing his hands of any moral culpability, but his argument is not accepted by the wider lay audience.

His position is becoming more untenable by the hour and the for the sake of the Church and its credibility it is time for him to go before any further damage is done.

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