Cardinal Sean Brady has promised to use the rest of Lent to “reflect” on his future within the Catholic Church.
esterday the beleaguered Catholic Primate of All Ireland apologised for his role in mishandling the case of serial child abuser Fr Brendan Smyth.
Speaking from the pulpit during St Patrick’s Day Mass in Armagh, Cardinal Brady said he wanted to say sorry to “all those who feel I have let them down”.
Earlier this week, amid calls for his resignation, he said he would quit only on the Pope’s instruction, but has now pledged to consider his position over the next fortnight.
“This is a time for deep prayer and much reflection,” he told the 300-strong congregation. “Be certain that I will be reflecting carefully as we enter into Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost.
“I will use this time to pray, to reflect on the Word of God and to discern the will of the Holy Spirit.
“I will reflect on what I have heard from those who have been hurt by abuse. I will also talk to people, priests, and to those I know and love.”
Applause rippled through St Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday as Cardinal Brady entered to say Mass. The majority of the congregation applauded him again after his apologetic homily and as he was leaving the church.
Condemnation over Cardinal Brady’s failure to alert the authorities about Smyth, the notorious paedophile priest, 35 years ago has been gaining momentum over the past few days.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness weighed into the fray from America on Tuesday, saying he should consider his position.
It has since emerged that gardai have known about Cardinal Brady's involvement in the Smyth affair for several years, and have made no attempt to charge anyone with orchestrating a cover-up.
Victims groups have called for Cardinal Brady to resign, including Smyth abuse victim Sam Adair. “Sean Brady should resign because he knows that he has done wrong,” he said.