Sean Brady: my decision to stay will not cast shadow over congress
All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday insisted his decision to remain in office will not cast a shadow over the International Eucharistic Congress.
The embattled leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland said he had made his position clear when asked if he had given further thought to his future.
The cardinal, who was attending the second day of a major theology conference in Maynooth, has faced calls to consider his position after the broadcasting of a BBC documentary focusing on the handling of child abuse concerns relating to paedophile cleric Brendan Smyth.
Leading abuse survivors have said they will not be attending the Eucharistic Congress, with one group planning to protest at the opening on Sunday.
"I don't get any experience of that shadow here in these people (those attending the theology conference)," Cardinal Brady said.
"I've made my position clear."
The BBC documentary revealed how in the mid-1970s, the then Fr Brady and two other priests had been given crucial information by 14-year-old abuse victim Brendan Boland concerning Smyth, but church authorities did not pass it on to parents of other victims.
Cardinal Brady has publicly apologised to Mr Boland.
The primate said yesterday that he hoped the congress would provide a better understanding and a greater willingness among people to take part in the Eucharist.
"I am very heartened by the (theology) symposium here and the participation here," he told the Irish Independent.
"There has been great participation in the dialogue and debate, so hopefully that is a good omen for the Eucharistic Congress."
Cardinal Brady has said a journey of reflection and renewal of community will be at the heart of the congress.
Final preparations are being made for the week-long event. The Three Tenors will perform at Sunday's opening ceremony in the RDS.
The opening ceremony will be hosted by RTE newscaster Bryan Dobson along with TG4 presenter Roisin Ni Thomain. Events commence at 1pm and continue until 4.45pm.
The closing ceremony, Statio Orbis, in Croke Park on June 17, will be hosted by 'Liveline' presenter Joe Duffy and newscaster Eileen Dunne. Events commence at 1pm and run until 5.15pm. Both events will be broadcast live on RTE.
However, leading clerical abuse survivors have said they will not be attending the Eucharistic Congress.
Marie Collins said the event is coming "at the wrong time".
"There is so much more we need to be taken care of in the Irish church before we have any sort of celebration," she said.