By refusing to resign, Cardinal Sean Brady has shown a naked double standard.
He had effectively called on Bishop Donal Murray to resign over conduct less serious than his and a reluctant bishop had to fall on his sword.
The danger is that the Cardinal may now be seen by many Catholics as a hypocrite and as a man whose decision not to resign from high office was driven more by worldly ambition.
Worse still, when the Pope endorsed this ill-judged decision, did he not realise that he would appear also to be endorsing the double standard behind it?
Cardinal Brady describes himself as "the wounded healer" of division in the Irish Catholic Church. But can an arrow mend the wound in which it is embedded? Until his tenure ends, he will remain both a cause and a symbol of disunity in a Church that is already badly fractured.
Downpatrick, Co Down