Thursday, May 03, 2012
When victims of pedophile priest Brendan Smyth came forward, the future Cardinal Sean Brady did only what he was supposed to do, within the structure set forth by the Catholic Church.
Because of a documentary presented by the BBC quite recently, Cardinal Brady has had to explain his response to the families of abused children who filed complaints.
He took down the data. He told the person within the Church he was supposed to tell.
And that was the end of it.
Never once did Cardinal Brady dream of going to the civil authorities to report instances of sexual assault against children. It wasn't part of the rules he was operating under as a loyal member of the Catholic Church. He'd never have made it to Cardinal if he'd rocked the boat, now, would he?
In 1975, Cardinal Brady was not required by Church authorities to do more than what he did. In his mind, he did enough, adhering to a protocol that he did not question.
Looking back, he admits he was a cog in the machine that deferred to those on high, that maintained the code of silence. That allowed the abuse of children to continue, year after year, decade after decade.
Victims of Father Smyth are calling on Cardinal Brady to resign over his lack of a moral compass. They are of the opinion that, even as long ago as 1975, if anyone was made aware of a pedophile that person would do all they could to stop the abuse. Even if it meant doing more than expected of them.
Now the Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, is asking the Cardinal to step down.
There are times when doing just enough is far too little.
It is no excuse to blame one's bishop for not following through.
As children, we learned about the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their beliefs. Now the Irish people are asking Cardinal Brady to sacrifice his career, to follow the same path and demonstrate with clarity that he believes in all those words he's spewed from the pulpit. To atone for his sins of omission by doing penance in the form of a resignation.
The time has come for the clergy to practice what's been preached.