Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Abuse victims react to Cardinal Brady apology

Cardinal Sean Brady
Cardinal Brady apologised at mass in Armagh on 17 March

Clerical abuse victims have criticised the Irish Catholic primate after he apologised for his role in mishandling the case of a serial child abuser.

As a priest in 1975 Cardinal Sean Brady was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

He said on Wednesday it was now a time for "deep prayer and much reflection".

Andrew Madden, who went public with an abuse lawsuit against the church in 1995, said the remarks were "nonsense".

"The notion of careful reflection is nonsense - he's had 35 years to reflect on what he did then," Mr Madden said.

"If the Catholic Church in Ireland is to be led by a man who accurately reflects it in its current state, then maybe it's only right and fitting that it should be led by a man who has covered up the sexual abuse of children by a priest.

"He's either going to go or he's not going to go and if he doesn't, the Catholic Church can't pretend to be serious in any way about the issue of child protection and about reaching out to people who have been abused."

'Naivety'

Abuse survivor and campaigner Christine Buckley said Cardinal Brady should "do the honourable thing and resign".

"The apology, while it's welcome, isn't enough at this stage," she said.

"He's head of the Catholic Church in Ireland and he's shown no leadership in this regard because he knew about this for 35 years."

Commenting on Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral letter dealing with paedophilia in Ireland, which is due to be signed on Friday, she said: "The naivety here is that they think a letter is going to solve the issues.

"I'm not remotely interested in the Pope's letter."

Colm O'Gorman was abused as a child by a priest and founded the 'One in Four' charity which supports victims said he feels "some compassion" for Cardinal Brady.

"What Sean Brady has been in some ways trying to avoid for the last number of days, but it now appears is struggling to come to terms with, is that his failure to report this crime as indeed he ought to have, in 1975 has resulted in untold damage to countless numbers of children."

"So on a personal level, I feel some level of compassion and concern for him as a man, as a person," he added.

"But I'm afraid an admission of regret and statements of shame, whilst important, don't go far enough to acknowledging the significant responsibility that he has but also that the institution he heads has had for the cover-up."



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