|Cardinal Brady speaks to the media outside Armagh cathedral (Credit: Reuters)|
The harsh clamor for the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady because of his alleged involvement in pedophile cover-up is a mistaken call.
Back in 1975 Brady was given a job to report to the-then Bishop of Cavan, Francis McKiernan, on the findings of an ecclesiastical commission on the matter of Father Brendan Smyth, a known and notorious pedophile.
is now reporting that Brady was more than just a note taker as he claimed, but they do not dispute that he gave a full and complete account of the activities of Smyth to his superiors,
In other words, all sides agree that Brady collected the information then passed it on to his superiors.
He acted correctly in that respect. Those higher up who ignored his report and allowed Smyth to keep on abusing did not obviously.
With hindsight Brady is now being blamed for not following up on his own and exposing Smyth.
But we are talking about a time 37 years ago when church hegemony ruled Ireland and a junior priest like Brady at the time would never have spoken out of line with decisions made by princes of the church.
It was simply not done. Think of a buck private contradicting a general and you get some sense of where Brady was coming from at the time.
Could he have shown bravery and courage and kicked over the traces? Chances are he would have been buried and long since consigned to some distant and remote parish. Remember, at the time the power of the church was such that police alerted to pedophile priests did not arrest them in many cases.
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Remember that the Irish government at the time was utterly complicit in the activities of the hierarchy and their carefully choreographed cover-ups. They allowed the church to run orphanages that were breeding grounds for pedophile priests and turned a blind eye.
When the heroic Father Flanagan, all the way from Boystown in Nebraska, tried to expose the activities in such institutions during a visit to his native Ireland a generation earlier, he was roundly criticized and told to go home by Irish politicians
A harsh word from an archbishop to a politician instantly drew him back in line.
So it was no surprise that Brady did not go out on a limb and attack his superiors for lack of action.
It may not be heroic, it may smack of craven behavior to many but Brady was no different than thousands of others who were unable to confront the corrupt system at the time.
Under Brady now the Catholic Church has become far more responsive on the issue and he has by all accounts done a fair job of securing the priesthood against any such future pedophile interlopers.
So let's not hang Brady to make a point. He has admitted he should have done more, we know why he didn’t so lets get on with it and ensure that kids are safe forever in the future instead of wasting vitriol on the past.
If Brady is fired then every complicit politician, clergyman, and policeman from that era has to be fired too.