The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said this week that he will only resign if he's personally asked to by the Pope. In Ireland increasing calls for his resignation have come amid allegations that he attended meetings were children were asked to sign vows of silence over the abuse they had suffered.

The Primate of All Ireland admitted that he attended meetings in 1975 when two boys signed oaths of silence while testifying in a Church inquiry against Father Brendan Smyth. In his defense Brady claimed that wider society handled child abuse cases differently in the 1970's. "There was a culture of silence about this, a culture of secrecy, that's the way society dealt with it."

There you have it. Everyone was doing it. What a defense that is. But what Brendan Smyth was doing was not only immoral and sinful, it was a crime. The refusal to hand him over to the authorities allowed Smyth to continue to do for two more decades. It's astounding that Brady still shrugs about this.

"I did act, and act effectively, in that inquiry to produce the grounds for removing Father Smyth from ministry and specifically it was underlined that he was not to hear confessions and that was very important," Brady said. He added that he would not be resigning because he had done nothing wrong.