What did Ireland’s Catholic Cardinal Brady do?

According to news reports, Cardinal Sean Brady ordered “two children to keep silent after they were sexually assaulted by a priest.”

Did you catch that?

As of today, Pope Benedict has not relieved Cardinal Brady of his duties, and Cardinal Brady has not resigned.


And in the Independent today is this flabbergasting bit of news:

AN expert in canon law insisted yesterday he would not report child sex abuse to gardai if a paedophile priest confided his crimes to him.

Monsignor Maurice Dooley was speaking in defence of under-pressure primate Cardinal Sean Brady after revelations he failed to alert gardai about the actions of the notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth when he learnt of them in 1975.

Smyth would go on to abuse children for a further 18 years.

But Mgr Dooley, who studied canon law with Dr Brady, defended the cardinal’s silence in 1975, and added that he would not necessarily refer sex crimes against children to gardai nowadays if passed information confidentially.

Mgr Dooley was asked what action he would take if a paedophile priest approached him now to confide his crimes.

“I would not tell anyone,” he said. “That is his responsibility. I am considering only my responsibility. My responsibility is to maintain the confidentiality of information which I had been given under the contract of confidentiality.

“There must be somebody else aware of what he is up to, and he could be stopped. It is not my function.”

This monsignor sounds like Adolf Eichmann, completely compartmentalized in his “duties” and not morally responsible. Is this what it means to be a Catholic priest? How can such rottenness be at the heart of an institution that imagines itself to be a light in the world? Here’s what Wikipedia says about Adolf Eichmann:

Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, he was charged by Obergruppenführer (General) Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe.

Cardinal Sean Brady and Monsignor Maurice Dooley are two more examples of highly compartmentalized, flat affected, obedient, and reliable bureaucrats in the service of institutional power. They are a reminder of how modern institutions can rot the souls of those that work in them and shield from public scrutiny the grossest crimes against humanity.

The Holocaust and priest pedophilia are reminders of why we must also resist those who would attempt to make torture socially acceptable within American institutions. We know where the inertia of large and insular bureaucracies can lead.


Eichmann image source: Wikipedia Commons

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to What did Ireland’s Catholic Cardinal Brady do?

  1. Brady should go to jail.

    They should put all of these pedophile priests and bishops who protected them in jail, and in the general population. Remind the prisoners that these bishops and priests protected pedophiles.

    Ironically, in prison, there have an honor code, unlike the Catholic church, which has no honor and no code. And prisoners don’t like pedophiles or pedophile protectors at all.

    Justice will be served.

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