Irish Cardinal Sean Baptist Brady arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican, March 6, 2013.
Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile
In a demonstration of his determination to clean up the Catholic Church and show the world his remorse for the decades of institutional child abuse and systematic cover-up by senior clerics, Pope Francis has allowed Cardinal Sean Brady, "Primate of All Ireland", to retire quietly at the normal age of 75 when Cardinals are expected to retire, or at least to formally offer their resignation, anyway.
To save the poor man embarrassment by being sacked, he had been effectively on gardening leave for the past year while his duties as Bishop of Armagh had been undertaken by the specially appointed "coadjutor", Monsignor Eamonn Martin, who will now formally take up Brady's old job.
Cardinal Brady became notorious in 2012 when a BBC documentary revealed that he had known about, but had failed to warn parents, of the child-abusing priest, Father Brendan Smyth, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to 75 charges of indecent and sexual abuse of boys and girls over a period of more than 30 years. Brady always claimed the documentary was misleading, but apologised for his part in the scandal.
We will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. We have to be even stronger.One of Smyth's victims, Marie Kane, asked the pope directly to remove Brady from his post over the scandal, according to an interview published in the Irish Times in June, on the same day that Pope Francis held a Mass with adult victims of clerical abuse.
Pope Francis, 11 April 2014
Allowing the abuse-aware Cardinal Brady to retire naturally on full pension after a year's paid leave and without further action would appear to be what Pope Francis' deems appropriate.
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