Archbishop Seán Brady
18th December 2006
Dear Archbishop Brady,
May I call you Seán? I read your comments in the paper today, and I have to tell you that I agree completely with almost everything you said. You’re quite right that there’s more coarseness and aggression in Irish society than there used to be. You’re also correct in saying that there’s a lot more drinking and sexualisation of children at too early an age. Fair play to you for pointing it out.
I’m glad for you that you’ve learned so much in the last ten years about the suffering of abuse victims. This is a good thing for you. Also, I’m sorry you’ve seen a decline to zero in the numbers of people joining your priesthood. That’s terrible, for you.
I’m glad you’re so committed to child protection. This is very encouraging.
Seán, (can I call you that?), I grew up in an Ireland where your church demanded complete obedience. I grew up in an Ireland where your church thought it had the right to dictate to the government on what laws it passed. I grew up in an Ireland where bishops like you thought they could tell the Irish people how to vote.
Seán (can I call you that?), you’d do well not to be talking about the sexualisation of children. Your colleague and predecessor, Cathal Daly, declared that he had no authority over that child-abuser, Brendan Smyth, because he was a member of a religious order. It didn’t stop you, Seán (can I call you that?) from silencing an Augustinian priest in Dundalk who did no more than share an act of communion with some protestants. An act of love.
Seán (can I call you that?), if you think there’s a moral vacuum in Ireland, you’re dead right. You see, in the Ireland I grew up in, people like you demanded total obedience, and the Irish people set aside their critical faculties in your favour, because they thought you knew everything. No civic society developed because you, Seán (can I call you that?), took charge of the whole lot and decided where people could dance, what they could wear and who they could talk to.
So, Seán (can I call you that?), is it really any surprise that, when your people are exposed as money-grabbing, child-abusing, power-mad hypocrites, there might be a small bit of a moral vacuum?
I think not, Seán (can I call you that?).