Religion Sexual abuse

Former Cardinal Sean Brady still minimising role in Brendan Smyth sex abuse scandal

You have to hand it to these old bishops — they don’t give up easily.  Even when faced with facts of the most appalling starkness, they always keep a little in reserve against the awful day when they might be asked an even harder question.

And so it is with Seán Brady, formerly known as Cardinal Seán Brady and before that known as Father John Brady, a canon lawyer who interviewed (or in his own terminology, interrogated) a boy who had been raped by Brendan Smyth.

Previously, Brady claimed, and continues to claim, that he was only a minor actor in the process whereby a young boy was sexually abused yet again by Brady and his fellow clerics who asked the child a series of invasive questions that must have traumatised him beyond words.

Following the interrogation, as Brady described it, he swore the child to secrecy, while the child’s father was kept outside the room.  Demonstrating an unerring ability to avoid reality, Brady ventured that it was wrong to exclude the child’s father from the interrogation when in fact the truth is that it was wrong to hold such an interrogation in the first place instead of calling the police and telling them about the abuse.

This he did not do, and neither did his fellow clerics.  His bishop didn’t do it and Smyth’s superior in Kilnacrott Abbey didn’t do it.  In fact, his superior did nothing at all and neither did the bishop, apart from a temporary ban on Smyth hearing confessions.

Brady today admitted to the Historical Abuse Inquiry that the only purpose of the interrogation was to see how the priest could be rehabilitated, and that there was no awareness of the needs of the child, which of course is utter nonsense, since the entire country knew, and had always known, that child abuse is a crime.

Brady was 35 years old at the time and a canon lawyer, which was a rare enough thing.   He was no mere note-taker as he proved when he went on to interrogate other children on his own to verify the complaints against Smyth.

Brady also swore these children to secrecy.

As a result of Brady’s inaction, along with the indifference of his fellow clergy, Brendan Smyth went on to rape children for a further two decades.

Brady speaks the truth when he says that there was a shroud of secrecy with a view not to destroying the good name of the church, and yet he and his fellow clerics dictated to the Irish people since time out of mind what sort of sexual activity was acceptable and what was not.  As recently as last March, Brady’s successor as Archbishop of Armagh stated that that  gay people who have children are not necessarily parents.  Only last month, Eamon Martin attempted to tell the Irish people how to vote in the marriage equality referendum, and in return, received a gigantic two fingers from the electorate.

In general though, apart from one or two outbursts, the bishops remained circumspect, leaving a few fringe groups of fanatical religious ideologues like the Iona Institute and Mothers & Fathers Matter to make the futile political running.

Brendan Smyth didn’t cause this collapse in respect for the Catholic bishops.  They brought it on themselves by their inaction in dealing with sexual abuse and their arrogance in continuing to lecture grown adults about sexual morality in a country that had moved on and left them behind on their moral atoll, like the last Japanese soldiers in the Pacific.

As a result, the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland are now reduced to impotent bystanders, while their role as spokesmen for the orthodoxy has been reduced to half a dozen dysfunctional religious lunatics ranting on Twitter.

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!


Seán Brady and the Brendan Smyth Sexual Abuse Cover-Up

Cardinal Seán Brady’s Apology

Civil Partnership — Cardinal Brady Makes A Fool Of Himself Again





Cardinal Seán Brady Interviewed on Public Broadcasting Station About Abortion and Gay Marriage

I heard Cardinal Seán Brady today on RTÉ talking about abortion and gay marriage, and I wondered why this man was getting public air time.  After all, considering its involvement in abuse at every level of society,  the Irish Catholic church has no standing when it comes to ethics or morals, so why does RTÉ consider it appropriate to interview Seán Brady, of all people, on these matters?

Brady, in case anyone needs reminding, was the man who intimidated children who were clerical rape victims into staying silent instead of alerting the police to the crimes that had been committed by his fellow priests.

Who in RTÉ decided that Seán Brady had any moral standing whatever and who decided to interview him?

Whatever your view on abortion, and every citizen is entitled to hold an opinion, Brady was not interviewed as a private citizen.  He was interviewed as the head of an organisation in Ireland, arbitrarily and without any particular assessment of that organisation’s authority.  After his recent behaviour, my view is that neither Brady nor the outfit he represents have any authority at all, and yet our national broadcaster gave him prime-time space on the national airwaves to repeat long-discredited lies, including the lie that there is never a threat to a mother’s life from pregnancy.

It’s amazing.  What is going on inside RTÉ that they think the Catholic church has any more right to be interviewed than anyone else?  It seems old habits die hard, or more to the point, it seems that lazy thinking is hard to eradicate.   These guys seem to be operating on auto-pilot, rooted in the Sixties when a priest had an automatic right to rant on the radio.

These days, the Catholic church in Ireland has considerably less moral authority than a GAA club, or a concrete-block manufacturer, and yet, our national broadcaster continues to seek their opinion on everything below the waist.  I didn’t notice RTÉ asking economists for their view on gay marriage, or taxi drivers or bricklayers.

The only reason they asked Seán Brady is because he and the organisation he represents claim an entitlement to be heard on these matters, despite the fact that they represented and defended the abusers for decades.  Despite the fact, in other words, that they have no moral authority at all.

Does this reflect worse on the bishops or RTÉ?  Well, clearly, the clerics will take whatever they can get, as they always did, though not always legitimately.  RTÉ, on the other hand, is supposed to be a professional organisation.  Nepotistic and corrupt, but professional, in its own way.

So why did they turn to Seán Brady for comment on gay marriage today?  After all, this is none of his business.  They might as well have asked the chief executive of the ESB or the head of the GAA what they thought about gay marriage.  Civil marriage is a function of the State, not the private club Brady represents — a club which has failed the children of this country in every way possible.  Brady has no competence to comment on private legal arrangements between people who are not members of his club.

Who does Seán Brady think he is — someone relevant?  Wouldn’t it be far more beneficial if he reflected on the damage he caused by suppressing the pleas of abused children instead of trying to inflict his opinions on people he has nothing to do with and over whom he exerts no authority?

Is this a republic or is it a theocracy?  Now is the time to tell Seán Brady and his kind where exactly their influence ends.



Previously: Open letter to Seán Brady.


Cardinal Keith O Brien on Gay Marriage.

Crime Favourites Religion

Open Letter to Cardinal Seán Brady

Hello there Seán.

It’s been a while since I wrote to you, but that’s only because, as a wounded healer, I thought you might need time to get over the terrible hurt you experienced when the world found out how you treated those abused children.  Are you feeling a little better now?


Look, Seán, this latest news isn’t great, is it?   Not great at all.

None of it looks very good, not even your claim to have been a young priest following orders when you wrote down what the abused children said.  Seán, you were 36.  You were a teacher in a secondary school, and a former county footballer, unless I’m mistaken.  Thirty six, Seán.   Most guys of that age have taken responsibility for a job, a family, a career, a home, but you say you were only a young lad.

What are you — Father Dougal?

Now, Seán, about these questions.  Did you not think it was a bit creepy of your colleague to ask a child if he enjoyed some of the sexual abuse by Brendan Smyth?  Did that not strike you as in the least bit pervy?  And yet, Seán, you wrote it all down faithfully.  As a man, did it ever occur to you to reach over and touch your fellow cleric on the shoulder, and tell him to stop asking a child such obscene questions?

It doesn’t look like you did, Seán.  It looks like you found this sort of thing perfectly normal.

I was listening to your interview on the news at lunchtime, and I must say, you didn’t come across at all well.  One thing that struck me was your constant repetition of the defence that you did what was required of you.  You passed the details to your bishop and you just assumed someone would sort it out.

I have a couple of questions for you about that, Seán.

First, you kept repeating that the information about Brendan Smyth raping children was given to the  abbott of Kilnacrott, and you said he was the only person with the power to do anything about it.  Seán, were you familiar with an organisation known as an Garda Síochána?  And since the crimes were committed in both jurisdictions, were you also familiar with an organisation known at the time as the RUC?

Did it cross your mind to report these crimes of child rape to either police force?  Apparently not.  You decided to let the abbot of Kilnacrott sort it out instead, and what a fine job he made of it.

Tommie Gorman asked you a question that you didn’t answer, Seán.  He said something along the following lines.  Did you not feel, as a man, as an uncle, a cousin, a brother, that you wanted to break every bone in Brendan Smyth’s body?  

You were a fit, strong athlete in those days, Seán, and you were no stranger to a punch-up on the field of play, so let me ask you again.  Why did you not call round to Brendan Smyth and take him by the throat?  Why did you not kick him in the crotch a few times and leave him retching in the dirt?  I know I’d do it if a child revealed to me what you heard.  What you knew.

Instead of doing that, Seán, you went on to swear the child to secrecy.  What’s more, even though the child gave you the names of five other children Brendan Smyth was raping, you never told their parents.  Instead, you left it in the hands of your bishop, who had no authority over Smyth, and the abbot of Kilnacrott who plainly cared not a tittle that one of his community was out abusing kids.  It was a matter of confidentiality, I think you said.   As a consequence, Brendan Smyth went on raping children for another twenty years, while you concentrated on your Vatican career.

Did you ever wake up at night and wonder what became of those raped kids?

I’m prepared to admit that you’re a decent enough man, Seán, but your claim not to have understood how sexual abuse hurts children is hard to accept.  After all, you are a prominent member of the organisation that for generations dictated to Irish governments and Irish people on all manner of sexual matters, including contraception.  Indeed, you yourself recently spoke out denouncing the law on civil partnership.

Isn’t it remarkable, Seán, how quick you were to invoke the law regarding same-sex couples in a loving mature relationship, yet how slow you were to call in the authorities when you knew categorically that one of your colleagues was systematically raping children?

I know you were wounded by the previous revelations about you, Seán, and it’s not that I wish you any more harm, but really, isn’t it about time you dropped the hypocrisy and started to face up to your actions like any normal grown adult?

You’re far too old to play Dougal McGuire, Seán.  It’s a role for a younger man.


Best wishes





Previously: Seán gets the Red Hat

Religion Sexuality

Tyrone Priest In Gay Porn Shocker

Poor old Cardinal Seán Brady, the wounded healer, is having a Bishop Brennan moment after it emerged that one of his priests showed a series of gay porn images to parents at a meeting about their children’s forthcoming Communion ceremony.  Brady launched an investigation and even informed the police when he discovered what had happened.

It seems that Fr Martin McVeigh, in true modern-priest style, had a Powerpoint presentation on a memory stick, but when he shoved the USB key into the laptop, it wasn’t a slideshow of little holy Luke Skywalkers that appeared.  No.  Instead, the parents were treated to a dozen or more images of guys with moustaches going at it hammer and tongs.

Jesus Christ!   According to the Belfast Telegraph, the shocked parents were shocked by the shocking pictures.  Shocked!!

Oddly enough, the images depicted consenting adults doing consensual-type things, as opposed to the sort of stuff we’ve become used to from the clergy, but Brady nevertheless immediately referred the matter to the police, unlike his previous actions when he swore abused children to secrecy.

What did the cops say?  No crime here, Seán.  Just a bunch of gay guys doing what comes naturally.

You’d have to love the likes of Brady, wouldn’t you?  Here’s a priest with a few images of adults on his USB key, and Seán goes demented, despite his track record of failing to support children who were attacked by real abusers, but of course, that’s not to say that Martin McVeigh shouldn’t be answering a few questions.  Absolutely not.

Questions like, What sort of an idiot are you?

And What the fuck were you doing with gay porn on the same memory stick as a communion presentation?

Or even Are you completely thick?

All of these are legitimate questions to ask Father Martin McVeigh, but there are a few questions for the shocked parents as well.

Questions like You don’t get out much, do you?

And What’s so shocking about gay sex?

Or even Would you ever get a fucking grip?

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the parents weren’t shocked in the least and that the hack from the Telegraph was simply acting out some deep-seated personal prejudices, but that’s highly unlikely in a Belfast newspaper.  Right?

The whole incident has more than a little FatherTedness to it, especially McVeigh’s claims that he doesn’t know how the images got on his key.  Were they just resting in his account?  Did he accidentally brush against another priest and catch them like a virus?  Did an elite squad of gay priest porn-commandos put them on there while his attention was elsewhere?

I was going to say McVeigh’s story is stretching credulity, but then I remembered what the meeting was about: Holy Communion.  The belief that a man can wave his hands at a biscuit and turn it into someone who has been dead for two thousand years.

If Brady can swallow that, he can surely swallow the story that the Village People ended up on a memory stick by magic.




Priest Shafted For Standing Up To Child-Abuse

In a previous post, I condemned the people of Blackrock in County Louth.

I was wrong.

In a rare moment of naivety, I assumed a bishop would do the right thing and I was completely wrong.

For that, I apologise unreservedly to the parishioners of Haggardstown-Blackrock, whose stance was absolutely justified.  I was wrong and I don’t know how I could have been so stupid as to presume that a bishop had any ethics or morals.  What a stupid, stupid mistake.

I won’t repeat that error.

Here are the facts.

As you know, Cardinal Seán Brady was involved in an abusive process where rape victims were forced to stay silent and not to tell of their abuse even to the police.  When his wrongdoing was exposed and he had nowhere to slither, Brady agonised for months before deciding that he should keep his grip on power and continue as — in his own ridiculous, self-pitying phrase — a wounded healer.

Last March, parents in the Haggardstown-Blackrock parish instructed their local parish priest that they did not wish Brady to be present at the confirmation of their children.  I can understand this. I wouldn’t want someone like Brady anywhere near my children either.  Fr OIiver Brennan agreed to this, but was then summoned to a meeting with Brady, the intimidator of raped children.

According to Brennan, He told me he wanted to discuss my future with me. He then asked me would I consider taking a smaller parish because he’d like me to use my pastoral and academic gifts in a wider area than just one parish.

Brennan declined the offer, and what do you think happened next?

The auxiliary bishop, Gerard Clifford, the little fellow who sits on Brady’s lap, attended Mass in the local church and announced that Brennan would have to step down while they investigated a complaint from thirty years ago.  Clifford is the Smithers to Brady’s Monty Burns.

What a hell of a coincidence.

A priest who stood out against the abusive behaviour of his bishop now stands accused of abusing children and is being silenced by the very mechanism that was supposed to protect children.

I agree with the people of Blackrock.  Cardinal Seán Brady is a miserable, spineless hypocrite who would injure anyone, including the young children he silenced so cruelly, to further his own meaningless career.

We are witnessing the final decline of the Irish Catholic church, and thank God for that.


Cardinal Seán Brady’s Apology

Seán Brady gave a homily today in which he addressed his handling of the rapes by Brendan Smyth.

Unfortunately, though the man seems well-intentioned, he’s still a prisoner of doublespeak and evasion, and apparently unable to state unequivocally that he did a wrong thing.

I’ll emphasise Brady’s weasel-phrases in boldface, followed by my  own suggested wording.  You can safely ignore the rest of his platitudes, but watch out for the suggested changes in wording.  They’re small but significant.

For your sanity, I’ve omitted some of the trite old waffle these people preach on auto-pilot, since it isn’t relevant to the rape cases.


This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me.

[This week a disgraceful episode from my own past has caught up with me.]

I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events thirty five years ago. I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart.

[I want to say to the people I hurt by my actions that I apologise to you with all my heart]

I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down.

[I also apologise to those people I let down].

Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.

[Looking back I am ashamed that I did not save children from being raped.]

… we must humbly continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by some clergy and religious and the hopelessly inadequate response to that abuse in the past.

[we must humbly continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by clergy and religious and the cynical cover-up of that abuse in the past.]

I believe the period up to the Eucharistic Congress has to involve a sincere, wholehearted and truthful acknowledgement of our sinfulness.

[I believe the period up to the Eucharistic Congress has to involve a sincere, wholehearted and truthful acknowledgement of our crimes].

Like St. Patrick, like St. Peter, we as Bishops, successors of the Apostles in the Irish Church today must acknowledge our failings.

[Like St. Patrick, like St. Peter, we as Bishops, successors of the Apostles in the Irish Church today must acknowledge our crimes].

The integrity of our witness to the Gospel challenges us to own up to and take responsibility for any mismanagement or cover-up of child abuse.

[The integrity of our witness to the Gospel challenges us to own up to and take responsibility for our mismanagement and cover-up of child abuse].

For the sake of survivors, for the sake of all the Catholic faithful as well as the religious and priests of this country, we have to stop the drip, drip, drip of revelations of failure.

[For the sake of survivors, for the sake of all the Catholic faithful as well as the religious and priests of this country, we have to stop the drip, drip, drip of revelations of crime].

The Lord is calling us to a new beginning. None of us knows where that new beginning will lead.

Does it allow for wounded healers, those who have made mistakes in their past to have a part in shaping the future?

[Does it allow for arrogant bishops, those who have concealed crimes in their past to have a part in shaping the future?]

This is a time for deep prayer and much reflection. Be certain that I will be reflecting carefully as we enter into Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. I will use this time to pray, to reflect on the Word of God and to discern the will of the Holy Spirit. I will reflect on what I have heard from those who have been hurt by abuse. I will also talk to people, priests, religious and to those I know and love.

Pray for those who have been hurt. Pray for the Church. Pray for me.