Cardinal Seán Brady's career was marred by played part in clandestine deal to silence victims of paedophile priest
theguardian.com, Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent, Monday 8 September 2014
|Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the leader of the Catholic|
church in Ireland, Seán Brady. (pictured) Photograph: Paul Faith/PA
The leader of the Irish Catholic church, who resisted calls to resign when details emerged of a secret deal between the church, child sex abuse victims and one of the country's most notorious paedophile priests, has announced his retirement.
Cardinal Seán Brady said he offered Pope Francis his resignation after turning 75, the standard retirement age in the church, and would be replaced as Catholic primate of all Ireland by archbishop Eamon Martin.
Brady's reign as the spiritual leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics was marred by revelations that he played a part in a clandestine deal to silence two young victims of Father Brendan Smyth.
Brady was the church's note-taker during the meeting with the two victims, who were encouraged to swear oaths of secrecy about Smyth's abuse. Smyth went on to abuse dozens of other children across Ireland and even the United States until he was finally unmasked as a serial paedophile in the early 1990s.
Despite being part of the Catholic church's investigation team in 1975, Brady never revealed his role in the affair until it was exposed by Dublin journalist Jim Cusack in 2009.
During his years of silence about the deal with the two victims, the Irish Catholic church faced a deluge of scandals about other paedophile clerics who used their position in homes, orphanages, church-owned buildings, schools and youth clubs to abuse children.
In his nine paragraph statement on Monday announcing his retirement, Brady made no reference to the Smyth scandal.
Brendan Boland, who revealed that he was one of Smyth's victims and part of the secret deal, said on Monday that Brady was not resigning but rather retiring "as if he has done nothing wrong".
A number of other former victims of clerical sex abuse such as Colm O'Gorman, now an author and prominent figure in Amnesty International Ireland, demanded that Brady resign in 2009 when the story about his role in the Smyth affair broke.
The new head of the Catholic church in Ireland paid tribute to his predecessor.
Martin praised Brady for "his tireless commitment to representing the Catholic church in Ireland at countless national and international engagements".