Cardinal Brady Admits Shame, Asks for Prayer

Says «Drip, Drip, Drip» of New Revelations Has to Stop

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ARMAGH, Ireland, MARCH 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- On the feast of St. Patrick, patron of Ireland, the president of the country’s episcopal conference is asking for forgiveness for his role in a sexual abuse case from the ’70s.

Cardinal Sean Brady reflected on «wounded memories and past mistakes» during his homily today in Armagh’s Cathedral of St. Patrick.

The cardinal has come under media fire because he interviewed two adolescent boys in 1975 who reported being abused by a priest who would later be jailed for his crimes, but not for another two decades and after abusing dozens of children.

The cardinal’s involvement in the case — he was asked by his bishop to interview the boys because he had a degree in canon law — has only come to light this week.

He is being criticized for not having reported the cases to law enforcement, though a statement from the bishops’ communications office Tuesday recalled that the young Father Brady «had no decision-making powers regarding the outcome of the enquiry. Bishop McKiernan [his bishop] held this responsibility» and Father Brady passed the bishop the outcomes of the interviews so that he could act immediately.

Apology

«I have listened to reaction[s] from people to my role in events 35 years ago,» the cardinal said in his homily today. «I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart. I also apologize to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.»

Some people are calling for Cardinal Brady to resign.

The prelate said in his homily that like «St. Patrick, like St. Peter, we as bishops, successors of the Apostles in the Irish Church today must acknowledge our failings.»

«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,» he stated. «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.»

However, Cardinal Brady proposed, the Lord is calling to a new beginning.

«None of us knows where that new beginning will lead,» he reflected. «Does it allow for wounded healers, those who have made mistakes 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. […] Pray for those who have been hurt. Pray for the Church. Pray for me.»

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