Thursday, 24 July 2014


Church Victim - Brendan Boland

One of the victims of the notorious priest paedophile, Father Brendan Smyth, has just published a book about his abuse and how his case was handled by the Roman Catholic Church. The book is called: SWORN TO SILENCE.

Central to the book's story is the role played by the current Roman Archbishop of Armagh - Cardinal Sean Brady.

As a young priest of 36 then then Father Sean Brady, a canon lawyer, was despatched to interview Brendan Boland and another boy about their abuse by Father Smyth.
Sean Brady - "Prince of the Church"
On that occasion Sean Brady kept the boys parents out of the room and interviewed them and swore the boys to secrecy.

Bot only did Sean Brady speak to the boys about what Father Smyth did to them - but he went on to ask the boys about their own sexual desires and whether or not they had any fantasies about what Father Smyth did to them or whether or not they indulged in "impure thoughts" or "impure actions with themselves" about what Father Smyth did.

Maybe I am wrong - but if a Catholic priest today locked himself into a room with a 14 year old boy, swore him to secrecy and questioned him about his sexuality - that priest would find himself being accused of the most inappropriate behaviour - if not accused of abuse!

But in the 1970s thats what priests did to us all in the Confessional and elsewhere.

Sean Brady gave his written report to his bishop at the time and no one did anything. Father Brendan Smyth went on to abuse dozens of other children.
Father Brendan Smyth

Sean Brady's lack of action was partly responsible for the abuse of those other children. Brady knew about Smyth and should have been part of stopping him. But he did not. He claims now that he was a "note-taker".

If children are being abused what kind of priest, bishop, cardinal or pope stands back and gives the excuse: "I was merely a note-taker".

The kind of cleric who does that is not a Christian! The kind of cleric who does that is not even a decent human being! 

I wonder did any of the Nazis at Nuremburg offer the defence that they were merely Hitler's "note takers"?

And for his silence - and for his protection of the Catholic Church - Brady went on to be a monsignor, the rector of the Irish College in Rome, an archbishop and a cardinal.

Were these titles and offices Brady's 30 pieces of silver?

Quite simply - yes - they were!

Brady is now 74 year and 11 months old. He has lived a privileged life all his life. He will live a privileged retirement. He will want for nothing. When he dies they will bury him in the grounds of Armagh Cathedral in a beautiful grave and call him the.....successor of Saint Patrick!

When Brendan Smyth died they gave him a full funeral Mass in his Cavan Monastery at 4 am in the morning and filled in his grave with concrete to prevent it being vandalised.

I think that Pope Francis should sack Brady before he gets to him 75th birthday next month when he will automatically submit his retirement to Francis.

A sacking - even at this 11th hour would be some gesture towards Brendan Boland and the dozens of children whose lives Brendan Smyth destroyed. 

But I would not hold my breath.

Pope Francis has told us already that he is "A SON OF THE CHURCH".

What he has not explained to us is why so many of the so called "sons of the Church" also turned out to be the Sons of The Evil One? 

+Pat Buckley


  1. Pat, I share your sense of frustration and anger that those believed to have "covered up" abuse, for whatever misguided reasons, appear to have "got away" with it. Believe me I'm no apologist on their behalf, but perhaps putting events in historical perspective increases understanding, while not excusing wrongdoing of any kind.
    Brady's involvement was about 39 years ago. Around that time, as a university post graduate qualified social worker with the Home Office specialist qualification, the Letter of Recognition in Child Care, I was a team leader for a group of eight child care social workers in an English county council area. We dealt with the full range of child care, from adoption, abuse, to juvenile delinquency.
    I give this background simply because of its historical relevance.
    The significant relevance is, that despite this professional background, regular in-house update training and constant reading the professional magazines, Social Work Today, Community Care etc, I can honestly say that my/our awareness both of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its emotional/psychological significance, was, certainly by todays standards, lamentably low: so low as to be vitually non existent.
    It's uncomfortable to have to admit that, but it's only being honest to do so. I have no recollection of any training, at two Uni's, in house with two well regarded councils, or in the journals, dealing specifically with sexual abuse of children.
    So from that viewpoint, while we, (my team and I) were all non celibate and experienced in "the ways of the world" (we were after all the product of the sexually liberated 60's), it's perhaps useful to mirror our backgrounds, professional and personal, against the "sheltered" and "unnaturally limited" experience of Brady, and from that perspective evaluate, while not condoning, his failures. And I do have some knowledge too of the then typical clerical training from my own almost six years in an Irish major seminary 1962-8, where sexual matters were never even mentioned.
    So I finish by emphasising I'm no apologist. I simply wonder at his mid 70's then level of awareness of the significance of the damage such abuse causes.
    As for Brendan Smyth: what he did was wrong, grieviously wrong, and there can be no doubt he was aware of that.

  2. Dear MMM

    Thank you for your insights.


  3. For the seven years I spent in Rome Sean Brady was Vice Rector of the Irish College. I had contact with him on a daily basis. I would portray Sean Brady as a loyal foot soldier. I believe he would put the needs of mother church before all else. Thinking back to Smyth and his goings on, the understanding of the masses was at a much less informed level when he was in his hayday. This is not an excuse for lack of accountability. As with Rochdale Council, Cyril Smyth and the Police, the matter does need to be revisited in the light of day and appropriate action taken based on the objective information brought to light Sean

  4. Hi Pat. The new Bishop of Elphin Bishop Doran called for 6 vocations by next Easter. I sent this reply to an article in the Roscommon Herald.

    Hi Ciara

    I hope all is well in Roscommon. I see Bishop Doran is looking for 6 vocations for Priesthood by next Easter. This is easier said than done. Priesthood is not a product and "baby priests" can not be magiced out of a hat because the Bishop says so. There is also at least a 50% drop out rate between a candidate entering Seminary and reaching Ordination. This is not a failure but a natural journey of discovery undertaken by the candidate with the support of those who who are trusted to guide the formation process. The church is like a field. Priestly vocation is one species of flower that grows in that field. Bishop Doran needs to consult the spiritual equivelant of Macra Na Feirme before he starts shouting for vocations to the Priesthood. In todays world issues like celibacy can not be ignored. The "field" needs to be condusive for the "flower" to grow. It is a shame to see good Priests who left because of Celibacy go to waste. Could they be reinstated as married Deacons? Would they want to come back? This is a comprimise and by no means a long term solution. Laicised Clerics Ordinations are still valid. Laicised clerics are like drivers who have had their driving liscense revoked by the court. They can still "drive" but in church terms they are breaking church law. they are not committing a civil offence.

    Go neiri an bothair libh go leir

    Sean Page

  5. You are so cynical about the church in every way and never see the good in it. Is it because you are bitter and twisted inside yourself? We all know that all organisations have their bad apples....I suggest Cardinal Brady was afraid to contradict his Bishop all those years ago. That is how it was then.....not just in the church but i, Government (aka the "lost" Home Office files...), in local authorities (Jersey, Richdale...), in the Police (Cyril smith), in schools, scout camps etc etc. Thank God the child abuse evil is in the open but don't expect people of 30/40 years ago to have acted as we do now. They lived in their historical millieu: we can see that this is so wrong today but they didn't then. Rather like drinking and driving. We now know alcohol and driving are bad but years ago people drank a lot and drove home. That's the way it doesn't make it right but hindsight is a great thing!