Shut Them Up Sean

No lessons were learned by these bishops because if they were, I feel sure that, at the very least, Bishop Magee would have stopped his abhorrent child protection practices once the Ferns report was published in 2005. Not only did he not feel compelled to do that, he continued to practise as a bishop while himself under investigation for inappropriate sexual behaviour, in contradiction of every set of child protection guidelines available. In committing this act of defiance, Bishop Magee had support from the head of the Irish Catholic Church. – Niall Muldoon Director of Children At Risk in Ireland.

With the decision by Senator David Norris to step out of the ring where the Irish Presidential campaign is to be fought, the incongruity of Cardinal Sean Brady’s position as leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland is brought into sharper focus. As leadership roles in society are seemingly being morally means tested Sean Brady, more ethically dubious than Norris ever was, can hardly lay claim to lead a body that would seek to prescribe society’s moral values.

Recently the national chairperson of the Republican Network for Unity called on Brady to resign from his position. Carl Reilly made the following appeal:

In April 2010, the Cardinal publicly admitted he was complicit in covering the criminal activities of the paedophile, Brendan Smyth ... Sean Brady is not the right person to lead protection measures for children. RNU calls upon the Primate to unreservedly apologise to those children, their families and step down.

Brady’s act of intimidating two children into silence meant the coast was clear for the paedophile priest Brendan Smith to rape his way through other children right up to 1994.

Nothing was done to ensure that Smith posed no threat to children. Brady damned himself in his own words: ‘Yes, I knew that these were crimes, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to denounce the actions of Brendan Smyth to the police.’ But in his morally inverted world he did feel it was his responsible to silence the victims of Smyth. Outcome - plenty was done to increase the likelihood that Smith he would remain a potent danger. Now Brady is to be sued by one of the people he silenced.

On its own the RNU intervention is unlikely to amount to much. But what makes the Reilly contribution notable is that it helps reassert a republican secular perspective against clericalism. Secularism, long a key tenet of Irish republicanism, has not always been given due consideration by republicans. Quite often it was ignored, for example during those occasions when a decade of the rosary was said at republican events. What Wolfe Tone would have thought of that we are never told. Irish republicanism is inseparable from secularism.

While republicanism, particularly in the current climate, is invariably out of step with the societal consensus on most matters, on this issue Reilly is tapping into a wider sentiment in Irish society. As columnist Bruce Arnold made clear in the wake of the Cloyne report:

The most pathetic response to the Cloyne Report this week was not Bishop Magee's ... No, the pathetic figure, floundering publicly and giving all the wrong answers, was Cardinal Sean Brady ...  Sean Brady should not be a Cardinal, nor Catholic Primate of Ireland nor a bishop. He should have resigned over his role in the cover-up of the activities of the paedophile priest, Father Brendan Smyth. 

Not a lot to argue about: Cardinal Sean Brady is a much tarnished figure, for many the butt of derision. He has not made matters easy for himself. His stated reason for refusing to do the decent thing and resign is because he wants to continue helping to safeguard children from abuse at the hands of his priests. For that alone he should be laughed into the Irish Sea and picked up by the first ship for exile in the Holy See where he can reside among that ‘male gerontocracy’ that has difficulty in grasping the need for a porous democratic culture, preferring authoritarianism and secrecy.

Compounding the already existing daftness, Brady, with no outwardly  grasp of what was taking place around him, asserted ‘if there is one positive thing to come out of this it is the confirmation that the church structures have been proven to be effective.’ Maurice Hayes quickly moved to belittle this:

that is a headline you would search long and hard for in the Irish papers and fail to find -- yet it is the quite remarkable claim made by Cardinal Sean Brady in a television interview.

In that sense religion can genuinely claim that there is something otherworldly about men of the cloth. Many of them appear to be wholly bereft of comprehending what makes this world tick. Yet they would claim to be well placed in their ivory towers to make ethical prescriptions which the rest of us living in the grubby streets should abide by.

All Sean Brady has done is to have indulged in some meaningless breast beating. It is little more than effusive hand wringing apologies in a bid to buy time, to stall and take the steam out of the outrage his cabal of clerics is currently being subjected to.

In 1975 Brady was silencing children and preventing them exposing abusers.  In January 2009 he was defending Beelzebub Magee after the latter was said to have behaved inappropriately toward a potential seminarian. A problem from the same genre almost four decades later. A candidate for canonisation, perhaps:  St Sean, the patron saint of slow learners.

As Bruce Arnold asks: ‘What possible leadership is this for the Catholic Church?’


  1. looks like people have reached saturation with educated bullroots.

    Vatican strategy is working!

  2. had to look twice there mackers, bejaysus you trimed the beard on 'bake-book'...lookin like a super fit michael moore haha

  3. Larry,

    that is a photo from Patrick's Day! But I did shave. Got a bit of stick in Belfast this morning about it

  4. Mackers,
    the Catholic church is so disgraced, the kindest thing they could all round is hold their hands up and beg forgiveness.
    I think the link between republicanism and catholicism was forged by the anti-Irish, anti-Catholic invaders mentality.
    The Irish people clung to their religion as they watched everything else being stripped away.

  5. Nuala,

    I think there is something in that about the link. The French could never understand why the Irish they were coming to assist had such ardour for the Pope. The French viewed him as one more despot to be got rid of.

  6. Mackers,
    modern day Mass rocks may soon be the only place republicans can meet.

  7. Nuala,

    and we cen even hang the priests on them!!!!!!!!!!

    I never stop!!

  8. Brady has been asking gaelic clubs to rearrange their fixtures at different times so that mass attendance is not affected. Do they accept responsibility for nothing? It is always something or somebody else, Jews, journalists, gays, David Norris, Peter Tatchell, the swinging sixties, communists - anything but the Church. The GAA - it made me do it your honour.

  9. anyone still going to mass??????

  10. Larry,

    good question. I was talking to a friend the other day and he asked a guy from the country did he not meet people at mass on Sundays. The reply he got was 'who goes to mass these days?' Where I live the people who seem to go in any sort of numbers are Eastern European and African people. And that is just from observing them or listening to them as I occasionally walk past.

  11. Larry & Anthony,

    My mother goes to mass every day!

  12. Alfie,

    that is to make up for the rest who don't go any day!

  13. Anthony,

    That is what she says! She goes one day for me, two days for my sisters and four days for everyone else. My father goes on Sunday, but he has a very strange view of religion. He sees it as useful to get him through the hard times even if it may not be true! My younger brother doesn't have a strong faith either, but he goes to mass regularly and, like John McGahern, enjoys the ritual and the history of Irish Catholicism even if he doesn't believe in its substance.

    Talk about nuance, for fuck's sake!!!

  14. Alfie,

    it's probably the same for a lot of people. I can't abide by any of it.

  15. I still go to mass- for my sins-
    Catholic faith can not be avoided in Ireland-
    A chapel and another Catholic building to house the priest in every parish-
    most of the weddings and funerals we attend are catholic- and so on-
    but more people are just seeing the priest and the chapel as side players- something for the background of family photos-
    There is a priest who charged people £50 to sign their passport forms- whats that all about-

  16. Michaelhenry,

    grooming money perhaps?

  17. Went to mass on Sunday and the Priest informs us that due to Health and Safety issues the wee shrine used for lighting candles for intentions had to be replaced.Apparently it kept going up in flames (thought that was what it was for)The company who supply the candles offered two replacements free of charge.Priest then informs us that same company are now supplying candles that last 6 hours instead of 2.Then here comes the punchline , candles now costing 50 pence instead of the previous 20 pence.So prayers are now costing 150 % more but last 300% longer.The Catholic Church at this point have completely lost the plot.Priests sermon involved thanking the congregation for various collections made during the year to charitable causes.Felt that he was leading us into the whole price of getting into heaven has just went up routine that followed.Think that's me finally finished with the R.C Church.They have gone beyond parody now.


    Yet another example of how out of touch the RC clergy are.He bases his comments on social service work he did in the 60's and 70's. Yeh he will have his finger on the pulse of what is happening in modern day Ireland.

  19. Section 408

    Just a bishop at his antics in trying to undermine civil partnerships, it seems.