DUBLIN, Ireland — One of Ireland’s highest ranking members of the Catholic Church has called for an independent investigation into past allegations of priest sex abuse.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said a commission should be set up to examine all accusations against pedophile priest Brendan Smyth.
“I know it’s not fashionable to talk about commissions, but I believe an independent commission to investigate the activities of Brendan Smyth, as to how he was allowed to abuse for so many years – north and south, church and state,” Archbishop Martin told RTE.
“I believe that would be in the public interest.”
The archbishop said it was the least Fr Smyth’s victims deserve. But Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Colm O’Reilly said while the abuse carried out by Fr Smyth was appalling, Cardinal Sean Brady acted accordingly and should not be forced to resign.
A documentary last week revealed that Cardinal Brady, who acted as a note-taker during the probe into allegations against Fr Smyth in the 1970s, had a list of names of children who were being abused, but failed to inform Gardai and their parents.
Cardinal Brady has refused to step down from his position as Primate, despite increasing pressure from politicians north and south of the border. The cardinal gave the information to his superior bishop, but no action was taken against Fr Smyth and he was able to continue abusing children for a further 20 years.
“I feel he should not stand aside,” said Bishop O’Reilly.
“I think what he did, he did conscientiously. I have no reason to doubt that. I have great respect for Cardinal Sean Brady.”
The bishop added that had Cardinal Brady given the evidence he had obtained to Gardai, they would have referred him back to the Church.
“I’m not sure the authorities would have been able to take it on themselves,” he said.
Mfrances is a stafff writer for CatholicFavors.com where you can buy the finest in First Communion crosses, First Holy Communion gifts for boys and girls, Dolfi wood carvings, and other religious gift ideas.