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A damning week for the Catholic church in Ireland

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Children across Ireland were raped and sexually abused by priests - some within the grounds of a church - yet it is those in charge today who remain the biggest threat to the Catholic faith, writes political correspondent Jason Lavan.

Children across Ireland were raped and sexually abused by priests - some within the grounds of a church - yet it is those in charge today who remain the biggest threat to the Catholic faith, writes political correspondent Jason Lavan.

I was raised as a Catholic in Ireland and received Holy Communion and was Confirmed under the church. I also served as an altar boy. I no longer support the Catholic church.

For years in Ireland the horrifying details of children being raped have been revealed to the public by shocking accounts from victims - now suffering the devastating after effects of their terrifying ordeals.

Children were raped in churches, taken on trips by priests and sexually assaulted just hours after the victim's parents waved them off from their front doors, believing them to be in the hands of god.

They were abused in schools, after mass services and in priest's own homes.

This is another damning week for the Catholic Church in Ireland after Cardinal Sean Brady, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, refused to step down in the light of fresh allegations he had names and addresses of children being abused by a paedophile priest called Brendan Smyth and, failed to report it to police or the parents of the children involved.

The allegations came from BBC programme This World, aired last Wednesday night, which alleged Brady failed to act after one of the victims gave him a list in 1975 of other children being abused by Smyth, who was later convicted in 1994 of dozens of offences over a 40-year period.

In 1975 when the 14-year-old victim, a boy, reported the abuse to Brady, the church alleged the boy's father was allowed to be present during the questioning over what happened.

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But the family now allege that his father was forced to stay outside the room while he was questioned while Brady took detailed notes of his answers. The boy was then sworn to secrecy preventing him from speaking to anyone about the abuse.

The victims also allege that Brady went so far as to interview another boy and also swore him to secrecy.

As a result of Brady failing to tell the police or the victim's parents about Smyth's sexual assaults, more children went on to be abused over a 13 year period without him being stopped.

Every single Catholic priest and Bishop in Ireland right now should be ashamed of themselves for they are continuing to partake in the Vatican's vow of silence and abhorrent denials.

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Not one priest or bishop has come out and called for Brady to resign.

Not one Catholic church group has united and used the national stage to call for him to resign.

And not one member of the Irish Government, or indeed parliament at large, has directly called for him to resign.

Church leaders and the Irish Government should be representative of the Irish people, yet they have not called for him to resign.

Pathetically, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called on Brady to "reflect" on the revelations, instead of directly calling for him to go.

This should be noted in the frightening context of Brady's position, which is his role as a patron of 92 per cent of Ireland's 3,200 primary schools.

Once again the victims are left isolated, unsupported and denied any dignity throughout the biggest national scandal ever to hit the island of Ireland.

The Vatican has come out and apologised before now, yet in circumstances such as these it defends Brady's actions, totally undermining any previous apology offered to victims.

It is little wonder why an increasing number of church pews across Ireland remain cold of a Sunday when the moral judgment of Ireland's church leader stems from a foundation of social repugnance.

In a further undignified response to the This World programme, Brady released a statement which he hopes will create enough smoke and mirrors to keep him lecturing worshippers on morality every Sunday.

In his statement he claims he was simply a 'note taker' at the interviews and it was up to his boss, a bishop called Francis McKiernan, to hand over that information to the right authorities within the church, again avoiding the police and the victim's parents.

Brady seems to have a very clear recollection of his role as being just the note taker and nothing else. But it is now alleged he failed to mention to an investigation in 2010 that the young boy reported the abuse of other children.

What part of his memory failed him on that occasion and if it did not fail him, why did he believe such information was not relevant to the investigation?

This is a man who claims he has the right judgment to lead the Catholic Church in Ireland.

This is the same judgment that failed to report the abuse to the authorities because, as he put it, 'no State or Church guidelines existed'.

Brady also tries to pass the book in his statement by pointing out that he was not the 'designated person' to report the abuse.

One would imagine after he saw the failed efforts of Bishop McKiernan to remove paedophile priest Brendan Smyth he would have then went to the police or the children's parents, as a human being.

But he did not.

Brady goes on to say in his statement that 'it was Brendan Smyth's superiors in the Norbertine Order who bear primary responsibility for failing to take the appropriate action'.

Despite this, Smyth was still working as a priest and Brady needs to answer what follow-up attempts he or Bishop McKiernan made to put pressure on the Norbertine Order when it was obvious nothing was being done?

Brady's judgment over his good intentions to report the abuse are also called into question from his statement where he writes 'I assumed and trusted that when Bishop McKiernan brought the evidence to the Abbot of Kilnacrott that the Abbot would then have dealt decisively with

Brendan Smyth and prevented him from abusing others'.

This proves he never followed up any of the cases to ensure Smyth was removed.

Brady's lack of compassion and pathetic show of accepting any responsibility was also borne out in his statement when he accepted he was part of 'an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in

society'.

I would have thought silence over the abuse of children was more than just 'unhelpful'.

But the most deplorable tactic Brady uses to slither out of any involvement comes when he uses a mere title, in this case a 'position of management', as the reason why he would not report such abuse.

He says 'I was not a Bishop. I was not in that role'. But now he is in the much higher role of a Cardinal and still does not accept, at least on a moral level, he was deeply wrong and should therefore resign.

Brady's final gasp for air in his exhaustive statement of excuses speaks of his many regrets.

I suspect his refusal to step down will be his final regret from a career which is littered with them.

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