The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has used his annual St Patrick’s Day sermon to apologize for his role in the cover-up of child abuse by one of the country’s most notorious pedophile priests. Cardinal Sean Brady is under intense pressure to resign after he admitted attending meetings where two 10-year-olds were forced to sign vows of silence over complaints against Father Brendan Smyth, who continued abusing children for another 18 years. Brady said earlier that he had taken notes during one meeting and interviewed the children in another. He referred the abuse claims to his superior but did not report them to the police, and it was only in 1994 that Smyth’s appalling abuse came to light. Smyth died in prison 13 years ago, while serving 12 years for 74 sexual assaults on children. Delivering his homily in Armagh’s Catholic cathedral, Brady said he wanted to apologize to “all those who feel I have let them down.” (The Guardian, U.K.)

About the author