The ongoing saga of paedophile priests in Ireland continues with an apology from Cardinal Sean Brady for his failure to adequately handle a case of child abuse in 1975 when two children were compelled to take a vow of silence while the church conducted an investigation. Cardinal Brady now admits the police should immediately have been informed since it was a crime not merely in the church, but in civil society. Father Brendan Smyth was relieved of clerical duties and recommended for psychiatric treatment, but since the police were never involved in the incident, Smyth continued having access to children and most probably abused other youngsters. Cardinal Brady told Catholics: “I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.”
The reality is such stories of abuse of children continue emerging as well as actions by church officials to protect the clergy. In the end, both children and the Catholic Church suffer and even as Brady announced he would reflect on what happened in order to exam his future, isn’t there need for the Catholic Church to also reflect and consider if there are alternatives to the current policy of celibacy?