One of Irelandâ€™s most conservative and respected Catholic theologians has said that Cardinal Sean Brady has lost his moral authority and should resign.
Fr Vincent Twomey has pleaded with the church to reexamine its role and asked where is the humanity to connect with the pain of children who have been abused.
The retired Professor of Moral Theology at Maynooth, told Primetime on RTE 1, that there were issues about the failure to alert parents to other victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, that the church must address.
â€œFor the good of the church, it is really tragic, but Iâ€™m afraid I am of the opinion that he should resign,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, it emerged today that Cardinal Brady was willing to resign over the Brendan Smyth affair two years ago but the Vatican refused because it had “no idea” who to replace him with, according to church sources.
The cardinal was locked in meetings with advisers yesterday amid a growing chorus of calls for him to stand down over his handling of child rape allegations against the paedophile priest in 1975.
The Irish Independent learned Dr Brady was willing to step down but dithering by the Vatican delayed the selection of a successor.
It came as government ministers on both sides of the Border ratcheted up the pressure on Cardinal Brady to resign.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness both called on him to consider his position.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny held firm on his call for the cardinal to “reflect” on the BBC programme that contained new revelations on the handling of clerical abuse.
But the Labour Party went further with strong statements from Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Mr Quinn.
Asked if he had indicated his willingness to resign to the Pope two years ago, a spokesman for the Catholic Communications Office would neither confirm nor deny the claim, which was given currency yesterday by well-known priest Father Brian D’Arcy.
The cardinal’s press spokesman would only say: “We do not have any information on this speculative statement.” He suggested the Irish Independent “contact Father D’Arcy”.
However, senior church sources confirmed Cardinal Brady wanted to step aside in March 2010 as details of a legal action against him by Smyth abuse victim Brendan Boland emerged.
The cardinal’s attempts to step aside were thwarted as the Vatican wanted to wait until after the Apostolic Visitation.
Fr D’Arcy said yesterday that “some people in the church believe that Cardinal Brady did offer his resignation two years ago but that it was rejected by the Vatican”.
The Fermanagh-based Passionist priest added: “If he did offer his resignation before and he was to offer his resignation again, we’d be back to square one if it was rejected.” [More]