Cardinal Brady before the Commission

Sean Brady gave evidence to the commission investigating the abuse perpetrated by Brendan Smith today. A media outlet rang me this evening to know if I would go on their programme in the morning to comment on his evidence. I declined, saying I was sick to death of the whole thing. It is a sordid affair from beginning to end.
We have had a couple of cases in the past few years of bishops saying things when they have retired which they should have said while still in positions of influence. Today was a perfect example of that, when Sean Brady said that the way he and his fellow priests interviewed the boys who were abused by Smith was in order to protect the good name of the Church. Now, that is no news to any of us who have followed this story. So much of the behaviour of the Church in dealing with this issue from the beginning was self-preservation. (Indeed, I sometimes wonder if the present conversion to ‘zero tolerance’ in their treatment of priests is not also driven by the same motivation). The question that I had, listening to what Brady said today, was why he had not said that ten years ago, or whenever the issue was first brought into the public forum. A statement like that, coming from the Archbishop of Armagh, would have been a refreshing breath of truth. But no. He waited till he was retired!
Considering how he and his fellow priests behaved in interviewing the boys – and the fact that it was forty years ago is no justification – I believe he should now make some gesture of penitence for his actions. What I would like to see him doing is to renounce his title of ‘cardinal’ with all the trappings that go with it, including the title, the mitre and the ornate attire, and just dress and act as an ordinary retired priest for the rest of his days. This would be some public acknowledgement of how appalling both he and the Church generally handled that dreadful case. And it would be more in tune with the type of humility that Francis is constantly calling his bishops and priests to display.