Cardinal Brady

I dont have much doubt that Cardinal Seán Brady will retire sooner rather than later. He will not of course want to be seen to give into pressure but his demeanour when he encountered Darragh McIntyre on BBCs documentary last night suggested a “broken man”.

A level-headed person may or may not think that a statement issued which states that getting a young boy to take rather fearsome oath to prove his case against the paedophile priest Brendan Smyth….was to strengthen the position against Smyth…is a truthful recollection. It would perhaps be more convincing if the evidence gathered by the Cardinal (or as he would have it “notes taken by him”) had actually prevented Smyth from abusing children (world-wide!!!) for at least another decade.

But Paedophilia is a subject which allows no-one to be level-headed. I am after all a father and grandfather.

And skulking about like a dodgy second-hand car dealer on “Watchdog” does nothing for the Catholic Church or the Cardinal himself. He will almost certainly go.

Much was made last night that church attendance in Ireland has fallen by fifty per cent. Rather less (indeed nothing) was made of the fact that last year 84% of people in the Republic of Ireland declared hemselves to be “Catholic” in the 2011 Census. Allowing for death, long-term  migration and low birth rates after the Famine in the 1840s, it is now simply the case that there are more “Catholics” in Ireland than ever before. And fewer (and elderly clergy) to offer pastoral care. It is of course a dilemna.

But if there is good news for the Catholic Church it is clearly that baptisms, marriages and funerals are still considered important by “Catholics”. “Four wheel Christians?”……pram, limousine and hearse….but clearly 84% of Irelands population (Republic and North) want to be “hatched, matched and dispatched” according to the rites of the “Holy Catholic Church”.

Oddly author Colm Ó Toibín echoed this in a statement on the programme. That Irish Catholics take the “religious aspect” of the Church but have rejected the “church authority”.

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