Years ago, Father Seán Brady interviewed two survivors of the child rapist (Father) Brendan Smyth and then swore them to secrecy. This was standard operating procedure for the Catholic Church, as has been repeatedly revealed in the past few years. From the Catholic Communications Office
On March 29th, 1975, Seán Brady and two other priests interviewed a boy (14) in Dundalk. Seán Brady’s role was to take notes. On April 4th that year, Seán Brady interviewed a second boy (15) in the Parochial House in Ballyjamesduff. On this occasion Brady conducted the inquiry by himself and took notes. At the end of both interviews, the boys were asked to confirm by oath the truthfulness of their statements and that they would preserve the confidentiality of the interview process.
However, this happened in 1975 and Smyth continued to rape children until 1993. Brady said nothing to the civil authorities. Keeping silent, he ascended in the church hierarchy while Smyth claimed more victims. Now Smyth is dead and Brady is the current Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He was made a cardinal in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Brady’s actions have come to light recently and the Church has sprung into its default position of denial and justification, using the letter of the law. Monseigneur Maurice Dooley has been doing the publicity circuit in a pathetic attempt to justify Brady’s actions using canon law.
Canon law is, in this context, the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Roman Catholic Church with roots in Roman law, civil law, purported divine law and what is called natural law. However, the perceived superiority of canon law in the Christian tradition is rooted in the middle ages with the writings of Henry of Segusio aka Hostiensis:
[Hostiensis] did, however, clearly distinguish canon law from civil law… he maintained the superiority of canon law, indicating that in cases of conflict the civil law should yield to the law of the Church [Clarence Gallagher, Canon law and the Christian community (Rome, 1978)]
The perception in RCC continues to the present day. The pope formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to Catholic bishops urging the cover up of child abuse. The letter is in Latin, presumably to harken back to glory days and to limit the comprehension of the masses. Broadly speaking, it urges bishops to report child abuse to Rome, that the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the only body that can deal with these crimes.