World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Seán Brady

Article Id: WHEBN0001980502
Reproduction Date:

Title: Seán Brady  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: In the news/Candidates/March 2010, March 2010, Cahal Daly, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Armagh, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Collection: 1939 Births, 20Th-Century Roman Catholic Archbishops, 21St-Century Roman Catholic Archbishops, Alumni of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Alumni of the Pontifical Irish College, Cardinals Created by Pope Benedict Xvi, Cardinals in Ireland, Irish Cardinals, Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Living People, Members of the Pontifical Council for Culture, People Educated at St. Patrick's College, Cavan, People from County Cavan, Pontifical Lateran University Alumni, Roman Catholic Archbishops of Armagh
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Seán Brady

His Eminence
Seán Brady
D.C.L., S.T.L.
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh
See Armagh (emeritus)
Appointed 13 December 1994 (coadjutor)
Installed 3 November 1996
Term ended 8 September 2014[1]
Predecessor Cahal Daly
Successor Eamon Martin
Ordination 22 February 1964
by Luigi Traglia
Consecration 19 February 1995
by Cahal Daly
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1939-08-16) 16 August 1939
Drumcalpin, County Cavan
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Alma mater St Patrick's College, Maynooth
Pontifical Irish College
Pontifical Lateran University
Motto Jesum Christum cognoscere
(To Know Jesus Christ)
Coat of arms }

Seán Baptist Brady (16 August 1939) is an Irish cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1996 until 2014, being elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. He faced repeated calls to resign over his role in an alleged cover-up of child abuse by priests in his jurisdiction.[2]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Priesthood 2
  • Archbishop of Armagh 3
    • Cardinal 3.1
    • Health 3.2
  • Views 4
    • Same-sex unions in Ireland 4.1
    • Credit union-type institutions 4.2
    • Irish overseas development budget 4.3
    • Education 4.4
    • Abortion 4.5
    • Closure of Vatican Embassy 4.6
  • Murphy Report 5
    • Subsequent revelations and calls for resignation 5.1
  • Coadjutor and resignation 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Seán Brady was born in Drumcalpin, near Laragh, County Cavan, to Andrew (d. 1968) and Annie (d. 1990) Brady.[3] One of three children, he has a brother, Con, and a sister, Kitty.[3] He attended Caulfield National School in Laragh and St Patrick's College in Cavan.[4]

In 1957, he entered Maynooth College, from where he later obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ancient Classics in 1960. He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Irish College and Pontifical Lateran University, where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1964.[3] He received a Doctorate in Canon Law at the Lateran University in 1967.[4]


Brady was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Luigi Traglia on 22 February 1964.[5] Finishing his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University, he there earned a doctorate in canon law in 1967.[3] Upon his return to Ireland that year, he served as a teacher at his alma mater of St. Patrick's in Cavan until 1980. At St. Patrick's, he taught a variety of subjects including Latin, Commerce, Religion, and French, as well as training college football teams at all age levels.[6] While he was teaching at the school, in 1975, he was present when children signed vows of silence over allegations against a paedophile priest.[7] One of the victims gave him a list of other children being abused by Father Brendan Smyth, who was convicted in 1994 of dozens of offences over a 40-year period. In his capacity as a notary, he handed over signed statements from the witnesses to his Bishop. However, he did not notify the civil authorities of the existence of such evidence.[8] Commenting on the BBC programme, Cardinal Brady said that the programme makers had overstated the part he played:

"It is my view that the ‘This World’ programme has set out to deliberately exaggerate and misrepresent my role in these events"[9]

Fr Brady then returned to Rome, where he was vice-rector (1980–1987) and later rector (1987–1993) of the Pontifical Irish College.[3] In 1990, he introduced Jack Charlton and the national football team to Pope John Paul II.[6] Following his return to his native country, he became parish priest of Castletara (Ballyhaise) in 1993.[4]

Archbishop of Armagh

Styles of
Seán Brady
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
Arms of Cardinal Brady

On 13 December 1994, Monsignor Brady was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh by John Paul II.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on 19 February 1995 from Cardinal Cahal Daly, with Archbishop Emanuele Gerada and Bishop Gerard Clifford, serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[5] He selected as his episcopal motto: Jesum Christum Cognoscere, meaning: "To Know Jesus Christ" ( John 17:3).[4]

Upon Cardinal Daly's retirement on 1 October 1996, Bishop Brady automatically became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland[5] and was formally installed as Archbishop on the following 3 November.[5] He presided over Cardinal Daly's funeral services in January 2010.

On 8 September 2014 it was announced that the Bishop of Rome had accepted Brady's resignation effective that day; Brady was automatically and immediately succeeded by his coadjutor Eamon Martin.[1]


On 24 November 2007 Archbishop Brady was created Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quirico e Giulitta as a symbol of the new cardinal's role in helping the pontiff to minister to the diocese of Rome. Following his elevation to the cardinalate he joined Cardinals Cahal Daly and Desmond Connell as one of three living Irish cardinals, a record in Irish history. Senior Vatican figures suggested that the archbishop's positive contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process weighed heavily in Pope Benedict's decision to make him a Cardinal.

Cardinal Brady, as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was elected President of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

On 12 June 2008 in addition to his main duties he was appointed by Benedict as a member of congregations in the Roman Curia.[10] These are: the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Brady has kept a somewhat lower profile than the recent Archbishops of Armagh, Cahal Daly and Tomás Ó Fiaich, both of whom developed their reputations during the difficult days of the Troubles and the Hunger Strikes.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II chose to make the then Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, Desmond Connell a cardinal, even though Connell was technically number two in church ranking behind Brady. It was the first time in a century that the red hat was given to the Archbishop of Dublin rather than the Archbishop of Armagh. This was balanced in 2007, when Brady was elevated to the cardinalate. In 1984, the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Ryan, was nominated a cardinal by Pope John Paul II and transferred to a position in Rome, the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. However, Archbishop Ryan died before the consistory that would have elevated him to the cardinalate.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.


In April 2010, Cardinal Brady, who was under pressure to resign and had publicly stated he was considering his position over his role in the cover-up of the activities of a paedophile priest, was officiating at a confirmation ceremony in the parish church of Kildress in County Tyrone, when he fell ill. He remained in a conscious state while waiting for an ambulance to arrive at the church. He is known to suffer from a blood pressure condition.[11] He was admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital for observation.[11]


Same-sex unions in Ireland

On 4 November 2008, Brady criticised the Government's plan allowing for the recognition of cohabiting and same-sex couples, describing the plan in the negative sense as "perhaps the greatest revolution in the history of the Irish family" and that instead the Government were obliged by the Constitution to guard the institution of marriage "with special care".[12]

Credit union-type institutions

On 13 August 2009, Brady suggested that, with confidence in commercial banks declining, the time may have come for economists to take the lead in developing credit union-type institutions. These would focus on systems of lending, saving and insurance built on an ethic of authentic human development, the cardinal stated at the opening of the national novena in Knock Shrine, County Mayo. He noted that "Such initiatives would certainly increase the hope of a more humane and ethically robust economy." One such initiative was the credit union movement. Another was the Knights of Columbus ethical investment programme.[13]

Irish overseas development budget

On 26 October 2009 Brady said that further cuts to Ireland's overseas development budget would have a devastating impact on the lives of some of the world's poorest people, In a letter to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan he said: "These vulnerable people have had no part to play in creating the multiple crises now facing them – climate, financial, food – yet the challenges they face are unprecedented. I appeal to you not to turn your back on them. We must ensure that we maintain our current level of aid spending until such a time as we are in a position to build it up again."[14]


Cardinal Brady said in January 2010, that it was "blatantly unjust" and "a complete red herring" to say that the Catholic Church has no right to be involved in schools that receive State funding, in a strong defence of the role of the church in education. He said that parents had a right to have their children educated in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions and the State had a duty to support this with public funds. The presumption the Catholic Church wanted to control as many schools as it could, irrespective of parental demands, was increasingly seen to be unfounded, he added.[15]


In December 2010 Cardinal Brady said a European Court of Human Rights ruling did not oblige the State to introduce legislation authorising abortion. The European court ruled Ireland has failed to properly implement the constitutional right to abortion where a woman is entitled to one where her life is at risk. Cardinal Brady said the judgment "leaves future policy in Ireland on protecting the lives of unborn children in the hands of the Irish people and does not oblige Ireland to introduce legislation authorising abortion".[16]

Closure of Vatican Embassy

In November 2011 Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore announced that due to cost-cutting measures, the Irish embassy to the Holy See would close and that the duties of the ambassador would be dealt with by the secretary-general of the department. Cardinal Brady said that the closure “means that Ireland will be without a resident Ambassador to the Holy See for the first time since diplomatic relations were established and envoys were exchanged between the two states in 1929". He added that “This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries" and went on to say that "It is worth recalling that for the new Irish State, the opening of diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1929 was a very significant moment. It was very important in asserting the identity and presence of the Irish Free State internationally in view of the fact that Irish diplomatic representation abroad was then confined to the legation in Washington, the office of the high commissioner in London, the permanent delegate to the League of Nations, and the Embassy to the Holy See".[17]

Murphy Report

The Cardinal told RTÉ News in an interview, broadcast in December 2009 after the publication of the Murphy Report, that he was confident Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick will "do the right thing" in terms of considering his position in the wake of criticism in the Dublin diocesan report.[18] He also said in that interview “If I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant that other children were abused, well then, I think I would resign.”

The unprecedented 15–16 February 2010 summit at the Vatican with Pope Benedict and senior members of the Curia was described by the Cardinal as “one step in a process [...] which will lead to a journey of repentance, renewal and reconciliation”. He said that process “hopefully, will gain momentum when we get back to Ireland”. At 8:00 am twenty-four of Ireland's diocesan bishops met Pope Benedict and seven leading members of the Curia in the first of three sessions, which continued to 1:00 pm and resume after noon until 8:00 pm The 16 February session began at 8:00 am and ended late that morning. Each Irish bishop spoke for about five minutes.

Brady agreed that there had been "tensions" among the bishops over the fallout from the Murphy Report, “but to describe them as 'divisions' is another matter. Last week at Knock we had a very cordial retreat. Things were thrashed out fully and frankly”, he said.[19] Brady brought up popular sentiment in his country that Papal envoy to Ireland Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza should appear before the Foreign Affairs committee of Dáil Éireann, but was told that by practice a nuncio will not appear before a parliamentary committee.[20]

Subsequent revelations and calls for resignation

In March 2010 it became widely known that the then Father Seán Brady had participated in an internal Church legal process into the actions of Father Brendan Smyth in 1975. The process required all participants to maintain the confidentiality of the tribunal. Smyth went on to abuse dozens of children before being brought to justice in 1994.[21] Taken alongside his statement in December, this led to widespread calls for Cardinal Brady's resignation.[22][23] The information of this internal process had been publicly available as far back as 10 August 1997 in an article by Declan White in the Mirror.[24]

One of those who was a child interviewed in the internal process is suing Cardinal Brady on the grounds that complaints about Fr. Smyth were not reported to the Garda, that steps were not taken to prevent Fr. Smyth from committing further assaults, that the children were required to sign oaths not to discuss the complaints and that the failure to report the complaints led to the plaintiff and others not receiving appropriate medical treatment.[25]

The then Labour Party spokesman on social and family affairs Róisín Shortall TD, said Cardinal Brady was "hopelessly compromised by what has emerged". She said, “There should be a Garda investigation to determine whether or not the failure to report Fr Smyth's crimes to the civil authorities was, itself, a criminal offence."[26]

On 17 March 2010, the deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called for Brady to resign.[27]

In May 2010, Cardinal Brady said that he would not resign as archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.[28]

Standing outside Armagh Cathedral, Brady acknowledged there were some who would not agree with his decision but vowed to lead the Church's efforts to improve child protection measures. “It certainly wasn’t an easy decision” he said. “I have listened to a lot of people, reflected as I said I would, I listened to survivors, to priests, to religious people up and down the length of this diocese and I have decided to continue in my present role, to play my part in this diocese. “Because I want to maintain the momentum towards better child safeguarding and not alone that, also the momentum towards renewal of the faith, which is essential here and a big challenge.

Dr. Brady said the vast majority of people he had spoken to wanted him to remain in post. “I was on pilgrimage to Lourdes yesterday with 800 people from this diocese and not one said they had no confidence in me, they said they wanted me to stay and continue this work.” Cardinal Brady told mass-goers at his Saint Patrick's Day homily in March that he would take a period of time to reflect on his future in the church. He confirmed he would stay on following the announcement yesterday of an all-island audit into how the Church handles abuse allegations. He said he had asked for his own diocese to be inspected by Vatican officials.[29]

In September 2010 Cardinal Brady asked whether Irish people had lost their capacity for mercy and forgiveness. “Have we become too aggressive and impatient in relation to the weaknesses and failings of others,” he asked. Speaking at a Mass in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, held to mark the 200th anniversary of St Nathy's College there, he said: “I sometimes wonder if we are in danger of losing our sense of mercy and forgiveness in Ireland today.[30]

In May 2012 the BBC television programme This World found that Sean Brady had the names and addresses of children being abused by the paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, but "did not ensure their safety".[31]

In his book Sworn to Silence, Brandon Boland alleged that he was handed a Bible and made to swear and sign an oath of secrecy after he complained of abuse by Brendan Smyth. The book claims the other signature was that of Fr. John B. Brady. Boland wrote that during his complaint interview, the questions and his answers were taken down in handwritten notes by Brady, who later had them typed up. Facsimiles of both are contained in the book.[32]

Coadjutor and resignation

In response to a request that the Cardinal made in 2010 for the appointment of a coadjutor, Pope Benedict XVI on 18 January 2013 named as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh 51-year-old Monsignor Eamon Martin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry, where he had been serving as diocesan administrator. As coadjutor, Martin was the Cardinal's chief deputy and would succeed him as Metropolitan Archbishop of Armagh on the death or retirement of the Cardinal. Brady confirmed that he had tendered his resignation in July 2014, a month before his seventy-fifth birthday.[33][34] On 8th September 2014, it was announced that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal Brady's resignation.[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b BBC News – Vatican accepts resignation of Cardinal Seán Brady, leader of Catholic Church in Ireland (Accessed 8 September 2014)
  2. ^ McCartney, Jenny (5 May 2012). "The Roman Catholic Church has protected evil for too long". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ a b c d e Miranda, Salvador. "Seán Brady". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Cardinal Brady".  
  5. ^ a b c d e "Seán Baptist Cardinal Brady".  
  6. ^ a b "Past Pupils Union". St. Patrick's College. 
  7. ^ "Abuse victims criticise cardinal's decision to stay".  
  8. ^ McDonald, Henry (2 May 2012). "Cardinal Seán Brady under pressure over abuse list".  
  9. ^ Taylor, Charlie (2 May 2012). "Brady says he will not resign over handling of abuse case".  
  10. ^ "Rinuce e Nomine". Holy See Press Office (in Latin). 12 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Naughton, Philippe. "Cardinal Seán Brady, Irish Catholic leader, rushed to hospita". (London). Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Healy, Alison (5 November 2008). "Planned civil partnership law may face challenge – cardinal".  
  13. ^ "Cardinal calls for new not-for-profit finance bodies".  
  14. ^ "Cardinal calls for end to cuts in overseas aid spending".  
  15. ^ "Cardinal defends right of church to have role in State schools".  
  16. ^ "Primate warns against abortion law".  
  17. ^ "Cardinal expresses dismay at move".  
  18. ^ Paul Cullen (7 December 2009). "'"Cardinal confident bishop will 'do the right thing.  
  19. ^ "Cardinal Brady urges 'renewal' as Irish bishops meet pope". The Irish Times. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  20. ^ Sylvia Poggioli (16 February 2010). "Pope Rebukes Irish Bishops Over Abuse Scandal".  
  21. ^ "'"Cardinal Brady will not resign over abuse 'cover-up.  
  22. ^ "Cardinal says he will not resign over Smyth abuse case".  
  23. ^ "Abuse victim calls on Brady to resign".  
  24. ^ "Archbishop Brady knew about evil Smyth for 22 years". 10 August 1997. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  25. ^ Jim Cusack (14 March 2010). "Cardinal Brady is sued by victim of serial abuse priest".  
  26. ^ Charlie Taylor (16 March 2010). "Cardinal 'hopelessly compromised' by latest revelation, says Shortall".  
  27. ^ Cooney, John; Byrne, Ciaran; Heffernan, Breda (18 March 2010). Shamed' plea buys Brady more time to stay as leader"'".  
  28. ^ "Cardinal Seán Brady statement "The Catholic church in Ireland has come a long way in addressing the failings of the past".  
  29. ^ "Cardinal Brady defends decision to stay in office".  
  30. ^ "Brady asks if Irish people have lost capacity to forgive".  
  31. ^ "'"Cardinal Brady 'failed to act on sex abuse claims.  
  32. ^ "An abuse victim's new book shatters an unholy vow of silence".  
  33. ^ RTÉ: Monsignor Eamon Martin to succeed Cardinal Brady when he ceases to hold office
  34. ^ RTÉ: Cardinal Seán Brady tenders resignation ahead of 75th birthday
  35. ^

External links

  • Archdiocese of Armagh
  • Catholic Communications Office, Ireland
  • Biography at
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Cahal Daly
Archbishop of Armagh
1 October 1996–8 September 2014
Succeeded by
Eamon Martin
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.