In 1975, Father Sean Brady had no idea what to do when an 11-year-old boy told him that an adult man had had sex with him, because “no State or Church guidelines for responding to allegations of child abuse existed in Ireland”. Apparently none of the Church hierarchy above Father Brady, now Cardinal Brady, had any idea what to do either.
According to Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, speaking in 2010 as the “promoter of justice” or the prosecutor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was once called the Holy Office or the Inquisition, very clear guidelines had existed since 1922, republished and distributed in 1962: the responsible clerical authority should order an investigation and if the accusation of delicta graviora was proved well-founded (the Congregation’s job is to investigate delicta graviora, which include sexual crimes committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen) then the clerical authorities should refer the priest to the Congregation.
Reading Cardinal Brady’s statement exculpating himself, I was reminded of Monsignor William Lynn, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, Philadelphia, who was arrested in February 2012, indicted in mid-March and is now on administrative leave.
From Rolling Stone:
At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia’s archdiocese.