Brendan Smyth PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 31 October 2008 13:24

Fr. Brendan Smyth, c. 1965

Brendan Smyth

Born: 1927, Ireland

Died: 1997, Prison

Age: 70

Notable because: Catholic priest who for 40 years raped hundreds of children, whilst his employers shielded him from justice moving him to different areas when allegations of abuse arose without forewarning those he was sent to, affecting the way many regard the Catholic Church.


Brendan Smyth was a notorious child molester who used his position as a Catholic priest to obtain access to his victims. During a period of over 40 years, Smyth systematically raped hundreds of children in parishes in Belfast, Dublin and the United States.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Smyth was member of the Norbertine Catholic religious order. The Norbertines, also known as the Premonstratensians, which Smyth had joined in 1945, were aware of Smyth's crimes as early as the late 1940s, yet they failed to report him to either the Garda Síochána (the Republic of Ireland's police force) or the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the RUC, the police force in Northern Ireland). Instead he was moved from parish to parish and between dioceses whenever allegations were made against him. In some cases, the order did not inform the diocesan bishop that Smyth had a history of sexual abuse and should be kept away from children.

http://d284656.u38.hosting.digiweb.ie/img/2009/09/27/columnists/father-brian/brendan-smyth.jpg

His arrest in 1994 led to the collapse of a Fianna Fáil/Labour coalition government when the incompetent handling of an extradition request from the RUC by the Irish Attorney-General's office led to a further delay of some months in Smyth facing trial. An award-winning UTV Counterpoint programme on the scandal by journalist Chris Moore, followed up by a book, accused the head of the Norbertines and the Archbishop of Armagh of mishandling the case, and the Norbertines of negligence and a failure to tell others of his longstanding child molestation, enabling Smyth to sexually abuse large numbers of children freely for 40 years. When Smyth died in prison in 1997, the Norbertines held his funeral early in the morning, and covered his grave with concrete to deter vandalism. In the aftermath of the scandal, Ireland's Mass attendance rate plummeted from 68 percent to 48 percent in less than a decade. It continues to fall to this day.

On October 27, 2005, one of Smyth's victims succeeded in having the title 'Reverend' removed from his gravestone

ike many priest perpetrators, Fr. Brendan Smyth O.Prae. was intentionally shuffled across dioceses, countries and continents. But Father Bruno Mulvihill O.Prae. remained on his tail. He spent his career reporting Smyth’s crimes to his own priors in Ireland, abbots in California, bishops in Ireland, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland and finally to Rome. In no other case has a priest dedicated himself to protecting children from a single serial predator.

While his actions did not get results, his efforts may not have been in vain.

Because of Mulvihill and decades of litigation in Ireland and the United States, we now know that Rome and the Congregation for Religious knew Smyth was a child molester as early as 1964.  Cardinal Sean Brady J.C.D. (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland) conducted a canonical investigation and is keeping evidence under the “pontifical secret” while the public and Smyth’s victims await his production of the documents.

Brendan Smyth was a monster, but the men who covered up for him are just as guilty. We know who they are because Father Bruno Mulvihill kept extensive documentation of every person he reported to about Smyth’s crimes. Although many of these men are deceased, the victims are still alive and still suffering. The more we know about what these men covered-up, the more we can help victims by holding responsible parties accountable.

The circle of eleven to remember:

Betrayal of Trust: The Father Brendan Smyth Affair and the Catholic Church

Author: Chris Moore
Manufacturer: Irish Amer Book Co
Amazon Price: $14.95
Offers - Buy New From: $96.99 Used From: $2.35
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Editorial Review: At the end of 1994, the Father Brendan Smyth affair brought shame on the Catholic Church in Ireland, and led directly to the fall of the Labour-Fianna Fail Government led by Albert Reynolds. The Irish public grew used to the face of the paedophile priest who was sentenced in Belfast on several counts of sexual abuse of children. This book is the inside story of the Brendan Smyth affair, written by the person most responsible for breaking the story. It follows the trail of the paedophile priest throughout Ireland, in Italy and in America. It reveals new information about the extent of the abuses carried out by Brendan Smyth, and the depth of the lack of intervention by the Catholic Church. Most of all, this book gives voice to those who were abused and betrayed by a priest and by the religious leaders who shielded him. The affair has caused a crisis of credibility for the Catholic Church in Ireland. It has damaged relationships between priests and people. This book evalutes the mishandling of the affair by the hierarchy, and explores how trust can be restored.


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Editorial Review: It was March 29th 1975 when Brendan Boland was summoned to give evidence to a secret canonical inquiry. The altar boy had just celebrated his 14th birthday. He had been abused for almost three years by a priest who would become Irelands' most notorious pedophile. Now the church wanted to know exactly what happened. Brendan told them everything


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:06
 

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