Margaret now worships with a non-denominational group

Abuse survivor ‘ashamed’ of having been a Catholic

By Paul Ainsworth

A LOCAL survivor of horrific clerical sex abuse has said she’s “ashamed” to have been a Catholic, following the refusal of Cardinal Sean Brady to step down despite immense pressure for him to do so.

Margaret McGuckin, who was abused along with others in the Nazareth House children’s home on the Ormeau Road, hit out at Cardinal Brady’s “arrogance” after he insisted he would not quit despite devastating claims made in a BBC documentary that he had known the names of children being abused by notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth, but failed to alert the authorities.

Pressure has mounted on the All-Ireland Primate to quit as he had previously claimed he would do so if evidence was to show his failure to protect children led to further abuse. He has insisted he did what he could at the time by reporting the horrific abuse only to senior clergy.

Margaret, who came face to face with Cardinal Brady when her group Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) met clergy earlier this year to recount details of their horrific ordeals as children in the care of the church, has slammed the Primate’s stance and called for him to go “immediately”. She  revealed she no longer worships under Catholic clergy, instead choosing a “non-denominational group” with which to practice her Christian faith.

 

“Many of the people we represent were raped and abused by priests who were coming in as visitors to the institutions we were in. Brady had brought representatives of the orders who ran these homes with him for support, but was still very quiet when presented with the details.”

“I’m ashamed to have been a Catholic if this is how the Church handles a crisis such as this,” she said.

“I still have my faith in God, which is stronger than ever, but to see how senior Catholic clergy bury their heads in the sand is embarrassing, and I feel for the very few priests who have the bravery to criticise the likes of Brady and who are being chastised by the Church for it.”

The Lower Ormeau woman described Cardinal Brady as being “very quiet” when told of the sexual, physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of priests and nuns during her time in Nazareth House.

“Many of the people we represent were raped and abused by priests who were coming in as visitors to the institutions we were in. Brady had brought representatives of the orders who ran these homes with him for support, but was still very quiet when presented with the details.

“The longer he stays in his post the more damage is done to the Church as a whole.”

Since the programme was broadcast last week, Cardinal Daly has said in a statement he was “not the person who had the role of bringing the allegations received to the attention of the civil authorities”.

He added: “I was also acutely aware that I had no authority in Church law in relation to Brendan Smyth or any other aspect of the inquiry process.”

 

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