ARMAGH , Ireland, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignation Monday of Cardinal Sean Brady, the Catholic Church's leader in Ireland.
His 18-year leadership was marked by clerical sexual abuse scandals and a claim that as a young priest in 1975, he attended meetings at which two alleged sex abuse victims were sworn to secrecy after they alleged they were abused by a priest, Brendan Symth.
Smyth was convicted of over 100 charges of child sexual abuse and died in prison in 1997. Brady later apologized publicly for his role in mishandling claims against Smyth, but added that, in 1975, he had "absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth" and was "shocked, appalled and outraged" when he learned Symth was a serial abuser of children.
Brady, 75, led Ireland's Catholic Church through a time of change and turbulence, as well as public outrage over government reports that the church routinely covered up evidence of child sexual abuse cases involving priests.
Catholic convention calls for each Cardinal to offer his resignation at age 75, with the Pope deciding whether to accept it.