Last month, Dr Brady, who has been the leader of Ireland's Catholics for 18 years, confirmed that he offered his resignation to Pope Francis in July.
All cardinals are obliged to offer to resign when they reach their 75th birthday, but the Pope decides whether to accept it.
|Cardinal Seán Brady led the Catholic Church in Ireland from 1996 and has |
presided over the institution at a time of immense and turbulent change
Archbishop Eamon Martin has been announced as his successor.
Pope Francis has appointed him Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland.
He was appointed as coadjutor archbishop of Armagh in January 2013 and ordained in April 2013.
Cardinal Brady resisted calls to resign in 2010, when it emerged that when he was a young priest in 1975, he attended meetings during which two teenage sex abuse victims were sworn to secrecy after they alleged they had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth.
Dr Brady said he was "pleased" that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation.
Christened as John B Brady, he attended St Patrick's College in Cavan before entering the seminary at Maynooth, County Kildare.
After his ordination in 1964, he returned to Cavan to teach in his old school, and acted as a part-time secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore, the late Bishop Francis McKiernan.
He moved to Italy in 1980, were he was appointed vice-rector and later rector of the Irish College in Rome, before returning to Ireland to work as a parish priest in Cavan.
In February 1995, he was ordained coadjutor (assistant) Archbishop of Armagh, a post given to the man earmarked to succeed the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Following the retirement of Cardinal Cahal Daly, Seán Brady became archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland in October 1996.
He was created a cardinal in November 2007.
|Archbishop Eamon Martin and Mum|
"No doubt many challenges lie ahead of me, but I look forward with trust and hope in God to sharing with others the joy of the Gospel," he said.
Brendan Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church on the island.
The Northern Ireland-born cleric, who was later convicted of more than 100 charges of child sexual abuse, died in prison in 1997.
However, instead of going to the civil authorities about the teenagers' allegations against him in 1975, clerics, including Seán Brady, took evidence from the pair and asked them to sign vows of silence.
Cardinal Brady apologised publicly for his role in mishandling the claims against Smyth, and described himself as a "wounded healer" who would, in future, prioritise the safety of children in the church.
However, in 2012, a BBC investigation into the case revealed that Dr Brady had failed to ensure the safety of other victims of Fr Brendan Smyth, despite being given their names and addresses by one of the two teenagers who had reported the abuse in 1975.
In his response to the BBC investigation, Dr Brady said he had been asked by his then bishop to record the allegations, and described his role as merely that of a "note taker".
Cardinal Brady added that as a priest in 1975 he had "absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth" and was "shocked, appalled and outraged" when he discovered in the mid-1990s that Brendan Smyth had gone on to abuse others.
He apologised to one of the abused teenagers in May 2012, but said he had no intention of stepping aside.
In addition to his own personal difficulties, the cardinal has presided over the church at a time of immense and turbulent change, with falling church attendances, dwindling ordinations and strained relations between the church and state authorities.
A series of government-backed inquiries in the Republic of Ireland, including the Ferns Report, the Ryan Report and the Murphy report, laid bare the extent of clerical child abuse over many decades.
Public outrage at the abuse was compounded by evidence of church authorities' attempts to cover it up to protect the reputation of the institution.
The Brendan Smyth Story
Despite allegations being previously investigated by church officials, including the current Irish primate, Sean Brady, as far back as 1975, it was almost 20 years before he was jailed.
Instead the cleric, a member of the Norbertine order, was moved between parishes, dioceses and even countries where he preyed on victims who were as young as eight years old.
As a priest in the Falls Road area of Belfast, he targeted four children from the same family. It was their courage in reporting the abuse to the police that led to his first conviction.
In 1991 he was arrested and released on bail, before spending the next three years out of the reach of police in Northern Ireland, when he stayed at his order's Kilnacrott Abbey in County Cavan in the Irish Republic.
It would appear that Cardinal Brady was a parish priest in Cavan at this time. He said he was shocked to find out that Smyth had gone on to abuse more children after 1975. Yet, could he have been kept in the dark about Smyth while he was part of Brady's parish? I seriously doubt it, especially as he had skipped bail and Northern Ireland was trying to extradite him.
Brady had three years to stop Smyth and didn't. It appears that at no time was he interested enough in Smyth or his victims to check on him to see if he was still molesting children or not. I'd call it a major FAIL for the cardinal and the church.
His case led to the collapse of the Irish Republic's Labour/Fianna Fail coalition government, when it emerged there were serious delays in his extradition to Northern Ireland in 1994.
When the priest finally appeared before a Belfast court, he was convicted of 43 charges of sexually assaulting children in Northern Ireland and was sentenced to four years in prison. 4 years - good grief! That's one year for almost 11 child molestations.
He was later found guilty of another 26 charges and given a three year sentence to run concurrently. My blood pressure is rising! 3 years for 26 charges and then to have it run concurrently means no extra jail time at all. The victims of those 26 assaults got absolutely no justice. They went through the grueling exercise of testifying for nothing. Concurrent sentencing should be abolished!
Upon his release from prison, Smyth was immediately arrested and extradited to the Irish Republic.
In 1997, the convicted paedophile again appeared before a judge - this time in Dublin - where he admitted to 74 charges of child sexual abuse over a 35-year period.
He had assaulted children in a hotel, a cinema, a convent and other venues across nine different counties.
Smyth died of a heart attack in prison in August 1997, just a month into his 12 year prison sentence.