Cardinal Brady has cancelled his planned visit to the Oxford University Newman Society this week.
Cardinal Sean Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, announced his cancellation the day after Cherwell published an article entitled “‘Cover-up’ Cardinal to visit Oxford”.
He was due to deliver the termly Thomas More Lecture, celebrate Mass in Trinity College, and attend the Newman Society’s black-tie dinner, to be held in his honour at St Benet’s Hall on Wednesday 12th May.
The Newman Society is the Catholic Society of Oxford University. It is not officially known why Brady decided to cancel his visit, only five days before he was due to come.
Cardinal Brady is a controversial figure. He has repeatedly refused to resign as Cardinal despite legal challenges against him. He stands accused of covering up child sex abuse in the Church, by requiring underage victims to sign oaths swearing they would not discuss their abuse.
Brady’s office said, “As he continues a gradual return to normal duties following a short period of illness Cardinal Brady has, with deep regret, decided to cancel his proposed visit to Oxford.
“Cardinal Brady expressed the hope that he would be able to visit the members of the Oxford University Newman Society in due course and conveyed his good wishes and prayers for the work of the Society and the University, especially for those students preparing for examinations at this time.”
His lecture was due to be on the “Challenges Facing the Church in Ireland in the Twenty First Century”.
Conor Gannon, President of the Newman Society, said “I am personally disappointed that he cannot come as I felt it would be an excellent opportunity to hear how he intends to lead the Catholic Church in Ireland at this difficult time.
“Whether or not he should resign is not a matter for the Newman Society. We simply wished to provide him with the opportunity to apologise for the wrongdoings of the Church in the past and outline a way forward for the future.
“The Newman Society is aware of the sensitivity of the issue of child abuse in the Catholic Church. All those who have been affected by such appalling sins are in our prayers and we pray for reconciliation.”