If you were anxiously awaiting Cardinal Sean Brady's lecture at Oxford University two weeks ago, and are now wondering why he failed to show, the answer has arrived.
His Eminence was going to give an address as part of a lecture series that was organized in honor of Cardinal John Newman, a prominent cleric who saw the light as a young man and fled from Queen Victoria's Church of England, straight to a baptismal font in a Catholic Church.
Cardinal Newman is due to be beatified soon Clearly, he's a big wheel in Catholic circles, a man of philosophy and deep thoughts. Newman Centers are to be found at almost every major university, a place for Catholic students to gather and practice their faith.
A big wheel, soon to take another step on the road to sainthood, cannot be honored if there's all sorts of people just outside the doors, roaring and protesting and waving signs and carrying on about the sex abuse scandal that is choking the Catholic Church to near death.
"Challenges Facing The Church In Ireland In The Twenty-first Century" was the theme.
Who better than Cardinal Sean Brady to speak of those challenges, when he's one of them.
Back in 1975, before he was elevated to Cardinal, he mishandled allegations of sexual abuse by Father Brendan Smyth. The organizers of the Newman lectures feared disruption at every turn because Ireland's Catholics are not the least bit pleased that Cardinal Brady failed to resign his post after botching an investigation that left a sexual predator free to abuse again and again.
There's the challenge facing the Church, summed up in the experiences of Cardinal Brady. Mismanagement. Protecting the corporation while the clients were injured. Hiding of evidence, secrecy, blind stupidity....a complete re-organization and change of attitude is quite challenging.
Cardinal Brady, however, was asked not to address the people. He cancelled his appearance, he backed out of the Mass he was to say at Trinity College (Cardinal Newman's old stomping grounds). Didn't want to stir up a fuss and detract from the memory of Cardinal Newman.
Challenges Facing The Church In Ireland? Put up a large picture of Cardinal Brady as an example. A picture is worth one thousand words, isn't it?