Row at Oxford over lecture invite to Cardinal Pell

The University of Oxford’s Catholic student society has invited Cardinal George Pell to give its prestigious annual lecture, attracting both praise and criticism from within Oxford’s Catholic community.

The cardinal, who graduated with a DPhil from Oxford in 1971, has been a patron of the Newman Society since 2009, when he inaugurated the current iteration of the Thomas More lecture at the Divinity School of the Bodleian Library.

His return to Oxford has sparked criticism from some local Catholics, however, with one graduate of the university appealing to other Catholics to protest.

Dr Katharine Perry, who received a DPhil in theology this year, was a resident of the Catholic chaplaincy between 2017 and 2019.

Speaking to The Tablet, she described the Newman Society’s decision as “shockingly insensitive”.

Perry said she was “stunned” by the society’s choice of lecturer.

In a statement, the Newman Society said that it shares “the pain of those protesting”, as well as the goal of ending the “scourge of sexual abuse” within the Church.

This goal, however, derives from a principle, justice, that impels the fair treatment of the innocent,just as it does the punishment of the guilty, the society added! Continue reading

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