Nichols: Testimony in court postponed due to illness © Britta Pedersen
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, will not answer allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy under oath on Tuesday as planned. The reason given by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is illness.
According to the Bishops' Conference on Monday evening, Nichols had to leave a memorial service at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday due to illness. A doctor had examined him and said Nichols could not attend the scheduled hearing this week. The cardinal had prepared thoroughly for his testimony and wanted to catch up on the hearing as soon as possible, it was added.
An independent government commission of inquiry wants to question Nichols about his time as archbishop of Birmingham between 2000 and 2009. He is accused of failing to take action against suspected abusers in his archdiocese during that time. Also involved in the allegations, according to media reports, is the now-deceased clergyman John Tolkien, son of world-famous best-selling author J.R.R. Tolkien ("The Lord of the Rings").