The Irish bishop credited for the spread of Catholicism in Western Australia was finally buried at the parish he founded after his death 140 years ago.
Born in Cavan, bishop John Brady petitioned to Pope Gregory XVI to start the Perth dioceses in 1844, and in 1845, he moved there and settled into his position as bishop.
He remained there for seven years, but was then asked to go back home to Ireland due to his refusal to accept a Vatican-appointed administrator who would help keep the books.
Upon re-entry in his home country, Brady lived in Kilmore for a while before retiring to Amélie-les-Bains, France. It was there that he died at age 71. He kept his title of Bishop of Perth until his death, according to the Irish Times.
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Thus, after the current bishop of the parish Brady had established requested that the bishop’s body be exhumed from his grave in France last March and brought to Australia, he was re-buried in a small ceremony yesterday at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
The bishop will now lie alongside the other bishops who served the parish after him. Currently, all but one of the bishops who served St. Mary’s Cathedral and the dioceses after Brady were exhumed from where they were originally buried and brought back to the cathedral.
Present Archbishop Barry Hickey said the following about Brady’s commitment to the church: “The church, in a formal sense, dates back to his arrival. He represents the beginning of the work of the Catholic Church of Western Australia.”
Brady truly does represent the beginning of Catholicism across Western Australia; according to the Irish Times, when Fr Brady first arrived in Australia in 1843 (before moving there two years later), there were no Irish priests at all. When he went back in 1845, he arrived “at the head of a large group of missionaries and religious orders.”
Hickey also says that he understand why Brady refused to resign when he was at odds with the Vatican over bookkeeping. “It was a protest against what he saw as the unfair usurpation of his rights as diocesan bishop.”