Clerical abuse: Catholic cardinal says church was ‘shocked to the core’

Clerical abuse: Catholic cardinal says church was ‘shocked to the core’ November 8, 2019

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols – leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales  – has spoken of the ’embodiment of evil’ among church members.

Image via YouTube

Giving evidence for the second time to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Nichols, above, said:

The experience in the Catholic community in this country over the last 20 years has been one of struggling to cope with the presence of evil embodied in its members, which has shocked it to the core.

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who acts for 27 abuse victims in the inquiry, responded to Nichols’ latest claim that he was still struggling to get his head around the extent of clerical abuse by saying:

Cardinal Nichols’s evidence will cut little ice with victims. The Catholic Church has spent the last two decades promising to get safeguarding right, but the evidence in this inquiry has exposed these promises as so much hot air.

Scorer said improvements had been “lamentably slow”, treatment of survivors was “consistently poor” and the Catholic Church’s structure and culture meant it was:

 Incapable of delivering the changes survivors need.

But Nichols has insisted that the Church’s culture had improved “radically” in recent years. He conceded, however,  there was still “more to achieve”.

Nichols said he had learned lessons about tackling abuse at a summit called by the Pope at the Vatican for senior bishops.

A letter the cardinal wrote to bishops in England and Wales following the meeting was shown to the inquiry.

He wrote that, during the meeting, he’d experienced:

A change of perspective. I began to see everything from the perspective of the victim/survivor. That is a sobering perspective for us to take.

He told the inquiry the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales had already implemented some of the measures discussed at the summit.

An earlier report into abuse in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, which the cardinal led, found that the Church sometimes put its reputation above that of the needs of victims. He said that characterisation did not apply to him.

Lead counsel for the inquiry, Brian Altman QC, asked if the cardinal believed there was still much to improve, despite major inquiries held in 2001 and 2007.

The cardinal said:

The culture of the Catholic Church today is radically different from 2001 or even 2007, but I do think there’s much, much more to achieve.

Image via Wiki CC

Archbishop Nichols was also asked why another archbishop – the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain Monsignor Edward Adams, above – had refused to give the inquiry a statement about abuse at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School and specifically why it had taken so long for the Vatican to remove a particularly abusive priest from the Church.

In May this year victims’ solicitors demanded to know what steps Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See had taken, or had been asked to take, in order to facilitate this and in order to avoid it becoming a diplomatic issue.

The cardinal said he had stressed the importance of the inquiry to the other members of the clergy but added he was “not a diplomat” and did not understand:

The niceties of international law in these things.

He also praised the Vatican police force for providing information that helped to locate and apprehend an abusive priest who had fled the country.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael Neville

    he was “not a diplomat” and did not understand: “The niceties of international law in these things. “

    Child rape is a felony in pretty much every nation. The “niceties” involve informing the local police or other competent civil authorities about child rape and child rapists so that they can (1) apprehend the rapist(s) and (2) prevent further rapes from happening. Moving Fr. Kiddyraper from parish to parish, diocese to diocese, or even country to country does not meet with the niceties. Apparently the cardinal has problems understanding these simple concepts.

  • Pofarmer

    For Millenia the Church has acted as a law unto itself. I hope that is changing. The scope of the going’s on in Australia should shock the world.

  • Tawreos

    The experience in the Catholic community in this country over the last 20 years has been one of struggling to cope with the presence of evil embodied in its members, which has shocked it to the core.

    Leaders are not usually referred to as members and priests would be leaders in the church. So much of what he is saying seems to amount to “Why are you still bringing this up? Pope Franky promised to change things and then did pretty much nothing to officially change things. So stop bringing this up because it hurts our fundraising.”

  • Raging Bee

    An earlier report into abuse in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, which the cardinal led, found that the Church sometimes put its reputation above that of the needs of victims. He said that characterisation did not apply to him.

    Nope, he only cared about HIS OWN reputation.

  • Raging Bee

    The culture of the Catholic Church today is radically different from 2001 or even 2007…

    Different how, exactly?

  • Raging Bee

    You clearly don’t understand the niceties of Vatican law in these things. /s

  • Michael Neville

    What’s going on in Ireland should shock the Vatican.

  • Michael Neville

    Frankie’s the Grand Poohbah now instead of Benny Ratzi. Or as Pete Townsend put it so well in Won’t Be Fooled Again: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Frankie is more charismatic then Benny (not a difficult achievement) but they’re equally as reactionary, conservative, and anti-humanist.

  • Raging Bee

    I think Frankie WANTS to be more progressive than Bennie, but can’t, both because he’s spineless and because his predecessors had purged too much of his Church’s progressive wing before he took office, leaving him no one and nothing to work with.

  • anxionnat

    No, Frankie is not “progressive” in the least. Unless you think that supporting the murderous Argentine dictatorship, which (with the support of Frankie and the rest of the RCC in the country) murdered tens of thousands of people is somehow “progressive.” Frankie was besties with Jorge Videla, the dictator. One has only to look up the pic of Frankie (as a bishop) and Videla walking arm-in-arm, both sporting wide smiles–while Videla’s fascist dictatorship was committing atrocities like torturing people and dumping them out of helicopters into the ocean. Just because the current Frankie talks a good line doesn’t absolve him, or the Argentine RCC of its crimes and its approval of crimes.

  • Raging Bee

    So that’s one vote for “spineless.”

  • Michael Neville

    Someone who calls transgenders “unnatural”, promotes the Catholic absolute ban on abortion and contraception, and declares the role of women is to breed children rather than be clergy is not progressive. Sure, he’s called for married priest in the Amazon region, but that’s a pragmatic response to a serious problem. He still insists that the majority of priests be celibate.

  • Steven Watson

    I’ll only be happy if the Pope, speaking Ex Cathedra, orders ALL the clergy to surrender themselves to the secular authorities, cedes the Vatican State to the Italian Republic, immediately abdicates, and turns himself in to the first copper he runs across. I was taught for several years by one of these scum and I suspect several of my schoolfriends ran afoul of them.

  • Steven Watson

    Frankie seems to have been on too close aquaintance with the scum of the Argie Junta and those who ‘dissapeared’ thousands and tortured tens of thousands to be an at all believable character.

  • Pofarmer

    Harsh – but reasonable.

  • Robert McLean

    Dunno. They’d be taken more seriously if the dressed properly. Making pronouncements while trying to look sillier than Ronald McDonald really doesn’t do their message any favours. Black muslim type bags with a slit would offer more succour.

  • Jim Jones

    Each diocese is a gang unto itself, with the local bishop being the boss of the gang.

    The pope isn’t the capo dei capi, he’s more like the PR department.

  • Jim Jones

    The bishops won’t obey him, short of disaster.

  • Broga

    Nichols’ comments are pathetic. Is this the best he can do? He isn’t even trying. Just treading water to stop from drowning till the storm abates. His corrupt church has been caught, its much lauded values and beliefs proven to be no more than a cover for wickedness. For generation after generation they have used their young victims to satiate their perversions with little expectation of being held to account. Nichols whining and simpering fools no one. Their treatment of their victims has been pitiless and it will only be curbed by exposure and action to hold the abusers to account.

    All the gilded dresses, the bejewelled ornaments, the magnificent cathedrals won’t cleanse them of this shame.

  • disqus_KZV54l7H97

    Religimums. Jeebus. Aaylaay. Yayway. Fairies. Prey pray.