Cardinal Vincent Nichols says he won’t quit over damning child abuse report as Pope Francis had asked him to remain in the post!
Pope Francis asked Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, to stay in his post, despite a damning report that criticised his leadership and found that he “seemingly put the reputation of the church” above his duty to sex assault victims.
In its final review of the church, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) said the Vatican’s failure to cooperate with the investigation “passes understanding”, reported The Guardian.
The 162-page report said “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.”
Of Nichols, it stated: “There was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility to lead or influence change. Nor did he demonstrate compassion towards victims in the recent cases which we examined.”
Meanwhile, calls for Nichols’s resignation grew in the wake of the publication of the report on Tuesday. “Cardinal Nichols is the moral leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, he has lost all moral authority and must go … This report once again demonstrates that the Catholic church is not a safe place for children,” The Guardian quoted an anonymous survivor as saying.
However, Nichols told the BBC he had offered to resign on Sunday upon turning 75, as is church law when bishops reach this age, but this was rejected by the Vatican.
He said: “I offered my resignation to Pope Francis. His answer has come back very clear, very unambiguous. He wants me to stay in post, so I will stay because that’s where my orders come from, that’s where my mandate comes from.”
“He wants me to stay – I’m going to stay and continue to work wholeheartedly at these matters,” Nichols added.
Between 1970 and 2015, the church in England and Wales received more than 900 complaints involving more than 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse, made against more than 900 individuals, including priests, monks and volunteers.
A statement issued by Nichols and the archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, said the Catholic church welcomed the report, which would “inform” improvements in “safeguarding in all aspects of the church’s life”.
“We apologise to all victims and survivors who have not been properly listened to, or properly supported by us,” it added.