Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse BBC

Image copyrightBPM MEDIAImage captionBirmingham Archdiocese allegedly knew about abuse by Father John Tolkien in the 1950s

Children could have been saved from abuse if the Church had focused less on its reputation, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has said.

More than 130 allegations of abuse were made against 78 individuals associated with Birmingham’s Catholic Church.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols – the city’s archbishop between 2000 and 2009 – was accused of focusing on reputation rather than the impact of abuse.

He denied a cover-up, but allegations were found to have been “ignored”

“I am truly shocked by the scale of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Birmingham,” the inquiry’s chair, Professor Alexis Jay, said.

The report concluded that “children could have been saved from abuse if the Church had not been so determined to protect its reputation”.

Father John Tolkien – son of novelist JRR Tolkien – was said to have admitted abusing boys in Sparkhill, Birmingham, in the 1950s.

The archdiocese was apparently aware of the alleged abuse but did not report it until decades later.

Former boy scout Christopher Carrie, from Solihull, was given £15,000 in compensation in 2003 after he sued the archdiocese.

Father Tolkien was deemed too ill to be charged after an investigation into abuse in the Church

At the time, the Crown Prosecution Service said Father Tolkien was too ill to be charged, and he died later that year.

Cardinal Nichols – now the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales – appeared before the inquiry in December.
He was asked if he had suppressed a note which suggested Father Tolkien admitted an allegation of abuse in 1968 and was sent for treatment.

However, the report said the note “was disclosed to the police so it cannot be suggested that the Archdiocese sought to cover up the note”.

The note was made by Archbishop of Birmingham Maurice Couve de Murville as part of a 1993 investigation but no action was taken either in 1968 or in 1993.

This “lack of action by the Church meant that abusers were free to continue committing acts of child sexual abuse,” the inquiry found.
Image copyrightGOOGLEImage captionThe inquiry looked at allegations in Birmingham’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese


By Martin Bashir, BBC religion editor
Once again, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has shone light upon dark areas of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

This report describes an institution where the safeguarding of children was relegated to second, even third place, with the Church much more concerned about reputation management.
It also appears that Church leaders preferred secrecy over transparency, assisting some abusive priests to leave the country and others to move from parish to parish.

The criticisms of Cardinal Vincent Nichols are particularly scathing. The clear implication of the report is that his focus on reputation management – rather than the welfare of children – meant that abusers were allowed to continue victimising children.

And while it would be tempting to imagine that these offences are all in the past, the report concludes that “the Archdiocese is still falling short in its child safeguarding arrangements”.

As well as Father Tolkien, the investigation focused on three other priests: James Robinson, Samuel Penney, and one who remains anonymous.

Father Robinson, described as a serial child abuser, was moved from parish to parish after complaints were first made against him in the 1980s. The police were never informed and there was no internal, Church-led investigation.
He fled the UK in 1985 – later to be tracked down by the BBC at a caravan park in California – after being confronted by a victim.

Despite multiple allegations against him, he continued to receive financial support from the Archdiocese for seven years.


Robinson was found guilty in 2010 of 21 child sex abuse offences against four boys – some 40 years after complaints were first made to the Church in the 1970s and 80s.

When the Archdiocese was alerted to allegations against Father Penney, the Vicar General – who was charged with investigating – attempted to help him evade arrest and leave the UK.

Prof Jay said the number of perpetrators and victims is “likely to be far higher than the figures suggest” and the consequences of the Church’s failings “cannot be overstated”.

‘Failed victims’

The report also concluded that the Birmingham Archdiocese continues to fall short in its child safeguarding arrangements.

In a statement, the Archdiocese said it accepts it has “failed victims and survivors” and apologised for “the grievous failings we have made in the past”.

It said it has “fundamentally changed its practices and processes to ensure an open and compassionate approach to victims and survivors”.




Vinnie/Elsie is finally getting his comeuppance after all his years of naked ambition and climbing the sleazy, greasy RC clerical pole.

In the end we discover they are all the same.

Empty, sneaky, power hungry operatives with neither the smell of the Shepherd or sheep about them.

Any decent, self respecting person in a senior position would immediately resign and take full responsibility for everything.

But Elsie is another Brady who will lie low sometimes and then parade all around the place in crimson robes – and wine and dine in places like Rome and Lourdes.

Bad cess to the lot of them!



+ Vin has been revealed as someone who is not only interested in his own advancement (he has always been seen rightly as a very personally ambitious man), but primarily interested in the protection of the Church from anything that would undermine it, even if in doing so he covered up wrongdoing and ensured that he, his diocese, his priests, and his ambition were protected, rather than thinking of the needs and protection of the most vulnerable that he was supposed to have a care for.
Having had dealings with him myself I have always felt that + Vin is only interested in you for how useful you can be to him, and once that is no longer the case he will move on and leave you behind. Most people I know who have had dealings with him share the same experience of him. There is little affection for him among his priests wherever he has been bishop. The smooth and suave exterior and plausible words are a faint mask for naked ambition and his concern for himself. He’s not an attractive personality.
I have no doubt that he should now resign and go quietly in to what will inevitably be a genteel and well heeled retirement. He is a busted flush, and has now no credibility to speak for the Church any more. And in retirement he needs to keep out of view and the public light, because every time he appears or says anything, all he will be doing is reminding people by his presence and words of his callous and calculating self-serving actions in the matter of safeguarding and child protection.
The IICSA report has holed + Vin beneath the water line and it is inevitable that he will now sink beneath the waves. + Vin will discover that he has few friends and supporters in his hour of need, the byproduct of his self-serving, vaunting ambition that had little time for making true relationships. Except with his nun friend.


Your comment rings true from personal experience.
Is what you experienced similarly true for many individuals who have climbed the “ladder of success?”
I think of the Trump, Boris type characters where personal probity and good moral standards seem secondary to personal advancement. Is this Dawkin’s ‘selfish gene’ operating?


Sour grapes is such a terrible thing. Did Vincent pass you over for someone else or look down on you because of your gossip because that’s something he can’t abide in clergy. Sounds like you are the busted flush chum harbouring resentment and bitching like some old queen. Vincent will probably end up with more friends than you will ever have old bean so your wishful thinking on him not having any is just that, wishful thinking. So continue living in your fantasy world and all your criticisms and snide remarks will be just water of a ducks back to the likes of Vincent Nichols. He didn’t get to where he is by being a shrinking little violet like you. Cuve de Murville was totally responsible for the cover ups long before Nichols arrived, the enquiry concluded as much.


I suggest you read what the IICSA report says about Nichols, old bean ! I think you are suffering from a case of selective reading and listening. And yes, probably much of the criticism of Nichols will run off him like water off a duck’s back, but that says something about the ambitious cold fish he really is.


Are you one of the ex-Angicans @ 1123 that is so grateful to him for giving you a home and a nice living, albeit in desperation to fill his parishes ?


The past is history and thauld Church will stick its head in the sand and hope it all goes away hi. Concentrate on real people. Victims in the present hi. Bring them together with a United voice and keep shouting. Don’t forget thauld prayer hi. Ye still represent church and not just a social reform group but


Good morning fly hi.
Begorra fly thauld Church is good at burying its head in the sand hoping the tsunami will blow over butt too many skeletons hidden for years are fallen out of closets. Avoiding scandal to protect the reputation of the church has ruined its street cred. True fly the Church is not a social reform group or political party peddling an ideology. Too many concentrate on themselves while trying to climb the klerical ladder. Prayer seems as rare as hens teeth. A band of abusive kooks were at it again last night taking my handle in vain. Will they ever learn.
Have a nice day.
Bye bye fly hi.


Are you and “Fly” those two old kooks with the pet budgies that used to write on here a while back and get all offended, like two big girl’s blouses, when people said ‘bad words’?
Have those two old looks recycled themselves as “Fly …. ” and “Magwa”?
Maybe when you both wise up and cease from your gobbledygook some people will stop treating you with the derision you are inviting? Just a suggestion but hi.


Magwa, it’s ok hi. We don’t need to hide our lorve for each other anymore but. You and me hi but, as the wee song says, “we don’t have to take our – clothes off – hi but, to have a good time, oh no” but mind ye hi it does help when we take our clothes aff but. Eh Magwa? It’s 2019 hi. We don’t need to be ashamed but hi no more. Out and proud me and you but hi. 💖💝🏳️‍🌈 😘😍


She is in full denial mode, Bp Pat. I imagine the royal box at Wimbledon, for example, will be off limits for Elsie this year.


May I be the first to wish you both well Mr Fly and Magwa as you embark on your life together. Best of luck to ye both and I hope that both of you will be very happy together. ❤


Hello ladds @ 11:36am 11:33am &11:06am.
Golly gosh guys gobbledygook is getting to a few kooks or is it
klecial klub kubby raw nerves been touched evoking anger from a few up
to no good immature kook-a-roos. Maybe they’re on the klerical ladder to
success with too much time on their hands in need of part time jobs.
Do the Lourdes water bucket challenge+ double penance.
Pray evening office like good ladds.
Bye boys bye.


The standard photo used in press releases with catholic prelates seated in front of a crucifix or statue makes me almost vomit. In the picture today of Nichols in front of the crucifix we are supposed to believe this man pours out honesty and truth. Ireland’s Brady is another in a long and full catalogue of cover uppers and hypocrites. Well after yesterday’s excoriating and blistering attack on his supposed integrity and reputation I have only one message for Vincent. Next time you speak on behalf of the catholics of England and Wales in won’t be in my name. Count me out !


This report is serious. It not only highlights the historical failings in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the culture of coverup and protection of the institution at all costs (which so often is excused by the “oh, it was the way it was done in those days”), it also clearly says that the lessons of the past have not been learned, and that the current and actual safeguarding processes and management in the diocese are not good enough (to which the response is “we are doing our best to implement better safeguarding now”). At all levels, the Archdiocese of Birmingham has been found to be loose and careless, perhaps criminally so, in the past and continues to be in the present. This is pretty damning.
Accountability ? Well, many of the actors in this are dead (Couve de Murville, Leonard etc), but Nichols is still around and should be required to relinquish his current role and retire. In any other organization he would have already gone, as the organization itself would recognize that his very presence is toxic and counter to any improvement in its standing or ability to fix the problems it patently has. In addition, I’m afraid that Longley cannot be just let off the hook either, nice and good man, I think, that he is. The damning finding that even after all these happenings up in to the early 2000s, the diocese continued to work with inadequate safeguarding measures, which in itself is liable to put the vulnerable at risk, and may even (it remains to be seen what transpires over the years regarding this period) have been responsible for abuse of the vulnerable taking place, or continuing. I’m afraid he cannot just excuse himself by saying that they are now working very hard to improve things. Again, in any other organization, he will have been deemed to have failed in this very important area, and particularly so after everything that has happened and he was already aware of.
I doubt if the Church will be seen to make people accountable in the way that happens in the rest of the world, because it believes that it is responsible to a higher authority and does not need to take account of what the rest of the world thinks. It also doesn’t like being seen to be pushed in to things, and so digs in its feet. That simply compounds the evil and wrong that has already happened under its watch and its roof. We notice all of these things, and each iteration of this simply chips away another huge bit of confidence and trust that people have for and in the Church.
I’m sure we are going to see a litany of other serious failings in other dioceses over the next year, as they come under the spotlight of IICSA.
And, please, don’t anybody excuse what is happening in the RC Church as what happens in so many other churches and institutions, as we so often hear. Or, as Nichols is wont to say, that abuse happens mostly in the family. As if what happens in the RC Church is just a minor manifestation of a greater problem. No, we expect better from you lot, Nichols, not the same as everywhere else. Got it ?!
So, Papal Nuncio, please be seen to take this seriously and do something to ensure that people are held accountable for their actions, and that people are put in places of responsibility who are fit for the job and understand the necessity of ensuring that safeguarding trumps everything, including their ecclesiastical ambitions and careers, the comfort of their priests, and their standing in the world.


A well written report and straight to the point.
However I urge ( my usual some will say) that people take time and write to the Papal nuncio as he will be listening to these two NOT fit for office and furthermore write to Cardinal Parolin as it is in the current text.
Please remember + Longley is tipped for Westminster as Nichols is 75 next November but he should go now.
I sincerely hope we get NONE of Nichols previous assistants as the next Archbishop of Westminster.


If + Longley has blotted his copy book and doesn’t get Westminster, either shortly when Vinnie cuts and runs to his caravan, or when Vinnie retires, who will ? Stock of Leeds ? The new man just gone to Southwark ? I’m not sure there’s a lot of talent out there. Maybe they could bump up one of the ex-Anglicans (not hopeless Hope in E Anglia). Any suggestions ? Anyway, who in their right mind would want it, other than an ambitious clone of Nichols ?


Of course, there’s also Monsignor Keith Newton to consider. He has a real wife rather than a hag.


Or they could parachute in Annie Walker as they did with Edinburgh. She’d find Elsie and Carmel a nice cottage in the Cotswolds.


I agree with 11.23am. We can see how the Archbishop tires of the bitchy lazy brigade of those commenting on here earlier who have little to do and no doubt, bottle in hand as we speak. At least with the former Anglo Catholic’s they actually work hard and get on with it. On the other hand the Archbishop and laity are subjected to the native clergy who are incompetent, lazy and uneducated. They simply don’t want to work but would rather quaff their gin, backbite and eye up and compare notes on the arses of different young men.

Liked by 1 person

Is that you Jenny? We know you are a big fan of Vinnie. We know you will protect her tooth and nail and lash out against her critics. She has been good to you, you old queen. We know you are a product of St Stephens, let it go now dearie but let go off the brandy bottle above all else. Stupid cow you are and so obvious to the rest of us girls. Was horrified today to be told you were desperate to use this blog now.


Oh dear, the gin did come out early today didn’t it, Fr? At least Staggers men have a modicum of learning and sophistication about them, unlike the tuppenny-ha’penny formation the natives got in some dreary regional seminary where lads like Vinney drank warm beer and watched ‘footie’.


Our Else will weather the storm, such as it has is, until retirement. Is it even a “storm” at all one might ask?

Storm in a teacup. There’s not even that much of an outcry about it all in the media. I mean it’s not even headline news. The story has no momentum.

Else’s day is over in any case. Cruise towards retirement and “wish me luck as you wave me goodbye” it will be, for old Elsers and Carmel, as they toddle off to the caravan.

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Here is a big Question for the blog readers (if Bishop Pat allows)
The Vatican Star Nichols was sent to clear the KOB situation and really all KOB was guilty of was sleeping with his priests but remember they are adults and were willing enjoying the parties and so on.
And we have Nichols the star who helps selected future Bishops however he has been accused of cover ups of his clergy against the vulnerable and children.
Pope Francis should say to his star go NOW.


Will people now drop Elsie and start putting distance between themselves and him? Will ‘brother’ bishops turn on him? Will the caravan lease be revoked? Maybe even Carmel will look for a new diary to arrange?


That comment @12.30 is extremely offensive, particularly against the true Catholic born priests of Westminster Diocese. Ex-Anglican intruders have been ruining, not running, the clerical communion for a few decades now, imposing their drag–camp queerdom on various offices and parishes. Not all, but too many of them, have cynically infested the once respected harmony with division and derision. Just read and assess the obscenity in @12.30!


Be as deluded as you like regarding the Archbishop of Westminster he will not be resigning. This is a total damp media squib. All of these allegations were many many years before his term of office. Today’s media is almost silent on this because they recognise these facts. There has been much nastiness on here and abuse directed at former Anglican Clergy in Westminster. Yes, one runs the Cathedral, two run the Seminary in Chelsea but they are more educated, able and hard working than anyone else so what’s to complain about?


I tried to post this earlier but my signal was dodgy.
I really want Nichols to be pope. Just for the media attention it would turn on everything he has ever done. He has spent decades pursuing his own career, and I think the current atmosphere is the time for him to experience the fruits of his labour.
It would also be interesting to see what position he takes as pope – earlier he dropped his liberal position after being informed it wouldn’t do his career any good at all, and I would like to see how he would defend his own corner in the venemous atmosphere of Rome.
He is one of the few people I think should get what he wishes for…


“… he dropped his liberal position”
KOB did the same and look where he ended up.


@5.51pm That definitely sounds like Jenny. On the subject of +V’s successor it will not be Longley (too many skeletons from Westminster days). I hear it could be Roche or the equally slimy +Salford.


The Salford Gauleiter ! Those rimless glasses. So Nazi. I remember him telling me one day that the big wigs in my order should sort out a particular priest who was causing him difficulties. Sort out ? It was like one of those Nazi euphemisms for the final solution. I think that his modus operandi. The old ex-Anglican queens in Westminster would quake in their slippers if they thought + Arnold was coming home. Best he be left Up North !


What about Dark Mavis, she can probably to her own floral arrangements. No need for a hag there.


Roche is too old now and if that were the case he would have been sent to Westminster.
+ Stock , + Davis or + Toole.
The vacant sees just now will get filled first East Anglia, Northampton and Mineva and maybe some of the Auxiliary posts two in Birmingham, Liverpool and Southwark.
+ Nichols is not 75 till November 2020 so could still be there till 2023 depends on current situation.
He is in Rome Thursday and Friday next week so likely see Pope Francis.


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse is to be congratulated for its integrity. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy of England and Wales has had ample opportunity to implement the recommendations of previous commissions created to assist it in relation to the protection of children and vulnerable people- Nolan and later Cumberledge. The Birmingham Archdiocese has conspicuously failed to seriously implement the recommendations of these commissions. Can we seriously believe that the Birmingham Archdiocese will take action on the latest inquiry into its criminally scandalous conduct? We may need a police investigation and not a resignation into Nichols’ to determine whether he is criminally accountable.
Of course the effects of this criminality have an international dimension. I refer to the Vicar General’s actions in relation to the convicted paedophile Birmingham priest, Father James Robinson.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was persuaded to shelter Robinson and the deception meant that Father Robinson was able to remain in America and avoid prosecution for nearly 25 years by deliberately misleading the Archdiocese of Los Angeles about the nature of the allegations faced by Robinson. Monsignor Leonard the Birmingham Vicar General sought to minimise the seriousness of what had happened, the report said, adding that the victim had been sexually abused when he was still a child and Monsignor Leonard knew this.
Robinson served in 5 parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese including;
1991-1992 St. Catherine Laboure, Torrance, CA
1993 St. Mel, Woodland Hills, CA
As if Los Angeles did not have enough


It does make me wonder if the Los Angeles District Attorney is aware of the IICSA report on the Birmingham situation and whether they would be interested in Nichols.
Just a thought


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