An independent inquiry reveals thousands of cases of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1970 were buried by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse(IICSA) has revealed the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse, prioritising its own reputation ahead of the welfare of the underage victims. 

Between 1970 and 2015, the church received hundreds of complaints involving more than 3,000 child sex abuse cases against more than 900 people who have connections to the church, including priests, monks and volunteers.

133 people were convicted on abuse charges in 177 prosecutions in the same period. The church and dioceses paid millions of dollars in compensation to the victims.

The report emphasised that child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church is not solely a historical problem.

Since 2016, there have been “more than 100 reported allegations each year.” The report also said the actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.

The IICSA also underlined “faith organisations are marked out from most other institutions by their explicit moral purpose,” and the Roman Catholic Church is no different.

In the context of the sexual abuse of children, “that moral purpose was betrayed over decades by those in the Church who perpetrated this abuse and those who turned a blind eye to it,” the report said.

“The Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being 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.”

The abuse of children include some sadistic beatings driven by sexual gratification and manipulation of people who stand in positions of trust, respected by both children and their families.

“The psychological effects have continued ever since, resulting in years of unbearable guilt, depression, nightmares, anxiety and PTSD symptoms,” a witness said

Another victim, assaulted in 1994, told the IICSA how sexual abuse had affected every aspect of his life. It eventually led to self-harm.

It “nearly wrecked” his marriage, he said, and “destroyed my trust, not just in the church but in any authority.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the most senior leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, apologised in 2018 noting that these incidents brought “great sorrow and shame for me and, indeed I know, for the Catholic Church”.

Cardinal Nichols offered to resign on Sunday but his resignation was rejected by the Vatican.

"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 told the BBC.

"He wants me to stay - I'm going to stay and continue to work wholeheartedly at these matters."

Source: TRT World