He continued: “I say again: I am so sorry. I say this for many bishops who have gone before me over these 50 years. Many hearing this will feel that we let you down. Yes, we did let you down in many ways, in different times, in different places, for different reasons. I apologize again. I am so sorry for all that has happened over these years.”
Nov. 20 saw the publication of an independent review of safeguarding measures in the Catholic Church England and Wales, commissioned by the bishops in October 2019. The review, overseen by child protection expert Ian Elliott, recommended significant changes to the Church’s safeguarding structures.
Asked if he was the right person to lead the reform of the Church’s safeguarding measures, Nichols told reporters: “I have no wish whatsoever to turn my back on this challenge, no wish to walk away at all. I want to be there. I want to do everything I can to take these important recommendations forward.”
Nichols, who turned 75 on Nov. 8, will continue to serve as president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales. The day after his 75th birthday, he announced that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation as archbishop of Westminster but that he would remain in post donec aliter provideatur (until further provision is made).
The bishops of England and Wales studied both the IICSA report and the Elliott Review at their plenary meeting this week.
In a collective statement Friday, they said that they accepted all 15 of the review’s recommendations, which included creating a new body, known as the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA), as a professional standards agency for dioceses and religious orders.