Archbishop Nichols responds to 'Kenyon Confronts'

 The Archbishop of Birmingham, Most Rev Vincent Nichols has issued the following statement, following last night's BBC programme 'Kenyon Confronts' Last night's 'Kenyon Confronts' programme says it is giving a voice to those who are seeking help and recompense from the Church for the suffering they have experienced. I appreciate the damage that is done by childhood abuse and the hurt that remains long after those events. I have personally met all but one of those mentioned in this programme. I am profoundly sorry for the injuries caused by Catholic priests but I must add that all claims for compensation are dealt with according to the requirements of standard practice by experienced professionals. The Archdiocese of Birmingham does not seek to obstruct just and fair compensation. This programme also called for the Catholic Church's files on child sexual abuse to be opened to independent scrutiny. The programme implied that this would reveal significant numbers of new cases and new victims of child abuse. There is no evidence to support this opinion. The facts are that the files of the Archdiocese of Birmingham back to the 1950's were thoroughly inspected three years ago in order to make sure that there are no hidden cases. Files have been opened to the police on request. In particular, the files of Fr James Robinson have been meticulously examined twice by the West Midlands Police Force. The last occasion was during 2001. At present all known cases, all allegations or suspicions of abuse are being reviewed by a child protection professional, in full compliance with the recommendations given by Lord Nolan. In addition, for three years I have appealed for those who believe they have been abused, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, to come forward and contact me. The broadcasting of this programme on the eve of the Silver Jubilee of Pope John Paul II, and of the BBC Panorama programme "Sex and the Holy City" last Sunday evening, tarnishes the reputation of the BBC. It confirms the suspicions of many, that within the BBC there is hostility towards the Catholic Church in this country.

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