Last Sunday morning, the Sunday progamme, anchored by Ed Stourton (of an old Recusant family; he married in the Brompton Oratory but later 'remarried' a Beeb colleague ... I once heard him say that he accepted the Church's teaching in a 'nuanced' way).
They discussed, of course, the IICSA report on Abuse in the English Catholic Church. And, of course, there was the inevitable call for Vincent Nichols' resignation.
I can only say how very glad I am that PF has asked Nichols to carry on beyond his recent 75th Birthday. And that I think it does the Cardinal much credit that he is willing to do so. He deserves praise, prayers, and support. Not calumny.
We all think we know how manipulative abusers are ... but perhaps not many of you have actually witnessed this at first hand, as I, very sadly, have. If you haven't, you just can't imagine how skilful and sophisticated that manipulation is.
You can get a glimpse of it from reading the McCarrick Report. My experience related to the Anglican episcopal abuser Peter Ball ... and McCarrick brought back to me vivid memories of Ball's manipulations.
In 1982 he accepted a Police Warning [i.e. he pleaded guilty in return for not being prosecuted]. This was widely reported, and one newspaper carried extensive documented accounts (including his letters) of his career of abuse. I lodged copies of this material in the College Archive.
The scheming and plotting by his admirers for his rehabilitation began more or less the day after his full admission of guilt.
I informed the Principal of the College, a place with which Ball maintained a close relationship, of what I had put in the Archives.
There was a long silence.
Then he said: "I think that was inappropriate." I replied: "On the contrary, it was most appropriate." After another pause, he added: "John, I think you should know this. Bishop Peter only pleaded guilty in order to prevent a public trial from damaging the Church's reputation".
When the diocesan bishop who first nominated Ball to the episcopate (a Canon Lawyer with judicial experience) came to publish his memoires (2005), he described events thus: "Although it was not realized at the time, the circumstances which led to his early resignation were the work of mischief-makers. It was a very sad end to his ministry and his departure was a real loss to the Church which was, no doubt what those who brought it about intended."
However, it was not an 'end' to Ball's 'ministry'.
During the decades that followed, I saw the gradual skilled reintegration of this truly dreadful man into the life of the C of E with the authorities of the C of E going along with it at every stage. Although he had publicly and with legal form admitted his guilt!!! After I retired from teaching in 2001, when I heard a rumour that he was to preach in a certain public school I wrote to the head master there advising against this, but never received even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
Furthermore: those dealing with errant clergy have to remember that there can be such things as mendacious accusers. And that nobody should be convicted of anything without proof 'beyond reasonable doubt'.
In that position, you are rather like somebody with at least one and a half of his hands tied behind his back.
And, last November 12, I ventured to remind readers of this blog that Nichols, despite now being pilloried, only had responsibility for the places where (and when) he was diocesan bishop.
I think 'the Cardinal' deserves fairer treatment.