A spokesman for the Diocese of Westminster said yesterday that Father Yeo had offered to resign after a meeting with Lord Carlile. “Father Richard Yeo felt that as he is the Benedictine Congregation’s Abbot he should offer his resignation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF). Father Yeo has not yet received a response from Rome,” he said. “It is for the CDF to accept or decline Father Yeo’s offer to resign. Similarly, the CDF would determine if a replacement were to be needed.”Abbot Richard Yeo should never have been appointed to the Apostolic Visitation in the first place. The conflict of interest is clear and obvious.
Lord Carlile said yesterday that Bishop Arnold and Father Yeo had met him in private after the publication of his report to discuss the conclusions he had reached.
“I suggested to Father Yeo that there would be at least a perception of a conflict of interest in taking part in any further Visitation,” Lord Carlile said. “Clearly following the discussion he felt that advice was appropriate and he would step down. It is the right and responsible decision.”
As the head of the English Benedictine Congregation and a member of the Cumberlege Commission, he should some years ago have been advising the Abbot of Ealing on safeguarding issues and making sure that the advice was taken. If any advice was given, it clearly wasn't taken. If the visitation is to be thorough and complete, he would have to investigate himself.
Bishop John Arnold, the other Visitor, also has a conflict of interest and should never have been appointed either. His immediate superior, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has known for a number of years that there were significant problems concerning child sex abuse at Ealing Abbey, and he has done nothing as far as I know. He has said in public that he has no formal authority over Ealing Abbey, but he could at any time have requested an Apostolic Visitation. I did that, and my request was granted. A request initiated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols would have had far more authority than a request from a mere layman. So if the Visitation is to be thorough, it also has to review the inaction of the Diocese of Westminster, and John Arnold would therefore have to investagate the inaction of the diocese led by his own archbishop. That would include the appalling pastoral failing involved in Nichols' letter to "C", replying to C's description of the abuses he suffered at the hands of Pearce.
I am grateful to you for telling me something of your background. I was sorry to read of the harmful experiences you have had, and the continuing effects of these for you and your family. I am sorry that you feel that the Roman Catholic Church has failed your family.So, no apology for the abuse. Just an expression of regret that C feels the church failed his family. Would Arnold have the nerve to criticise his own archbishop for this or any other failings? I very much doubt it.
You don't get a mess like Ealing Abbey without there being serious management failings at multiple levels. Obviously most of the responsibility has to lie with successive Abbots at Ealing itself, but the abuses could never have gone on for so long had there not been serious failings elsewhere as well. While the Apostolic Visitation is being run by Yeo and Arnold, it will always be suspected that its purpose is to find out as little as possible, lest it further embarrass the Catholic Church.