Gareth Fuller/PA

Cardinal faces questions over church's handling of child sex abuse claims

Britain's most senior Catholic clergyman faces questions this week at an inquiry over his handling of child sex abuse claims.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster will give evidence in person on Tuesday to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, over claims he ignored child sex abuse allegations.

Survivors of rape and assault will testify over five days, along with church leaders, officials and child protection experts in a hearing examining the Archdiocese of Birmingham, where Cardinal Nichols served as Archbishop from 2000 to 2009.


The case centres on Fr John Tolkien, the son of JRR Tolkien - author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit - who was questioned by police in 2002 over an abuse allegation, but was never charged.

Cardinal Nichols faces accusations that senior church officials allowed Fr Tolkien - who died in 2003 - to continue working, despite an alleged victim being promised years ago by senior officials that Fr Tolkien would be forced to retire.

Cardinal Nichols is expected to be questioned about how much he knew about claims against Fr Tolkien and other clergymen.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how a number of key institutions in Britain handled sex abuse claims.

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