Lombardi tells BBC bestowal of papal knighthood to Jimmy Savile was a mistake

Vatican Insider

The British DJ who was made Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II was accused of abuse against minors

Vatican Insider staff

Jimmy Savile, the late BBC DJ who was posthumously accused of sexually abusing minors, was invested as Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great (an equestrian order recognised by the Holy See) during John Paul II’s pontificate. Now, after information requests from the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the Holy See stated that the knighthood given to the DJ should never have been bestowed. It also strongly condemned the acts of sexual abuse committed by Savile and stressed through the Vatican’s official spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi that “the honour expires with the death of the individual.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in England and Wales confirmed that Archbishop Nichols “wrote last week to the Holy See asking the competent office to investigate whether the papal honour awarded to Jimmy Savile for his charitable works could be posthumously removed and its effects nullified.”

The Jesuit Vatican spokesman told the BBC that the Holy See “firmly condemns the horrible crimes of sexual abuse of minors,” and considers the Savile revelations “very grave”. He said the Holy See is “deeply saddened that a person who has been soiled in this way could in his lifetime have been proposed for an honour by the Holy See, which in the light of recent information should certainly not have been bestowed.”

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