Since the mid-1980s, the Catholic Church has been embroiled in a profound crisis of clerical sexual abuse. In many Western countries, paedophile priests have been exposed and convicted, and the Church's moral and social standing has suffered deeply. Scandals in Ireland and America have been extensively documented and much debated. The English Catholic Church has also been shaken to its roots by allegations of abuse, but until now the situation in England has not been fully examined. This book, by one of the UK's leading lawyers in the field, is a shocking exposé of Catholic sex abuse cases in England over the past forty years. Exploring the many facets of the crisis, it analyses the ways in which the English Church has responded — and the ways in which it has failed. The author considers the causes of abuse, allegations of cover-ups, campaigns led by victims, battles within the Church, the legal dimensions and the debate around the laicisation ('defrocking') of individual priests. He attempts to answer the following questions: How serious has the problem been in the English Catholic Church? How effectively has the Church responded? Can it hope to recover from this scandal — and, crucially, can it deal credibly and effectively with future allegations of abuse?