Crucial test for Benedictine monks’ new leader as order faces sex abuse inquiry

Radio show regular Christopher Jamison takes over as abbot president at a time when the Catholic order is under intense scrutiny

He has been an abbot, an author, a TV star and a radio breakfast show regular and has been described as the country’s most influential Benedictine monk since Cardinal Basil Hume. Now Christopher Jamison is to attempt his most important role: saviour of the reputation of his monastic order.

At the start of August the monks of the English Benedictine Congregation – an association of 13 Roman Catholic communities of monks and nuns – elected Jamison as their leader. His installation as abbot president came just days after Professor Alexis Jay confirmed that the public inquiry she is chairing into child sexual abuse in England and Wales would focus its hearings during October and November on scandals at Benedictine schools and monasteries. The choice of Jamison was almost certainly no coincidence.

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