Historic abuse

Describing a priest’s alleged child abuse as “historic” (“Church sacks priest after allegations of historic child abuse”, 16 May) is an abuse, misuse of the word.

“Historic” refers to something that is famous or important in history, or potentially so. That is not the case here. 

Some have described such abuse as “historical” (belong to or set in the past), as The Scotsman did on the same date in a report about accusations against the late Cyril Smith.

In fact, The Scotsman would have done better to omit both words; they add nothing to the reports, which would be clearer and shorter without them. 

The alleged abuse is neither “historic” nor “historical”; they are just allegations of abuse.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan


YOUR report on the alleged sex abuser, Father Thomas Mullen, leaves one rather large stone unturned.

There are two aspects to the global Catholic abuse scandal.

One is the abuse itself, and the other is the cover-up by the bishops which, as we now know, was supported by Vatican policy.

While alleged abusers are belatedly being exposed and sent to trial, with some ending up in jail, not a single bishop in the Catholic Church in the UK has been put under the spotlight and investigated by police for shielding alleged abusers. Yet it appears that some bishops knew all about it and in many cases simply moved the alleged abusers to a different parish, giving them the opportunity to offend again.

If there is indeed a new hardline attitude under Archbishop Leo Cushley, it is to be welcomed.

However, unless and until bishops who engaged in the alleged cover-up are put in the dock, the crisis of priestly child abuse in the Catholic Church will remain ongoing.

What is required in Scotland is a full public inquiry into sex abuse by the clergy, such as those held in Ireland.

Why won’t either the Westminster government or the Scottish Government order one?

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent