In Ireland later this month, Pope Francis might explain how, at last, the Vatican plans to get its house in order on the sexual abuse issue. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

It is frequently the case that, though something is strongly suspected to be true, it comes as a shock when it is finally confirmed. Such happened thi(...)

Dutch cardinal Adrianus Simonis (centre) blesses the coffin of former Dutch bishop Jo Gijsen prior to a pontifical mass in the St Christoffel cathedral of Roermond, southern Netherlands, in June 2013. Photograph: Marcel van Hoorn/AFP/Getty Images

It was probably the worst-kept secret behind the closed doors of the Dutch Catholic Church: that the late Johannes Gijsen, the conservative bis(...)