Jimmy Savile’s papal knighthood will remain, despite being alleged as a child predator, the Vatican said, seeing as the entertainer is dead.
Last week, the Catholic Church of England had written the Vatican to see if Savile’s honor could posthumously be removed as more sexual abuse allegations against the late entertainer surfaced, the Associated Pressreports.
Savile was an admired BBC children’s television host who died at 84, last year.
The leader of the Church of England, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, had issued the request in respect of the “deep distress” of Savile’s alleged victims and as mounting social concerns about his knighthood have been expressed.
However, according to the Vatican’s spokesperson, Reverend Federico Lombardi, the knighthood which was awarded to Savile cannot be rescinded because there is no “permanent register in which to strike it.” Lombardi said once an individual dies, the honor dies with him.
He added that Savile would have never received the knighthood if the allegations against him had been known, and Lombardi emphasized that the Vatican condemns any sexual abuse against children.
In addition to Savile being made a Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II for his charity work, in 1990, he was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to entertainment and charity.
Yet, Savile is now considered to be one of the largest sex offenders in modern British history, with a “staggering number” of abuse reports coming out against him after his death.
It is believed an estimated 300 potential victims have gone to police to report abuse from Savile, Reutersreported.