In the twelfth century, King Henry II is thought to have brought about the death of Saint Thomas Becket. Not learning from that mistake, King Henry VIII proceeded to bring about the death of Saint Thomas More, three centuries later (cf, Timeline of the Kings and Queens of England and the UK.).
Many people who venerate the name of Thomas Becket…likely do not understand the cause for which he was martyred…one of the major points-of-contention between King Henry II and Archbishop Becket was the attempt by the king to bring 'criminous clerics' under the immediate jurisdiction of the royal courts rather than the ecclesiastical courts….In an earlier article..., I made the following comment:
'It is not sufficiently appreciated, for example, that the scandal of pedophile priests was in many ways a failure of bishops to use their tribunals properly. There were canonically prescribed processes in place to have each of those cases adjudicated before a tribunal. But many bishops chose instead to replace centuries of pastoral wisdom and canon law with the latest fads coming out of the psychological schools. Talk about selling one’s birthright for a mess of pottage. If each of those accusations of priestly misconduct had been properly adjudicated before a tribunal, as they were supposed to have been, rather than bypassing the process so that the bishop could handle things ''quietly,'' ''on the down-low,'' ''unofficially,'' we may have seen a very different outcome'….
the current appeal to secular authorities arose precisely because certain bishops in the past acted not only irresponsibly, but also contrary to canon law (Professor Randall Smith, Crisis Magazine, 6/5/14)