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JULY 12 2020 – “IS SAYING SORRY ENOUGH?”

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Ten days before he was confirmed as archbishop, Cottrell admitted he had failed to take proper action relating to allegations of domestic abuse by a priest 10 years ago, saying he was “deeply distressed and extremely sorry”

The Guardian

 

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

COMMENTS

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Guardian

‘Ten days before he was confirmed as archbishop, Cottrell admitted he had failed to take proper action relating to allegations of domestic abuse by a priest 10 years ago, saying he was “deeply distressed and extremely sorry”’

Is saying sorry enough?

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JULY 9 2020 – GENERAL SYNOD 2020 – QUESTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 11

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GENERAL SYNOD 2020 – QUESTIONS – JULY 11

 

General Synod – Questions

The Questions paper for Saturday’s virtual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod has been published today. This contains the 131 submitted questions and their answers. A total of two hours has been allocated on Saturday for supplementary questions and answers.

Other papers are here.

The meeting will be streamed online here.

COMMENTS
Kate
Kate

 

“While praying in a church building is very important for clergy (and others), it could not be considered an essential practice.” – Archbishop of Canterbury

Words fail me.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q27

“The Church has embraced the concept of “unconscious bias”: will the Secretary General and the NSSP urgently review the composition of the Martyn Percy Core Group and confirm to General Synod members within a month, that having considered the importance of fair and proper process, they can assure us that that Core Group process was free from unconscious bias, and that the Core Group decisions were untainted by it?”

The Bishop of Huddersfield to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:

“A House of Bishops practice guidance “Responding to, assessing, and managing safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers” (2017) provides that the membership of core groups should not comprise those who may have a conflict of interest or loyalty. We are not able to respond to specific ongoing cases but as a general rule we would accept that as far as is reasonably possible in the circumstances of each case, a core group’s work should be free from bias and we always keep the membership of core groups under review where there is a challenge on the grounds of potential bias” 

Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’:

http://survivingchurch.org/2020/07/06/a-guide-to-the-situation-at-christ-church-oxford/

“The case seems to be full of potential conflicts of interest which make it almost impossible for the Core Group to work with an adequate level of independence. There are just too many personal ties that exist between the Dean’s accusers and the publicity companies and legal firms who have now become involved in the case…….

“The two non-church organisations prominent in the case each have a lot of history and involvement with both Christ Church and the Church of England central structures.  One is the public relations firm, Luther Pendragon. They have already been working for the complainant dons in their earlier case against their Dean in 2018. They also do work for the Church of England and several of the dioceses. Alongside Luther Pendragon is Winckworth Sherwood, a firm of top end London lawyers. They are extensively involved with church work at the national level and also with the Provincial Registrar and the diocese of Oxford.  WS, as we shall now call them, used to be run by the Rev John Rees, who now works for the national Church at a senior level. The letter sent to Martyn telling him that he faced investigation by the NST was written in the name of Melissa Caslake, the director, but it appears to have been drafted by another senior lawyer with connections with WS, Alex McGregor. He is a priest lawyer who used to be chancellor for the Diocese of Oxford. The WS Oxford office was also drawn in to issue the letter from the Bishop of Oxford to George Carey, removing his PTO.

“Given the close personal and professional ties that can be seen to bind all the individuals within these firms with the national church and with members of Christ Church, we would have expected to see a number of recusals from the Core Group. It is surely impossible for members of such a small network to regard themselves as independent in regard to this investigation.  In actual fact, 13 out 14 members of the Percy Core Group are believed to have personal or professional links with WS.  Two of Dean Percy’s accusers sit on the group while no one represents the interests of the Dean himself.  Further, Alex McGregor, the member of the Church’s legal team and who reputedly drafted the letter to Martyn, is an alumnus of Christ Church.  He can be expected to have continuing social and other contact with some of the dons involved in the case. 

“The minutes of the Christ Church Core Group, which met on March 13th 2020, have not yet been released.  The various conflicts of interest that would appear to be in operation, in bringing together such a group, need to be fully explored.  The group that is claiming to seek justice for the Dean needs to explain how they feel able to do this with any degree of integrity while these apparent conflicts of interest are neither acknowledged nor examined.  There is also something less than healthy when committee proceedings are apparently wrapped up in secrecy.  The Carlile report, which scrutinised the processes in the case around Bishop Bell, called for all such Church core groups to carry representation of the interests of the complainants and the accused.  That, clearly, is not happening in this case.  The impression is being given that the whole process is an expensive and dishonourable exercise in trying to wear down the Dean by litigious-type activities.  To their shame, the Church of England has allowed itself to become party to a what appears to be a thoroughly shameful process.  The NST has been manipulated to become part of something so toxic that it may itself be destroyed by this involvement.

“The reputations of two organisations are being severely damaged by this episode.  Christ Church dons have already seen twenty-seven accusations against the Dean rejected by a retired judge.  The repeat of the attacks on the Dean with a completely new set of accusations, while using another legal structure, seems foolish and even reckless.  The reputation of the Christ Church college has been muddied and brought low by this case.  At the same time the status of the Church of England is taking an equally heavy battering.   The Church, with the connivance of its top legal officers has allowed a church legal process to be used in a dispute within a wealthy Oxford college.  It is surprising that the advice of the Church’s own publicity machine and its reputation managers was not there to check this appalling waste of human and financial resources.  At a time of financial anxiety for the parishes and cathedrals of England, congregations are witnessing the expenditure of tens (even hundreds) of thousands of pounds of church money on this case.  This is money that properly belongs to the Church.  Quite apart from the evident flakiness of the case, the Church of England has allowed one of its structures to be used, abused and, arguably, totally discredited in pursuing a case which appears ultimately to be beyond its remit.  Let us hope that General Synod at its meeting in two weeks time will be able to do something to reverse this terrible train crash”.

 

GENERAL SYNOD AND THE QUESTIONS AROUND SAFEGUARDING – Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’

“Before I go on to examine one of the questions in more detail, I should make a general observation about all these safeguarding responses.  In February we heard from a fired-up Bishop Jonathan, who appeared passionate about his new responsibility for safeguarding.  In July this same man puts his name to 13 responses to questions on the topic.  It has to be said these answers to these questions sound like extracts from a dry legal text-book.  Of course, some of the required answers did touch on questions of legal protocol and definition, but not all.  The style of all of these responses is such that I would be very surprised if any of these answers were actually put together by Bishop Jonathan himself.  Every single one appears to have been composed by an anonymous lawyer and Bishop Jonathan is simply the spokesman who delivers these ‘official’ answers.  The human being that spoke with such passion back in February has somehow disappeared.  In his place is a legal functionary who is anonymous and speaks in the way that will best preserve and defend  the Church of England. 

As I have suggested, many of the 13 questions from Synod members did require a legal-type answer.  Safeguarding is, after all, often a matter of putting into practice the correct procedures, particularly as laid down by the House of Bishops in their 2017 guidelines. 

But amid the more formal questions of protocol. I detected a googly.  Martin Sewell, a lay member from Rochester, asked a question which was bound to catch my attention as it related to the Martyn Percy affair, something the Church of England may regret becoming involved in.  Sewell’s question, no 27 is as follows. 

The Church has embraced the concept of “unconscious bias”.  Will the Secretary General and the NSSP urgently review the composition of the Martyn Percy Core Group and confirm to General Synod members within a month, that having considered the importance of fair and proper process, they can assure us that the Core Group was free from unconscious bias, and the Core Group decisions were untainted by it?’ 

The questioner knew that the placing of any group of individuals, well known to each other, with others who have been actively  working to remove the Christi Church Dean for over two years , was operating with a built-in bias right from the start. Someone has likened this action as being like allowing members of the prosecution team to join the jury.  Bias within the group was far from ‘unconscious’.  It has made any objective pursuit of justice for Dean Percy by this group virtually impossible.

Bishop Jonathan or the lawyer speaking through him, chose to ignore the evident gross anomalies of the situation, and declared the following in smooth lawyer-speak.  ‘We are not able to respond to specific ongoing cases but as a general rule we would accept that as far as is reasonably possible in the circumstances of each case , a core group’s work should be free from bias ………’

The answer ascribed to Bishop Jonathan is almost certainly not the answer of the man who had spoken so passionately about safeguarding in February.  The question was one about reflection regarding the issue of unconscious bias, one that is much talked about in this epoch of ‘black lives matter’.  The question was not an easy one to answer and it demanded the exercise of the imagination by whoever tried to respond to it.  The Secretary General and the National Safeguarding Steering Panel were being asked to reflect on what they thought might have been going on within the Core Group for Dean Percy.   The answer that came back had not even allowed the question to be fielded on to William Nye and the NSSP.  It was batted away by a legal functionary working in Church House without apparently any serious attempt to engage with the deeper issues implied in the question.

What are the issues implied by this question?  Surviving Church has also asked the same question in a different way.  How can a Church core group function properly when it contains openly hostile individuals to Dean Percy?  Bishop Jonathan must be completely aware of all the ambiguities of process and law that still bedevil the Percy Core Group and its proper functioning.  The formal answer that is published as a response to Martin Sewell’s question shows no  trace of uncertainty or ambiguity.  The answer neither answers the question nor does it hint at the struggling humanity of the bishop who spoke to Synod so movingly and passionately about the issue of safeguarding in February   Rather we seem, in this answer, to have the words of a legally trained functionary with no pastoral awareness of the issues at stake.  That does not reflect the reality of Bishop Jonathan.  This formal answer seems neither to engage properly with the question nor offer an answer that could be said to be of any obvious value.

I have no means of knowing exactly how questions at Synod are dealt with and responded to.  If my speculation is even partly right, that a Bishop’s reply has been drafted by a lawyer and we are witnessing a terrifying vision.  The Church of England is led, not by bishops or archbishops but civil servants and lawyers who are hidden away in Church House.  The task of General Synod is surely to demand to see the ‘real’ Bishop Jonathan, not the one who is not permitted to answer for himself questions put to him by members of Synod.  In the case of Martin Sewell’s question, the individuals addressed were not reached.  Bishop Jonathan/anonymous Church lawyer deflected the question before it reached its destination.  Is that really how we want the Church to be organised?   Is there an English word to denote an organisation run by lawyers?  Perhaps that is indeed what we now have in England!

COMMENTS

  1. Froghole

    “It has to be said these answers to these questions sound like extracts from a dry legal text-book.”

    It is not just the Bishop of Huddersfield’s responses which are problematic. I am struggling to think of a single answer to a single question by any bishop or other official that is not mechanistic, robotic, evasive or slippery….What we have here is a collection of politicians in fancy dress. They could quite easily be standing at a dispatch box in the House of Commons.

     

 

ONE QUESTION WHICH WILL NOT BE ASKED TOMORROW AT GENERAL SYNOD 2020

Church Times – July 10 2020

From Mr Andrew Graystone

Sir, — Did nobody, at any point during the appointment process for the new Archbishop of York, think to ask him whether there were any past safeguarding failures (News, 3 July) that he ought to disclose?

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JULY 5 2020 – “SOMETIMES A DISRUPTIVE CHALLENGE IS THE ONLY RIGHT THING TO DO” ~ MARTIN SEWELL

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CHRIST CHURCH VS MARTYN PERCY

 

Christ Church vs Martyn Percy

Martin Sewell and David Lamming issued a letter to fellow members of the CofE General Synod, which was published by Archbishop Cranmer on 19 June: Martyn Percy: Synod challenges Christ Church abuse of CofE safeguarding process.

Peter Adams, another General Synod member, responded to that letter on reconciliationtalk.org on 28 June: When a safeguarding referral is made no amount of special pleading should change that.

Today, Archbishop Cranmer has published a further article, which contains a very detailed response from Martin Sewell to Peter Adams: Christ Church vs Martyn Percy: a conspiracy of lawyers, divine PR, and the purgatory of CofE Safeguarding. That letter will also be sent to all General Synod members ahead of the online “meeting” planned for next Saturday. As “Archbishop Cranmer” writes:

Members of Synod should read both letters and ask themselves three questions:

1) Am I prepared to publicly defend the Church of England’s conduct in this ?
2) Would I wish myself or someone I care for to be subject to such processes?
3) What exactly am I going to do about this?

TA readers are encouraged to read all these letters in full.

 

Freedom of Information request rejected by James Lawrie at Christ Church

 

Dear Christ Church, Oxford,

a) What is the amount of money spent by Christ Church on the action against the Dean , including legal fees, tribunal costs , expert advice ( legal and otherwise) , Public Relations expenditure, and any other related spend.

b) How was this expenditure authorised?
Please provide minutes of meetings referring to this expenditure.

As House Members we are concerned that our (and others) donations to the college have been mis-spent, and that given the fact that Christ Church has charitable status , this expenditure is in breach of charity commission rules .

Yours faithfully,
Alan Fox
Charles Kingsley-Evans

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JUNE 30 2020 – “COTTRELL AND CAREY: WHY IS SOME SAFEGUARDING SECRET, WHILE OTHERS ARE THROWN TO THE MEDIA?” – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER’

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Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of York [left] – George Carey Former Archbishop of Canterbury [right]

“COTTRELL AND CAREY: WHY IS SOME SAFEGUARDING SECRET, WHILE OTHERS ARE THROWN TO THE MEDIA?” – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER’

 

“Bishop Stephen Cottrell: Safeguarding Statements” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ [+ Comments]

 

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JUNE 26 2020 – “OXFORD COLLEGE ROCKED BY ALLEGATIONS OF LEAKS AND BLACKMAIL” – FINANCIAL TIMES

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“OXFORD COLLEGE ROCKED BY ALLEGATIONS OF LEAKS AND BLACKMAIL” – FINANCIAL TIMES

Academics at one of Oxford’s richest colleges have presented mobile phone records to support an allegation that the institution’s dean leaked confidential information, the latest twist of an extraordinary governance row.

Trustees of Christ Church, the alma mater of 13 prime ministers including William Gladstone, have been locked in a very public pay dispute with the dean, Martyn Percy, that has so far involved an attempt to oust him from his position, more than £2m in legal fees and a suspected blackmail campaign.

On Thursday the Charity Commission, which has regulated colleges at Oxford and Cambridge since a legal change a decade ago, ordered the two sides to return to mediation. “It is not our job, as charity regulator, to referee disputes,” it said. Both sides had wanted the Commission to intervene after Mr Percy broke off mediation efforts in March.

The college had offered the dean a settlement worth more than £1m to leave his post, which would cover his legal fees of at least £450,000. But senior university figures fear that significant intervention by the Commission could have implications for all Oxford colleges, which, unlike most charities, tend to have large numbers of trustees — academics — who are also paid and therefore have a financial interest in the charity’s spending.

The latest row between Mr Percy and the college centres on who leaked a confidential tribunal judgment that largely vindicated Mr Percy of allegations of impropriety relating to the dispute.

The dean, who is a senior Church of England priest, has consistently denied being the source of the document.

However, Christ Church’s governing body was told last week that Mr Percy’s work phone records show that in February he was in regular contact with the former Conservative minister Jonathan Aitken, who in March circulated the judgment.

Another PDF circulated by Mr Aitken showed its author to be “Martyn Percy”. Mr Percy declined to comment. He has told the college that an old document could have been edited to include new information. Mr Aitken told the FT that he had not received any documents from Mr Percy. He said he had received the document from an unknown email address by the name of “Henry Wolsey”.

The Charity Commission’s powers include firing trustees and ordering an independent review. The head of another Oxford college said, “If [Christ Church] were a school in Hackney, it would already have been taken into special measures.”

The dispute dates back to 2017, when Mr Percy, who had been appointed three years earlier, asked for a pay increase. It escalated after college figures accused him of trying to rig the make-up of the board that set his salary. In return, Mr Percy began multiple employment claims against the college.

The dean survived an initial attempt to oust him last year, when a retired High Court judge largely cleared him of allegations of impropriety. But relations have worsened since, after copies of the confidential judgment were circulated and leaked to the governing body and the media.

Mr Percy has denied speaking to journalists about internal matters. But he handed over a screenshot of his phone calls, which revealed contact with a journalist at the Times newspaper before it published extracts of the judgment.

The college subsequently found multiple text messages and calls between the journalist and Mr Percy. The dean told the college they were regarding his advisory role at the British Board of Film Classification.

Nearly two-thirds of the trustees, mainly academics, have accused Mr Percy of “a consistent lack of moral compass”, and called for the Charity Commission to help to remove him.

The dean, who has been portrayed as a reformer, was the subject of vicious emails by some trustees soon after his appointment in 2014. The issue has raised questions about Christ Church’s statutes, which offer few ways to resolve governance disputes, and its unique structure, with the college and the adjoining cathedral both headed by a dean.

Christ Church, whose endowment was worth £578m as of July 2019, has suffered a series of unrelated embarrassments. A professor was suspended last year, over claims he was involved in the theft of a papyrus, which he denies. Millions of pounds of art, including a painting by Anthony van Dyck, were stolen from the college library in March.

An undergraduate also made an offensive joke about Black Lives Matter protests during recent student hustings.

In a sign of the vicious atmosphere surrounding the dispute with the dean, senior academics reported receiving emails saying that, unless they paid large sums to Mr Percy, confidential documents would be published.

Christ Church said the emails “were reported to the police, and are being treated as blackmail”. The emails were also from an account labelled “Henry Wolsey”, the same name used by the person Mr Aitken says sent him the judgment. Mr Percy declined to comment on the allegation.

Mr Aitken said that the dean had no intention of leaving Christ Church, and instead called for his accusers to be removed. “He’s not going to move for 20 years. Why should he?” the former minister said. “The Augean stables have to be cleaned out — which must mean some departures”.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

“Charity Commission calls for urgent mediation at Christ Church” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

“CHRIST CHURCH PR AGENCY LUTHER PENDRAGON COLLUDES WITH FT JOURNALIST [AND ALUMNUS] TO DEFAME DEAN” – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER

 

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JUNE 24 2020 – “CLERICAL ABUSE AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP” BY JOSEPHINE ANNE STEIN – ‘MODERN BELIEVING’ – THE JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL LIBERALISM

“CLERICAL ABUSE AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP” BY JOSEPHINE ANNE STEIN – ‘MODERN BELIEVING’ – THE JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL LIBERALISM

Abstract

The Church of England’s official responses to clerical abuse compound the harm done to victims/survivors, as well as damaging clergy accused of abuse, congregations and not least, the Church itself as a Christian institution. This article explores the reasons why the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) and other current responses to abuse are incompatible with Christian discipleship, and presents Christocentric alternatives which prioritise the cure of souls and reconciliation. This approach draws upon non-adversarial practices such as occupational psychology, pastoral and social work intervention and restorative justice to craft bespoke responses to ecclesiastical abuse by clergy and church leaders. Improved understanding of clerical abuse and applying theologically grounded responses would improve spiritual recovery for all those wounded by ecclesiastical abuse: survivors, perpetrators, congregations, church leaders and their families and communities. But it is the Church of England itself which would stand most to benefit from enacting its Christian vocation.

 

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JULY 2016 – “SURVIVING THE CRUCIBLE OF ECCLESIASTICAL ABUSE” BY JOSEPHINE ANNE STEIN – ‘SAFEGUARDING’ – THE CRUCIBLE JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN SOCIAL ETHICS

https://www.anglicannews.org/features/2016/08/archbishop-welby-abuse-victims-must-be-heard.aspx

 

file:///C:/Users/Symonds/Downloads/Crucible%20front%20matter%20plus%20JAS%20article.pdf

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JUNE 21 2020 – “GEORGE CAREY – A VICTIM OF STASI-STYLE INJUSTICE ?” – ANGLICAN INK

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Former Archbishop George Carey [left] – Bishop George Bell [right]

George Carey – a victim of Stasi-style injustice?

 

Has the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey been the victim of a Stasi-style injustice in the summary removal of his permission to officiate in Oxford Diocese?

According to a diocesan statement, Carey, 84, had his PTO removed because ‘new information has come to light’ in the course of the Church of England’s ongoing review into its handling of the John Smyth abuse scandal. The review is led by a well-respected former director of social services, Keith Makin. In the 1970s and 1980s, high-earning lawyer Smyth, then a Queen’s Counsel, savagely beat boys he groomed through the Iwerne evangelical camps for pupils from the ‘top 30’ fee-paying English boarding schools.

The Oxford statement does not specify what this ‘new information’ was that was passed onto the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, which then told  the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, that he had to act against Carey.

But the ‘new information’ is almost certainly to do with the fact that Carey was principal of Trinity theological college in Bristol when Smyth was an independent part-time student there in 1983 a year after the Iwerne leadership privately told Smyth to get out of the network.

Carey claims he has no memory of meeting Smyth and is ‘bewildered and dismayed’ by the sudden decision to take away his PTO and the lack of an explanation why.  In 2017 Carey resigned his role as an honorary assistant bishop in Oxford Diocese after admitting he had been duped by the serial church abuser, Peter Ball, and to mishandling the allegations against Ball whilst he was Archbishop in the 1990s.

Carey’s PTO, which he applied for in 2018, enabled him to help out with services at his local parish church. Surely a lesser man than Carey would not have bothered with Christian service at his local church after resigning as an honorary bishop in the diocese?

The strong evidence is that even if Carey did meet Smyth at Trinity and forgot about him amidst the various student faces passing his eyes, he would have had no knowledge of the abuse scandal. After a victim disclosed Smyth’s abuse in 1982 to the then vicar of the Round Church in Cambridge, Mark Ruston, the scandal was kept secret. Ruston compiled a report on the abuse but circulated it to a small group of Iwerne leaders. The report was not made public or passed onto the police.

Carey, being from a working class background, was not a Iwerne insider. He would not have been shown the Ruston report.  Moreover, it is extremely unlikely that so soon after the Ruston report any Iwerne insider would have told Carey that he had an abuser at his college.

So, why has Carey been fingered for an association with Smyth? And where does that leave clearly Iwerne-background clergy in the Church of England who knew about the Smyth scandal in the 1980s? If ‘new information’ comes to light about them in the course of the Makin review, which is due to report next year, will they be summarily suspended Stasi-style?

Julian Mann is an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and author of Christians in the Community of the Dome

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

“CAREY PROCLAIMS HIS INNOCENCE AFTER MYSTERY SUSPENSION BY OXFORD DIOCESE” – ANGLICAN INK

In a 17 June 2020 statement Lord Carey proclaimed his innocence. He was also nonplussed as to why he was suspended and what he was alleged to have done to merit the discipline.

“I am bewildered and dismayed to receive the news a short time ago that due to ‘concerns’ being raised during the review of John Smyth QC I have had my PTO revoked. I have been given no information on the nature of these ‘concerns’ and have no memory of meeting Mr Smyth. In 2018 the National Safeguarding Team and the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury invited me to meet with them to arrange safeguarding training and facilitate a meeting with survivors of Peter Ball’s abuse. To my immense disappointment they have failed to deliver action on either of these matters which were the subject of a mutually agreed plan. As a result, I have little confidence in their ability to pursue a proper investigation. I understand from the testimony of victims and survivors of clerical abuse that this lack of confidence is widely shared”

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JUNE 20 2020 – VENDETTA AGAINST THE DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY SPARKS LETTER TO THE GENERAL SYNOD

VENDETTA AGAINST THE DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY SPARKS LETTER TO THE GENERAL SYNOD

 

“This letter is currently being circulated to members of General Synod of the Church of England, in advance of their virtual meeting in July. There will be two Q&A sessions, and it is hoped that this summary of the situation will encourage Synod members to look carefully into the way the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, is being appallingly treated – not only by the Governing Body of the College, but also now by the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England.

“The authors, lawyers Martin Sewell and David Lamming, have worked tirelessly on the chronic mishandling of the Bishop George Bell case, and it is profoundly disappointing to see many of the problems identified by the Carlile Report seemingly replicated in the case now being considered against Prof Martyn Percy”

‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Dear General Synod colleague,

Christ Church, Oxford and the NST

Private Eye recently carried a piece on the reporting of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn Percy to our National Safeguarding Team for alleged safeguarding deficiencies. No child, young person or vulnerable adult has made any allegation of misconduct and the report comes from Christ Church malcontents whose complaints (not about safeguarding) have already been dismissed by the retired High Court Judge, Sir Andrew Smith, employed by the College pursuant to the College’s governing statutes to comprehensively investigate.

The Church is being dragged into a vendetta not of our making and, surprisingly, our officials and advisors seem to have allowed this to happen. This abuse of our processes by well-connected persons raises an important matter of principle. We doubt many internal parish bun fights would be so well received at national level. The issue flags up our institutional deference towards those of privilege.

It is not a currently a transparent process: the only transparency is the motivation. If Dean Percy is criticised by the Church or the Charity Commission it will be pleaded in the defence to the Dean’s Employment Tribunal claim against the Governing Body to defeat or mitigate the damages for the dons’ failed coup. We are being used. This is a route to an objective that can now only be secured by pretending the Dean is unsafe.

It has all the hallmarks of bullying, plain and simple. The Dean, uniquely at Christ Church, has no grievance procedure under the Statutes. This means that he can be attacked with impunity by malcontents and has no defence other than an Employment Tribunal. The Charity Commissioners are now involved. Yet the NST have decided to side with the malcontents at Christ Church, without so much as interviewing the Dean, or even doing a simple fact-check. The strain, and the financial and emotional burden, must be dreadful; but the Dean is resisting injustice, and the abuse survivors who are aware of the circumstances unanimously support him.

Christ Church has no procedure for removing the Dean, either by the dons or the Church, other than by a complex statutory process (and which applies to all dons). Seven dons tried to remove the Dean in 2018-19, and this failed completely with all 27 charges against him dismissed following a costly 11-day hearing. We ought not to allow the dons now to try to use safeguarding as their short cut, and with the complicity of the NST and its processes abused for ancillary purposes. We defer to nobody in our concern for proper safeguarding practice. But this case has nothing to do with safeguarding. The allegations of “safeguarding concerns” now being made to the NST never featured in the complaint of 2018-19. No person, survivor of abuse, or vulnerable adult has made any complaint, ever, against Dean Percy.

Dean Percy is trusted by survivors and was invited to be a contributor to the seminal book Letters to a Broken Church, published in July 2019. When two lone survivors protested the enthronement of the Bishop of Oxford on 30 September 2016 for safeguarding concerns, the entire Church hierarchy ignored them save for Dean Percy, who ensured they had access to a College toilet and brought them coffee and sandwiches.

The NST declined to investigate Jonathan Fletcher as he was not employed by the Church of England but was, rather, vicar of a proprietary chapel. William Nye, in his evidence to IICSA (witness statement 22 December 2017, paras 87-90) states that clergy in institutions such as Christ Church must have “due regard” to C of E standards in safeguarding, but that discipline remains with the independent institution (in the case of Christ Church, as a formal process in accordance with its Statutes). The C of E does not have jurisdiction. However, the NST has decided, with specious reasoning, that jurisdiction nevertheless applies in order to investigate Dean Percy, despite this being an entirely parochial Christ Church matter.

As this is going to be a growing controversy with more information emerging, we are undertaking a detailed analysis which we will share with you in the near future, should it become necessary. We draw on our experience of the George Bell controversy. This case is arguably even worse: lessons have been ignored despite the expensive Carlile Review.

Below are links comprehensively addressing the issues. We hope you will take the trouble to acquaint yourself with the story and find the links helpful in understanding the controversy. There are to be two Q&A sessions at the informal ‘virtual’ General Synod on Saturday 11 July. As you learn of the problems, you may have questions relating to the issues.

Members of clergy might usefully apply the following test: would I have confidence in the NST to handle a case against me in the light of this?

With best wishes,

Martin Sewell
David Lamming

 

Annexures:

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JUNE 19 2020 – BRIDGE BUILDERS + “CLERICAL ABUSE AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP” BY JOSEPHINE ANNE STEIN

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“Some alternatives to the CDM [Clergy Discipline Measure] are little better from the survivor’s standpoint. Such is the power imbalance between clerical perpetrator and vulnerable survivor that the ecclesiastical conflict resolution organisation Bridge Builders does not take on mediations in safeguarding cases”

‘Clerical Abuse and Christian Discipleship’ by Josephine Anne Stein

 

“Christians are called to be ‘as wise as serpents, as gentle as doves’; we are not called to be the ‘useful idiots’ of which Lenin spoke”

Martin Sewell

[Church Times Letters – June 19 2020]

 

Two_Sides_of_the_Same_Coin_Spinning_Coin

“…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

[Source: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse [IICSA] – Monday March 5 2018 – Page 129 – Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer – Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]

 

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DECEMBER 8 2011 – “IRISH ARCHBISHOP [JOHN CHARLES MCQUAID] WHO DIED IN 1973 IS LINKED TO ABUSE” – NEW YORK TIMES

Irish Archbishop Who Died in ’73 Is Linked to Abuse

New York Times

By

DUBLIN — The former archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, widely regarded as the most powerful Catholic prelate in modern Irish history, stands accused of serial child sexual abuse, The Irish Times newspaper said Thursday.

Two specific complaints and a separate unspecified “concern” against an unidentified cleric were reported to the Murphy Commission, a state-sponsored investigation into the handling of clerical sexual abuse of children in the Dublin archdiocese. The newspaper reported that Archbishop McQuaid, who retired in 1972 and died a year later, was the unidentified cleric.

The commission published its main report in 2009, but it said that “due to human error” the latest allegations emerged only in a supplementary report published in July. This does not name Archbishop McQuaid, but the newspaper is adamant that the allegations of abuse contained within it refer to the archbishop. One allegation is regarding abuse of a 12-year-old boy in 1961.

“The supplementary report records that in June/July 2009, as the commission was completing its main report, it received information which would have ‘brought another cleric’ within its remit,” Patsy McGarry, the newspaper’s religious affairs correspondent, said in an interview. The archdiocese “found a letter ‘which showed that there was an awareness among a number of people in the archdiocese that there had been a concern expressed about this cleric in 1999,’ the report states. The ‘cleric’ is Archbishop McQuaid.”

The main body of the Murphy report was highly critical of Archbishop McQuaid’s attitude toward abuse, accusing him of showing “no concern for the welfare of children.” However, this is the first suggestion that the official body had received specific complaints against Archbishop McQuaid, who was at the very apex of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland for three decades.

In a statement, a victims’ group, One in Four, called for a statutory inquiry into the accusations, saying that “if Archbishop McQuaid was, as is alleged, a sex offender himself, then it is no wonder that the secrecy and cover-ups which have characterized the church’s handling of sexual abuse was so entrenched.”

The archdiocese told the newspaper that the police were investigating the matters dealt with in the supplementary report. There is also a separate civil action being taken against the archdiocese by one complainant.

 

EIGHT FALSELY ACCUSED BISHOPS

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Eight Falsely Accused Bishops (and Archbishops) in Ireland

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid (slandered by Dr Noel Browne and John Cooney)

Cardinal Archbishop Cahal Daly (slandered by Deputy Pat Rabbitte)

Background:

This article started as an “open letter” to several Irish historians on 7 December 2006, with a follow-up 10 days later. Both were published at the time by the “Alliance Victim Support Group” on its website AllianceSupport.org. I think that the Group which was founded in 1999, disbanded recently and there is just a skeletal website remaining. The first two letters refer to false allegations against six Irish Bishops – including two Archbishops (John Charles McQuaid of Dublin and Cahal Daly of Armagh – pictured above). In June 2008 I forwarded copies of the two to Brenda Power of the Sunday Times in response to an article she had written concerning the effects of false allegations of sexual assault. By this time there had been an additional allegation against a former Archbishop i.e. Thomas Morris of Cashel and I also recalled that Mary Raftery had slandered the former Bishop of Ossary, Peter Birch. Bishop Birch had been widely admired for his work among the poor by many people – including by my own mentor Brother Maurice Kirk.

All of the falsely accused Bishops were extremely high-profile – including three Archbishops. There are only four Archdioceses in Ireland and I have joked over the years that an Archbishop of Tuam – either current or deceased – is obviously next on our anti-clerics hit-list. Actually it has already occurred – but more on this later!

EIGHT Falsely Accused Bishops 

Monday, 23 June, 2008
From: “Rory Connor”
To: Brenda Power, Sunday Times

Brenda Power
The Sunday Times 
Regarding your article “It’s the Innocent who Merit an Explanationhttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article4188284.ece
you may like to look at the following two articles which have appeared on the http://www.alliancesupport.org website.

The letters were originally addressed to a number of Irish Historians – and cced to Colm O’Gorman of the “victims” group One in Four for obvious reasons.

A total of 8 Bishops have been falsely accused of sex offences in Ireland – including 3 Archbishops. There are only 26 full Bishops in the country including 4 Archbishops so the Archbishop of Tuam is presumably next on our liberals hit list!

The following articles dated December 2006 relate to 6 Bishops. There has been one subsequent case – the late Archbishop Thomas Morris of Cashel [1] and incredibly I had overlooked one case – that of the late Bishop Peter Birch of Ossory (Kilkenny) [2].

Finally the hysteria about sex crimes is not indiscriminate or at least it didn’t begin that way. It was first directed at the Catholic Church and then spread to the rest of society. To counter it you need to start with the obscene lies directed at Churchmen.

Regards

Rory Connor

[1] See “Archbishop Thomas Morris and Oliver O’Grady” on http://www.alliancesupport.org on 17 January 2007.
Relevant Link: Archbishop Thomas Morris and Oliver O’Grady

[2] Included in the article “Vincent Browne, Mary Raftery and Sister Conception” on http://www.alliancesupport.org on 21 July 2006.
Relevant Link Bishop Birch and Mary Raftery

Originally SIX Falsely Accused Bishops

Ladies, Gentlemen and Scholars,
The following article concerns false sex allegations directed against 6 Irish Bishops between 1994 and 2006. This represents nearly a quarter of the Irish Hierarchy (shades of “One in Four“!).
Can we expect Colm O’Gorman, the founder of “One in Four” to comment? After all people who make false allegations of child abuse are trading on the misery of those who were REALLY abused. When our current Witch-hunt eventually comes to an end, children who are true victims of child abuse will find it difficult to get a hearing.
Cynicism is the legacy of Hysteria and Cynicism will be the ultimate legacy of our Irish Salem.
Regards
Rory Connor 
7 December 2006
FALSE SEX ALLEGATIONS AGAINST IRISH BISHOPS
In the 12 years since 1994, a total of six Irish bishops have been the target of false sex allegations in the media. The majority of the allegations relate to claims that the bishop was a paedophile, one to a different sex claim and one to a charge of trying to prevent the extradition of the paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth.
There are only 26 bishops in the whole of Ireland.
My articles on the allegations are published on the website http://www.alliancesupport.org between June and November 2006.
    http://www.alliancesupport.org 29 September 2006
Relevant Link: The Guardian and Bishop Magee
On 2 April 1994, The Guardian, which is Britain’s most distinguished “liberal” newspaper, published an allegation that a senior Irish Bishop was linked to a paedophile ring. 
The Guardian thought that, by not naming the bishop they could get away with their lies. However there are only 26 bishops on the whole of Ireland and the newspaper report contained certain remarks that reduced the number of possible targets still further. The Irish Hierarchy threatened a class libel suit and the Guardian were forced to apologise.
On 22 April 1994, the Irish Times which is the Irish equivalent of the Guardian, published a report that contains little more than the text of their sister paper’s apology. However the more down-market Sunday Independent published a detailed report into the background of the libel. Independent journalist Sam Smyth pointed out that this claim had been previously investigated by a number of British TABLOIDS which rejected it as false! Yet the Guardian went ahead and published anyway!
The following summary comes from Richard Websters article “States of Fear, The Redress Board and Ireland’s Folly” on the website http://www.richardwebster.net. 
(My own longer article “FALSE ALLEGATIONS: PAT RABBITTE AND CARDINAL CATHAL DALY” is on http://www.alliancesuppoprt.org in October 2006.)
Relevant Link: Pat Rabbitte and Cardinal Cahal Daly 
The beginnings of the story go back to 1994 when the authorities in Northern Ireland sought the extradition from the Republic of Father Brendan Smyth, a Catholic priest who was facing a number of counts of child sexual abuse to which he would eventually plead guilty. It would appear that he had previously been protected against allegations by his own Norbertine order, which had moved him from parish to parish as complaints arose, and failed to alert the police.
 
 Perhaps because of the age of the allegations, which went back twenty years, there was a delay of several months during which the Irish attorney general took no action in relation to the extradition request. Unfounded reports began to circulate in Dublin that the process was being deliberately delayed in response to a request made at the highest level by the Catholic Church. An Irish opposition deputy, Pat Rabbitte, then referred in parliament to the possible existence of a document that would ‘rock the foundations of this society to its very roots’. He apparently had in mind the rumoured existence of a letter written by the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Cathal Daly, to the attorney general in Dublin. In this letter the Cardinal had supposedly interceded on behalf of Father Brendan Smyth and requested the delay in his extradition which had in fact taken place.
 
No evidence has been produced that any such letter ever existed. Yet, as a direct result of the rumours which now swept the country, confidence in the ruling establishment was undermined and the Fianna Fail government of Albert Reynolds fell, amidst talk of a dark conspiracy involving politicians, members of Opus Dei, the Knights of Columbus and others. This conspiracy was allegedly seeking to cover up the activities of paedophile priests.”
Relevant Link: Bishop Comiskey and Gay Byrne

The following is from a sneering article by Declan Lynch in the Sunday Independent on 8 October 1995. It is headed “Gaybo Speaks and the Catholic Faithful Tremble“:

I personally would rate myself a friend and admirer of Brendan Comiskey [said Gay Byrne on his radio programme], and indeed I was looking for him on the telephone recently, and he didn’t make contact with me which would have been kind of unusual, a little bit unusual.

“So much so that I don’t believe now that Brendan Comiskey has gone to America because of stress, nor do I believe he’s gone because of alcohol, nor do I believe he’s gone because of his alleged protection of a priest who’s up on charges.

“I think there is something other. I haven’t the faintest idea of what it is, but I think there is something else, and I think it is something dreadful, and I.m almost afraid of what it might be. That’s my personal reaction.”

A second article in the same paper commented that “although the remarks appeared to be ‘off the cuff’ it is known that Gay scripts his shows with extreme care and attention.

[See article “Apology to Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee by TV3”  on http://www.alliancesupport.org on 27 Sept 2006]
Relevant Link: TV3 and Bishop Magee

The following is the text of TV3’s apology for libelling Bishop Magee:
RETRACTION AND APOLOGY TO THE BISHOP AND DIOCESE OF CLOYNE BROADCAST BY TV3 ON TUESDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER  [1999] IN THE 5.30PM, 7.30PM AND 10.45PM NEWS BULLETINS
It was reported on the 15th September last in the news at 5.30pm, 7.00pm and 10.45pm that the Catholic Church had settled a case with a man who claimed that inappropriate behaviour took place in the Bishop of Cloyne’s residence. We wish to unreservedly retract same as it is clear that no such claim was made by the man in question. We are satisfied that there was no basis or truth whatever in the allegations and any suggestion that the Bishop of Cloyne has been compromised in any manner in the conduct of his duties is sincerely regretted and entirely without foundation. We wish to offer an unreserved apology to the Bishop and to the Diocese of Cloyne.
The sincerity of TV3’s repentance can be gauged from the fact that, one month later, in October 1999, they broadcast Louis Lentin‘s documentary “Our Boys“. This contained an allegation by Gerry Kelly that he attended the funerals of boys in Artane who had been killed by the Christian Brothers. No boy died of any cause while Gerry Kelly was in Artane!
Relevant Links: Five Articles on John Cooney and John Charles McQuaid
I have published several articles on this subject on the Alliance website from July 2006 onwards. See in particular the 5 articles entitled “JOHN COONEY AND JOHN CHARLES MCQUAID” (1) to (5). The first article contains quotations from 4 Irish historians, all of whom agree that the allegations in Cooney’s biography of John Charles are rubbish. Incredibly they also agree that its a great book – provided you disregard the “silly bits” about paedophilia!! 
The most outrageous claim in John Cooney’s book “John Charles McQuaid – Ruler of Catholic Ireland” is that the Archbishop was a homosexual paedophile. However in my third article I refer to Cooney’s other allegation that the Archbishop used an astronomical telescope to spy on courting couples on Killiney beach and on girls in a schoolyard. I point out some problems with these claims
:
(A) Killiney beach is not visible from the Archbishop’s observatory
(B) Homosexual paedophiles do not normally display an interest in courting couples or females of any age (Actually the same applies to non-paedophile homosexuals!).
(C) An astronomical telescope is designed to view stars millions of miles away. It is not suitable for observing human beings a hundred yards away!
Dr Noel Browne is the source of the main allegation against the late Archbishop. See articles “DOCTOR NOEL BROWNE AND HIS ENEMIES” and “DOCTOR NOEL BROWNE AND THE BISHOPS” on the Alliance Support website.
Relevant Links: Noel Browne and His Enemies and Noel Browne and the Bishops
Relevant Link: Bishop Casey Accused
Bishop Eamonn Casey was recently accused by a middle aged woman who claimed that he had abused her 30 years ago. Thus we are clearly talking about an allegation of pedophilia. The claim was given huge publicity by the media which emphasised that the woman is regarded as mentally disturbed and has made unfounded allegations against other people. So why all the publicity since journalists obviously did not believe her?. If she had accused a retired headmaster or senior civil servant would her lies have been given equal prominence? The difference is that Eamonn Casey is a retired Bishop. The Rape Crisis Network also thought that this was a good opportunity to demand that he apologise again to Annie Murphy. 
What we have here is a society that is spewing on itself. The saga of false allegations against Bishops began in 1994 when the UK Guardian accused an un-named Bishop of being part of a paedophile ring. Later that year Pat Rabbitte  implied that Cardinal Cahal Daly was engaged in a conspiracy with the Attorney General to prevent the extradition of Father Brendan Smyth. In that year the false allegations were being made by the highest in the land. Now a poor deranged woman is repeating them. “A fish rots from the head” says the Russian proverb about the role of intellectuals in society. Now the rot has reached both tail and heart!
Rory Connor 
7 December 2006

‘One in Four’ Bishops – as per Colm O’Gorman!

Ladies, Gentlemen and Scholars,

A couple of objections to my article on “False Allegations against Irish Bishops” have come to my attention. [www.alliancesupport.org on 9 Dec 2006]. The main objection is that I am overstating the significance of the number of false allegations. I claim – only partly with tongue in cheek – that the allegations against six Bishops amount to “One in Four” of the Irish Hierarchy (as per Colm O’Gorman and his group of that name).
FIRST OBJECTION.  You are referring to TWO different generations of Bishops. After all Archbishop McQuaid died in 1973 and Bishop Casey retired in 1992. Therefore the proportion of falsely accused Bishops is one in eight or ten rather than “One in Four“. 
MY ANSWER. Yes but all of the allegations date from 1994 to date and these 12 years fit neatly into one generation. MOREOVER the usual explanations for making claims decades after the event, do not apply in these cases. The usual excuses are:
(A) I was traumatised by my experiences and only recovered recently, 
(B) Nobody would believe my word against that of a priest/Bishop.
Since we are talking about lies and slander these explanations are irrelevant. Thus the “One in Four” proportion is OK.
SECOND OBJECTION: There are 26 Irish dioceses but 33 Bishops – the other 7 are “Auxiliary Bishops”. Again this means that you have exaggerated the proportion of those who have been falsely accused.
MY REPLY.  No Auxiliary Bishop has been falsely accused (as far as I know) and I think it unlikely that one will be in the future. Just look at the list of those who have been the target of obscene lies:
  • John Charles McQuaid was the best known Irish prelate of the 20th Century. He was Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.
  • Cathal Daly was Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
  • John Magee of Cloyne is the only man in the history of the Church to have been Private Secretary to three Popes (Paul VI, John Paul 1 and John Paul 11)
  • Bishops Eamonn Casey and Brendan Comiskey are very well known prelates who had frequent dealings with the media
  • I am reasonably sure I know the identity of the un-named Bishop who was accused by the UK Guardian in 1994. He is no “Auxiliary” either!
  • Our lying intellectuals tend to concentrate on the “big shots” in the Catholic Church and disdain mere Auxiliary Bishops.  Thus I think my “One in Four” proportion is still valid.
FINALLY I believe that the behaviour of our lying anti-clerics says a great deal about the nature of the paedophile problem in this country. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is a major problem with paedophile clergy in the Catholic Church. Then over the last 50 years or so, you would expect that at least one Bishop would be identified as a paedophile. You would also expect that this man would be operating in a small diocese and that few people would have heard of him before the scandal. THAT is the way things work out in real life (as opposed to Salem Style Witch-hunts). And the reason things happen that way is that a man with severe moral and emotional problems is unlikely to be a high-flier in any profession. (Compare the unfortunate Judge Brian Curtin).
However that is NOT how things actually worked out. Ludicrous and lying allegations have been made against  a Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, a  former Archbishop of Dublin who was a hate figure for “liberals” since the 1970s etc etc. 
Clearly we are not talking about real life but a parallel universe in which our anti-clerics draw their plots from Dallas and their morals from the Nazi pornographer Julius Streicher. 
Is it possible that I am overstating my case?
Best wishes, 
Rory Connor
 

[19 December 2006]

False Allegation against Former Archbishop(s) of Tuam

Over the years I have joked that  Irish “liberals” who slandered three of our four Archbishops, were bound to take aim at the Archbishop of Tuam. Actually it happened  a few years ago but I didn’t fully appreciate its significance at the time. In June 2014 the Jesuit magazine “America” persuaded the Associated Press to issue an apology for claiming that the Catholic Church had refused to baptise the children of unmarried mothers at the mother and baby home in Tuam run by the Bon Secour nuns. Senior Editor Kevin Clarke wrote in “The Galway Horror Part II”
https://www.americamagazine.org/content/all-things/galway-horror-part-ii
“Babies born inside the institutions were denied baptism and, if they died from the illness and disease rife in such facilities, also denied a Christian burial.” It is a sentence, unattributed to any source, which repeats—either word for word or in a close approximation—in hundreds of articles concerning the now infamous deaths and burials of hundreds of children in Tuam, Galway between 1925 and 1961. This appalling sacramental indifference is referenced in major U.S. and U.K. publications and cited in leading online opinion journals like Salon as more evidence of the cruelty of the Bon Secours sisters who ran the home and the Catholic Church in Ireland in general.

The text of the apology is as follows:
DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 [2014] about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926.

The journalists who published those lies were aiming at the Bon Secour nuns in particular and at the Catholic Church in general. However it is the clergy and not nuns, who would have made that decision and the local priest would certainly have referred an issue of such rarity and importance to his Bishop – or in this case to the Archbishop of Tuam.  According all four Irish Archbishops have now been subjected to obscene lies by our “liberal” media!

If our journalists – and politicians – were targeting Protestant Archbishops or the Chief Rabbi of Ireland with such lies, no one would be in any doubt as to their motivation!

 

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JUNE 16 2020 – THE CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS OF DEAN MARTYN PERCY OF CHRIST CHURCH AND BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER

character assassination button

THE CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS OF DEAN MARTYN PERCY OF CHRIST CHURCH AND BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER

 

The Martyn Percy affair – further comments

What can I say by way of comment over this conflict?  It is quite clear that Martyn has in the past upset the equilibrium and status quo in two powerful institutions.  In the first case, at Christ Church Oxford, a group of senior members have complained about him in his role of Head of House or Dean on two separate occasions.  We, as outsiders observers, have no detailed understanding of the first allegations made against him.   All we do know with some certainty is that a Tribunal was convened under the chairmanship of a retired judge, Sir Andrew Smith.  This found him innocent of the accusations made against him – all twenty-seven charges were dismissed.  Our sympathy for Martyn’s cause is aroused by the fact that he had to endure two years of pressure and stress.  We feel for anyone who, in the course of allegations against them, is suspended from his work and made the object of a campaign of vilification and slander.  Moreover, who was denied the opportunity of even having a preliminary investigation before the Tribunal against him was convened. 

This Tribunal involved the spending of huge resources of charitable money, thought to be over £2 million. Martyn’s own legal costs have been huge.  When the Tribunal verdict was announced, we hoped that the problem would go away.  We might also have hoped that the original accusers might express a little remorse for having spent so much charitable money to further their cause.  But no, the current situation is that the same accusers among the governing body have re-emerged to continue the campaign against the Dean.  This time they are using a quite different set of accusations and a different method of harassing and undermining Martyn.  Having exhausted the procedures afforded to them by the college statutes, the complainants have moved on to attack him using the tools of the quasi-legal structures of the Church of England.

Those of us who support Martyn and his principled stand over a variety of topics in current church debates, are aware that he has made enemies.  As an avowed progressive, he is not easily going to fit in with the prevailing opinions of a largely conservative bench of bishops.  The one particular issue over the past five years that has rattled many cages is the George Bell affair.  Martyn has prominently identified himself with those who regard the posthumous trashing of Bishop Bell’s reputation as contrary to the laws of justice and historical truth.  Many of us, with Martyn, regarded the alacrity with which Church leaders assigned guilt to Bell as being an attempt to show a decisiveness while many other more recent safeguarding allegations were being mishandled.  

The method of assessing and evaluating the Bell evidence was the infamous core group, the same tool that is now being deployed against Martyn himself.  It would not be hard to suggest, to use Gilo’s expression, that, in both case, the core group has been ‘weaponised’ against the subject of the investigation.  This is especially true when the person at the heart of the enquiry has no representation to speak on their behalf.  Again, in both Bell’s case and Martyn’s, similar church establishment mechanisms can be seen at work.  The NST have put Martyn “on trial” without conducting even the most minimal inquiry or interview with him.  The core group contained people who were prosecuting him for their own ends, and were heavily invested in pre-judging the outcome of any investigation.  This is identical to what the Dean had to endure at Christ Church from 2018.

As with Christ Church, so with the NST.  The Dean is forced to pay for his own defence to protect his reputation and integrity.  It was noticeable that the Anglican hierarchy were largely mute when the original Christ Church accusations were aired.  There was a sense that, while support was being expressed by hundreds of individuals across the country and £100,000 raised for legal costs, official support from the Anglican hierarchy was largely absent.

The appeal to the Church of England and its National Safeguarding Team by complaining Christ Church dons to examine accusations against the Dean of Christ Church, has already been explored in Gilo’s piece.  The mention by Gilo of the ‘right part’ of the NST hints at private conversations and plotting at the highest levels of the Church of England taking place with the complainants at Christ Church.  I understand that as far as the lawyers acting for Martyn are concerned, the NST has absolutely no jurisdiction in Martyn’s case.  Martyn is not an employee of the Church of England; he is not being accused of being a danger to children or vulnerable adults.  We also note the “vulnerable adult” terminology used by the NST.  The correct term is “adults-at-risk”, which is defined and deployed in higher education, local government and the NHS.  The NST are out of touch.  The safeguarding issues that are the focus of the enquiry had already been dealt with properly by Martyn, according to University and college protocols. 

Once again, a core group is being used to achieve a particular end.   What we see in the process seems to run counter to natural justice and fairness.  It also seems to take no notice of Lord Carlile’s remarks and the recommendations that were made by him in 2017.  We refer particularly to those that laid out how all interested parties should be represented. These were accepted in total by the Church of England and now they are ignored in what has become a notorious case, ensuring that the whole world is watching (and judging!) the Church of England as it stumbles ahead with a faulty grasp of proper procedures in this complex case.

If Martyn can stand up to the pressure currently being put on him, it could help expose the evident power abuses and appalling misuses of procedure which seem to be operating in the NST.  If the NST were to see sense and pull out of its involvement in the Christ Church debacle, this would have a desirable outcome.  it would allow the NST to be regarded as a properly accountable organisation. No longer would the considerable power of this body be used against individuals without clear and consistent protocols in the way that it operates.  Someone made the decision to allow the NST to enter the treacherous waters of internal Oxford collegiate politics. 

Who was it and what are the systems in place to query and even put a block on such a risky, even impetuous, decision? If, as is likely, the NST comes out of this disastrous intervention with egg on its face, who is going to take responsibility for this financial and ethical car-crash? In many ways this whole episode goes far beyond what Martyn may or may not have done to upset members of his college.  The issue has become one of the church using its legal structures in ways that deny compassion, natural justice and the basic qualities of care.  Once again the Church of England seems incapable of handling its power without hurting and damaging people.  Legalism, the power of money and privilege seem to be prominent.    If the general public sees some of this behaviour and is unimpressed, can we really blame them? 

Another question that is being asked by many of us is this.  If Martyn Percy deserved investigation over safeguarding issues with apparently such flimsy evidence being offered, then why not are other more pressing cases given attention?  There are several outstanding CDM claims against serving bishops which lie on file.  Presumably these can now be activated by victims and complainants? There is the case of Jonathan Fletcher which seems to be ignored by central church authorities, even though it reached front-page headlines of the Daily Telegraph.  If the allegations against Fletcher are even half-true, he still poses a safeguarding threat which should be a priority for the NST.  To focus on Martyn, who poses no such threat, and ignore Fletcher can only be described as a deeply political choice. 

Unless someone explains the real basis for NST involvement in the Christ Church factional disputes, Martyn’s supporters will conclude that the NST has become a political tool at the service of certain unaccountable factions within the Church of England.  If that surmise is correct, one would hope that the General Synod would wake up to this fact and vote the NST out of existence.  We cannot afford to have a rogue structure within the Church which operates with so much secrecy, factionalism and sometimes overt bullying.  Whoever authorised the unleashing of the NST on Martyn Percy has been responsible for taking an enormous gamble with the Church’s assets and reputation.  They have gambled on an outcome which, even if successful at one level, does no credit to the Church.  If the anonymous power brokers are, however, unsuccessful in what they are doing in Oxford, this may have the effect of destroying the NST structure altogether and their future ability to exercise power through it.

6 thoughts on “The Martyn Percy affair – further comments”

  1. Martyn Percy’s intervention re. the appointment of Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield, in the same year his views on the Bishop Bell case were expressed, was another example of his getting up the noses of the powers that be.

    His blog https://theore0.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/abstaining-a-lenten-reflection-on-sheffield-by-martyn-percy/ was widely influential and many saw it as the turning point in the North/Sheffield affair. I have a feeling his card was marked then.

    Though, to be honest, I think almost anyone with real principles in the C of E gets their card marked pretty promptly.

     

  2. I know both men. And consider both to be people in the hierarchy of the Church who speak with integrity in relation to the abuse crisis. And I know that church-context abuse survivors have strong support from each. Martyn was approached by us to write a chapter in Letters to a Broken Church – and wrote an excellent chapter following the Chichester hearings at the Inquiry.

    Philip would have been one of very few bishops we could have approached for a chapter. His interview on BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme was unlike anything we’d heard from any other bishop (with the exception of Alan Wilson). A remarkable interview and one that all Synod members should listen to if they haven’t already. Sadly, our book was already by that stage at print process – so we couldn’t include Philip.

    https://www.thinkinganglica

    Their political or tribal differences aside – both Martyn Percy and Philip North have given their voices courageously as allies to the plight of survivors. I salute them both.

  3. “I understand that as far as the lawyers acting for Martyn are concerned, the NST has absolutely no jurisdiction in Martyn’s case. Martyn is not an employee of the Church of England;”

    I am not an employment lawyer and do not wish to dip into the vexed question of whether office holders are employees, but I am concerned that this line of argument being advanced by Dr Percy’s lawyers will probably consume more costs than most of the other issues in contention.

    The dean of Christ Church is, unusually, paid by Christ Church rather than the Commissioners. Although I don’t have copies of Doe, Hill, Cripps, etc., to hand, he is an ecclesiastical office holder and there are a plethora of statutes and measures which make specific reference to Christ Church as an ecclesiastical corporation, even if there are usually specific provisions in each measure to differentiate Christ Church from other capitular bodies.

    What I suspect has happened is that the students have tried to refer the Woodward case to the NST as a lever to eject Percy. They are gaming the system, and as Stephen notes it is opportunistic and unedifying. The students are probably past caring about that, however, and have reasoned that the ends justify the means.

    Since there is no clear distinction between the position of dean as head of the cathedral and as head of the college they probably approached the NST telling the latter that they have to do something. The NST, no doubt panicked, will have referred the question to the Legal Office. The Legal Office (currently led by a clergyman who was at Christ Church) will probably have advised the NST that they do have standing insofar as Percy is an ’employee’ or ‘office-holder’ qua his position as head of the cathedral, and the want of any distinction between the two aspects of his office means that his safeguarding responsibilities might therefore apply to the entirety of his office.

    Curiously, it is not so long ago that the then second commissioner disclaimed any involvement of the Church of England in the resolution of the dispute:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-11-29/debates/6DA9CB26-1373-470D-AAD3-CE9BEDE88743/DeanOfChristChurchOxford

    This question will no doubt consume a great deal of the ET’s time. I strongly suspect that it will result in the office being split in twain, which is probably what a majority of the students now want. Legislation severing the provostship of Oriel from a stall at Rochester was passed in 1875; similar legislation was passed severing the mastership of Pembroke (Oxford) from a stall at Gloucester in 1937, and the mastership of St Catharine’s (Cambridge) from a stall at Norwich in 1927. Many other headships at both universities had been tied to college livings and the headships of all the old colleges bar Merton, Downing and Trinity Hall (plus Keble, St Peter’s and Selwyn) had been reserved to clerics. Splitting the deanery would be the last act in that process.

    1. Sorry, I should have added that the head of the Legal Office was also chancellor of the Oxford diocese until last year (when he became head of the Legal Office), although he is based in London and assists at Holy Redeemer Clerkenwell.

      1. Froghole

        And, of course, it is perfectly possible that the head of the Legal Office had nothing to do with the decision that the NST assume responsibility for this matter, or indeed that the NST sought advice from the Legal Office at all. My statements above were mere conjecture.

         

        MORE INFORMATION

        Thinking Anglicans

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JUNE 11 2020 – “ARCHBISHOP GROVELS OVER WHITE PRIVILEGE” – CHURCH MILITANT

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/canterbury-archbishop-grovels-over-white-privilege

ARCHBISHOP GROVELS OVER WHITE PRIVILEGE

NEWS: WORLD NEWS

 

by Jules Gomes  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 10, 2020    93 Comments

Catholic priest equates ‘white privilege’ with white supremacy

LAMBETH, England (ChurchMilitant.com) – Despite being mocked for “self-flagellation” by a distinguished Indian parliamentarian after he apologized for Britain’s colonial past, the archbishop of Canterbury is now apologizing for his “white privilege” in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots.

“I acknowledge that I come from privilege and a place of power as a white person in this country,” Anglican archbishop Justin Welby announced Tuesday in a video posted on Twitter. “But I feel within me, again today, that great call of Jesus that we are as a Church to be those who set our own house in order and who acknowledge our own historic errors and failings.”

Image
Welby (right) poses for a photo op with Pope Francis in the Vatican

 

“I come back to the fact that, in the New Testament, Jesus says be angry about injustice, repent of injustice — that means go the other way, take action against injustice,” Welby said, beginning his brief apology by reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“It must never involve the creation of more injustice, by seeking to damage other people,” Welby noted, barely acknowledging the widespread BLM-led violence and iconoclasm against statues of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Edward Colston in London and other British cities.

 

“Justin Welby seems to have made it his trademark to apologize for everything and anything which the ‘wokeratari’ will applaud,” Anglican cleric Melvin Tinker told Church Militant.

“But the archapologizer of Canterbury is very selective about what he will apologize for. Most ordinary people couldn’t care less for what he has to say anyway,” said Tinker, a well-known critic of cultural Marxism and author of That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost.

“There is no personal apology for the character assassination of Bp. George Bell or the dreadful sexual abuse of Fr. Matthew Ineson — both left lying wounded on the road while the archbishop happily passes by on the other side leaving it to other ‘Good Samaritans’ to take up their causes,” the vicar of St. John Newland Church in Hull remarked.

Welby had tarnished the name of Bp. Bell, who stood against Hitler by insisting that Bell was guilty of pedophilia, even after the Lord Carlile Review exonerated him. Ineson was repeatedly raped by an Anglican vicar when he was 16 years old.

 

Meanwhile, openly gay Catholic priest Bryan N. Massingale claimed he could equate “systemic racism” with “white supremacy, although I know that white people find that term even more of a stumbling block than white privilege.”

“You realized that, if you wanted, by being white you could make things hard — much harder — for others, especially black folks,” Fr. Massingale, professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University wrote in the leftwing National Catholic Reporter on June 1.

The archapologizer of Canterbury is very selective about what he will apologize for. Most ordinary people couldn’t care less for what he has to say anyway.Tweet

“The only reason for racism’s persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it,” he fulminated. “Demand that your parish and diocese sponsor not just an evening on race, but a whole series,” and “Tell your priests and religious education directors to make anti-racism a staple feature of their homilies and your children’s religious formation.”

Massingale added to his diatribe:

While you’re at it, write your bishop and ask how anti-racism is part of your church leaders’ formation for ministry. Ask how he is actively educating himself to become anti-racist. Let him know that if seminarians and candidates for ministry and religious life are unwilling or unable to be actively anti-racist, then they do not have a vocation for church leadership since they haven’t embraced a fundamental requirement of Christian discipleship.

Speaking to Church Militant, Dave Brennan, director of pro-life Brephos, explained that “real repentance and true courage would entail confronting the greatest, most hidden, most accepted injustice of our day — the industrial-scale slaughter of babies in the womb.” This includes a disproportionate number of black babies, especially in America.

“But sadly, the Church of England has no track record of confronting the accepted evils of the day when it actually matters — only jumping on the bandwagon of retrospective virtue-signaling once it is felt to be politically expedient to do so,” lamented Brennan, an associate of the Center for Bioethical Reform UK.

Image
Welby and Catholic bishops failed to condemn the rioting 

 

“So it seems we must wait for the secular media and mob to finally clock that ripping babies to pieces is wrong, and then, like clockwork, we can expect to see Welby appear saying how everyone needs to ‘repent,'” he added.

Former Anglican bishop Gavin Ashenden told Church Militant that “the archbishop of Canterbury’s capacity to betray Jesus” seems “unbounded.”

Dr. Ashenden elaborated: “Jesus demands personal responsibility, the betrayers speak about privilege. Jesus speaks about personal repentance, the betrayers speak about corporate apology. Jesus concentrates on the individual person, the betrayers focus on group guilt by association.”

“Welby’s legacy and his current obsession are all consistent with the great betrayal,” the former Queen’s Chaplain and recent convert to Catholicism commented.

“If you drive Jesus out of the Church and replace him with Marx and Engels, you get not a Church, but a political party. You get not Jesus but Judas. Tragically, Welby appears to have sided with Judas,” he pointed out.

In 2019, on his visit to India, Welby fell prostrate at the Jalianwalla Bagh memorial in Amritsar and apologized for the massacre of 1919, where British soldiers shot dead at least 379 people.

Real repentance and true courage would entail confronting the greatest, most hidden, most accepted injustice of our day — the industrial-scale slaughter of babies in the womb.Tweet

But Indian parliamentarian Swapan Dasgupta, recipient of the Padma Bhushan (India’s third highest civilian award) for literature, derided Welby’s Amritsar apology as “a form of self-flagellation that may appeal to multiculturalism … but doesn’t alter the [positive] way India thinks of contemporary Britain.”

Image
Fr. Massingale attacking “white privilege” as “white supremacy”

 

“Indians are not obsessed about the Raj [British colonial rule]. It was a reality but I don’t think it is seen as a national catastrophe,” he observed, not hesitating to mention the “chuckles over the many Indians who actively propped up the Empire.”

“Welby jumps on bandwagons more nimbly than any of his predecessors. Meanwhile, only 870,000 attended C of E [Church of England] services every week, and that will shrink when the churches reopen. Note that so far only 250 people have retweeted the ‘spiritual leader of 80m Anglicans,'” Catholic journalist and presenter of the Holy Smoke religion podcast tweeted.

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PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS – 5: “ON THE PULLING DOWN OF STATUES, AND THE NEED OF THE POWERFUL TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM THEIR MISTAKES BY POINTING TO THE MISTAKES OF THE LONG DEAD”

Black-Lives-Matter-Protesters-Pull-Slave-Trade-Statue-Down

Edward Colston statue – Bristol

STARS ABOVE THE GIDDINGS

 The December stars shine clear above the Giddings, promised light for those who dwell in darkness

The above words by Malcolm Guite are from a Sonnet for Nicholas Ferrar, who died on 2nd December 1637. It was the day after Advent Sunday, at the same hour he usually rose to pray. Ferrar died in Little Gidding and if in our minds we could go there as the sun sets, walk up the path, find the door open, and sit down in the silence what might we discover? The first is that Little Gidding is also the name of a poem by T S Eliot. In it the theme of suffering as a prerequisite to renewal is explored, influenced as it was by the destruction of Second World War. There is in Little Gidding, as a place and a poem, a reminder of knowing your history, especially and most importantly at a time of potential change.

A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

How we might wonder sitting in a small church as the sun gives way to the stars can this place and Eliot’s words make sense of today? How might our fears and hopes, the darkness of uncertainty, our longing for something better, come back to this moment and this place? The poem urges us on:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

To bring together the past, our present, and hopes for the future in one particular place can bear much fruit, and indeed hope. Why is Nicholas Ferrar remembered here especially? First pick up a little guide to his life, because his own experiences have surprising resonance.

Ferrar’s father was a London merchant and a member of the Virginia Company and Nicholas was in time to become its deputy. In 1624 the company suffered financial difficulties and were it not for this Ferrar may well today be associated with the slave trade. As it was another factor led he and his family to move to the recently purchased manor at Little Gidding. The plague. Far away from London in the Huntingtonshire countryside, today a part of Cambridgeshire, in 1625 Ferrar would have first entered a very different church by the manor house. Little Gidding already had a rich history, formed by a combination of war, religious conflict and disease. A gift to the Knights Templers an earlier plague had deprived the church of its congregation by 1348. The reformation saw the Knights Hospitallers dissolved in 1554 and the dissolution of life continued,by 1594 there were no houses left. As Nicholas Ferrar and his family unpacked he found an unused church in ruins, itself a symbol of a past we need to be aware of because it shapes our lives today more than we think. Perhaps Ferrar remembered being told stories as a boy of the arrival of the Spanish Armada, only five years before his birth. At the age of twelve he would have heard of another escape for protestant England when gunpowder was discovered under Parliament. How fragile everything was and indeed was proven to be. All that Ferrar built up and renewed would be destroyed by the English Civil wars, and the community of prayer he left behind ended at a time when there was no Church of England. To help us make sense of this is to make sense of Eliot’s words,

History is now and England

As division grows following the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 we can appreciate better what it has revealed. We are not redeemed from time. The decisions of the past and direction of public policy can at any moment cause an explosion of anger, and as we rush for cover we might wonder where it will all end. As people take sides we might look into the fault lines of society and see what Ferrar might have seen too. The politics of identity are leading to something many call a cultural war and already sides are being taken. Churchill made much of our Island race and it was of course an image of a protestant nation (if not people) safe from the Armardas of Rome. A prime minister who was good at “channelling” Churchill, in the 75th year of victory in Europe, might have hoped of something more symbolic of his time in office than a defaced statue of his hero. How similar you would think, far away from it all in Little Gidding, are the divisions today that have been part of us for so long. Those speechless at the resurrection of identity politics, with its profoundly secular and political dividing up of human beings, might have hoped as a part of the new normal a return to what we had recently glimpsed. How long ago it seems we clapped key workers because of what they did rather than the colour of their skin or whom they loved. How quickly the rainbow flag ceased being a symbol of unity and togetherness. How sad above all that we must take a side. It is said the first casualty of the English Civil wars was a man walking along, minding his own business in that wonderful phrase, and some troops approached. “Are you for King or Parliament?” he was asked. “For both, he replied, and so they shot him. Ferrar didn’t live to see the darkness of the civil wars but he knew what was coming. What is coming next for us? Of course now like then the Church cannot be taken in isolation. The position of the Church of England is more similar to the church re-established with its 1662 prayer book than we might imagine. Divided clergy, closed buildings, the suspension of public worship, a church formed as a mean between extremes tempering its inheritance with the dynamic of reform and not enough money. It all sounds familiar.

Ferrar’s retreat to Little Gidding was natural but also instructive. To go on retreat is not the same as retreating. To go on retreat is to be renewed in some way to return to the world refreshed. Ferrar’s large family and household lived a Christian life together, the domestic church, but one which saw the need for the beauty of holiness in a church building, one which they restored. ‘It is the right, good old way you are in,’ Nicholas Ferrar said to his brother, shortly before his death: ‘keep in it.’

If I were sitting in Little Gidding church as the light fades contemplating events around us and the history that is somehow “now” what would think?

I would reflect on the pulling down of statues and the need of the powerful to divert attention from their mistakes by pointing to the mistakes of the long dead.

More importantly as I thought about the Church of England forged after the civil war to unite the catholic and reformed understanding of belief would be a realisation. Are there those in the Church of England who were happy to see churches closed and are seemingly unhappy as they reopen who really want to finally rid the church of what is catholic? Are churches with their war memorials and celebrations of community and civic events, the marking of the seasons and the round of human life, simply for them like statues of which they are ashamed, and better they be closed quickly than engage in a debate about their future? Perhaps so. If so there is hope, and it comes from someone we owe Nicholas Ferrar a debt of gratitude for introducing us to. He will be explored in the next reflection and is a reminder of how we can keep in the right, good old way, many still cherish.

David Ackerman

10th June 2020

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“FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS” AT TOM TOWER – THE BELL TOWER AT CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

170px-Tom_Tower,_Christ_Church_2004-01-21

The Tom Tower – Christ Church Oxford [Photo by Toby Ord]

“The wily Censors have made sure they complained to the right part of the [Church of England’s] National Safeguarding Team” [Senior College figure to the Governing Board Trustees at Christ Church Oxford]

‘Thinking Anglicans’

“More Christ Church shenanigans”

5 COMMENTS

Neil J
What’s fascinating about this one is how it overrides the usual liberal-conservative divide. I guess Profs Biggar and Percy would generally be considered to be on different sides theologically, but one’s support for the other leads to both being assaulted. Perhaps Cranmer’s characterisation of the secular-sacred divide is right in this case; or perhaps the Censors and Christ Church GB just can’t bear not getting their way?
Richard W. Symonds
Rowland Wateridge

I am not in any position to express a view on what has taken place here, but offer for TA readers’ consideration the following factual extracts from Lord Carlile’s Report in the case of Bishop George Bell:
 
[B] SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS, LESSONS TO BE LEARNED AND RECOMMENDATIONS

19. My recommendations are as follows.

20. Core Groups are necessary for the scrutiny of cases, not least in order to ensure that decisions are taken consistently. Each such group should have one person nominated at the beginning as Chair who is expected to chair all meetings throughout. Groups should be established with as continuous and permanent a membership as possible.

21. The Core Group should have, in addition to someone advocating for the complainant, someone assigned to it to represent the interests of the accused person …
 
It was my understanding at the time that the Church accepted Lord Carlile’s recommendations with the sole exception of claims being settled subject to a confidentiality clause. Note the words “someone advocating for the complainant” and “someone assigned to it to represent the interests of the accused person … “
 
 

Kate
 
The Church of England has apparently established a major investigation into a figure outside the House of Bishops based on allegations which appear to be very similar to those made against some bishops but which have been swept under the carpet. If that is really the case then the whole House of Bishops ought to be deeply ashamed.
Mark Bennet

 

THE MEANING OF JOHN DONNE’S ‘FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS’

Apparently John Donne wrote this as a meditation, not a poetic verse, and I think we can see the unifying subject within each part of this, I have separated each section, it is normally written as one block of text, I did this to show that each sentence is an amplification, a development on the first assertion – that no man is an island:

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.

Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

For me this piece of writing is an expression of the great British contribution to the world of ideas, and this is that we are each unique, valuable individuals, we are each connected and an essential part of our societies, and the fabric of humanity.

There is a sense of genuine loss for each life, which potentially could have enriched us all.

The original emergence of what used to be called ‘Liberalism*’ have their roots in this kind of idea. If you follow each ‘verse’, or sentence, it builds on the idea that each individual ‘man’ is a precious part of the whole.

In essence the writer is calling for us to regard the waste of death, the sacrifice of men to war, as being as if our very continent is washed away, we are diminished by the absence of each individual.

John Donne is meditating on the value of each individual, he ends by asking not to wonder whose funeral bell is tolling, it might just as well be yours, he is inviting us to regard each life as being as precious as our own.

This is how the theme of this strikes me, no doubt a literary critic might wax lyrical on other aspects, but I think that is the essence of John Donne’s thinking when he wrote this.

*I have to say that what passes for ‘Liberalism’ among modern political circles bears very little resemblance to these original roots of the ideas about the value of the individual.

It seems, rather, to have become a form of authoritarian compulsion, based on quasi-virtuous excuses for compelling people to agree to accepted modes of language, and ways of thinking, without seeking agreement for them, or discussing their value in each context-as in ‘political correctness’ and other forms of post modern tyranny.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” was a poem by John Donne before it was a book by Hemingway.
The poem surrounds the idea that “no man is an island.” The tolling of bells is an old funeral custom. The bells of the cathedral or church would sound to mark and honor a death. Within the poem, the tolling bells operates as a means of mourning and connection, showing that no one is untouched by their sound. We all as humans are connected, whether we like it or not—“for I am involved in mankind”; you are involved in mankind; we all are involved in mankind. In this way, the narrator of the poem comments that we do not need to “send to know” for whom the bells tolls, as if seeking an individual name. Instead, “each man’s death diminishes” the narrator because all of mankind is so entwined.

Originally, it is prose, and for me it remains beautiful, rhythmic prose.

It has been appropriated as a poem, but it is just a paragraph excerpted from one of Donne’s Devotions Upon Divergent Occasions: Meditation XVII .

The paragraph comes as the conclusion of a sequence of thought:

  1. A funeral bell is tolled to announce the death of one particular person, so it is “for” that person
  2. But the purpose of tolling a bell is that people hear it, so it’s “for” anyone who hears it
  3. (The paragraph in question) But ultimately each of us is not a solitary being: each one of us is a small part of a great community of beings, humankind. When another person dies, you too have lost a little bit of your own self. So that bell is tolling for you, and for everybody, as well as for the particular dead person.
It isn’t a poem, in fact.
It’s pretty obvious in context.
The clause originated from John Donne, who said, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

From the quote, it means that when a bell tolls to announce the death of someone, you shouldn’t ask who it tolls for, that it tolls for you.

For details, follow this link: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjuvrzEiJLdAhWkCsAKHc1YBa4QFjAAegQIChAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFor_Whom_the_Bell_Tolls&usg=AOvVaw0RfelvUdwYdmT7BalYPrQS

 

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JUNE 7 2020 – PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS – 4: “WHY I’D RATHER BE A SINCERE HUMAN BEING THAN A GOOD POLITICIAN” – CLLR BILL ANDERSON

William-Anderson-les-Roches-Marbella-faculty

Bill Anderson

WHY I’D RATHER BE A SINCERE HUMAN BEING THAN A GOOD POLITICIAN” – CLLR BILL ANDERSON

‘PEOPLE don’t want to hear the truth, and have their illusions destroyed’, wrote the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I have learned, however, …….

 

 

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JUNE 7 2020 – PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL RELECTIONS – 3: “THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF C.E.M. JOAD AND HIS CONCEPT OF PERSONALITY AND THE SOUL”

THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF C.E.M. JOAD AND HIS CONCEPT OF PERSONALITY AND THE SOUL

 

younger-joad

Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad

There is a small group of significant philosophers who

had extraordinary turnarounds. The most famous of

these is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who wrote about

his magnum opus, ‘The author of the Tractatus was

mistaken.’ So, too, A.J. Ayer who, in an interview with

the BBC, said of his former philosophy, ‘At the the end

of it all it was false’. Yet perhaps the most

extraordinary turnaround was the enormously popular

C.E.M. Joad.

 

Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad (1891-1953) was a university philosopher at Birkbeck College London, who wrote on a wide variety of philosophical subjects, both historical and contemporary. For most of his life he rejected religion—but in the 1940s and early 1950s he first abandoned atheism, then accepted a form of theism, and finally converted to Christianity.

Not until Recovery of Belief, in 1952, did he set out the Christian philosophy in which he had come to believe. This post explores just one aspect of that philosophy, namely his theory of personality and the soul—then briefly, what motivated him philosophically, to make such a radical about-turn. Here is Joad’s later view, in his own words:

‘Having considered and rejected a number of views as to the nature and interpretation of the cosmos, I shall state the one which seems to me to be open to the fewest objections. It is, briefly, what I take to be the traditional Christian view, namely, that the universe is to be conceived as two orders of reality, the natural order, consisting of people and things moving about in space and enduring in time, and a supernatural order neither in space nor in time, which consists of a Creative Person or Trinity of Persons from which the natural order derives its meaning, and in terms of which it receives its explanation.’

In his ‘interpretation of the cosmos’, then, Joad proceeds by seeking to vindicate ‘the traditional division of the human being [as] not twofold into mind and body, but threefold into mind, body and soul.’ The reference seems to be to the view identifiable in late-Scholastic theology, that a human being has an immortal part which can sin, be forgiven, and rise at the Last Judgement (the soul); a thinking part which can understand, affirm, deny, desire, imagine (the mind); and a body which is the agent of the mind and soul.

In fairness, Joad does not claim to demonstrate the validity of the threefold analysis; he claims no more than that ‘if it were true it would cover a number of facts which seem to be inexplicable on any other’. He offers it as what we might term an inference to the best explanation. He found no better way to explain the cosmos as he found it.

The soul, Joad tells us, is ‘the essential self and is timeless’. It is incarnated in bodies but can exist without them, since after our bodily death, it remains an individual entity and ‘sustains immortality’. At this point, the influence of Plato’s theory of the soul in the Phaedo is clear. Unplatonic, however, is the notion that the soul is ‘normally inaccessible to us’, and that we at least approximate to an awareness of it in ‘mystical experience’—experience with which ‘most of us, at any rate, are acquainted [in] certain moments of transport of tranquillity that we enjoy in our intercourse with nature’.

Yet Joad’s theory does not rely solely on mystical experience. There are those, he writes, to whom mystical experience is denied. Thus he posits the soul as our ‘point of contact and communication’ with the divine … God, to use the language of religion, influences man through his soul’.

Joad suggests that ‘The phenomena of spiritual healing and spiritual regeneration are … most plausibly to be explained on the assumption that God, in response to prayer, acts upon us through the soul to heal the body and strengthen the mind. The soul is also the ‘still small voice of God’ of which we are conscious when the hubbub of ordinary life and consciousness dies down”. This presupposes the existence of God, and of a God who acts in these ways.

Of the mind, Joad tells us that it ‘is brought into being in consequence of the contact of the soul with the natural, temporal order, which results from its incorporation in a physical body’. The mind cannot be identified with matter, as Locke’s ‘thinking substance’, for instance. Mind ‘cannot be adequately conceived in material terms … Is the notion of conscious matter really thinkable?’ Joad asks rhetorically and in protest against Julian Huxley.

Yet Joad concedes that ‘The mind is, it is clear, constantly interacting with the body and the brain.’ Again, it is not Joad’s purpose to demonstrate the validity of his analysis. In fact, he states that this is a paradoxical occurrence which ‘is, by us, incomprehensible’. This incomprehensibility, further, he sees as being characteristic of what he calls ‘all the manifestations of the supernatural in the natural order’; the supernatural here being the soul—with the mind and the natural being the brain and the body.

There is, however, a crucial concept which subsumes the categories of body, mind, and soul. This is ‘personality’, which Joad describes as being ‘logically prior’ to the soul, mind, and body as the three elements of our being. He introduces us to this concept by considering the relation of a sonata to its notes, and of nation or society to its members (with a more thorough discussion of mereology).

While Joad does not define logical priority, the basic idea is that the soul (to borrow a phrase from C.D. Broad) is ‘an existent substantive’ which temporarily ‘owns’ or is characterised by the mind, the brain, and the body. Hence any idea that the person is a composite, ‘resulting from the concurrence of a number of parts’ has things the wrong way round. The person, essentially identified with the soul as ‘the seat of personality’, is prior to the ‘parts’—the mind, brain, and body.

It came down to this. C.E.M Joad considered the creeds of a single, materialist, physical order of reality ‘palpably inadequate’, almost meaningless, in explaining the universe and our place within it. ‘Personality’ seemed the only explanation left.

Fifteen years after Joad’s death, the philosophical theologian Francis Schaeffer’s major work, The God Who is There, was published in the USA. Interestingly, Schaeffer there presents ‘personality’ as his core idea. He writes that we have either ‘personality or a devilish din’. Schaeffer had an enormous influence on American society and religion. Among other things. President Ronald Reagan, thirteen years later, ascribed his election victory to Francis Schaeffer.

Joad’s final, almost forgotten book may have been more important than we suppose—but not only for society and religion. The idea of ‘personality’ as being logically prior to all else might become a critical pre-condition for humanity’s survival in the 21st century.

 

Written by Richard W. Symonds – June 2020

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Richard W. Symonds

 

 

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JUNE 7 2020 – PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS – 2: “ZOOM AND GLOOM IN JUNE?”

Young man distracted while on  video call from his home during lockdown

E M FORSTER’S The Machine Stops is a dystopian short story in which he might have imagined a world where humanity might exist in permanent lockdown. Living deep underground in cells, in isolation, finding the company of others repellent, with human needs provided by “the machine” we can read into this story many lessons for today. Life itself in the story has become one long Zoom meeting. Friendship, learning, “travel”, and every aspect of existence are all controlled by and mediated through the Machine. Medication is provided, bathing, indeed everything that is a substitute for human living. Why meet someone face to face when they may be seen on a screen? Why attend a concert when the machine can provide the music? People are aware of the real air and ground above them but it has few attractions away from the comforts of the artificial. A few see the surface as something with the potential for true freedom, relationships , and where hope is found in an older way of living. They discover a way out and explore the surface of the earth. They see how life has been diminished by the Machine, but how dependent the vast majority have become on it.

The title of Foster’s novella might suggest that the “life support” of a diminished human race living in its subterranean cells stops abruptly. The machine however first starts to break down. Communication, the taste of food, the smells hidden by disinfectant, all that the machine provides (or disguises) slowly starts to fail. At first people grudgingly get used to things and pretend it was always so. An atheistic culture soon starts to pray again -not to the ancient gods – but to the machine itself. Does it not sustain them? Does it not promise them that suffering and pain are no more? Its manual becomes the bible for the fearful, who fearing the end, not only of the machine but of themselves. Minds are focussed when the euthanasia function of the machine fails and humanity must once again face death as a reality rather than choice. The end comes when the machine stops. Those who have been to the surface know life exits there, and true humanity will survive and there is at the end a touching moment when a mother and son are symbols of the machine giving way to affection and the naturalness of touch.

The pandemic of the spring of 2020 caused everything to stop, but in so many ways revealed a machine already broken. When our society stopped it masked a simple truth: for a long while it had been breaking down. One factor in the difficulty of starting society up again is how those in power might not have appreciated what is being revealed. A world of work where the slightest error or misjudgement calls for someone to blame combined with a creaking infrastructure, especially in transportation, will gladly stay at home. The many challenges in every area of life that politicians knew needed addressing have now come at once. The changes made by the coalition government are now revealed as more than a fixed term parliament. The Libdem policy of removing politicians from health care (done with obvious good intentions) led to some concluding that the last election was pointless when Public Health England and advisers were running the show. Public health, human relationships between classes and generations, house prices, jobs, secularisation and tensions within institutions and organisations, all would become and remain part of a bigger story. Some will have entered the world imagined by Foster long ago, and recent weeks have made their joy complete. It is interesting how technology is often blamed for causing tension, but like the pandemic it reveals more than we might suppose. We now know that the internet and technology have been invaluable in past weeks, for some a lifeline, for others a virtual world when the real one was closed. Many though now long for what is real. They have seen both the role and place of the means of communication. Increasingly people say to me they long to return to the office, they long for travel, they long for food they haven’t had to cook in the company of friends. I have seen families arriving for funerals who are unsure of where they might sit and how close, and afterwards when the curtain has closed, hugging and becoming close again. In the midst of death life simply being alive puts things in perspective.

For the Church much has been revealed and in a fundamental sense its challenges and the potential for change is no different to any other institution. It has seen centralisation as a way forward given the forces it faces. A secular society will expect a certain language to be spoken if it is to be listened to. Few thought that clergy might be best able to fulfil a useful role in their communities but as is now being stated when track and trace was thought up, no one thought the best place for it in the GPs surgery. As we move to a period of reassurance in order to lure people from their homes a centralised system of care cannot imagine trusting staff on the ground whether or not a face covering is appropriate. When anything becomes too centralised it takes on the characteristics of a machine. Would your child, in hospital, appreciate a nurse in a face covering when the mask is only worn to “give a signal”? The further away decision making and responsibility is taken away from the local the less people matter.

As some criticise the police and they bravely confront the extremities of thousands of protestors at this time most need applauding. To move families from parks was surely not why any entered the force. Those “on the ground” did their best as their superiors got some things right and some things wrong. The sensitive nature of so many staff have made recent months endurable but so many have said to me that the absence of managers is notable.

Above all we have as individuals been revealed during the spring of 2020, and our stories will be different. Many who thought they pulled the levers found they didn’t work. Those who kept working might have found that the absence of constant meetings, advice and emails didn’t make much difference. Companies which have run with fewer staff are finding they can cope with the fewer people who have simply worked a bit harder.

I can only write from my experience, but the one refrain I have heard constantly is the desire for change. In the shops, undertakers, schools, hospitals, delivery services, and all those involved in what we call “key” those on the ground knew their roles. Those at the top know their roles. In between something has broken down. Mending it will be complex and a vital area consideration will be to look at risk and trust. A culture of risk aversion and lack of trust, with a secular agenda to see people as a part of communities of identity can go two ways. It will triumph or past weeks will see its ending. Much needs a reboot.

In The Machine Stops it is a return to the land and fresh air where things begin again. If any ask where was the Church in recent weeks it may have seemed hidden but as its critics will not allow it has been vital. We are all human and make mistakes, and we all have much to learn. Our renewal will come from our foundations, a new awareness of what we are about and for, and I hope a new appreciation of the local and personal. Perhaps the closing of the church doors will in the long run be seen as a positive. I suspect church buildings will now be cherished more, not less and so many would have quietly got on with serving Christ as they put into practice his teaching:

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

David Ackerman (Rev)

June 2020

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JUNE 6 2020 – PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS – 1: “CLOSED CHURCHES AND SILENT BELLS”

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CLOSING CHURCHES

Our Finest hour?

 I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

The Battle of Britain and “the blitz” were campaigns (although viewed as one single offensive by the Nazis) that Sir Winston Churchill knew were more than simply about a conflict between two nations. During the Second World War we fought an ideology, and seventy five years’ ago Churchill spoke from the Ministry of Health balcony to a vast crowd (an ironic location seventy five years on):

The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it”.

One such bomb came down close to St John’s Church, Kensal Green on November 16th 1940 blowing out most of the stained glass in the church and causing severe damage to the roof. In 1944 the church celebrated its centenary. Fr Tipper, Vicar during the war years, recalled many years later the moment he entered his bombed church: “I went into the church with a working man. He was crying and I was too. He said ‘cheer up Father. We’ll build it up again’ and we have done that”. In March at the last assembly in church before schools closed I told the pupils about Fr Tipper He was proud that not one service was cancelled following the bombing, even with a part of the roof blown off and the glass blown out, and as bombs still fell.

Seventy five years after VE Day is a good day to reflect on how much we have changed. Could London “take it” today if bombs came down again? Our risk averse, micro-managed, centralized, committee loving and tick boxing culture – in every area of life – makes the answer uncertain. We should remember, however – as any who has seen darkest hour will know – that had there been no Churchill there may have well been no victory. However much we have changed we are the same nation, as Her Majesty recently said: “the pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future”.  I saw a war time poster recently advising people if they were gassed: wash your hands and go to work. Clearly one thing has changed is the notion of risk.

A renewal

What, I have wondered in recent weeks, would Fr Tipper, let alone Churchill, make of the Church today? In August 1944 Geoffrey Fisher, the then Bishop of London, wrote to Tipper a letter congratulating the church on celebrating its centenary “in the throes of a new period of human history”:

Let this Centenary renew your faith in the unchanging things – God’s love, our redemption in Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in the Church, the duty to bear our faithful witness. For these things your church stands. There, through the ministry of word and sacrament, there in the unity of the Church’s prayer and worship, you are fortified in the grace of God”.

I think Fr Tipper would have found it incomprehensible that a church could be closed, and even more incomprehensible that Geoffrey Fisher would “advise” him to do so. Tipper had served in the first war and knew about both risk and the law, not simply as rules in a book, but as the rule of love that is summarised in Fisher’s letter above.

The Worship of God is a response to His love and a commandment. The celebration together of the Eucharist on the day we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection is a command not a choice; how we bear witness to Christ, the ministry of Word and Sacrament, the Church’s prayer – all spring from the story of redemption. St Paul notes the law often: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5, 22). We live under the law, but the law is only as strong as that which it is based upon and inspired by.

Better Days

It would seem strange to Fr Tipper that Clergy would willingly deny themselves the ability to care so they could stand in solidarity with those at home. In the war he was known for visiting people whose homes had been bombed and many years later upon his retirement it was for this, rather than anything he might have ever preached, that he was remembered. A visit, a word of support, doing what a parish priest has always done.

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge” said The Queen in that memorable address “and those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any”. As footage showed key workers, shop keepers, delivery drivers, nurses, soldiers, and postmen, how good it would have been to see a priest. I cannot describe the profound anger I felt as I feared an aunt might die in hospital , when the Archbishop designate of York suggested clergy should not volunteer to go into hospitals. I cannot comprehend how risk, symbolised by the cross, became something that so overpowering.

Of course prior to this episode relations between clergy and bishops were not ideal. There can be a tension between the needs of a parish and of a diocese. No parish is alike and serving parishes can become a never ending puzzle as to how we can sustain a parochial system with less resources. The more recent addition of national Church institutions adds another layer of complexity. Interestingly Geoffrey Fisher, he of the above letter, was the last to oversee a revision of the Canons, to fit a Church for a new world. He knew put the rules in first and everyone knows what they are doing (he had of course been a Head Master).

Fr Tipper lived in a less complex culture and four years after the war his glebe was purchased by Paddington Borough for housing – it was where the bomb landed. Today three blocks of flats stand on it. His Vicarage is now sold. We should not of course look back to a past generation and be wistful but we can ask the question whether what we think people want is the same thing as the pastoral care they are given. Where people know whom as well as what to turn to relationships are easier, as well of course as the place to visit. In recent weeks I am sure people have been aware of their parish church, and that it has been locked might make people cherish it the more. Might they too become a bit more involved with its life? A little more assertive of what they might attend? It might be a little too traditional for some but if we are to serve the nation a good start would be to listen, and start at the base.

These past weeks have renewed my faith in the unchanging things: God’s love, our redemption in Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and the duty to bear our faithful witness. Like many these past weeks have also taken my mind back to my youth and the church of my youth. The Church of England can be what it once was, with confident clergy in their parishes secure in the knowledge of their roles supported by pastors of all churchmanships, working alongside laity clear in their responsibilities, supported by a diocese that is vital in so many areas. It would be a tragedy if business as usual resumed, there is required now a middle way which is after all a very Anglican way to go.

Her Majesty’s address to the nation was a voice of sanity amidst the fear and confusion. “While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us. Better days will return”. Better days will return and perhaps as we see young people demonstrating against racism in large numbers they have woken up to what previous generations knew. Yes a virus is a risk, but discrimination and not listened to is worse for the vast majority. May they, like Fr Tipper, surveying the many mistakes of a risk averse culture build things up again, and for the better.

David Ackerman

Kensal Green, June 2020

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JUNE 5 2020 – AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN – FROM A CLERGYMAN OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN

My Lord,

Following a year’s suspension you have learnt that you will face proceedings under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure, the tool favoured in past months to threaten clergy if they dared enter their churches. It is reported that proceedings were instituted by Melissa Caslake, the National Head of Safeguarding. Except of course as you know this is not true. The Archbishop of Canterbury has instituted proceedings against you, just as he suspended you. He will be the one who, if a case is found, will “administer discipline”. He is the Archbishop you made your oath of obedience to as a bishop within his province.

As the Measure states:

a person on whom functions in connection with the discipline of persons in Holy Orders are conferred by this Measure shall, in exercising those functions, have due regard to the role in that connection of the bishop or archbishop who, by virtue of his office and consecration, is required to administer discipline”.

You may feel that Melissa Caslake has acted with the highest probity yet only a few days’ ago it was reported that a core group of the National Safeguarding Team has been set up to look into the Dean of Christ Church Oxford, oddly someone whom the Archbishop of Canterbury is at odds. This is against the House of Bishops’ own guidelines.

It must be a difficult job to judge whether someone “failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures”. Any response could be judged as inadequate, but how can we judge best intentions or doing the best as one sees fit at a particular time? How can one be judged fairly? How can anyone judge what an “appropriate” response is? It is hard for a judge to make a window into a man’s soul.

You may feel that you have been treated fairly by the Church of England in making you wait a year to be given the news you have but if you look at Article 6 of the Human Rights Act it says any public hearing (as yours shall be) must be fair. Furthermore it is only fair if:

  • is held within a reasonable time

  • is heard by an independent and impartial decision-maker

  • gives you all the relevant information

  • is open to the public (although the press and public can be excluded for highly sensitive cases)

  • allows you representation and an interpreter where appropriate, and

  • is followed by a public decision.

You also have the right to an explanation of how the court or decision-making authority reached its decision.

No wonder you are bewildered.

Criticisms of bishops for making the decisions they did in the past fail to afford them the rights you have. What they might have thought appropriate would have stood up in the past. But is it something from the past that might prevent you having a fair hearing? The desire perhaps for a living bishop to be paraded about by Justin Welby as an example, given his failures to pin anything on Bishop Bell?

If after disclosures about the National Safeguarding Team being prepared to seek to go for a Dean, are you satisfied your own hearing will be fair? Have you confidence that the Team is independent of bishops? Are you satisfied that the process of clergy discipline is fair? The Archbishop is both judge and jury, and we might also add the CPS. What other organisation would be permitted to act in this way. Will such a process treat you fairly?

Surely you would be a support of clergy everywhere if you challenged the CDM and indeed the role of the National Safeguarding Team on Human Rights grounds. You would become a hero to many if you brought the lot crashing down. Expose the rotten culture of a church in captivity to the vindictiveness of those for whom power has been perverted.

The bishops of the Church of England signed up to “Promoting a Safer Church”, its safeguarding policy, and it says:

The Church of England is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has’.

In March when the Bishops, you excluded, ordered the churches to be closed what happened to “promoting a safer church”? What happened to the vulnerable when bishops ordered clergy to ignore protections in law for the vulnerable set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020:

(5) A person who is responsible for a place of worship must ensure that, during the emergency period, the place of worship is closed, except for uses permitted in paragraph (6).

(6) A place of worship may be used—

(c)to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency).

It meant nothing. Do you think they responded appropriately to the opportunities afforded to churches to serve most in need? Is it not surely they, not you, who should be facing a CDM if not a charge of misconduct in public office?

My Lord, rather than be bewildered, be brave and you may well be the saviour of the Church of England.

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Jan 23 2020 -“SURVIVOR’S STORY: THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SEX ABUSE SCANDAL” – BBC NEWS

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-51207676/survivor-s-story-church-of-england-sex-abuse-scandal

Survivor’s story: Church of England sex abuse scandal

Phil Johnson was groomed and abused by members of the clergy as a schoolboy in Eastbourne during the 1970s and 80s.

His testimony describes how two priests and Bishop Peter Ball abused him.

This is the story of how Peter Ball was eventually brought to justice and a cover-up that went to the highest levels of the Church of England.

You can watch the two-part series ‘Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret‘ on BBC iPlayer here.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this piece please visit the BBC Action Line.

Edited by: Ahmen Khawaja

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MAY 19 2020 – “MEIRION GRIFFITHS: CHICHESTER ABUSE VICAR’S SENTENCE APPEAL DISMISSED” – BBC NEWS

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-52724532

Meirion Griffiths: Chichester abuse vicar’s sentence appeal dismissed

  • 19 May 2020
Meirion GriffithsImage copyright SUSSEX POLICE – Meirion Griffiths appealed against an eight-year sentence

 

A woman who was abused by a vicar when she was a teenager has spoken of her relief his sentence appeal failed.

Julie Macfarlane, who waived her right to anonymity, was assaulted by Meirion Griffiths, 81, in the mid-1970s.

Griffiths, who was jailed for eight years in February, had told her the abuse was “what God wanted”, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

Ms Macfarlane hopes the failure of his appeal will “encourage other victims and survivors to come forward”.

She said she was “delighted and relieved that justice has been done” after three judges dismissed the appeal against his sentence.

At the time of the offences Griffiths was a Church of England vicar at St Pancras Church in Chichester.

He was convicted of four counts of indecently assaulting Ms Macfarlane and another woman.

 

Julie McFarlaneImage caption Julie Macfarlane hopes other victims and survivors of abuse will speak out

He was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against Ms Macfarlane, one of them involving multiple occasions.

She told the BBC she was 16 when she went to Griffiths to discuss doubts about her faith.

“That was when the first of what was a year-long of sexual assaults happened,” she said.

Griffiths was also convicted of two counts of indecent assault against a woman in her mid-20s in 1982.

 

St Pancras Church, ChichesterImage caption Griffiths was a vicar at St Pancras Church at the time of the offences

He was found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault, one against each of the women.

Before he was arrested he had moved to Perth in Australia from Chichester, in West Sussex, and was extradited to the UK to face justice.

Prosecutor Richard Witcombe said Griffiths, who was married with two children, targeted Ms Macfarlane when she attended bible classes and social groups at his church.

The court also heard Griffiths abused her while teaching her to drive and during trips to the beach he took off all his clothes while swimming.

“As a result of gaining her trust, he was able to abuse her… telling her it was what God wanted,” Mr Witcombe said.

In a statement issued when Griffiths was sentenced, the Diocese of Chichester said both victims had showed “great courage in coming forward”.

Expressing its “deep sense of sorrow”, it added: “All cases of sexual abuse are a great betrayal.

“Where it has happened, it must be brought into the light so that justice can be done.”

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MAY 28 2020 – CHRIST CHURCH AT WAR – PRIVATE EYE

https://www.private-eye.co.uk/in-the-back

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Christ Church at war

Oxford by gaslight, Issue 1522

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OXFORD BLUES: Dr Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, who is being hounded by a cabal of disgruntled dons and ex-dons

THE dean of Christ Church, Oxford, has a unique double status: head of a major university college and senior resident cleric at the city’s cathedral. As the current incumbent the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy is learning, two jobs also mean twice the opportunities for a cabal of disgruntled dons and ex-dons who want to force him out.

War was publicly declared in September 2018, when seven of them formally accused Percy of “conduct of an immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature” – the wording that justifies removal from office under college statutes (Eye 1484). The governing body duly suspended him and set up an internal tribunal, chaired by the retired high court judge Sir Andrew Smith. The college said the dispute “relates to issues surrounding the dean’s own pay and how it is set”, without explaining how that could be immoral or scandalous.

Percy had indeed proposed a pay review for himself, and for the treasurer and bursar. But his enemies were plotting well before that. The old guard didn’t see Percy – adopted, and from a humble background – as “one of us”. They were also infuriated by his attempts to modernise the college’s safeguarding practices, following a violent incident involving a student.

The sword of truth

Internal emails seen by Sir Andrew Smith revealed what the judge called “distinct hostility” from a clique of former “Censors”, the academics who regulate the college’s academic and social life. “He’s got to go,” an emeritus professor wrote in an email to cronies. “Does anyone know any good poisoners?” Another commented: “Just think of the Inspector Morse episode we could make when his wrinkly withered little body is found at Osney Lock.”

Sir Andrew Smith’s inquiry, completed last August, rejected all charges against the dean. His 110-page report, which the Eye has seen, often seems bemused by the whole affair: “I find it difficult to understand the real complaints… I cannot understand the Prosecutor’s reasoning… Nor can I understand how the dean can be said to be guilty of culpable behaviour, still less immoral, scandalous or disgraceful conduct.”

When the Censors read the report, they promptly lived up to their name by announcing that the rest of the governing body would get only a heavily redacted version. But college alumnus Revd Jonathan Aitken then deployed the sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play. Outraged that a “small cabal of anti-dean dons” were suppressing the report, in February this year he sent unredacted copies to all 60 governors. Within half an hour they had an email from the panic-stricken Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson, ordering them to “immediately delete the email from Mr Aitken”.

 

‘Safeguarding concerns’

Despite being fully vindicated, Martyn Percy is left with legal bills of more than £400,000 – and because there is no internal grievance process available to him, the only resort is to an employment tribunal to recover his costs. But he is still dean. Having failed to oust him using college statutes, Percy’s nemeses have now turned to the Church of England to do the job for them. Early this year they alerted church authorities to “very serious safeguarding concerns” about him. The new allegation is that on four occasions students had told Percy that they had been abused, but he didn’t report this to the local authority.

The former students were all adults, and not otherwise vulnerable. Percy’s pastoral role was to listen and offer counsel. He gave them the option to pursue their case within or beyond the college. In the end they chose not to, and he respected their wish for confidentiality. The students made no complaint about the dean. But the word “safeguarding” sends the Church of England’s leadership into a spin, as his detractors presumably knew. The wily Censors went directly to the National Safeguarding Team rather than the local diocese in Oxford. They also retained the church’s own lawyers, Winkworth Sherwood – and hired its favourite PR firm, Luther Pendragon, to brief selected hacks.

Scores to settle

Yet Percy is not accused of breaching any C of E safeguarding protocols. Nor does he even work for the Church of England: he is employed directly by Christ Church, Oxford. Only a few months ago the National Safeguarding Team declined to take action against Revd Jonathan Fletcher, a proven serial abuser, on the grounds that he didn’t technically work for the C of E, even though he had been a parish priest for 35 years (Eye 1513).

With Percy, however, there were scores to settle. The dean is not much loved in Church House Westminster, having helped to expose its mishandling of the false allegations against Bishop George Bell (an alumnus of Christ Church). Instead of telling the college to sort itself out, the C of E has decided to form one of its notorious Core Groups. The Core Group convened to deal with the Percy problem appears to breach the House of Bishops’ own rules. These say that if a complaint is made against someone who is engaged in a statutory process (such as an employment tribunal), that must be completed before the church has its go. Percy’s employment case will not be heard until the autumn of 2021.

The church has swept aside these obstacles and set up a secretive investigation. The dean himself is not represented on the Core Group, and not allowed to know who is on it or when it meets. But two of the complainants from the college, including Senior Censor Geraldine Johnson, are members. It is hard to see what the group can achieve. It can’t question the students whose safeguarding issues the dean allegedly mishandled, since they did not make any complaints and their identity is not known. It can’t ask the dean, since the students spoke to him in confidence. And it can’t see Sir Andrew Smith’s report exonerating the dean, because the Censors have censored it.

The National Safeguarding Team has now asked Dean Percy to stand down during the inquiry, even though nobody believes he poses a risk to anyone. Professor Johnson has indicated that if Percy is still in post when the governing body next meets, she will put a notice on the college’s website to the effect that Christ Church’s safeguarding protocols are all robust except in respect of the dean – richly ironic, given that one of the Censors’ previous complaints about Percy was that he wanted them to take their safeguarding responsibilities more seriously.

 

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ COMMENTS

RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

This is beyond shocking…”Christ Church At War” – Private Eye

“But the word “safeguarding” sends the Church of England’s leadership into a spin, as his detractors presumably knew. The wily Censors went directly to the National Safeguarding Team rather than the local diocese in Oxford. They also retained the church’s own lawyers, Winkworth Sherwood – and hired its favourite PR firm, Luther Pendragon, to brief selected hacks.

“Yet Percy is not accused of breaching any C of E safeguarding protocols. Nor does he even work for the Church of England: he is employed directly by Christ Church, Oxford. Only a few months ago the National Safeguarding Team declined to take action against Revd Jonathan Fletcher, a proven serial abuser, on the grounds that he didn’t technically work for the C of E, even though he had been a parish priest for 35 years (Eye 1513).

“With Percy, however, there were scores to settle. The dean is not much loved in Church House Westminster, having helped to expose its mishandling of the false allegations against Bishop George Bell(an alumnus of Christ Church).

“Instead of telling the college to sort itself out, the C of E has decided to form one of its notorious Core Groups. The Core Group convened to deal with the Percy problem appears to breach the House of Bishops’ own rules. These say that if a complaint is made against someone who is engaged in a statutory process (such as an employment tribunal), that must be completed before the church has its go. Percy’s employment case will not be heard until the autumn of 2021.

“The church has swept aside these obstacles and set up a secretive investigation. The dean himself is not represented on the Core Group, and not allowed to know who is on it or when it meets. But two of the complainants from the college, including Senior Censor Geraldine Johnson, are members”

The Church ‘Bell’ Core Group was a kangaroo court made up of moral and legal incompetents who casually dispensed with the presumption of innocence for Bishop Bell and wantonly threw him under the bus in a despicable act of character assassination and injustice.

There seems little difference between the ‘Bell’ Core Group and the ‘Percy’ Core Group.

I’m afraid to say the fish stinks from the head down in the Church of England which has become institutionally corrupt.

 

RICHARD SCORER

Some really important points in the Private Eye piece. As a lawyer for victims and survivors in IICSA I have said repeatedly that unless safeguarding complaints are dealt with by an independent body external to the church, the suspicion will always arise that safeguarding is being used as a vehicle to settle theological and political scores. The understandable concern expressed here is that Church House has it in for Martyn Percy because of his campaigning over Bell. Victims and survivors of abuse similarly mistrust church processes and core groups. Nobody, whether abuse complainant or those accused of abuse or safeguarding breaches, will have confidence in investigative processes whilst these remain in-house. They need to be handled by a fully independent body.

 

RICHARD W. SYMONDS

“The understandable concern expressed here is that Church House has it in for Martyn Percy because of his campaigning over Bell”

What is less understandable, but equally of deepest concern, is why Church House still has it in for Bishop George Bell. They had no such problem with Bishop Peter Ball at the time.

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

May 25 2020 – “Row over Oxford Dean” – Daily Telegraph Letters – Brian Martin and Jimmy James

IMG_6063 (1)

Daily Telegraph Letters [May 25 2020] kindly provided by Jimmy James – on request

May 28 2020  – Thinking Anglicans – Christ Church makes safeguarding accusations against Dean

 

The Church of England prong has been reported in Private Eye, and is an altogether more concerning development, for it alleges “very serious safeguarding concerns”, which, as we know, ring alarm bells in the Church louder than bombs over England. But instead of informing Christ Church’s Governing Body that the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has no jurisdiction in this matter; and instead of informing them that an NST investigation would be ultra vires and in breach of a number of the House of Bishops’ own guidelines, the church has determined to establish a ‘Core Group’ to examine these alleged “very serious safeguarding concerns” against Martyn Percy.

Just like they did for Bishop George Bell, where the conflicts of interest of certain members of that ‘Core Group’ were manifest; and the notable exclusion of an advocate for the dead Bishop and his descendants was a clear breach of natural justice.

You would think that the National Safeguarding Team, now under the new leadership of Ms Melissa Caslake at Church House, might have learned from their past mistakes. But no: the ‘Core Group’ convened by Ms Caslake reportedly includes at least two members of Christ Church’s Governing Body (who may have slight conflicts of interest); and excludes any advocate for Martyn Percy (which may constitute a slight breach of natural justice). The make-up of the group hasn’t been disclosed the Dean: its membership is secret, except to the two members of the Governing Body.

Quite why the Church of England is prepared to collude in a chronic campaign of bullying against the Dean of Christ Church is a mystery. The mere establishing of this ‘Core Group’, in contravention of its own guidelines, constitutes harassment: the NST can’t create a bespoke investigatory process for Martyn Percy – who isn’t even an employee of the Church – without defaming him further. What exactly are these “very serious safeguarding concerns” which merit a quasi-judicial process which bypasses established guidelines, contravenes basic principles of natural justice, and ignores the law on defamation?

And yet, setting aside the fact that the Dean of Christ Church is not an office-holder of the Church of England; and setting aside the fact that the safeguarding disclosures all concerned adults (not undergraduates); and setting aside the fact that none of them has complained about the Dean or his conduct; and setting aside the fact that there has been no internal investigation at Christ Church which has established “a consistent lack of moral compass”; and setting aside the fact that the Employment Tribunal process needs to have been completed before any investigation may be initiated, the Church of England has indeed convened a ‘Core Group’, which its own guidance says it must do:

Martyn Percy is not accused of any of these behaviours or crimes, but the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England has now smeared him with the whiff of possibility.

The only evidence of  “a consistent lack of moral compass” in this whole sorry saga is that manifest by the conduct of certain members of the Governing Body of Christ Church, along with the consistent moral failures and poor legal judgment of the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England. The only compass points which might touch upon Martyn Percy are his being driven mad north-north-west.

 

– 1 –
The Rt Hon. The Baroness Stowell of Beeston, MBE
Chair of the Charity Commission
102 Petty France, Westminster
London SW1H 9AJ

By post and email to chair@charitycommission.gov.uk
cc helen.stephenson@charitycommission.gov.uk

As from Mr Andrew Graystone, 17 Rushford Avenue, Manchester M192HG
andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com

Wednesday 27th May 2020

Dear Lady Stowell

You recently received a letter from some individual trustees of Christ Church Oxford
making a series of allegations against their Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy.
We wish to express our confidence in Martyn Percy. We know him in our various capacities,
as a man of consistently good character, an exceptional scholar, a respected public servant,
and an outstanding Christian leader.
We do not speculate on the reasons why some members of the Governing Body of Christ
Church wish to go to such extreme lengths to destroy the reputation of their Dean and
to break his spirit. But we do know that :
• The recent letter is the latest episode in a sustained campaign against the Dean
led by senior members of the college Governing Body since his appointment.
• The specific allegations against Martyn Percy have changed over time, but each
allegation has been disproved. In August of last year Dean Percy was wholly
exonerated after an extensive investigation by Sir Andrew Smith, a retired High
Court judge.
– 2 –
• The signatories of the letter are far from objective. Several of them were revealed
by Sir Andrew to have employed devious methods and offensive language in their
efforts to break his resolve, and some will be parties to an Employment Tribunal to
be heard next year.
• The grievances in the letter are a set of untested and gratuitous assertions for
which no evidence is provided.
• The insinuation that Dean Percy personally represents a safeguarding risk
is abhorrent and wholly unjustified.
• The suggestion that he “lacks a moral compass” is so far from the truth as to
be laughable, were it not so insulting.
We believe that Martyn Percy is a victim of gross injustice and malice. We wish to see
this damaging business resolved justly, and with the minimum delay, so that he can
continue to exercise his gifts in leading Christ Church.

Respectfully yours,

Professor Malcolm Airs OBE Emeritus Fellow, Kellogg College Oxford
The Revd Jonathan Aitken Christ Church alumnus
The Venerable Christine Allsopp Archdeacon emeritus
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry High Steward of Banbury
Simon Barrow Director, Ekklesia
The Revd Canon Sue Booys Team Rector, Dorchester Team Ministry
Simon Broadbent Chair, The Ainstable Trust
The Revd Canon Andrew Bunch Vicar of St Giles’ and St Margaret’s, Oxford
The Venerable Gavin Collins Archdeacon of the Meon
The Revd Canon Rod Cosh Chaplain, St Monica Trust
Richard Dick Former High Sheriff of Oxfordshire
Canon Barbara Doubtfire Canon Emeritus, Christ Church Oxford
The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord Carey of Clifton Former Archbishop of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Anthony Dickinson
Anglican Chaplain in Genoa,
Canon Emeritus, Christ Church Oxford
The Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper General Secretary, Modern Church
The Rt Revd Vivienne Faull Bishop of Bristol
– 3 –
The Revd Canon Professor Paul S. Fiddes Professor of Systematic Theology,
University of Oxford and Principal Emeritus,
Regent’s Park College, Oxford
The Rt Hon Frank Field
The Rt Revd Jeremy Greaves, Bishop for the Northern Region,
Diocese of Brisbane
The Revd Canon Christopher Hall Canon Emeritus of Christ Church Oxford
The Revd Canon Rosie Harper
Vicar, Great Missenden
Honorary Canon of Christ Church Oxford
Dr Adrian Hilton, Chairman of the Academic Council,
The Margaret Thatcher Centre
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Lord Bishop of Salisbury
The Very Revd Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral
The Revd Dr T C Keighley Co-ordinator, Martyn Percy Support Fund
David Lamming Member of General Synod
The Revd Ruth Lampard
The Revd Andrew Lightbown Rector of the Winslow Benefice
Lord Lisvane
The Revd Lady Lisvane former High Sheriff of Herefordshire
Deborah Loudon
Professor Gordon Lynch Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern
Theology, University of Kent
The Very Revd Ian S. Markham, Dean and president of Virginia Theological
Seminary
Dr Katie McKeogh, New College Oxford
The Revd Canon Tom Moffatt Canon Emeritus, Christ Church Oxford
The Venerable John Morrison Former Archdeacon of Oxford
Hon Canon Emeritus, Christ Church Oxford
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn Dean of Southwark
The Rev’d Dr Steven Ogden Principal, St Francis Anglican Theological
College, Brisbane
Jayne Ozanne, Director, Ozanne Foundation
Member of General Synod
The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos Dean of Salisbury
Rt Revd Professor Stephen Pickard Charles Sturt University, Australia
– 4 –
Canon Nick Ralph Residentiary canon at Portsmouth
Cathedral
Sir Ivor Roberts
Former ambassador and former President
of Trinity College Oxford
Lady Elizabeth Roberts Trinity College Oxford
The Very Revd Michael Sadgrove Dean Emeritus of Durham
Simon Sarmiento Churchwarden, Knaresborough
Richard Scorer Head of Abuse Law, Slater & Gordon
Martin Sewell Member of General Synod
Canon Brian Shenton Canon Emeritus, Christ Church Oxford
The Revd Canon Vincent Strudwick, Canon Emeritus Christ Church Oxford
Honorary Fellow Emeritus, Kellogg College
The Revd Ian Tattum Area Dean, Wandsworth
Dr Anna Thomas-Betts MBE
The Revd Angela Tilby Canon Emeritus Christ Church Oxford
Professor Iain R Torrence Pro-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen
Terry Waite CBE
Professor Pete Ward Professor of Practical Theology, Durham
University
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson Bishop of Buckingham
The Very Revd Christine Wilson Dean of Lincoln
Professor Linda Woodhead MBE Distinguished Professor, University of
Lancaster

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May 27 2020 – THE BISHOPS’ DILEMMA IN TWO ORDERS OF REALITY

House-of-Bishops-2

C/E Bishops and Moral Outrage

“I have argued for a long while that the bishops of the Church of England exercise oversight over an institution, at times severely compromised.  Our Church seems to operate on two levels, and it needs leadership for both these aspects.   The first is the theological or ideal aspect.  This attempts to embody and articulate the spirit and the ethos of its founder.  Thus, the Church would be expected to enrich us all by being a place of reconciliation, healing, forgiveness and joy.  The other aspect of the Church is the physical reality of its institutional embodiment.  This involves buildings, money and power.  It is extremely hard for this second dimension of the Church’s existence to remain anywhere approaching moral perfection.   Whenever power and money come into any situation, there will almost inevitably be conflict of some kind.  In the Church’s institutional life, as we constantly remind our readers, power games are often played, selfishness is common, and people are often exploited and treated badly.  You expect such behaviour in institutions in general, but somehow you always hope that the Church will operate according to a different set of rules and values.  Sadly this does not seem to be the case”

Stephen Parsons

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MAY 27 2020 – JOSEPH SHAW ON ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY AND BISHOP GEORGE BELL

IMG_6047

St. Margaret’s Parish Church in Ifield Village

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/wheres-the-moral-outrage-from-the-christian-left-while-being-locked-out-of-their-churches

Referring to the government’s message about public health, he [Archbishop Welby] told the press that “by closing the churches, we make a powerful symbol of the need to listen to that message.”

I’m not someone who has called for people to flout the government’s guidelines, but going beyond them in this extraordinary way seems to me a powerful symbol of the Church of England’s worship of the idol of “health and safety.”

This isn’t the first time Welby has jumped on a bandwagon without engaging his brain. He condemned the long-dead and much-revered Bishop George Bell of Chichester for child abuse, without bothering to find out if the accusation was credible, a condemnation now criticized by a succession of official reports. Welby has found it difficult to apologize to Bell’s relations, who were understandably furious. Perhaps he was hoping his zeal in criticizing the dead would counter-balance Anglican failures to deal with Peter Ball, a living Anglican bishop actually imprisoned for sexual abuse.

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May 22 2020 – “NINTH COMMANDMENT CONCERNS ABOUT THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER” – ANGLICAN LINK

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Richard Symonds of The Bell Society believes the General Synod of the Church of England and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse should investigate the Bishop of Chichester for being “economic with the truth” in his statements on his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. He writes:

 

Sir:

The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 – Fiona Scolding QC: “The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: ‘There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.’ What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner: “The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

Mr. David Lamming, Church of England’s General Synod Member representing St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich, further comments: ‘Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see…Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.’

At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?”’

This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”’

His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.’

In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016, asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”’

This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds, The Bell Society

Ifield Village, Crawley-Gatwick, West Sussex RH11 0NN
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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MAY 22 2020 – “IS THE PRESENT LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER [MARTIN WARNER] IN LOCKDOWN AND IN DENIAL ABOUT A PAST LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER [GEORGE BELL]?

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Is the present Lord Bishop of Chichester [Martin Warner] in lockdown and in denial about a past Lord Bishop of Chichester [George Bell]?

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MAY 19 2020 – BISHOP GEORGE BELL AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND’S MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

IMG_6013

St. Margaret’s 13th Century Parish Church in Ifield Village – RWS Photography – May 19 2020AD

The following exchange of comments on ‘Thinking Anglicans’ suggest the present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner was ‘economic with the truth’ in either 2016 or 2018.

Either way, the IICSA – and the General Synod – should investigate a serious breach of the law which has contributed to a serious miscarriage of justice.

Mr Richard W. Symonds of the Bell Society comments:

‘The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/jan-13-2019-from-the-archives-iicsa-march-2018/

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21

Fiona Scolding QC

“The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: ‘There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.’ What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

“The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

 

Mr. David Lamming, Church of England’s General Synod Member representing St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich, comments :
‘Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see…Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.
‘At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?”
‘This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”
‘His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.
‘In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016, asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”
‘This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”
The full exchange of Qs and As at General Synod can be read in the Report of Proceedings, July 2016, at pages 58-59:
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/July%202016%20Report%20of%20Proceedings%20w.index_.pdf’
Richard W. Symonds ~ The Bell Society

 

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MAY 17 2020 – ECCLESIASTICAL AND ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Ecclesiastical-Insurance-Logo-for-website

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

 

Richard W. Symonds

Janet Fife
Kate

Richard W. Symonds

Think about it Kate. Ecclesiastical – as Church of England’s principal insurers – would have advised on the insurance claim of ‘Carol’ who claimed Bishop Bell abused her as a child. A “kangaroo court” was set up by the Church. She was compensated with a payment of £16,000+. Two extensive legal investigations [Carlile & Briden] have concluded the allegations of ‘Carol’ were unfounded.

One can be forgiven for assuming Ecclesiastical have advised the Church not to formally apologise and fully exonerate Bishop Bell for its part in his character assassination – probably because of the likely claims for considerable damages (eg by Bishop Bell’s niece and others)

We should be regularly reminded of what Revd Graham Sawyer said at the IICSA two years ago [July 2018]:

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by [Bishop] Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

So, Establishment ‘cover-up’ is an art form in the Church of England – of which Ecclesiastical is an integral part [as ‘Gilo’ clearly points out in his carefully-researched ‘Surviving Church’ article].

Will the Establishment figure of Sir Stephen Lamport [‘parachuted in’ to improve the image of two pillars of the Establishment – Ecclesiastical and the Church of England] help to right the wrongs done to victims and survivors of sexual abuse – and victims and survivors of those falsely (or wrongly) accused of sexual abuse?

It would be nice to think so, but I think there’s more chance of seeing flying pigs getting landing rights here at Gatwick.

 

Rowland Wateridge

I’m not sure that there was any insurance cover in that case. The church’s own ‘investigation’ as summarised in Lord Carlyle’s report very much indicates that it was handled wholly in-house, albeit in an utterly shambolic and amateur fashion, without using external expert forensic and legal services.

 

Richard W. Symonds in ‘Thinking Anglicans’

As far as I know, there was no insurance cover, but as Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/jan-13-2019-from-the-archives-iicsa-march-2018/

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21

Fiona Scolding QC

“The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: “There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.” What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

“The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

 

Rowland Wateridge

Kate
Oh, they probably have been involved in the past but you said, “The success of Sir Stephen Lamport’s ‘parachute jump’ into the Church of England Establishment will be measured, by me, on how he deals with the monstrous, continuing injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.” Looking forwards, I stilldon’t see how Ecclesiastical as insurer is involved in what is essentially a closed matter and, even if they are, why a non-exec would get involved.
Richard W. Symonds
Then I can’t help you Kate.
David Lamming

Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see the link below in Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.

At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?” This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”

His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.

In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016,asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”

This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”

The full exchange of Qs and As at General Synod can be read in the Report of Proceedings, July 2016, at pages 58-59:
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/July%202016%20Report%20of%20Proceedings%20w.index_.pdf

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“PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN PERIL”

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https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2020/may/08/bret-stephens-presumption-of-innocence-/

“Belief in the absence of convincing evidence is a form of religion. It should not be a part of our legal system, confirmation hearings, campus codes or political campaigns. What I do believe in is the presumption of innocence, whether in courts of law or public opinion, and in high standards of proof for high sorts of crime”

Bret Stephens

 

The justice system has worked effectively in finding insufficient evidence to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“The battle against corruption is very important, but it can’t come at the expense of the battle for human rights and the right of defendants. We have to educate ourselves as a society that a person cannot be penalized before he is convicted by a court. A presumption of innocence is one of the most important principles of criminal law”

~ Prof. Menachem Mautner, a leading expert on Israel’s constitutional law and the author of a book on Liberalism in Israel

 

“At the core of this basic premise of human rights is that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless and until his or her guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt. The idea of innocence is not dialogue written for a series based on the law. It is law.  It is the job of the accuser, or the prosecutor, to prove that the crime was committed.  That the accused is guilty of committing that crime”

~ Jacquie Kubin

 

“In America, everyone who is accused of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent.  It’s also true that accusations of criminal behavior are investigated. That should be done with every case of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape.  Every single one.  It starts with believing the survivor, but does not end there.  To suggest that believing them means convicting the accused overlooks legal protections beginning with the presumption of innocence and going on to the right to confront your accuser and evidence offered and so on.

Me Too became a thing because mostly privileged men pretty much had immunity from prosecution for rape and other sex crimes.  Then we saw some high profile convictions, such as those of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.  Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial he died in prison.  The survivors in all these cases had to fight decades just to get their day in court.

And yet, as Christine Pelosi pointed out in a thread on Twitter, the process for investigating alleged sexual misconduct by members of the Senate or the House is broken.

– Adalia Woodbury

 

“We can continue to combat sexual misconduct without abandoning our core values of fairness, presumption of innocence and due process”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

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“CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL MARKS 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY” – EASTBOURNE HERALD – MAY 8 2020

IMG_5801

Bishop of Chichester George Bell receiving the Freedom of the City from the Mayor of Chichester Alice Eastland in 1954 [Source: ‘Chichester in the 1960’s’ by Alan H.J. Green – History Press 2015]

“CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL MARKS 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY” – EASTBOURNE HERALD – MAY 8 2020

The Very Rev Stephen Waine said:

“Communities around the country had events planned for VE Day which have now been cancelled, including Chichester Cathedral.

“We are delighted to offer this online service for those at home, as well as to be encouraging people to take part in the Big Picnic For Hope, as a way of remembering the heroes of the past and present.”

~ Phil Hewitt – Eastbourne Herald

 

LETTER SUBMISSION – MAY 8 2020

Dear Editor

Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Rev Stephen Waine, says [‘Chichester Cathedral marks 75th Anniversary of VE Day’, Eastbourne Herald, May 8)

“We are delighted to offer this online service for those at home, as well as to be encouraging people to take part in the Big Picnic For Hope, as a way of remembering the heroes of the past and present”

With hope, I will also be remembering a past hero – George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – one of the greatest and bravest wartime bishops of the 20th century.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

 

 

RESPONSES TO LETTER SUBMISSION

 

“Thank you for sending me this. I am sure it will not be given a fervent welcome, either in the Deanery or in the Bishop’s residence. I’m afraid that Martin Warner’s seemingly total lack of a conscience, or of an understanding of the requirements of justice, leaves me ever more frustrated”

Revd B

 

 

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“PELL DECISION SHOWS THE LEGAL SYSTEM IS WORKING, BUT IT IS NOT THE RIGHT SYSTEM”

justice4

 

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/trials-appeals-compensation/927696/pell-decision-shows-the-legal-system-is-working-but–it-is-not-the-right-system

In freeing George Pell, the High Court did not change the law. It did not render jury trials meaningless. That is so, whether you agree or disagree with the factual conclusion it reached after imposing its own opinion about the evidence in place of the jury’s in Pell’s trial.

The court did, however, plant a flag firmly in the sand. Its emphatic declaration, made with the full force of seven judge unanimity, was this: the criminal law of Australia makes no special allowances for allegations of historical sexual violence against children. Sexual violence, whenever it happened, however frequently and insidiously and whoever were its victims, will be treated no differently from any other category of crime.

This is the watershed moment for our society. The highest court has confirmed, definitively, the status quo of the law. A person, powerful or not, accused of a sexual crime, is entitled to the identical protections as any criminal defendant. These are the presumption of innocence; the protection of the prosecution’s burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt; and, most critically, the right to silence.

We knew this already, but now we can’t ignore it. The questions it leaves are these: are we content to continue with a criminal justice system which makes it almost impossible for victims of sexual violence, particularly those who come forward many years later, to see their perpetrators convicted? Is it satisfactory that most victims will never come forward at all, because they can see that it will be they who are put on trial?

These are uncomfortable questions. They are rooted in fact. Sexual crimes are massively under-reported; complainants are inevitably retraumatised by the criminal justice process; convictions are incredibly difficult to secure. None of these facts engage a conspiracy theory about the rich and powerful. They’re plain, incontrovertible facts.

If this is not okay, then we are wasting our time arguing over the minutiae of the movements of Monsignor Portelli on any given Sunday at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The system that ultimately freed Pell worked, within the parameters by which it has operated since it was invented. There was doubt, sufficient for the High Court anyway, and the conviction could not stand.

So forget that system; it doesn’t work. Not because the High Court got it wrong, but because the system’s design does not fit crimes of sexual violence, especially those committed by perpetrators exploiting a position of trust or authority.

Personally, I do not think the problem is with the criminal standard of proof. Beyond reasonable doubt is an extremely high hurdle, but it should be. Nobody should be punished for a crime if it is not satisfied.

Nor is the presumption of innocence the wrong way around. Like many advocates, I start from the position of believing every complainant who alleges sexual violence. It doesn’t follow, however, that the accused person should have to prove their innocence. Most assaults occur without witnesses or unequivocally damning forensic evidence, and the benefit of doubt must still fall in favour of not putting innocent people in prison.

I think the root of our problem is the adversarial justice system itself. There are many other issues — cultural, educational, police training, rules of evidence and the drafting of sexual violence laws. But what goes wrong at a fundamental level is the reality of who is on trial.

In the adversarial system, the burden is entirely on the prosecution to prove guilt. The accused has no obligation to play any role at all in their own trial, beyond pleading that they are not guilty (they don’t even have to declare their innocence). After the plea, they can sit back and let the prosecutor rip. If they can manage to raise a reasonable doubt and the prosecution can’t find a way to defeat it, then acquittal must result. And they can get there without saying a word.

Pell took that course, as was his right. He did not give evidence at his own trial; his version of events has never been revealed. All we know is what he said at a press conference, rather than under oath: that the crimes never happened.

No criticism of Pell; he was entitled to take that course and it ultimately succeeded for him. But there is an alternative we could consider.

If, instead of the adversarial system, we adopted an inquisitorial one, then the emphasis would shift from a one-side contest of proving guilt on a legal standard, to a singular focus on getting to the truth. In that type of system, all parties have the same role: to assist the court to get to the bottom of the matter, and determine what actually happened

In such a set-up, a person accused of a crime of sexual violence would maintain the protection of the presumption of innocence and still could not be found guilty except beyond reasonable doubt, but they would be stripped of their right to remain silent. They would be obliged to respond; to tell their side of the story, to face cross-examination, to have their credibility tested alongside that of their accuser.

Before the howls of outrage begin, remember two things: first, what victims consistently say is that they want to feel heard. That does not happen when the only person being questioned, tested, challenged and disbelieved, throughout the entire process, is them. A justice process that causes more trauma to the victims it means to protect is not just.

Second, what I said before. What we have doesn’t work. Unless we don’t particularly care about delivering justice for the legions of victims of sexual violence among us, then something has to fundamentally shift.

If it ain’t broken don’t fix it? Well, it’s broken.

We do not disclaim anything about this article. We’re quite proud of it really.

AUTHOR(S)

Michael Bradley
Marque Lawyers

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration from Australia

George Pell not guilty of child sexual offences, High Court finds

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

The justice system has worked effectively in finding insufficient evidence to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“The battle against corruption is very important, but it can’t come at the expense of the battle for human rights and the right of defendants. We have to educate ourselves as a society that a person cannot be penalized before he is convicted by a court. A presumption of innocence is one of the most important principles of criminal law”

~ Prof. Menachem Mautner, a leading expert on Israel’s constitutional law and the author of a book on Liberalism in Israel

 

“At the core of this basic premise of human rights is that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless and until his or her guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt. The idea of innocence is not dialogue written for a series based on the law. It is law.  It is the job of the accuser, or the prosecutor, to prove that the crime was committed.  That the accused is guilty of committing that crime”

~ Jacquie Kubin

 

“In America, everyone who is accused of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent.  It’s also true that accusations of criminal behavior are investigated. That should be done with every case of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape.  Every single one.  It starts with believing the survivor, but does not end there.  To suggest that believing them means convicting the accused overlooks legal protections beginning with the presumption of innocence and going on to the right to confront your accuser and evidence offered and so on.

Me Too became a thing because mostly privileged men pretty much had immunity from prosecution for rape and other sex crimes.  Then we saw some high profile convictions, such as those of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.  Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial he died in prison.  The survivors in all these cases had to fight decades just to get their day in court.

And yet, as Christine Pelosi pointed out in a thread on Twitter, the process for investigating alleged sexual misconduct by members of the Senate or the House is broken.

– Adalia Woodbury

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‘BUILDING BRIDGES’ LETTER SUBMISSION

keep-rebuilding-bridges-working

 

Dear Editor

While full legal investigations concluded sex abuse allegations were well-founded against the now-deceased former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball, full legal investigations concluded sex abuse allegations were unfounded against the long-deceased wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.
Bridges must be built between victims of sexual abuse and victims falsely accused of sexual abuse.
A just and compassionate response is required on both sides.
Might this now be a good time to let go of the past to avert an already deeply divisive schism between these two sides? We cannot change the past, but we can move forward by making justice and compassion the foundation-stones for a better future.
Proof of innocence for those accused of sexual abuse is not possible – only a ‘not guilty’ verdict – so it is critical due process of law and the presumption of innocence are followed to prevent miscarriages of justice.
Is it possible to have two presumptions – the presumption of innocence for alleged sexual abusers and the presumption of truth for survivors of sexual abuse?
If that’s the very best we can do – let’s do it.
Yours sincerely
Richard W. Symonds
dims-4
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“THE LEGAL CASES OF CARDINAL GEORGE PELL AND BISHOP GEORGE BELL ARE VERY DIFFERENT, BUT THERE ARE PARALLELS WHICH CANNOT BE IGNORED – SUCH AS THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN THE ENDLESS QUEST FOR JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS” ~ Richard W. Symonds

“The legal cases of Cardinal George Pell and Bishop George Bell are very different, but there are parallels which cannot be ignored – such as the critical importance of Presumption of Innocence in the endless quest for justice and fairness”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

April 20 2020 – “Cardinal Pell: Natural and Inalienable Rights” – ‘Philosophical Investigations’

 

justice4

Monday, 20 April 2020

Cardinal Pell: Natural and Inalienable Rights

by Richard W. Symonds

The Church of St Cyriac, Lacock, by GB_1984

The principle of the presumption of innocence is of extreme importance, and the case of Cardinal George Pell has implications for the respect for—and security of—this principle.That one is considered innocent until proven guilty is a vital pre-condition for our survival and well-being within a civilised society. Undermining such jurisprudence can lead to catastrophic miscarriages of justice which ultimately threaten our humanity—in fact, yours and mine.

The accused is not required to defend or prove their innocence—it is for the accuser to prove guilt—beyond reasonable doubt. It is one of the foundational legal principles—a bedrock of our civilisation: ‘The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies’. Or Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat in the ancient Latin.

Presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and an international human right embodied under Article 11 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A just law must be a fair law, which punishes the guilty, not the innocent. Presumption of innocence is an immunity against unjust accusations.

In the case of Cardinal George Pell, a disturbing and dislocating miscarriage of justice has been exposed within Australia’s justice system—and presumption of innocence was almost lethally compromised and undermined.

A basic history of events—a timelined chronology if you will—would help:

• July 16 1996 — Bishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. A former choirboy later testifies that the bishop molested him and his friend—both aged 13—in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne that year, after Mass.
• March 26 2001 — Archbishop Pell becomes Archbishop of Sydney.
• October 21 2003 — Pope John Paul II makes Archbishop Pell a Cardinal.
• February 25 2014 — Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Pell as his Finance Minister — Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.
• April 8 2014 — One of the choirboys dies aged 31, of a heroin overdose, without alleging the molestation by Pell, in fact telling his mother he had not been abused by Pell.
• August 5 2014 — Victoria police establish a task force to investigate how religious and other non-government organizations [NGO’s] deal with abuse accusations.
• June 18 2015 — The surviving choirboy gives his first statement to the police, claiming sexual abuse by Cardinal Pell.
• December 23 2015 — The Victoria Police task force appeals publicly for information relating to allegations of sexual abuse while Cardinal George Pell was Archbishop fo Melbourne.
• March 1 2016 — Cardinal Pell testifies by video link from Rome, to the Australian child abuse inquiry. Pell is critical on how the Church has dealt with paedophile priests in the past, but *denies he had been aware of the extent of the problem.
• October 19 2016 — Victoria police go to Rome to question Cardinal Pell, who hears details of the choirboy’s abuse allegations against him for the first time.
• June 29 2017 — Police charge Cardinal Pell with multiple counts of historical sexual abuse. This makes him the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged in the Church’s abuse crisis. Pell denies the accusations and takes leave of absence from the Vatican to return to Australia to defend himself.
• July 26 2017 — Cardinal Pell makes his first court appearance on charges that he sexually abused multiple children in Victoria decades earlier. Details of the allegations are not made public. Pell vows to fight the allegations.
• May 1 2018 — A Magistrate commits Cardinal Pell to stand trial. He pleads not guilty to all charges.
• May 2 2018 — A Judge separates the charges into two trials; the first dating to his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne, and the other when he was a young priest in Ballarat during the 1970’s.
• December 11 2018 — The jury unanimously convicts Cardinal Pell on all charges in the Melbourne case.
• February 26 2019 — A suppression order forbidding publication of any details about the trial is lifted. Prosecutors abandon trial on the Ballarat charges.
• March 13 2019 — The judge sentences Cardinal Pell to six years in prison, on five sex abuse convictions, in which he must serve 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole.
• August 21 2019 — Victoria Court of Appeal rules 2–1 to uphold the convictions, but there is ‘stinging dissent’ by that Court’s leading criminal law expert.
• The High Court, Australia’s top court, in an unusual procedural move, agrees to hear Cardinal Pell’s leave to appeal, and his actual substantive appeal, concurrently.
• April 7 2020 — All seven judges of the High Court of the Australian Court of Appeal quash the conviction of Cardinal George Pell. In a volte-face, they unanimously agree the appeal has succeeded, dismiss all convictions, and release Cardinal Pell immediately—after he spent 13 months in high-security prisons. 

In overturning the jury’s decision of December 2018, the seven High Court judges said the jury, ‘acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted’.There was ‘a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted, because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof’. The High Court referred to what it called ‘the unchallenged evidence of the opportunity witnesses’ at the 2018 trial, which suggested there was cause for doubt.

This case has attracted world-wide attention for good reason.

What lies at the heart of our justice system is Lord Sankey’s ‘golden thread’ which runs through criminal and common law: Guilt must be proved by the accuser’s prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt. This undoubtedly did not take place in before the High Court judges intervened this April 2020 to make just the injustice.

It is better many guilty go free rather than one innocent is wrongly convicted and jailed for a crime they did not commit.

The Cardinal is entitled to be presumed innocent because that is what the Presumption of Innocence is all about—innocent until proven guilty.

Beware the spirit of the age. Alan Ryan, a professor of politics at Princeton University, sounded the alert thirty-two years ago: ‘Natural and inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have fallen into disrepute, along with a faith in reason and reason’s dictates.’

Comments 8

Peter Hitchens

April 21 2019 – Peter Hitchens on Liberty, Justice and the decline of the Jury – and the Presumption of Innocence

Excerpt

In 1907, when the English Court of Criminal Appeal was first set up, there were warnings that it would undermine the authority of the jury, since it could overturn a guilty verdict (though not an acquittal). And it is easy to see why some defenders of juries were worried. A principle can be undermined from more than one direction. But as it happened, the danger to juries came from a different source—from the increasing egalitarianism of society itself, and the resulting politicization of so many trials. Judges became less elitist and more political, as did prosecutors. The sexual revolution created a whole new class of crimes, and created a whole new set of procedures to try them. It granted anonymity to accusers, a change that met with surprisingly weak opposition. 

I did not really understand the force of this until I found myself unexpectedly defending the long-dead Bishop George Bell against ancient charges of child sex abuse. Bishop Bell could not be tried because he was deceased. But the Church of England’s treatment of his case very much reflected the new arrangements. He was more or less presumed guilty. His unnamed accuser was designated a victim and a “survivor,” not an alleged victim, before any inquiry began. The procedure that adjudged him guilty, in private, did not follow the presumption of innocence and made no serious effort to discover if there was a defense (there was). I found to my shock that an inaccurate claim—that he would have been arrested if alive—persuaded many apparently fair-minded, educated, and intelligent people of his guilt, though an arrest is evidence of nothing at all. Thanks to some truly dedicated and determined work by many selfless people, and some very good legal work as well, the thing was more or less set right. But a grudging Church of England has yet to make full restitution. 

So when I saw the case in Australia against Cardinal George Pell, it was not just the similar name that aroused my interest. I knew from a recent visit to Sydney that Australia had undergone an anti-religious revolution. I knew very well how powerful allegations of child abuse had been in weakening the Church. My instincts were to believe that George Pell, who behaved like an innocent man, had been wrongly accused. But what if this was just bias? I sought to keep an open mind. I would presume the cardinal was innocent, but would not let my Christian sympathy close my mind to serious evidence against him. I had taken the same view in the Bell case. I resolved at the beginning never to be afraid of the truth. If the evidence against George Bell was convincing beyond reasonable doubt, then I would have to change my view of a man whose brave and selfless actions I had much admired. I would have to accept that the world was a bleaker, worse place than even I had feared. I knew well enough that there were pedophile priests. The same had to apply to Cardinal Pell. 

And then a strange silence fell over the trial. I know that there were valid legal reasons for this silence, but it still seems to me that some way should have been found for a case of such moment to be heard openly and reported openly, while it was going on. When Pell was convicted, I felt I had to accept the verdict because I was in no position to dispute it, and had not heard what the jury had heard. But the whole sky darkened at the news. If such a man was guilty of such a filthy thing, and a jury had agreed upon this after a fair trial, then the forces of goodness were in rapid and frightening retreat.   

And then, amid the dismal suppression of freedom and the economic lunacy now gripping the world, came a sudden shaft of light. The High Court of Australia overturned the verdict and freed Cardinal Pell. And then I read what they had said. It was startling and disturbing, not because there was any ambiguity in it, but because of something else. A court statement declared, 

The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place.

 The judges ruled: 

On the assumption that the jury had assessed the complainant’s evidence as thoroughly credible and reliable, the evidence of the opportunity witnesses nonetheless required the jury, acting rationally, to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s guilt in relation to the offences involved in both alleged incidents. 

This seems to me to be a very polite way of suggesting that the jury did not entertain that reasonable doubt. I may be very grateful that the High Court took this view, because it seems to me that justice was done when George Pell was freed. But will there always be such High Courts, and will most people be able to reach them? In this egalitarian world, in which a series of inglorious revolutions has wholly changed the nature of justice, I am not sure that the old English jury is much of a defense anymore. And I cannot begin to say how sad this makes me.

Peter Hitchens 

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PETER HITCHENS ON LIBERTY, JUSTICE AND THE DECLINE OF THE JURY – AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

justice4

https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/04/i-used-to-think-juries-were-a-safeguard-for-liberty-and-justice-now-i-am-not-so-sure.html

Am I going to have to fall out of love with juries? For decades I have defended these curious committees, which can ruin a man’s life in an afternoon. It has been a romance as much as it has been a reasoned position. Most people get their best lesson in jury trials from the 1957 movie Twelve Angry Men. In that version, a single determined juror, played by Henry Fonda, gradually wins the rest of the panel round to an acquittal, at great cost in emotion and patience. But what really won my heart was Thomas Macaulay’s account of the Trial of the Seven Bishops, in which a London jury defied the wishes of the would-be autocrat King James II in 1688. It was an astonishing event, a monarch’s authority challenged by—of all unlikely things—a collection of Anglican prelates. Their acquittal, perhaps more than anything else, led to James’s fall a few months later. It was the beginning of true constitutional monarchy in Europe, the genesis of the English Bill of Rights and the forerunner of the very similar American document of the same name. It could not have happened without a jury.  

For without a jury, any trial is simply a process by which the state reassures itself that it has got the right man. A group of state employees, none of them especially distinguished, are asked to confirm the views of other state employees. With a jury, the government cannot know the outcome and must prove its case. And so the faint, phantasmal ideal of the presumption of innocence takes on actual flesh and bones and stands in the path of power. Juries grew up in England almost entirely by happy accident, and no government would nowadays willingly create them where they do not already operate. A brief fashion for them in 19th-century Europe was swiftly stamped out by governments that understood all too well how much they limited their power. I believe the last true Continental juries, sitting in the absence of a judge, were abolished in France in 1940 by the German occupation authorities. People in Anglosphere countries, unaware that true independent juries rarely exist outside the English-speaking world, have no idea what a precious possession they are. 

I remember actually pounding the arm of my chair with delight as I read Macaulay’s account of the response of the bishops’ attorney, Francis Pemberton, when threatened by the chief Crown prosecutor, the solicitor general: “Record what you will. I am not afraid of you, Mister Solicitor!” So this was England after all, and even the majesty of the Stuart Crown could not overawe the defense. This was wholly thanks to the fact that the trial took place before a jury—which duly acquitted the bishops of “seditious libel,” the ludicrous charge by which James had hoped to crush opposition to his plans to reverse the Reformation. Without a jury, the king would of course have won his case, and England would have gone down the road to absolutism (already followed in France, Prussia, Russia, and the Habsburg dominions) with incalculable consequences for the whole world. Instead we had what came to be called the Glorious (or Bloodless) Revolution.  

And my blood still runs faster when I recall this and other moments at which the mere existence of juries has made us all more free. Yet I also have terrible doubts. Is the independence of juries possible in the modern world, in which the English Bill of Rights is all but forgotten and a new dispensation reigns? All too often, I read reports of trials in my own country that fill me with doubt. I did my fair share of court reporting as an apprentice journalist many years ago, and I have a good understanding of how these things used to work and ought to work.

Something has changed. There is a worrying number of sex cases now coming before the courts in which clear forensic proof of guilt is often unobtainable. 

The alleged crimes themselves are repulsive, and the mere accusation is enough to nurture prejudice. The defendants have often been arrested in the scorching light of total publicity, in spectacular dawn raids totally unjustified by any immediate danger they present. Pre-trial media reporting has further undermined the presumption of innocence. In England there is still officially a strong rule against the media taking sides before the jury delivers its verdict. But this is not enforced as it once was. The prosecutions are frequently as emotional as they are unforensic, the opposite of the proper arrangement. Yet the defendants are often convicted even so (sometimes by majority verdicts, which in my view violate the whole jury principle). The state seems somehow to have turned the jury—often swayed by emotion—into its own weapon. And it is worse than the alternative. A wrongfully-convicted defendant, pronounced culpable by a jury of his peers, must feel a far deeper despair than one cast into prison by a mere panel of judges. 

I had been concerned about this for some time. I knew that, since the introduction of majority verdicts in 1966, and the abolition of the old property qualification in 1974, English juries had not been what they were. Majority verdicts effectively made impossible the stand by the Henry Fonda character in Twelve Angry Men. The judge would simply have accepted the guilty verdict of the majority. The property qualification—which required jurors to be householders—tended to ensure that they were older and more experienced. But it also meant they were mostly male, and mostly well-off, and it is easy to see why it was removed. The problem was that it was replaced by nothing at all. Nobody, it seemed, could devise an educational or age qualification that did not violate some principle of the new egalitarianism. This means that anyone on the voters’ roll may now be a juryperson, and your whole future could in theory be decided by a room full of 18-year-olds who have never worked, paid taxes, been abroad, broken a bone, or raised a child. I do not find this reassuring. 

In 1907, when the English Court of Criminal Appeal was first set up, there were warnings that it would undermine the authority of the jury, since it could overturn a guilty verdict (though not an acquittal). And it is easy to see why some defenders of juries were worried. A principle can be undermined from more than one direction. But as it happened, the danger to juries came from a different source—from the increasing egalitarianism of society itself, and the resulting politicization of so many trials. Judges became less elitist and more political, as did prosecutors. The sexual revolution created a whole new class of crimes, and created a whole new set of procedures to try them. It granted anonymity to accusers, a change that met with surprisingly weak opposition. 

I did not really understand the force of this until I found myself unexpectedly defending the long-dead Bishop George Bell against ancient charges of child sex abuse. Bishop Bell could not be tried because he was deceased. But the Church of England’s treatment of his case very much reflected the new arrangements. He was more or less presumed guilty. His unnamed accuser was designated a victim and a “survivor,” not an alleged victim, before any inquiry began. The procedure that adjudged him guilty, in private, did not follow the presumption of innocence and made no serious effort to discover if there was a defense (there was). I found to my shock that an inaccurate claim—that he would have been arrested if alive—persuaded many apparently fair-minded, educated, and intelligent people of his guilt, though an arrest is evidence of nothing at all. Thanks to some truly dedicated and determined work by many selfless people, and some very good legal work as well, the thing was more or less set right. But a grudging Church of England has yet to make full restitution. 

So when I saw the case in Australia against Cardinal George Pell, it was not just the similar name that aroused my interest. I knew from a recent visit to Sydney that Australia had undergone an anti-religious revolution. I knew very well how powerful allegations of child abuse had been in weakening the Church. My instincts were to believe that George Pell, who behaved like an innocent man, had been wrongly accused. But what if this was just bias? I sought to keep an open mind. I would presume the cardinal was innocent, but would not let my Christian sympathy close my mind to serious evidence against him. I had taken the same view in the Bell case. I resolved at the beginning never to be afraid of the truth. If the evidence against George Bell was convincing beyond reasonable doubt, then I would have to change my view of a man whose brave and selfless actions I had much admired. I would have to accept that the world was a bleaker, worse place than even I had feared. I knew well enough that there were pedophile priests. The same had to apply to Cardinal Pell. 

And then a strange silence fell over the trial. I know that there were valid legal reasons for this silence, but it still seems to me that some way should have been found for a case of such moment to be heard openly and reported openly, while it was going on. When Pell was convicted, I felt I had to accept the verdict because I was in no position to dispute it, and had not heard what the jury had heard. But the whole sky darkened at the news. If such a man was guilty of such a filthy thing, and a jury had agreed upon this after a fair trial, then the forces of goodness were in rapid and frightening retreat.   

And then, amid the dismal suppression of freedom and the economic lunacy now gripping the world, came a sudden shaft of light. The High Court of Australia overturned the verdict and freed Cardinal Pell. And then I read what they had said. It was startling and disturbing, not because there was any ambiguity in it, but because of something else. A court statement declared, 

The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place.

 The judges ruled: 

On the assumption that the jury had assessed the complainant’s evidence as thoroughly credible and reliable, the evidence of the opportunity witnesses nonetheless required the jury, acting rationally, to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s guilt in relation to the offences involved in both alleged incidents. 

This seems to me to be a very polite way of suggesting that the jury did not entertain that reasonable doubt. I may be very grateful that the High Court took this view, because it seems to me that justice was done when George Pell was freed. But will there always be such High Courts, and will most people be able to reach them? In this egalitarian world, in which a series of inglorious revolutions has wholly changed the nature of justice, I am not sure that the old English jury is much of a defense anymore. And I cannot begin to say how sad this makes me.

Peter Hitchens is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

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“CARDINAL PELL: NATURAL AND INALIENABLE RIGHTS” – ‘Philosophical Investigations’ – April 20 2020

 

“The legal cases of Cardinal George Pell and Bishop George Bell are very different, but there are parallels which cannot be ignored – such as the critical importance of Presumption of Innocence in the endless quest for justice and fairness”

~ Richard W. Symonds

 

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http://www.philosophical-investigations.org/2020/04/cardinal-pell-natural-and-inalienable.html

Monday, 20 April 2020

Cardinal Pell: Natural and Inalienable Rights

by Richard W. Symonds

The Church of St Cyriac, Lacock, by GB_1984

The principle of the presumption of innocence is of extreme importance, and the case of Cardinal George Pell has implications for the respect for—and security of—this principle.That one is considered innocent until proven guilty is a vital pre-condition for our survival and well-being within a civilised society. Undermining such jurisprudence can lead to catastrophic miscarriages of justice which ultimately threaten our humanity—in fact, yours and mine.

The accused is not required to defend or prove their innocence—it is for the accuser to prove guilt—beyond reasonable doubt. It is one of the foundational legal principles—a bedrock of our civilisation: ‘The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies’. Or Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat in the ancient Latin.

Presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and an international human right embodied under Article 11 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A just law must be a fair law, which punishes the guilty, not the innocent. Presumption of innocence is an immunity against unjust accusations.

In the case of Cardinal George Pell, a disturbing and dislocating miscarriage of justice has been exposed within Australia’s justice system—and presumption of innocence was almost lethally compromised and undermined.

A basic history of events—a timelined chronology if you will—would help:

• July 16 1996 — Bishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. A former choirboy later testifies that the bishop molested him and his friend—both aged 13—in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne that year, after Mass.
• March 26 2001 — Archbishop Pell becomes Archbishop of Sydney.
• October 21 2003 — Pope John Paul II makes Archbishop Pell a Cardinal.
• February 25 2014 — Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Pell as his Finance Minister — Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.
• April 8 2014 — One of the choirboys dies aged 31, of a heroin overdose, without alleging the molestation by Pell, in fact telling his mother he had not been abused by Pell.
• August 5 2014 — Victoria police establish a task force to investigate how religious and other non-government organizations [NGO’s] deal with abuse accusations.
• June 18 2015 — The surviving choirboy gives his first statement to the police, claiming sexual abuse by Cardinal Pell.
• December 23 2015 — The Victoria Police task force appeals publicly for information relating to allegations of sexual abuse while Cardinal George Pell was Archbishop fo Melbourne.
• March 1 2016 — Cardinal Pell testifies by video link from Rome, to the Australian child abuse inquiry. Pell is critical on how the Church has dealt with paedophile priests in the past, but *denies he had been aware of the extent of the problem.
• October 19 2016 — Victoria police go to Rome to question Cardinal Pell, who hears details of the choirboy’s abuse allegations against him for the first time.
• June 29 2017 — Police charge Cardinal Pell with multiple counts of historical sexual abuse. This makes him the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged in the Church’s abuse crisis. Pell denies the accusations and takes leave of absence from the Vatican to return to Australia to defend himself.
• July 26 2017 — Cardinal Pell makes his first court appearance on charges that he sexually abused multiple children in Victoria decades earlier. Details of the allegations are not made public. Pell vows to fight the allegations.
• May 1 2018 — A Magistrate commits Cardinal Pell to stand trial. He pleads not guilty to all charges.
• May 2 2018 — A Judge separates the charges into two trials; the first dating to his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne, and the other when he was a young priest in Ballarat during the 1970’s.
• December 11 2018 — The jury unanimously convicts Cardinal Pell on all charges in the Melbourne case.
• February 26 2019 — A suppression order forbidding publication of any details about the trial is lifted. Prosecutors abandon trial on the Ballarat charges.
• March 13 2019 — The judge sentences Cardinal Pell to six years in prison, on five sex abuse convictions, in which he must serve 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole.
• August 21 2019 — Victoria Court of Appeal rules 2–1 to uphold the convictions, but there is ‘stinging dissent’ by that Court’s leading criminal law expert.
• The High Court, Australia’s top court, in an unusual procedural move, agrees to hear Cardinal Pell’s leave to appeal, and his actual substantive appeal, concurrently.
• April 7 2020 — All seven judges of the High Court of the Australian Court of Appeal quash the conviction of Cardinal George Pell. In a volte-face, they unanimously agree the appeal has succeeded, dismiss all convictions, and release Cardinal Pell immediately—after he spent 13 months in high-security prisons. 

In overturning the jury’s decision of December 2018, the seven High Court judges said the jury, ‘acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted’.There was ‘a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted, because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof’. The High Court referred to what it called ‘the unchallenged evidence of the opportunity witnesses’ at the 2018 trial, which suggested there was cause for doubt.

This case has attracted world-wide attention for good reason.

What lies at the heart of our justice system is Lord Sankey’s ‘golden thread’ which runs through criminal and common law: Guilt must be proved by the accuser’s prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt. This undoubtedly did not take place in before the High Court judges intervened this April 2020 to make just the injustice.

It is better many guilty go free rather than one innocent is wrongly convicted and jailed for a crime they did not commit.

The Cardinal is entitled to be presumed innocent because that is what the Presumption of Innocence is all about—innocent until proven guilty.

Beware the spirit of the age. Alan Ryan, a professor of politics at Princeton University, sounded the alert thirty-two years ago: ‘Natural and inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have fallen into disrepute, along with a faith in reason and reason’s dictates.’

 

COMMENTS

 

Keith said…
The essay focuses on the underlying legal principle of the ‘presumption of innocence’. Fair enough; that’s a just guiding rule; and my understanding is that the Australian legal system abides by that.

However, in looking down the chronology, as an impartial reader with no dog in the fight I see nothing that explicitly proves that the presumption of innocence was denied the defendant when the jury arrived at its verdict in December 2018.

Without categorical evidence to the contrary, I have to assume the empanelled jurors — a ‘jury of one’s peers’, as they say, with preemptory strikes by both sides — went into the trial and into their deliberations honoring the defendant’s presumed innocence.

Likewise regarding the presumption of innocence by the appeals court that apparently upheld the verdict, by a split decision, in August 2019.

I have no opinion whether the defendant was or was not guilty; that’s not appropriate for me to weigh in on, particularly given the dearth of evidence here. I defer to Australia’s legal system.

But, again, what’s important is I see nothing in either the chronology or surrounding narrative that supports the charge that, as the post says, ‘the presumption of innocence was almost lethally compromised and undermined’. The material proof of that assertion is omitted.

 

 

“In overturning the jury’s decision of December 2018, the seven High Court judges said the jury, ‘acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted’”

The Hight Court judges ruled that “the jury ‘ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt”.

That means the jury “entertained” a Presumption of Guilt, which is why I assert “the presumption of innocence was almost lethally compromised and undermined”.

Martin Cohen said…I think the presumption of innocence is particularly important with events so far off and subject to distorted memories and recall. In particular, witness evidence is even more prone to confused recollections than shortly after the event, while someone who is accused will have great difficulty defending themselves with regard to what “they did” when (if innocent) they can hardly be expected to remember much. Ironically, a guilty person has much more reason to remember events and be able to produce a coherent but false narrative…20 April 2020 at 13:24

Richard W. Symonds said…

Indeed, “the presumption of innocence is particularly important with events so far off and subject to distorted memories and recall…”. And now there is a fresh abuse allegation against Cardinal Pell which has come just after his acquittal – alleged to have taken place over 40 years ago “back in the 1970s”.

20 April 2020 at 14:51  

 

In our complex societies, we ‘prioritise the principles of social life’, as Yves Simon put it. Together with procedures which support those principles, this removes passions and prejudices as the basis for the system — rather artificially, one might add.

I asked myself how plausible it is that someone should bring false charges against a Cardinal. Does that really happen? Indeed it does, and it has been proved. See The Australian, ‘Cardinal George Pell convicted for a lacklustre display of empathy,’ by Angela Shanahan. Which is not to say that all charges are false, including those where there is acquittal.

This past week, my neighbour was taken from his home and jailed. When we checked, the police had failed to follow Standard Operating Procedure. For instance, they failed to ask him for a statement, and it looks as though there wasn’t a valid statement against him. Here is an example of what happens where passions and prejudices are allowed any room.

20 April 2020 at 16:50

Richard W. Symonds said…

“I asked myself how plausible it is that someone should bring false charges against a Cardinal. Does that really happen? Indeed it does…”

Yes, indeed it does. In the case of the Southampton football manager Dave Jones, falsely accused of abusing his children [recounted in his autobiography ‘No Smoke, No Fire’ – 2009], the police were forced to ‘trawl’ in prisons to find inmates to come forward to back up the accuser’s story. The presiding judge – Judge David Clarke – concluded: “No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong”

20 April 2020 at 18:55 

 

 

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“CARDINAL PELL AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE” BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS

Cardinal George Pell released from Australia’s Geelong prison – April 7, 2020. 
 (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

 

I have been prompted to write this article because of the close parallels with the Bishop Bell case. [See ‘Afternote’ at end of article].

Richard W. Symonds

CARDINAL PELL AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE” BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS OF THE BELL SOCIETY – 

The principle of the presumption of innocence is of extreme importance, and the case of Cardinal George Pell has implications for the respect for – and security of – this principle. 

That one is considered innocent until proven guilty is a vital pre-condition for our survival and well-being within a civilised society. Undermining such jurisprudence can lead to catastrophic miscarriages of justice which ultimately threaten our humanity.

‘Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat’ is one of the foundational legal principles – a bedrock of our civilization: ‘the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies’. The accused is not required to defend or prove their innocence; it is for the accuser to prove guilt – beyond reasonable doubt. 
Presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial and an international human right embodied under Article 11 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 
A just law must be a fair law which punishes the guilty, not the innocent. Presumption of innocence is an immunity against unjust accusations.
In the case of Cardinal George Pell, a disturbing and dislocating miscarriage of justice has been exposed within Australia’s justice system – and presumption of innocence has been lethally compromised and undermined.
A basic history of events – a timelined chronology if you will – might help:
July 16 1996 – Bishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. A former choirboy later testifies Bishop Pell molested him and his friend – both aged 13 – in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne that year, after Mass.

March 26 2001 – Archbishop Pell becomes Archbishop of Sydney.

October 21 2003 – Pope John Paul II makes Archbishop Pell a Cardinal.

February 25 2014 – Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Pell as his Finance Minister – Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

April 8 2014 – One of the choirboys dies aged 31 of a heroin overdose, without alleging the molestation by Pell and telling his mother he had not been abused by Pell.

August 5 2014 – Victoria police establish a Task Force to investigate how religious and other non-government organizations [NGO’s] deal with abuse accusations.

June 18 2015 – The surviving choirboy gives his first statement to the police, claiming sexual abuse by Cardinal Pell.

December 23 2015 – The Victoria Police Task Force appeals publicly for information relating to allegations of sexual abuse while Cardinal George Pell was Melbourne Archbishop.

March 1 2016 – Cardinal Pell testifies by video link from Rome to the Australian child abuse inquiry. Pell was critical on how the Church had dealt with paedophile priests in the past, but denied he had been aware of the extent of the problem.

October 19 2016 – Victoria police go to Rome to question Cardinal Pell who hears details of the choirboy’s abuse allegations against him for the first time.

June 29 2017 – Police charge Pell with multiple counts of historical sexual abuse. This made him the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged in the Church’s abuse crisis. Pell denied the accusations and took leave of absence from the Vatican to return to Australia to defend himself.

July 26 2017 – Cardinal Pell makes his first court appearance on charges that he sexually abused multiple children in Victoria decades earlier. Details of the allegations were not made public. Pell vows to fight the allegations.

May 1 2018 – A Magistrate commits Cardinal Pell to stand trial. He pleads not guilty to all charges.

May 2 2018 – A Judge separates the charges into two trials; the first dating to his tenure as Melbourne Archbishop and the other when he was a young priest in Ballarat during the 1970’s.

December 11 2018 – Jury unanimously convicts Cardinal Pell on all charges in the Melbourne case.

February 26 2019 – Suppression order forbidding publication of any details about the trial is lifted. Prosecutors abandon trial on the Ballarat charges.

March 13 2019 – Judge sentences Cardinal Pell to six years in prison on five sex abuse convictions in which he must serve 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole.

August 21 2019 – Victoria Court of Appeal rules 2-1 to uphold the convictions, but there is “stinging dissent” by that Court’s leading criminal law expert.

The High Court, Australia’s top court, in an unusual procedural move, agrees to hear Cardinal Pell’s leave to appeal, and his actual substantive appeal, concurrently.

April 7 2020 – All seven judges of the High Court of the Australian Court of Appeal quash the conviction of Cardinal George Pell. In a volte-face, they unanimously agree the appeal has succeeded, dismiss all convictions, and release Cardinal Pell immediately – after he spent 13 months in high-security prisons. 

In overturning the jury’s decision of December 2018, the seven High Court judges said the jury, “acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted”. There was “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”. The High Court referred to what it called “the unchallenged evidence of the opportunity witnesses” at the 2018 trial, which suggested there was cause for doubt.

This case has attracted world-wide attention for good reason.

It is clear Cardinal George Pell should never have been convicted. It is clear he should never have spent 13 months incarcerated behind bars. It is clear there was a miscarriage of justice in the December 2018 jury conviction. It is clear Victoria’s Court of Appeal upholding the judge’s March 2019 conviction was wrong.

What lies at the heart of our justice system is Lord Sankey’s ‘golden thread’ which runs through criminal and common law: Guilt must be proved by the accuser’s prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt. This undoubtedly did not take place in the case of Cardinal Pell, before the High Court judges intervened this April to make just the injustice.

It is better many guilty go free rather than one innocent is wrongly convicted and jailed for a crime they did not commit.

The unanimous High Court judgement makes explicit the standard of reasonable doubt and makes implicit criticisms of the Victoria Court of Appeal for not understanding what that means. There was a presumption of guilt on their part, but he has now been found ‘not guilty’ beyond reasonable doubt.The Cardinal is therefore entitled to be presumed innocent because that is what  the Presumption of Innocence is all about – innocent until proven guilty.

AFTERNOTE

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph carried an item about a new abuse allegation having just been made against Cardinal Pell, following his recent acquittal [“New child abuse police inquiry into cardinal”, DT, April 14 2020 – Page 15].

IMG_5446

This reminds me particularly of the events of Jan/Feb 2018, immediately following the Carlile Review (see Chronology below) – and has prompted the “Cardinal Pell and the Presumption of Innocence” piece.

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April 11 2020 – Correspondence with Dr Gerald Morgan – Pell, Bell and Justice – Church Times [Unpublished Letter]

gerbellg5

Bishop George Bell

Dear Gerald 

Yes, it is beyond scandalous, but the Archbishop is legally untouchable.

Court action for defamation can only be taken by the defamed person – not easy if you are dead!

As I read it, Court action for damages can be taken by a living relative – that’s all.

In this case, Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley is the only known relative – a nonagenarian. 

She called on Archbishop to resign a few years ago [Dec 2017] but, as I understand it, no legal action for damages was initiated by her – even though there was pro bono support for her to do so at the time.

Kind regard 

Richard

On 11 Apr 2020, at 05:51, Gerald Morgan <gmorgan1066@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Richard,

The Archbishop of Canterbury is not a spiritual leader as we see in the abject response of the Church of England in Holy Week 2020.

Perhaps a case ought to be brought against the Archbishop of Canterbury for defamation of character.

That the Archbishop of Canterbury is ignorant of or indifferent to the presumption of innocence is scandalous.

Kind regards,

Gerald

Dr Gerald Morgan, FTCD (1993)
Lydbrook School (1946-1953),
Monmouth School (1953-1961),
Meyricke Exhibitioner, Jesus College, Oxford (1961-1964),
D.Phil. (Oxon.), 1973
Director:The Chaucer Hub.
Tel.: 086 456 56 60
 


Per pale argent and gules, a bend counterchanged

On Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 8:11 AM <richardsy5@aol.com> wrote:

Dear Editor

 
The Church of England hierarchy would be advised to familiarise itself with the unanimous decision of seven High Court judges of the Australian Court of Appeal to quash the conviction of Cardinal George Pell (“Cardinal Pell’s conviction quashed by High Court”, CT, April 7). 
 
The jury, “acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted”. There was “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”.
 
In the case of the character assassination of Bishop George Bell, the evidence used by the Church of England hierarchy – which includes Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner – was even more flimsy.

 

Let truth and justice speak above the shameful, ecclesiastical silence.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

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SALMOND, BELL AND JUSTICE – CHURCH TIMES [UNPUBLISHED LETTER]

letters

Sir,

So Alex Salmond has been found innocent of all 13 charges of sex offences brought against him (Daily Telegraph, 24 March 2020, p. 15).

Two years ago, when the accusations first surfaced, students at Heriot-Watt University were polled by their union to find out whether they wished the plaque commemorating his previous visit as (then) First Minister of Scotland to the Riccarton Campus removed.  A clear majority replied that it should remain, on the basis that an individual is innocent until proven guilty.

Senior clergy in the Church of England might learn from this.  They were quick to condemn the late Bishop George Bell on the basis of a single unsubstantiated allegation of child sexual abuse and,  despite the conclusions of two extensive legal investigations that it was indeed unfounded, have been extremely reluctant to restore his name and reputation both within Chichester and beyond.  What a pity they were not educated at Heriot-Watt University. 

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield

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PELL, BELL AND JUSTICE – CHURCH TIMES [UNPUBLISHED LETTER]

rachel-reupke_letter-of-complaint_still_cubitt-gallery-680x356

Dear Editor

The Church of England hierarchy would be advised to familiarise itself with the unanimous decision of seven High Court judges of the Australian Court of Appeal to quash the conviction of Cardinal George Pell (“Cardinal Pell’s conviction quashed by High Court”, CT, April 7). 
 
The jury, “acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted”. There was “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”.
 
In the case of the character assassination of Bishop George Bell, the evidence used by the Church of England hierarchy – which includes Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner – was even more flimsy.

Let truth and justice speak above the shameful, ecclesiastical silence.

 

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

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EASTER MESSAGE

An Easter Message from The Archbishop of Canterbury

My dear Clergy & People,

I am writing to you from the cellar in Lambeth Palace.

Easter is the most sacred time in the Christian Year and normally I would be writing to you about the most serious and solemn parts of our faith and practice. I mean of course climate change, the urgent need to reduce your carbon footprint, rising sea levels and the Antarctic icecap which is melting catastrophically. In normal times I would have been asking you to pray for God’s faithful servants in Extinction Rebellion as they go about their vocation and ministry by defacing public buildings and holding up the traffic. I would be asking you to give heartfelt thanks for the witness of the Blessed Virgin St Greta. But saving the planet – though it is the Church’s primary duty – is not our only concern. For we live in an unequal society, so I would have asked Archbishop “Chippy” Sentamu to say a few seasonal words about diversity and race-hate crimes

But these are not normal times. We are beset by the coronavirus. But this is not the time to panic. However, I have taken care to discuss the matter with members of the Archbishop’s Council, and they will tell you precisely when it’s time to panic. In these challenging times, we must remember those comforting words which are the very heart of our faith: “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy-laden, and I will give you a hand-sanitizer.”

And, especially at Eastertide, we must remember our responsibility towards our neighbour. For it is written, “Let him that hath ten loo rolls give two of them to him (or her) that hath not.” And if a man (or a woman) should ask you to walk one mile with them, make sure you walk no further than one mile and keep social distancing to the space of six cubits and a span.

Remember also where the Good Book says, “When two or three are gathered together in my name…” But I say unto you, that is far too many. Eastertide is surely a time for self-isolation, as Jesus quarantined himself those forty days and forty nights in the wilderness

Again, it is written, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” But this, along with so many other things, has changed. And so I say to all Vicars and Curates: lock the church doors; do not even enter therein by thyself

Sadly, the days are past when there might be the feeding of 5000 and other feasting. It is written, “Go ye into all nations and make men (and women) my disciples.” This has now been amended by the House of Bishops into the firm instruction, “Keep well clear of everybody!”

No longer, “Take eat…drink this in remembrance of me.” This is not a time for remembrance. We are commanded to forget all about it. For the Church of England verily hath resigned

Finally, and above all things, remember the example set for us by St Pontius Pilate who, when he was challenged as we are now challenged, washed his hands!

I wish you all a sanitized and self-isolated Easter!

Justin Cantuar

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March 31 2016 – CHARLES MOORE ON BISHOP BELL

download (29)

Charles Moore

SN04403 (10)

Witness to the truth

Charles Moore strenuously defends the reputation of the former Bishop of Chichester— who dared to criticise the carpet-bombing of Germany, and may have been unjustly accused of child abuse

Witness to the truth<img class=”ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–fit-crop ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–loaded” style=”box-sizing: inherit; opacity: 1; width: 936px; height: 526.5px; object-fit: cover; z-index: 1;” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Witness to the truth” />
George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship

Andrew Chandler

Eerdmans, pp. 224, £

George Bell (1883–1958) was, in many respects, a typical Anglican prelate of his era. He went to Westminster and Christ Church, and passed his career in the C of E’s fast stream. Never a parish priest, he became, first, chaplain (and later, biographer) of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson; next, Dean of Canterbury; finally, Bishop of Chichester. He was not an intellectual or a contemplative. He was an effective, energetic leader, strongly interested in public affairs, a natural candidate to end up as an archbishop of the established church.

This did not happen, probably because Bell opposed ‘area’ Allied bombing of Germany in the second world war. Such carpet-bombing threatened ‘the roots of civilisation’, he said. The British war cabinet, by permitting the indiscriminate devastation of civilian populations, was ‘blind to the harvest’.

Given the titanic nature of the struggle against Hitler, it is not surprising that many, from Winston Churchill downwards, were angry with Bell. When Bell’s office requested transport for him to visit an RAF station in his diocese, an officer there retorted: ‘Let the bugger bike.’ But Bell was not a pacifist, and he was someone who, against the trend, had always warned against the Nazis. In the 1930s and even — when contacts were minimal — in the 1940s, Bell did everything he could to support Christian resistance in Germany. Close to many of the July plotters against Hitler in 1944, he was probably the only senior English clergyman to work actively with those trying to overthrow the regime. He sought unsuccessfully to persuade the British government to back them.

This commitment explains why the last message of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, before he was murdered by the SS in April 1945, was to Bell. The principle of ‘universal Christian brotherhood which rises above all national hatreds’, Bonhoeffer said in that message, means that ‘our victory is certain’.

‘Universal Christian brotherhood’ can sound platitudinous, but the spectacle of Christians killing one another in vast numbers twice in the 20th century showed that it is all too easily forgotten. To Bell (and Bonhoeffer), it meant everything. That is why he absolutely resisted writing off all Germans. His striking way of putting it was ‘Germany was the first country in Europe to be occupied by the Nazis.’

Round this, as Andrew Chandler sets out in this learned and thoughtful book, Bell organised his thought and action: his help for Jewish refugees and persecuted ‘non-Aryan’ Christians; for all the German churches which refused to enter the stooge ‘Reichkirche’; for those detained as ‘enemy aliens’ on the Isle of Man; for a negotiated peace if Hitler were overthrown; and for those trying to rebuild Germany after its defeat.

Bell lacked political skill. As the historian Owen Chadwick put it, he was ‘the most Christian bishop of his age, but had little idea how to commend the points he wanted to press’, so most of his causes — the ecumenical movement is the great exception — did not prevail. His importance lies in his witness to the truth as he saw it. T.S. Eliot, whom Bell encouraged to write Murder in the Cathedral, described him as ‘a lovable man’. Bell had, said Eliot, ‘dauntless integrity’, and ‘no fear of the consequences’ of speaking out: ‘With this went understanding and simplicity of manner, the outward signs, I believe, of inward humility.’

Fifty-seven years after George Bell’s death, his own diocese, supported by the national Church authorities, announced that Bell had sexually abused a child between 1949 and 1953. They gave no details, and paid compensation. (The complainant later revealed herself to have been a five-year-old girl when the alleged abuse began.) The Church said it had decided against Bell ‘on the balance of probabilities’. No other such accusations — or even rumours — have ever been heard against Bell. His name was removed from buildings and institutions named after him.

A recent detailed review of the case showed that no effort had been made by the Church to consider the evidence for Bell: his voluminous papers and diaries had not been consulted, nor had living people who worked with him at that time (including one domestic chaplain, Adrian Carey, now aged 94, who spent virtually every waking moment with Bell for more than two of the years in which the abuse supposedly happened). His cause was given no legal advocate. Instead, in a process still kept secret, the ‘victim’ was believed. The normal burden of proof was reversed and so it was considered wicked to doubt her veracity.

As Chandler puts it, ‘We are asked to invest an entire authority in one testimony and to dismiss all the materials by which we have come to know the historical George Bell as mere figments of reputation.’ Of course, if Bell was guilty, his high reputation should not protect him. But we have not been given the chance to establish fairly whether he was. Jesus, of course, also suffered from unjust process. When the Church forgets this, it is not — as it claims — rejecting the dreadful child-abuse cover-ups of the past. It is dishonouring the example of its founder.

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BISHOP GEORGE BELL LECTURE – DELIVERED BY DR ROWAN WILLIAMS – 104TH ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY – UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER – OCTOBER 4 2008

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Bishop George Bell

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University of Chichester, Bishop George Bell lecture

Saturday 4th October 2008

A lecture by the Archbishop of Canterbury given at the University of Chichester, 4 October 2008, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Bishop George Bell, Bishop of Chichester 1929—58.

The Archbishop answered questions at the end of the lecture – click here to go directly to the question & answer section, or read it at the end of the lecture.

A Church of the nation or a Church for the nation?  Bishop George Bell and the Church of England

In the first of a series of commemorative lectures earlier this year, Dr Andrew Chandler spoke with great insight about Bell as a man whose greatest commitments seem to have been doomed to failure. His steady belief in negotiation and arbitration in international conflict, his consistent refusal to allow that modern technological warfare might dispense with traditional moral boundaries – we could add too his passionate optimism about the possible convergence of the Christian faith with the artist’s imagination, and his lifelong devotion to ecumenism: all this surely represents a set of aspirations that now look to many people sadly unrealistic, overtaken by the onset not only of a Cold War but of a sort of ice age in corporate social vision or imagination.

My aim will not be to argue against this judgement, though Dr Anthony Harvey’s excellent tracing (in a later lecture this year) of the growth of some sort of organised moral and institutional awareness of the claims of international law might well be set in the balance against a superficial verdict of failure overall. It is rather to ask some questions about the motivation of such commitments as rooted in a particular sense of what the Church in general, and the Church of England in particular, might be. Bell was a politically active and experienced man, but not a pure politician; so we shouldn’t assume for a moment that practical failure would have made very much difference to what he thought worth working for. I want to suggest that his beliefs about the Church of England, as revealed in his actual priorities, offer an account of what might still be a reasonable ground for identifying the moral priorities of any Christian community, ice age or no ice age; and that therefore the celebration of Bell’s memory is by no means a wistful exercise.

I shall be focusing on two areas of Bell’s varied and tireless labours – his sponsorship of the arts in a Christian context and his interventions in public debate about the conduct of war. And what I hope to draw out is Bell’s acceptance of Christian witness as shaped by a twofold responsibility – responsibility to the culture in which the Christian community is located and responsibility for it. On the one hand, Christians are ‘answerable’ to the ambient culture in the sense that they are there not to dictate but to serve; the Church is not a body that arbitrarily sets the agenda for society at large, but seeks to discern what needs it must meet. It therefore has to develop a degree of attention to the culture in which it lives, if only so that it doesn’t find itself (as has often been said) answering questions that no-one is asking. On the other hand, with the Jewish prophetic tradition much in mind and the New Testament imagery of the believing community as salt, leaven and light, Christians are answerable to God for the integrity and justice of their society; they may not be setting an agenda but they are discerning what is destructive and warning against it – and the refusal to utter such a warning leaves the believer exposed to judgement.

The balance is a difficult one, and very few individuals or particular Churches get it right for long. Answerability to the culture can produce a lack of confidence within the Church in its own distinctive gifts, and at worst an uncritical reproduction of the culture’s attitudes with a faint pious gloss. Answerability for the culture can generate obsessional confrontation, something like paranoia about cultural and moral decline and a weddedness to the luxuries of a permanent minority position which allows criticism without practical engagement. What is impressive about Bell is not only his ability to hold the tension, with an apparent lack of self-consciousness that is remarkable, but also the way in which the two concerns appear in his biography as intricately interwoven. A supreme ‘insider’, in both ecclesiastical and social terms, Bell uses the rather ambivalent authority of his position both to serve and to re-shape his environment.

Bell and the Imagination of Society

Kenneth Pickering, in his delightful book, Drama in the Cathedral,[i] has chronicled the history of the plays performed in Canterbury Cathedral in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century; and Bell’s role in prompting this history is fully acknowledged. It was he who, as Dean of Canterbury, invited John Masefield to write The Coming of Christ for performance in the Cathedral nave in 1928 and who commissioned music from Holst and designs from Ricketts for this historic event. Pickering stresses [ii] Bell’s refusal to censor Masefield’s text, despite the strong political meat contained in some of the shepherds’ speeches, where the experiences of the Great War and the General Strike are given pretty explicit voice: ‘Bell was prepared to face the consequences of the anti-war sentiments expressed in the play.’ [iii] And if we recall the coolness or even hostility towards the entire project from some in the Cathedral establishment in Canterbury and the lukewarmness of the Archbishop, it is clear that Bell’s distinctive but undramatic moral courage was already in evidence. For most modern readers, Masefield is an unadventurous poet, and quite a lot of the text of this particular drama does now sounds the flat and artificial note of the mere pageant; but it is important that the moments where something much more passionate and challenging is allowed to come through are among the parts that Bell most wanted to preserve.

In other words, Bell’s welcoming attitude to the arts of his day was not simply a matter of encouraging decorative uplift: Masefield, Holst and Ricketts were none of them at the time uncontroversial figures, or indeed conventionally religious ones (Charles Ricketts was a robust unbeliever, much amused by the invitation to design a nativity play in a cathedral.) If the history of the Canterbury plays now seems less exciting in terms of engagement with the more complex areas of modern literary development than seemed to be the case at the time, we should make due allowance for the advantages of hindsight. Bell’s personal taste was largely (not exclusively) conservative, but in comparison with most of his ecclesiastical contemporaries he was notably adventurous, and, above all, he was determined to allow artists themselves to set the standards of excellence and acceptability. In this alone, his stature is evident. The later evolution of the Canterbury plays, the involvement of Martin Browne, the recruitment of T S Eliot to the project and the formation in 1930 of the Religious Drama Society with Bell as President, all this is quite well-known. Although Bell left Canterbury in 1929, his personal imprint on this notable rediscovery of the possibilities of religious drama continued undiluted. Eliot could even dream of every cathedral having its own drama company, [iv] not as an aspect of ‘religious revival’ but as a way of the Church meeting people’s appetite for serious theatre. And Bell himself, as his approach to Masefield’s text suggests, looked to drama to address the major public issues of the day; in 1932, he enthusiastically supported a play on disarmament as setting an agenda for the Geneva Conference of that year.

In fact, the more one looks at Bell’s involvement with the religious drama revival, the more the connections with the rest of his concerns become clear. Being ‘answerable’ to the culture meant, in this context, something like ‘giving permission’ – as we’d now say – to the artist to raise issues, to give room for voices that might otherwise be suppressed. Answerability is not about giving a generic blessing to the culture and its corporate imagination, not even about trying to identify in it some encouraging echoes of Christian aspirations; it is helping the properly critical voice of art to find an audience. It is, we could say, serving the seriousness of society, not accepting its own account of what entertains or reassures it. Masefield’s Coming of Christ is, of course, a mediaeval pastiche, lapsing constantly into sententious poeticism; yet it was doing something quite fresh, and that freshness could not have been there without Bell. It was using the cathedral as a platform for public seriousness, not bound to but still grounded in the confession of faith.

The language of ‘seriousness’ may recall Philip Larkin’s famous ‘Churchgoing’ poem; but I think there is a difference between Larkin’s seriousness, essentially a mood of rather sombre individual reflection strongly connected with the remembrance of death, and the seriousness of an art that invites its culture to self-examination and a degree of shared productive discomfort. Bell clearly believed that if the Church was going to be responsive to the arts, it had to let them be what they would. In another of this year’s commemorative lectures, Christopher Frayling expertly dissected some of Bell’s assumptions about aesthetics and identified the residual presence of Ruskin and other Victorians (Bell was in so many ways very much a belated Victorian) in shaping what we are bound to see as an overoptimistic sense of convergence between creativity and faith. Indeed; yet his practice is, in this as in other areas, perhaps more complex and nuanced than his actual words. The world of the visual arts has been much disenchanted since Bell’s heyday, and Professor Frayling lays out authoritatively why re-enchantment is a long job, if it is possible at all. We have no common iconographical vocabulary, no symbols we all recognise even if we are doing new or subversive things with them. To imagine a simple convergence of visual art and theological understanding is fantasy. Yet, if my reading of Bell’s engagement with drama is right, there is a little more to be said: even in an artistic atmosphere dominated by individualism or abstract formalism, where the whole notion of a ‘commission’ from an institution like the Church is suspect, is it still true that art can work for public seriousness? And if so, is it still possible for the Church to assist in letting such voices be heard or images be seen?

I hope that by now it will be clear that what I’ve called answerability to the culture was not, for Bell, any kind of easy compliance: it was an attentive and sometimes risky strategy of seeking to give a hearing to those voices in the corporate imagination that were pushing the boundaries of what made obvious sense, that were moving beyond a simple consensus, whether of taste or of ethical sensitivity. It would have been relatively simple in 1928 for a religious drama to elide the painful realities of war and economic privation; Bell refused that simplicity and enabled at least some of the later Canterbury plays to address some of these same realities, and the related ethical knots of propaganda, complicity and raison d’état, the political rationalisation of violence, that surface in the most famous of all the Canterbury dramas – Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, in whose commissioning Bell had played a part. More generally, though, what is implied here about the Church overall is of great significance. Bell had written in 1930, in his Brief Sketch of the Church of England, [v] that a national church was one in which ‘everybody has an interest of some kind’; [vi] and on its own, this could have been the recipe for a bland and narrowly pastoral account of the Church’s service to the society around. Bell’s practice suggests, in contrast, that a national church is one which can help to orchestrate a fuller argument in and about society than might otherwise happen, partly by offering a platform for certain otherwise inaudible or unwelcome voices. Precisely in its careful attention to what is actually being said and imagined in the creative arts, it becomes more than a pious mirror for one or another kind of dominant discourse. It helps to sustain within the nation’s culture a critical distance from the practices of power.

Bell and the Morality of Society

Hence the interweaving of Bell’s involvement with art and culture and his advocacy for those without voice in the international as well as the national context. It was an advocacy conducted unashamedly within the geography of the English establishment; Bell was out to persuade national decision-makers to decide differently, and he acted accordingly, in the Lords, in the correspondence columns of the mainstream press and by navigating that complex delta of mingling private relationships and affinities that composed the governing class of the interwar years. He was not a grandstanding prophet, unconcerned with how national decisions are made; his extraordinary network of personal contacts across Europe, largely born out of his ecumenical labours, meant that too many situations in the Europe of the thirties were of direct personal concern for him ever to be content with generalities. He wanted to save particular lives, not only to secure better outcomes for large numbers.

And this meant creating routes into the establishment for those with no obvious leverage or access. It is eternally to his credit that he – unlike rather too many of his colleagues in the Church of England – recognised almost instantly the nature of the threat posed by the Third Reich to Christian and civilised tradition, and the scope of the much more crude and direct threat to the Jewish people. (Among the English bishops of the day, only the proverbially brave and independent Henson of Durham fully shared this clarity.) When the mixture of covert anti-Semitism and a presupposition in favour of order and the combat with Bolshevism had blinded even relatively liberal and compassionate public commentators and politicians in Britain, he seems to have had no doubts of where the demands of truth lay. And this clarity was evident not only in Britain but in the wider ecumenical scene. In April 1934, Bonhoeffer, still at that point a pastor in the German church in Sydenham, wrote to Bell, quoting a letter from a friend in Germany about the crisis in the church there: ‘in the present moment there depends everything, absolutely everything on the attitude of the Bishop of Chichester’.[vii] An extravagant testimony, but one that shows how completely Bell was relied upon as the voice of the European Christian conscience, through his position in the Council for Life and Work; as the most important force in animating solidarity for a persecuted Christian minority in Germany, convinced (not without reason) that Christians elsewhere had only the dimmest notion of what was at stake for them.

It was the start of a long and costly involvement for Bell in the protection of all the victims of the Third Reich – increasingly in his pressure for the British Government to act on behalf of Jewish refugees, in his practical support for famine relief in Europe in the early years of the war, and, in a different register, in his consistent opposition to the pattern bombing of German cities – recognising that German civilians too were victims of the Reich, hostages of the Reich, and that the indiscriminate slaughter of such people was to adopt some of the enemy’s own callousness towards their own people. But both before and during the Second World War, there is a consistency also in what Bell wanted for the nation to which he belonged. In pressing for a responsible and moral stance towards refugees and in condemning methods in warfare that compromised the claim to be fighting ‘justly’, he was reminding his fellow-countrymen that the nation is not an entity whose interests can be thought about in isolation from an ethic extending across national boundaries. What is good for the United Kingdom cannot be defined in abstraction from what is good for those who look to the United Kingdom for generosity and integrity. We cannot call ourselves good if we betray what others expect from us in the light of that claim. A moral society is one that is strong enough to expose itself to the judgement of others, to hold itself accountable to more than its own immediate interests. Significantly, it was a point that Bell was still making in the 1950s, when the presenting issue was economic justice for the poorer nations and continents.

So we could say that responsibility ‘for’ the nation was something to do with the belief that the nation needed itself to be reminded of its own responsibility, its answerability to what is expected of it in a global moral context. Like many another tormented patriot in the modern age, Bell attacked an immoral consensus in his own society not out of a lack of commitment to the nation and its interests but out of a depth of commitment to the ‘imagined nation’ evoked in the most serious (to use the word again) elements in that nation’s traditional self-descriptions. The question Bell puts is essentially one which all public moralists must sooner or later, in one form of words or another, articulate: ‘Do we as a society actually want what we say we want?’

A national church in which everybody has an interest: standing alone, that is a potentially complacent account of what Bell believed about the Established Church; but in the context of his actions, it’s a definition that provokes deeper questions. Bell acted as though the Church were in some sense the guardian of the ‘interests’ of the nation insofar as the nation was a morally coherent society. It is not so much that society at large looks after the interest of the Church, but that society recognises that in the absence of the Church its own interests are gravely compromised. That recognition requires the nation to believe that its interests are not served by automatic self-defensiveness; that its flourishing may be in its exemplifying better some of the elements that its national mythology prizes – legal equity, the welcome of strangers, the willingness to take risks for a wider good (as, for example, in the abolition of the slave trade). The analogy with the prophet in ancient Israel here acquires some force: here is a voice that recalls the community to its basic self-images and self-understandings – assuming that the national community does indeed have a ‘myth’ about itself rather than just a commitment to its collective self-interest.

So Bell’s twofold witness comes to be essentially about challenging the society in which he works as to whether it has any shared sense of its worth, of what it is that its social forms and practices communicate about its vision of human flourishing. For Bell, as, again, for any public moralist, what matters about this or that society is whether it has anything to say about what’s good, interesting, life-giving for human beings in general, not just for this society or nation in isolation. This is never to reduce the particularities of a nation to moral generalities, variations on a cultural Esperanto whose local expressions are of no substantive concern. And it is precisely at this point that the specifics of a local culture come into play – the history and heritage of creativity in a particular language and ethos. Part of the Church’s responsibility to and for the nation at large is discharged by its readiness to nurture and support voices of questioning within the culture, voices that themselves challenge a society about what it considers to be of worth and meaning. Certainly, we are in a situation where even the residual optimism of Bell about the possible convergence of artist and churchman (and yes, I do mean churchman in this context) is not available. Yet this doesn’t mean that the Church today is spared the task of approaching the art of its day ready to listen and discern, and to try and see where it speaks to and at the level of seriousness that will pose the necessary questions for society. Bell’s engagement with the arts, whatever its limitations in retrospect, was emphatically of a piece with his later challenges to the moral self-image of Britain in a darkening Europe and a destructive war.

Bell and the Church in Society

For Bell himself, this was all undoubtedly bound up with his understanding of what an established church should be doing. Yet at the same time as his perspectives on these matters were maturing so impressively, the Established Church was going through a crisis of unprecedented severity. The year before Bell became a bishop, Parliament had for the second time rejected the Revised Prayer Book. Bell himself is one of the most punctilious chroniclers of the crisis in his biography of Archbishop Davidson; and his critical friend and intermittent ally, Hensley Henson, had, as a result of the Prayer Book debacle, abandoned his commitment to establishment. Were Bell’s own convictions shaken? It seems not; in 1930 he joined a Commission on Church and State (along with William Temple) set up by the bishops, which was more or less designed to sidetrack any talk of disestablishment.[viii] But to understand exactly what was involved at this moment, we need to grasp that what the Prayer Book crisis did for some was not to precipitate them into the arms of the disestablishers but to reinforce a sense that establishment needed to be sharply distinguished from subjection to state authority. As Matthew Grimley notes in his excellent monograph, a deep division had opened up between those like Bell and Temple who valued establishment as a vehicle for the kind of critical moral debate we have been reflecting on, and those in both the Modernist and the Conservative Evangelical camps at the time who looked to the authority of the state to protect them from both superstition and ecclesiastical hierarchy.[ix]

The salient point is that, as Grimley puts it,[x] ‘Most Evangelicals and modernists denied that the Church had an inherent right, as an association or as a divine society, to settle its own doctrine.’ This was completely antithetical to what Bell believed. If the Evangelical/Modernist position were to be accepted, there would never really be grounds for the Church, as a body of people committed to a specific revelation, to question what the state determines about ‘the orientation of the religious life of the nation’ (the phrase comes from the Evangelical paper, the Record, in 1927). And this was, of course, to be the issue at the heart of the German Church Struggle; Bell could not have spoken or acted as he did in regard to Germany if he had not been clear about the principles and limits of establishment in England. The Modernists and Evangelicals of 1927/8 cannot, of course, be blamed for not foreseeing where the German situation would end up within a few years, and some made due amends; likewise, we should have to acknowledge that some of the most embarrassing examples of collusion with the Nazi-influenced German Christian programme came from British churchmen with a quite different background (Hoskyns and Headlam, for example). But the central issue of 1927/8 must have done something to shape Bell’s thinking, not least as it was the painful nemesis of his patron and lodestar, Archbishop Randall Davidson.[xi]

For an established church to do its work on Bell’s presuppositions, it has to be more than just an established church; it has to have a theology that guarantees a wider horizon than the national. This, of course, has a great deal to do with the perspective Bell acquired through the ecumenical movement, but it is not simply an appeal to an international instead of a national Christian consensus. Bell evidently believed that the Church has to be able to give an account of why it is there at all, as a community that is not simply identical with the political community, however deeply it sees the destiny and health of that community as linked with its own life. The Church has to be able to propound and defend a view of what is due to human beings as such that is independent of a merely local or national loyalty or even of an international ideological loyalty. In short, the Church exercises its responsibility to and for the nation and its culture precisely by being itself responsible to more than the nation and its culture. In other words, Bell’s twofold concern with the arts and the political morality of government illustrates not the virtues of a Church embedded in its cultural environment in the most obvious way, but the essential importance of both transnational and theologically grounded interests in its life. The Church is ‘serious’ because it is in some degree strange to its environment as well as committed to understand and serve that environment. And an openness to the life of the imagination is simply one way in which that strangeness can be refreshed and strengthened: the culture of a nation is not a matter of repetition and self-reinforcement but of that ‘continuity of conflict’ that Alasdair Macintyre has identified as central to the vitality of any tradition. The Church has no business being less strange and challenging than the best of the artistic life of its society.

A Church whose roots lie in the event of the Incarnation cannot be other than strange to its society. It embodies the conviction that the uncontainable creative energy that undergirds all reality is uniquely and uninterruptedly at work in a human life at a particular juncture in history, so that this human life communicates possibilities that human history left to itself could never generate. Among those possibilities, crucially, is the vision of an interdependent and universal human fellowship, living by mutual gift rather than mutual rivalry. And in any imaginable human situation, this will produce tensions with the specific loyalties and priorities that are assumed by fellow-citizens or kinsfolk. At a time when it is easy to be weighed down with anxiety about the degree to which we are satisfactorily adjusted to our cultural context, it does no harm to have a reminder that the ‘legitimacy’ of the Church is not based on the permission of a social authority: it answers to something other than the dominant structures of the day.

Yet, it is the same incarnational theology that reminds us that God has spoken in a particular dialect and a particular body, and not in generalities or abstract principles. The Church speaks the languages of its environment, and one of its most distinctive features – to pick up a point developed elsewhere[xii] – is that it assumes its Scriptures can and must be translated, over and over again. It is heavily invested in the deeper discovery of what is given to it in revelation through the encounter with new and diverse contexts. It may be strange, but it cannot be simply alien and incomprehensible; it is always seeking to understand itself in the endlessly varied exchanges of cultural life within and between societies.

What I have been arguing is simply that Bell instinctively understood this essential duality in the character of the Church (and in the character of a Christ described in the orthodox formulations as complete in both his unfathomable divinity and his familiar humanity). And if there is a vital role to be played these days by what is fashionably called ‘narrative theology’ (granted all the reservations and criticisms that may be made, criticisms brilliantly developed in Francesca Murphy’s recent book on the subject), we could reasonably say that telling Bell’s story is one way of elucidating what might have seemed abstract doctrinal statements about the nature of Christ and his Church. Stories that present the Church as struggling to hold the tension between the two responsibilities I sketched at the beginning of this lecture are an essential tool for maintaining the Church in a proper and critical self-awareness. Neglecting theology may be an attractive course for the practically-minded, but some at least of the narratives of the twentieth century present rather sharply the practically disastrous results of this, when the absence of a clear self-understanding on the part of the Church leads to an abrogation of responsibility. Laying out the narrative becomes part of the theological education we need – which is, once again, why remembering Bell is not an exercise in nostalgia.

He does not give us a simple answer to the conundrum of how to understand and work with the residue of establishment in England today; but in gently pushing us towards a recognition of the critical possibilities in this historical situation, he also reminds us that what there is of moral and spiritual substance in our legacy is not primarily about any power to direct and control the social process or about a guaranteed security for the privileges of a particular ecclesial organisation. It is something to do with the opportunities of engaging with some very tough and complex questions about how a society scrutinises itself in the light of what lies beyond its political fashions and immediate interests. And it will do that most honestly, of course, if it is itself ready to confront its own reality, its weaknesses and its gifts, with clarity.

Establishment can be the nurse of an over-ambitious sense of what ‘the Church’ means in society. In a very characteristic passage, the late Donald MacKinnon sets Bell’s descriptions of Archbishop Davidson at work alongside the contemporary struggles, the passionate quarrels and plottings of those who were forging a revolutionary future in Russia – Lenin and his friends and enemies. The conjunction is almost, but not quite, comical – not quite when you consider the scale and cost of what emerged from the latter. ‘No one,’ writes MacKinnon, ‘can read Bell’s great life of that most considerable of twentieth-century primates [Davidson], without being made aware that here was a man of great wisdom and unquestionable goodness, who saw his role in part at least as that of being the very effective instrument of an informed Christian presence at the heart and centre of British life in the very heyday of Britain’s imperial power’.[xiii] Yet where were the forces that in fact were moulding the greatest social changes of the world in the first decades of the last century? Not in the well-mannered corridors of power familiar to Davidson. Establishment, MacKinnon goes on, is defended because it ‘assures that a Christian voice is heard in the places where great decisions are made. But what places are these?’[xiv]

Bell’s dual sensitivity to art and politics constituted one factor which kept him from settling down with a merely conventional answer to that devastating question; one factor which made him in some ways a greater man than Davidson. If my reading of certain aspects of Bell’s life here has been at all accurate, he retained a rare capacity to see the Church’s responsibility as related to those whose voices did not find an easy hearing in the ‘heart and centre of British life’ as normally conceived, and to understand that the calling of an established church had something to do with this. An established church can only do what it is meant to if it is a great deal more than an established church; if it is coherently aware both of the larger global context in which its national society lives, and, above all, of the ultimate context of the Church’s existence in the initiative of the strange and transcendent God. Peter Ackroyd, in his biography of Eliot, describes a weekend in December 1930 at the Palace in Chichester where Eliot read ‘Ash Wednesday’ to a mixed group of guests, receiving a somewhat baffled reception. Ackroyd comments that Eliot’s ‘was not the kind of religion at home in bishops’ palaces’.[xv] You can see his point; but it is actually a slightly off-key observation about this particular bishop’s palace. Bell, rather like Temple, can give the impression of someone whose Anglican and Christian identity was fundamentally untroubled, despite the apocalyptic character of the events through which he lived; but, if my reading is correct, then, whatever Bell’s private state of feeling, he (more than Temple?) knew that cultural or political cosiness was a temptation to be strenuously resisted as the most insidious temptation for an ‘insider’ in the British establishment; and he knew that if the insider failed to use his patronage and leverage for the voices that the establishment as not eager to hear, then there was a serious moral issue about that established status. For that knowledge alone, Bell deserves to be heard and rediscovered by Anglicans and, no doubt, by other British Christians, generation by generation.

© Rowan Williams 2008

 


 

[i] Second edition (Colwall, 2001)

 [ii] p.91; c.f. pp.134—6

[iii] p.93

[iv] Pickering, pp.110f

[v] (London, 1930)

[vi] p.120

[vii] Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works – London, 1933—1935 (Minneapolis, 2007), vol. xiii, p.128

[viii] See Matthew Grimley: Citizenship, Community and the Church of England (Oxford, 2004), pp.148f

[ix] Grimley, pp.147—151

[x] p.150

[xi] Archbishop of Canterbury 1903—28, whom Bell served as chaplain 1914—24

[xii] In a sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral during a Thanksgiving Service on 8 March 2004 to celebrate the Bicentenary of the British and Foreign Bible Society: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1171

[xiii] Explorations in Theology (London 1979), p.19

[xiv] p.20

[xv] Peter Ackroyd: T S Eliot (London, 1984), p.181


 

The Archbishop received a large number of written questions after his University of Chichester lecture, which he grouped and answered as follows:

Questions:

‘If Bell were alive today what do you think his reaction would have been to the selection of a German as Pope?’ and ‘Would it have been a good thing if Bishop George Bell had become archbishop?’

Archbishop:

I think Bell would have been rather delighted by the election of a German Pope. I think it would have vindicated his very clear sense that Germany was not a monolithic ‘lump’ of evil in the European heartland, that Germany was a mixed, complex society in which people struggle to find ways of living with integrity (as anywhere else). He consistently refused to demonise Germany overall. I think he would have been very interested in the present Pope’s European vision. I think they would have had a lot to talk to each other about.

And ‘Would it have been a good thing if George Bell had become Archbishop?’ Opinion is divided, but actually I still think it would. I think that Bell would have been far less competent an administrator than Geoffrey Fisher, and we would have had to wait a little bit longer for the Church of England’s Canon Law, which was Fisher’s great enterprise. But then I suspect that that might not have been absolutely the first priority in terms of the Kingdom of God, during the late Forties and Fifties! So yes, I rather think so, but then that’s partly because Donald McKinnon was one of my teachers and I believed most of what he said, and he certainly thought that.

Questions:

How does the Church avoid being drawn into ideological propaganda? The more the Church engages in the issues of the day, isn’t there a risk that the Church may find itself voicing the propaganda or interest of some section or issue group?

Archbishop:

I think the only answer to that is that the Church needs constantly to pray, to be faithful to what makes it distinctive: constantly to be reflecting on itself and its own integrity in terms of its foundation documents and its basic practices. I think a Church whose unity and focus is simply ideals, especially ideals of justice and progress and so forth, that’s fine: but if they’re not rooted in the ‘strangeness’ of revelation, then I think it all dries up, and the Church does become easily just another voice in the ideological debate. And as the questioner notes, there have been some rather unpleasant examples of that in the twentieth century: and as Bell knew very well indeed, the Church could be very effectively conscripted into the service of the ideology of Nazism.

Question:

How in today’s Church may we continue to maintain the dialogue about Niebuhr’s insights: Christ above culture, within culture, against culture and beyond culture?

Archbishop:

For those who don’t know Reinhold Niebuhr’s great book on Christ and Culture: those are the categories that this very distinguished German-American theologian proposes for understanding the relations between Christ and culture: the Church can work from within, it can work against, it can have an oppositional minority stance, it can seek to penetrate the structures of its society. And as chance would have it, I’ve just been reading a very interesting American book which questions the whole basis on which Niebuhr’s analysis works and says that it’s too artificial and slanted towards Niebuhr’s own preferred conclusions, unsurprisingly. So I think that we probably need to step back a bit from too many generalizations about it and say that it’s not so much about Christ and culture, it’s about the community of Christ in its distinctiveness and worshipping practice and its study of the Bible, Eucharist and Baptism: that kind of community, relating to a variety of cultural institutions, with no such thing as culture in general, but cultures, with the question always in the Church’s mind, ‘How does our engagement with this particular context , this kind of politics, this kind of art, advance the Kingdom of God in some ways?’ How do we in our encounter with whatever our society throws at us, seek to set forward that kind of humanity which God wills as his purpose for us all?

Question:

Representations of religion are still a significant part of the ‘heritage’ business. Is this a valuable commodity or potentially damaging?

Archbishop:

The answer I think, is both. You can end up with the impression that religion is one of those quaint things that people ‘used to do’ and you can – as frequently happens in fiction and drama these days – paint amazingly unreal pictures of religious practice and language in other ages, because you’ve no sense of how it really worked. Although it would be invidious to mention any one instance, there is that recent, astonishing television series on ‘The Tudors’ (so called): a very marked example of a kind of breathtaking illiteracy about the past. The past becomes twenty-first century soap opera in fancy dress, and religion goes with it. You know you’ve got to have it because ‘there were archbishops in the sixteenth century, weren’t there?’ so you’ve got to have them around: but how they worked, what they thought, what they felt, what it was like? There’s no interest at all! So, I’m wary about the heritage industry and the presence of a kind of ‘soft-focus’ and rather inaccurate version of religion within that. On the other hand, anything that does remind us that once there were archbishops of Canterbury and ‘where have they all gone?’ isn’t a bad point just to start a conversation going in the twenty-first century! So there are opportunities there. And I think what we’ve discovered in the last ten years, is that the presence and impact of churches and cathedrals within the heritage world and tourism isn’t necessarily trivial. People find that these are places where you can ‘put the bits of your humanity that won’t go anywhere else’. And the Dean in his sermon last night in the Cathedral said some very powerful things about how that plays out here in Chichester Cathedral: where do people go with certain sorts of experience or crisis? And the presence of Christian images and places in the heritage world is just a reminder that there is somewhere where these things can be taken: that’s not trivial.

Question:

Thinkers tend to be marginalized in our society. What happens about leading academics at the heart of our society?

Archbishop:

I wouldn’t necessarily consign the government of this country to academics, but I do worry occasionally that, while the appetite in many quarters for serious debate about what matters for human beings is there, we’re pushing up hill rather, against a very short-term mentality, a very quick-fix mentality, and a mentality that doesn’t much like the reality of continuing debate. It’s as if people want to say ‘That’s it, now we move on’. So insofar as the Church is part of what the great Raymond Williams called ‘the long revolution’ of keeping the thinking going, critically, then the Church’s voice is not going to be all that popular or welcome in that environment. And we just have a hard job, and I don’t think that anything I say is going to make that easier.

Question:

But it’s related to a number of these other questions about what’s happening at the moment: how does the established Church respond to the prophetic voice and present-day secular society? And here’s a question about what ethical guidance can be credibly given to the financial community at the moment.

Archbishop:

On the economic crisis at the moment: I think the Church has got to be incredibly modest about offering specific solutions. A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of having dinner with a very significant and sophisticated financial journalist who said he had twelve points he was recommending the government to adopt to solve the financial crisis. And I thought, ‘Well, I’m glad somebody has, but actually that’s not the Church’s job and twelve points arriving from Lambeth Palace on the Chancellor’s desk to solve the financial crisis would, quite rightly, be written off! But the Church can keep ‘needling’ at some of the fundamental attitudes (just how did we get here, to a situation in which the unreality of a lot of our financial life simply spirals out of control?) How did we get to a situation where we no longer ask some basic questions about trust? Now, that doesn’t provide the instant answer to the specific critical question: it does say that everyone involved in this (and that means all of us as investors) needs some scrutiny of themselves, and in so many contexts what the Church has to say is, ‘Look at yourself, and take the time that needs’.

And responding to the prophetic voice: the catch about prophecy is that on the whole you don’t know that this is prophecy at the moment. Somebody gets up in a social situation and says, ‘The judgement of God on this society is X, Y and Z’. Now, do you believe them? Well you may or may not and later on you may find that they were right and you were wrong. You may hitch your wagon to it and say, ‘This is right’, and feel a complete fool the other way round, but that’s prophecy. Even in the Old Testament it’s quite clear that when prophets get up and speak, it’s very seldom the case that everybody then says, ‘How true’. The only case of that recorded in the Old Testament is in the book of Jonah. Jonah walks into the middle of Nineveh and says, ‘Forty days and Nineveh will be destroyed: repent!’ And the Ninevites say with one voice, ‘Oh, alright then!’ Which is why—a little-known fact—Jonah is the comic masterpiece of the Old Testament: a very deliberate fantasy on prophetic themes meant to remind us that sometimes the people who are absolutely outside the Covenant, the complete outsiders who inhabit Nineveh, are more likely to respond to the word of God than some of the people who ought to! But on the whole prophecy doesn’t work like that and that’s why discernment is so hard and protracted a job. Trying to listen into the heart of what’s said to find God in it or not, knowing the risk of it and knowing that either a yes or a no can be very problematic in the long run. But when you hear a voice which is prophetic in the sense of being very fundamentally critical of you, of the society or the Church – the first question is not to ask how to get this tiresome person out of sight and sound, it’s to ask if God is saying something to me that I have got to hear for my health. Start there and see what follows: talk to your friends: pray.

Question:

And sort of apropos really, here’s a question about Philip Pullman’s work; asking if it is an important contemporary expression of what Bell mean by public seriousness?

Archbishop:

Absolutely: I think Philip Pullman is globally and dramatically wrong about God and the Universe, and on his way to that ‘global wrongness’ he says so many things that are so interesting and so engaging and challenging that it would be a fool that would write him off as ‘just another atheist’. Work through, see what he has and hasn’t understood about Christianity. Just let your mind be enlarged by the beautiful, imaginative world he takes you into. But don’t lose your head either. Keep asking the questions. And Pullman is just one example of a number of very different writers who, by portraying a very different world from the one Christians usually inhabit, have the capacity to enlarge and deepen. When I think of very professedly anti-religious writers (an example I sometimes use is Ian McEwan, when you’ve read one of his novels, again you might think that it’s not quite the world you inhabit) I’m grateful for having been taken there, and there’s something more that emerges at the end of it all. I think that’s how we should constantly be approaching the arts.

Question:

If Bell were alive today what issues would he be pursuing?

Archbishop:

I think on the basis of what we know of him, he would have been profoundly concerned about how we treat asylum-seekers and detainees in this country. He would have known, as we all know that it’s not a simple question to sort it out. He would have known also that there are some aspects of that system, especially as it affects children and young people, which are intolerable. He would have focused quite a bit on that. I ask myself where he would have been on the question of the Iraq war and I don’t know that I’m sure of the answer. Bell wasn’t a pacifist: he believed that sometimes force was a necessary evil in international affairs and he believed, actually, that the Second World War was a just war. But precisely for that reason of course, he believed that taking it forward unjustly undermined your own initial case, and he might have said ‘Well let’s see how the war in Iraq was actually prosecuted,’ what the scale of civilian casualties actually was and how far it could be explained away. I’m not sure he’d have come to a terribly positive conclusion about that, but it’s an open question to me.

Question:

How does the Church present a coherent voice when individual bishops and priests say such different things?

Archbishop:

Well, in the Church — because its leaders are fallible and sinful men (and occasionally women) just like everybody else – it’s actually rather unusual for the Church to speak with one voice on certain matters. Sometimes when bishops are in conflict over what seem to be rather major or fundamental matters, it can be an embarrassment. But it’s the kind of embarrassment that can only be avoided if you only have one voice for the Church. And I think not even the most orthodox Roman Catholic would believe you ought to have just one voice for the Church. So it’s a risk that you run. The discernment always has to be: testing what any bishop or what anyone else says in the light of that bishop’s place in the whole scheme of Christian tradition and understanding. It can’t be just how I feel or how the vicar feels or how my best friend feels or the fact that I don’t like the bishop’s face on television or whatever: just put what’s being said into that wider context; test it with other Christians; work at it.

Question:

How can the Church manage its task of serving and reshaping culture, given the violence and immorality in populist drama, without the Church being denounced for liberalism or being dismissed as a modern-day Mary Whitehouse?

Archbishop:

For anybody in the public life of the Church there is a level at which you just have to admit that you’re going to look stupid quite a lot of the time. Because in our world of celebrity and saturation communication part of the interest of all that keeps that going is to make public figures look silly a lot of the time. Sometimes they are silly; sometimes they’re not so silly (and naturally I think I’m never silly!) but it’s one of the prices that have to be paid. It’s quite important to realize that the place where the difference is made may not be the House of Lords but it may not be the editorial conference of a newspaper either. The differences are still made by the face-to-face relations of people, by bishop or a church leader actually being there with their people; actually communicating directly – and that, remarkably, does survive a good deal of media distortion. The Church is fundamentally committed to the face-to-face: which is its weakness and its strength. In a media-obsessed culture it can feel like a weakness: in the long term, it’s a strength. It means that the vision, the priorities, the sense of value in the Church moves not just according to fashion or what people tell you to think, but steadily through the relations of actual human beings worshipping together, thinking together and listening together. So I don’t worry too much about that.

Question:

Here is a question about Bell and the visual arts.

Archbishop:

I read Prof Christopher Frayling’s earlier lecture on this and it is a spectacularly interesting account of Bell’s work with the visual arts. I think again his taste was often conservative, but he encouraged risk and the role of Walter Hussey, under Bell’s encouragement and patronage (here in Chichester as Dean) is part of a very interesting and good story about the Church and the arts.

Question:

A couple of quick answers to general questions: Do you agree with Thomas Carlyle that wonder is the basis of worship? If so, do atheists lack a sense of wonder and thus imagination?

Archbishop:

I do agree with Thomas Carlyle on this at least. And one of the interesting things of course is that an atheist like Philip Pullman quite clearly can evoke a sense of wonder and deliver an imaginative world of huge richness. It’s connecting that wonder to love that’s the particular Christian extra – not just that I wonder at the glory and splendour and mystery of the world, but that that wonder first leads me into the sense of being the recipient of a loving gift and then that gift being drawn out of myself in a relationship. That’s where worship is – not only wonder (though it can’t happen without it); and where the atheist who has a great sense of wonder is I believe still be losing out on something.

Question:

A question about public seriousness: is it possible? And is it possible when the strangeness is factored in?

Archbishop:

Well, I don’t know but I think it’s worth working for. I said at the beginning of the lecture that Bell had been described as someone whose many commitments didn’t succeed, but even if he’d known this, he’d still have got on with them. Public seriousness is something that’s worth fighting for whether or not we manage to deliver it.

Question:

A question from someone writing a PhD on the future of the Church in Southampton: What compelling aspiration do you hope that the deanery should achieve over the next five to ten years?

Archbishop:

The aspiration of any deanery or local church ought to be twofold. It ought to be constantly re-shaping itself as a learning church, a church that believes it’s possible to grow into the understanding of God; and it ought to be seeking always to be credible and to have integrity and plausibility in the eyes of its neighbours, through what it does with them and for them.

Question:

Why do you believe in Christianity and not any other religion? Have you ever had times of not believing in God?

Archbishop:

I don’t think I’ve ever had a time of not believing in God. As I said in a recent interview, there have been times when I’m not at all sure what I’ve been believing in when I’ve been believing in God and I can’t see my way at all clearly. But I’ve never felt the bottom has completely dropped out of that.

But why do I stick to Christianity (having been brought up in it) and not any other religion? (It’s not as if one ever comes to religions as a shelf full of products.) Because I believe that Christianity in its commitment to the absolute centrality of relation within God and gift: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bestowing-life into each other, eternally. That is an absolutely unique revolutionary insight which transforms how we see personal reality, being itself, and the possibilities for this world. I don’t think any other faith has that vision at the heart of it and that’s the vision I want to give my allegiance to.

© Rowan Williams 2008

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“THE GEORGE BELL – GERHARD LEIBHOLZ CORRESPONDENCE” – EDITED BY GERHARD RINGSHAUSEN AND ANDREW CHANDLER [CHURCH TIMES BOOK REVIEW – JULY 12 2019]

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The George Bell-Gerhard Leibholz Correspondence, edited by Gerhard Ringshausen and Andrew Chandler

12 JULY 2019

 

John Arnold reviews letters that shed light on George Bell’s life

THEY were an unlikely pair — the English bishop and the German Christian-Jewish constitutional lawyer — but they were linked by the fact that Bell shared a birthday with Leibholz’s wife, Sabine, and thus with her twin brother, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who is present, off-stage, throughout the book. It was the Bonhoeffer connection that made it natural for Leibholz to turn to Bell for help, when he and his family escaped from Nazi Germany in 1938. Practical help in finding food and shelter, work and income, and in dealing with intractable bureaucracies, dominates the early phase of the correspondence and recurs throughout.

Leibholz was only one of many whom Bell was aiding, before, during, and after the war, with advocacy and practical Christianity. In 1945, Bell was supporting Dietrich’s youngest sister, Susanne, in getting members of her husband’s congregation in Berlin to put slices of bread in the collection plate for starving children. He does all this and more, while fulfilling, even over-fulfilling, the duties of his daytime job as Bishop of Chichester. He is unfailingly kind, thoughtful, practical, and effective, making full use of his position at the heart of the Ecumenical Movement and of the Establishment with easy access to politicians, publishers, universities, and, above all, the House of Lords, which gave him a platform for his prophetic ministry to the nation and beyond.

This is the core of the book, in which Leibholz’s mastery of jurisprudence and knowledge of Germany inform Bell’s passion for justice. Their chief concern was the Christian and democratic future of Germany and of Europe. They were strongly opposed to both Fascism and Communism, but feared that British and Allied vindictive attitudes (typified by Robert Vansittart) and the policy of unconditional surrender failed to distinguish between Nazis and Germans, deprived the resistance of hope, and prolonged the war.

 

STADTARCHIV GÖTTINGEN Gerhard Leibholz

 

They were deeply critical of the agreements reached in Casablanca, Yalta, and Potsdam, and, while wanting a unified Germany, feared that it could be only a communist one. After three years of political stagnation, 1945-48, they rejoiced to see the beginnings of the Marshall Plan and the establishment of the Federal Republic, though at the cost of a separate German Democratic Republic. Leibholz was restored to his Professorship at Göttingen, and became a leading member of the Federal Constitutional Court. He is regarded as one of the founders of the modern German State.

The exchange of letters is a delight. However intimate and affectionate the contents, they consistently address each other as “Dear Leibholz” and “My Lordbishop” (sic). Leibholz is expressing himself in a second language; so there are inevitable infelicities. Bell writes with unfailing clarity and charity, compassion and care. In a letter of 1945, he lets us into the secret: “I don’t want to say things that are unnecessary or untrue, and I want to remember the minds of the reader into whose hands such [letters] might fall. I want to say no word that cannot be substantiated.”

Readers should include all who care for truth and right, justice and mercy, German and church history, and Bonhoeffer studies. The book is beautifully produced with an introduction, real footnotes, extensive bibliography and index, and two appendices: Gerhard’s perceptive and appreciative review of Bell’s Christianity and World Order, and Sabine’s wide-eyed memoir of the family’s first visit to Chichester in January 1939.

Leibholz died, crowned with years and honours, in 1982, and Bell in 1958, after chairing a meeting of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and attending the Lambeth Conference. As Leibholz and his wife wrote to his widow: “What made him unique was that he put into action the spirit which moved him and commanded his conscience. The World has become poorer by a really great man. . . We have to thank him for having granted us the privilege of setting up a bond of friendship which shall last forever and which death cannot destroy.”

The Very Revd Dr John Arnold is a former Dean of Durham.

 

The George Bell-Gerhard Leibholz Correspondence: In the long shadow of the Third Reich, 1934-1958
Gerhard Ringshausen and Andrew Chandler, editors 

Bloomsbury £85
(978-1-4742-5766-4)
Church Times Bookshop £76.

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MOLTMANN ON: “THE THEOLOGY OF HOPE”

Listening for God’s eternal ‘Yes’

27 MARCH 2020

 

Now 93, Jürgen Moltmann sits down with Natalie Watson and looks back at a theology of hope

 

PICTURE PARTNERSHIP/WESTMINSTER ABBEY

 

Professor Moltmann delivers the 2020 Gore Lecture at Westminster Abbey, this month

BORN in 1926, in the same year as the Queen, Jürgen Moltmann has become something of a household name, or even an icon, of the theology of the 20th and early 21st century. There is hardly a reading list for theology students on which the name of this German theologian does not feature prominently.

And Britain features prominently in the life of the 93-year-old, who, at the beginning of this month, delivered the Gore Lecture at Westminster Abbey. The topic was “hope”, and his book Theology of Hope (SCM Press, 1967) was what put him on the theological map of the world. In the English-speaking world, this is by no means his best-known book: his later works The Crucified God and Trinity and the Kingdom of God (theology students will remember the “social doctrine” of the Trinity) are classics.

Moltmann was born in Hamburg, north Germany’s largest city. It was the time of the Weimar Republic — pre-war Germany’s short-lived and ill-fated attempt at democracy — and religion had almost no place in the life of the family of teachers into which he was born. His grandfather was a freemason and grandmaster of a lodge.

By the time he was sent to take instruction in preparation for confirmation — the rite of passage into adulthood at age 14 — the Nazis were in power, and the pastor who instructed him and his peers was a German-Christian sympathiser who told the boys that Jesus was an Aryan, really. There was no indication that the young Jürgen would become one of his country’s most celebrated theologians. He was planning to study mathematics.

His childhood and youth were, in many ways, typical of his generation. Their world was secular, and was interrupted only when war broke out in 1939. In 1943, Moltmann received his call-up papers, and, in July of that year, he experienced the firestorm: the destruction of Hamburg, an important port and industrial centre. One of his closest friends was killed by a bomb that spared him, and the question on his mind was “Why?”

“That was the first time I called out to God,” he tells me as we sit in the bar of a central London hotel. What follows is a story that has been told many times, not least in his memoirs, A Broad Place: An autobiography (SCM Press), published in English in 2007. In the last months of the war, Germany was already in chaos: the war was lost, and allied troops were on German territory. Moltmann’s unit had been dispersed, and he was straying through a forest on his own when he encountered a British-Canadian unit. Having learnt English at school, he called out: “I surrender!” “They didn’t shoot me.”

Moltmann was duly taken prisoner, and, as he relayed to the audience at Westminster Abbey, the next morning one of the soldiers brought him a mess tin of baked beans. “Since then, I have loved baked beans. For me, they taste of life.”

After six months in a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp in Ostende, in Belgium, the prisoners were loaded on a ship. The war in Europe had ended, and they assumed that they were on their way back to their home cities in Germany, Hamburg, or Bremerhaven, perhaps. In the morning, they were allowed to go on deck, and, to their surprise and perhaps shock, what they saw was Tower Bridge. From London, they were taken to a POW camp in Scotland, and Moltmann and his comrades were sent to work building roads near Kilmarnock.

Moltmann has often spoken about how he and his fellow prisoners — former enemies, after all — experienced the hospitality of the local populace as incredibly kind and yet deeply shaming. Altogether he would spend three years in Britain. As the Cold War began, and the attitudes of the Western Allies towards Germany changed, education programmes for young Germans were set up. Young German POWs were able to complete their schooling and to qualify for university entrance.

PICTURE PARTNERSHIP/WESTMINSTER ABBEYProfessor Moltmann delivers the 2020 Gore Lecture at Westminster Abbey, this month. The Abbey’s Canon Theologian, the Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey, chaired the event

Watched by an armed British officer, Moltmann was taken south to Nottinghamshire, to a camp near Mansfield. He later described the time spent at Camp Norton as the most intellectually intense and rich time of his life. Here, he studied his first semester of theology before eventually returning to Germany in April 1948.

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The George Bell-Gerhard Leibholz Correspondence, edited by Gerhard Ringshausen and Andrew Chandler#

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/03/27/the-george-bell-gerhard-leibholz-correspondence-edited-by-gerhard-ringshausen-and-andrew-chandler-church-times-book-review-july-12-2019/

John Arnold reviews letters that shed light on George Bell’s life

In the autumn of 1948, he took up his studies in Göttingen, completing them in 1952, with both the examinations qualifying him for service in the Church, and a theological doctorate under his belt. On many occasions, he has ascribed the latter to the fact that, on a journey with fellow students to Copenhagen, he had met a young theology student, Elisabeth Wendel, well known in her own right as a theologian and one of the pioneers of feminist theology. “So I asked Otto Weber [her doctoral supervisor] for a thesis topic, so I could get to know her.”

The couple married in 1952, and, until Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel’s death in 2016, their theological working lives were closely intertwined. I told Moltmann that the final question in a Church Times interview is always: “With whom would you like to be locked in a church?” He hesitates, and then says: “With my wife.” And, after a moment, “and my friend Hans Küng.”

The former is certainly no surprise: Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, like her husband, was an ambassador of theology from other parts of the world to Germany. In her case, it was the work of the North American feminist theologians, and, as I reminisced about Moltmann’s work with other audience members in Westminster Abbey, one of them mentioned their joint book God His and Hers. Moltmann said that he owes to her the ability to speak subjectively, to say “I” in theology: “As a man, I had learnt to say ‘God is love’, but I should also be able to say ‘I experience God as loving.’”

 

THE ability to speak for oneself in theology, for many different voices to be heard, and to be heard authentically has been a constant in the many theological conversations that he has been involved in over the years. His political theology of hope inspired the liberation theologians of the 1970s and ’80s.

In 1976, he famously responded to the critique of his work by liberation theologians, in an open letter to the Argentine Protestant theologian José Míguez Bonino. In the letter, he warned against the provincialisation of theology, but also criticised liberation theologians for relying too much on the voices of their European antecedents (reminding them that Karl Marx had, after all, been born in Trier) rather than speaking with an authentically Latin American voice and remembering to “turn to the people”.

Thinking and speaking for oneself is still important to the nonagenarian. What would he say to young people now, perhaps those setting out to study theology? “Process your own experiences. Seek adventures in other countries, and work through them theologically.

 

Take the earphone plugs out of your ears and sing, yourselves; switch off your smartphones and start to think for yourselves.”

 

He speaks of his great respect for the young generation and their engagement in political and environmental matters, and then adds, wistfully, “I would love to be young again.”

 

FOR most of his professional life, his home was the University of Tübingen, in south Germany — perhaps in some ways an unlikely place for a northerner. Here, he worked as an ordinary professor for systematic theology from 1967 until his official retirement in 1994.

In many ways, Moltmann is a very German theologian, steeped in the tradition of “systematic theology” — Reformed rather than Lutheran — and in dialogue with the German intellectual and cultural tradition.

The focus of his Gore Lecture this year was a quotation from the 19th-century German poet and philosopher Friedrich Hölderlin: “Where there is danger, salvation grows also.” There were also references to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s play Nathan the Wise (1779), and the idealist philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Yet, even after a career as a professor at several German universities, spanning five decades, Moltmann’s work is much better known and has had a much deeper impact beyond its borders. Once again, perhaps the prophet is not without honour, save in his own country.

Long before his contemporaries, he was aware of, and entered into dialogue with, theologians from other parts of the world. He was the first to introduce German Protestant theologians to the political theologies of Asia and Latin America. I ask him where this journey began, and he talks about his regular visits to Korea, beginning in 1975. Nine of the most eminent theologians of that country undertook their doctoral studies with Moltmann in Tübingen. He also mentions Nicaragua, where he helped to found the first Protestant university, in Managua.

In the English-speaking world, the Croatian-American theologian Miroslav Volf, the author of works such as Exclusion and Embrace, undertook his doctoral studies with Moltmann in Tübingen. Increasingly, Moltmann’s theological work opened out into multiple conversations rooted and grounded in God’s active presence in the world, perhaps best evident in his second book on Christology, The Way of Jesus Christ (SCM Press, 1989), where — still somewhat unusually for a German systematic theologian — he engages with the political theologies of Africa and Latin America, and also with feminist and disability theologians.

But, in the beginning, there was the “theology of hope”. While his work in the early years of his career had largely been historical, and focused on theology in the Dutch and German Reformed tradition, by the 1960s he was becoming increasingly interested in developing a theology that engaged with the questions of the present day.

For him, this meant returning to Christian theology, and also to the People of God, its authentic hope for the future, to restore to the Christian message a strong emphasis on God’s eternal “yes”, given in God’s promise proclaimed by the prophets of the Old Testament, in the hope for the resurrection of the dead promised in the raising of the crucified Christ, and in understanding human history as the mission of the Kingdom of God.

But it was an encounter with the Jewish Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, the author of The Principle of Hope, that sparked what was to become an epoch-making theological work — a departure that gave Moltmann his own voice and continues to be his subject today. It marked a new beginning for a theology that was public and political, confident and credible, in calling people together to work for the common good.

 

THEOLOGY OF HOPE (SCM Press, 1967) struck a chord not only among theologians; it made it on to the front pages of Newsweek and Time — and also on to the index of forbidden books of the East German Stasi.

Where the United States, full of the optimism of the Kennedy era, saw cause for hope that new beginnings were possible, even in the Church, the Stasi sensed danger.

“A distribution of the book in the GDR [German Democratic Republic] would encourage a Christian attitude which, in contrast to the socialist reality, looks for this reality to be surmounted in the future, and is oriented towards a future Christian society,” the Stasi censor wrote in 1966.

The book was duly banned, and Moltmann was barred from lecturing in the GDR for the next ten years. But the rest, as they say, is history; and, among the readers of copies of Theology of Hope smuggled behind the Iron Curtain were the pastors whose invitations to open conversations about the future of the planet and prayers for peace sparked the peaceful revolution of 1989.

In the 1960s, Moltmann was writing for a world that had lost its innocence: in Germany, through the experience of the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust — for Moltmann, as for most of his generation, this is still very present; and for the world, through the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. The human race had entered its own endtime.

PICTURE PARTNERSHIP/WESTMINSTER ABBEYProfessor Moltmann delivers the 2020 Gore Lecture at Westminster Abbey, this month. The Abbey’s Canon Theologian, the Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey, chaired the event

Theology of Hope is a book of its time, but it is certainly not a baptised version of Bloch’s philosophy, as Karl Barth alleged. At its heart is not Marxism, but messianic hope.

In his Gore Lecture, Moltmann spoke of the dangers of our time: the poison of hatred (citing Camus’s observation that Europe no longer loved life); the rising new nationalism after the end of the Cold War; nuclear rearmament and the possibility of a nuclear suicide of the world; and, of course, the impeding ecological catastrophe.

“It is too late for pessimism,” he said. “We must act as if the future depended on us, and trust that our children will survive.”

Life, for Moltmann, is not an accident of nature, and, therefore, he holds that we must create a culture that recognises the common life of humankind. This, for him, is not merely Christian brotherhood, but is to be extended to all people. Human life not only implies the gift of life, but also the responsibility of being human. Life must be lived both privately and publicly.

He speaks of the importance of human rights, of democracy, and, in answer to a question from the audience about what should replace the word “power”, he replies “Solidarity.”

I ask him who his conversation partners would be now, after the end of the Cold War and the discreditation of Marxism. He replies: “The Chinese,” and calls for the nations to work together in the face of impending dangers, be it the coronavirus, climate change, or carbon poisoning.

 

DURING a conference about the Theology of Hope at Duke University, Durham, in North Carolina, the news broke of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.: an event that became the catalyst for writing The Crucified God, first published in German in 1972 and in English in 1975, and, most recently, reissued by the SCM Press in 2015.

Beyond Germany, this is, perhaps, the book that has had the most profound impact. Moltmann told me that, even now, more than 40 years after its publication, he receives at least one letter a month from somewhere around the world telling him about how this book has changed the reader’s life.

The Crucified God was an attempt to speak about God in the wake of Auschwitz, after the death of God. In the preface to the 40th-anniversary edition, he tells of a letter that he received in 1990 from the American theologian Robert McAfee Brown, about the murder of six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter in San Salvador.

OTHER STORIES

Lives Reclaimed: A story of rescue and resistance in Nazi Germany, by Mark Roseman

William Whyte on anti-Nazi efforts in Germany

One of the soldiers who had dragged the bodies of the martyrs through the Jesuit study house at the University of Central America, in San Salvador, had knocked a book off the shelf in the study of Jon Sobrino, the only surviving member of the community because he was out of the country at the time of the massacre. The book, stained with the blood of one of the slain priests, Juan Moreno, and now under glass at the memorial, was El Dios Crucificado.

The reality of violence and cruelty demanded an answer. Moltmann writes about not being interested in the simple question how a good and loving God could allow such evil to happen; another question is far more essential: “Was God present in the inferno of those burning nights I remembered, or was he untouched by them, in the heaven of a complacent blessedness? Where is God?”

In his memoirs, he writes: “In these years my theological interest shifted from the resurrection of the crucified Christ, and the horizon of hope which it throws open, to the cross of the risen Christ and the spaces of remembrance of the experience of absolute death. The Crucified God was intended to be the other side of the ‘God of hope.’”

The statement that God was in Auschwitz, suffering and dying with the millions that perished there, whose lives are etched deeply into God’s own life, was bold at the time and remains so today.

 

MOLTMANN is a Protestant theologian, deeply rooted in the tradition of the Reformed Church, which he chose over the Lutheran tradition of his native Hamburg — not least because of the clearer stance of Reformed theologians such as Barth, in the Barmen Declaration, which voiced the Confessing Church’s opposition to Nazism.

But it is in his encounters with theologians from the wider Christian Church, in the ecumenical movement, that much of his theology was shaped.

Among his collaborators and friends are many Roman Catholics, most notably his fellow political theologian Johannes Baptist Metz, and his Tübingen colleague Hans Küng. For many years, Küng and he worked on the ecumenical section of the international periodical Concilium, the English edition of which is still published by the SCM Press.

By now, several generations of students have studied Moltmann’s books, most of them published in the US by Fortress Press, and in the UK by the SCM Press. Nearly all of them were translated into English by Margaret Kohl, who made a substantial contribution in her own right by enabling consistency of language and terminology.

As a theologian, this German professor is a citizen of the world, and yet Britain retains a special place in his life and in his heart. More than 70 years later, he still speaks warmly about the hospitality of the farmers of Kilmarnock.

There is his 1981 joint lecture with Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, “Becoming Human in a New Community of Women and Men”, presented at an ecumenical conference in Sheffield in 1981, and also one of the key moments of his life as a theologian, as well as his 1985 Gifford Lectures, published as God in Creation (SCM Press, 1985).

When asked by the chair of his Gore Lecture if there could ever be a good nationalism, he replied: “British nationalism”. In his view, it retained an innocence that his home country lost in the face of the atrocities of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Maybe this was the polite answer of a guest, although when I asked him about his impression of Britain today, he mentioned ever greater divides within society and the threat that the Union could break up. None the less, this guest has gained a firm place in the theological canon of his former captors, and his theology of hope still strikes a chord.

 

Dr Natalie K. Watson is a theologian and writer based in Peterborough. She studied with Jürgen Moltmann in Tübingen in the early 1990s, and was Senior Commissioning Editor of the SCM Press from 2007 to 2015.

 

OTHER STORIES

Priests de la Résistance! The loose canons who fought fascism in the twentieth century, by Fergus Butler-Gallie

Germany’s pure of heart

80th anniversary of Kristallnacht: ‘We commemorate to change the present’

German and polish Christians recall Nazi invasion 80 years on

London and Berlin parishes celebrate 20 years of friendship

World news in brief

Featured post

THE BELL CHRONOLOGY – 1883 TO PRESENT – JUSTICE FOR BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER

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Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester

1883 to Present

CHRONOLOGY COMPILED BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

 

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Bishop George Bell of Chichester

1883

Feb 4 1883 – George Kennedy Allen Bell born in Hayling Island, Hampshire

1910

1910 – George Bell appointed Student Minister and Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford

1912

1912 – Church of England ‘Caution List’ compiled

“This named priests known to have been guilty of criminal and moral offences, or viewed with ‘grave suspicion’. In fact, there are national and diocesan caution lists, and each diocesan bishop was advised to keep his own up-to-date, to consult it before making any appointment, and to pass any new name directly to Lambeth Palace”. [Source: “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler (Eerdmans 2016) – Page 196 & 197 – ‘Postlude: History and Allegation’]

1914

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral [Picture: Alamy]

1914 – George Bell appointed Chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson

“George Bell was very conscientious in keeping this Caution List up-to-date” – Richard W. Symonds

1918

1918 – George Bell marries Henrietta Livingstone

1925

1925 – George Bell appointed Dean of Canterbury

“At this time he was the driving force of the Canterbury Arts Festival, with artists including John Masefield, Gustav Holst, Dorothy Sayers and TS Eliot. Bell later welcomed Mahatma Gandhi to Canterbury”~ Richard W. Symonds

1929

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February 1 and October 5 2018 – Church House Westminster

1929 – George Bell appointed Bishop of Chichester 

1934

1934 – The Barmen Declaration – Wuppertal

May 29-31 1934 – The Barmen Declaration

75 Jahre Barmer Erklärung

A sculpure in remembrance of the Barmen Declaration in Wuppertal-Barmen.

1935

1935 – Bishop Bell commissions TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’

1936

In 1936 Bishop Bell appointed Chairman of the International Christian Committee for German Refugees

The Committee supported Jewish Christians who at that time were supported by neither Jewish nor Christian organizations.

1936 – “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – A Prayer by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Published in the Chichester Diocesan Gazette

1938

In 1938 Bishop Bell helped many people, including pastors’ families (eg Franz Hildebrandt), to emigrate from Germany to Britain who were in danger from Hitler, and the ‘official’ church, because they had Jewish ancestors or were opponents of the German dictatorship. As one of the leaders of the Ecumenical Movement, he influenced public opinion in supporting those persecuted by the Nazi regime. His public support is said to have contributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller’s survival (“First they came…”) by making his imprisonment in Sachenhausen in February 1938 – and later in Dachau – widely known in the British media, exposing it as an example of the Nazi persecution of the church. Hitler stopped Niemöller’s planned execution in 1938.

1939

Jan 1939 – Church of England “Caution List” revised

“During the war, Bishop Bell was involved in helping not only displaced persons and refugees who had fled the continent to England, but also interned Germans and British conscientious objectors….During World War II Bell repeatedly condemned the Allied practice of ‘area bombing’. As a member of the House of Lords, he was a consistent parliamentary critic of area bombing…In 1941 in a letter to The Times, he called the bombing of unarmed women and children “barbarian” which would destroy the just cause for the war, thus openly criticising the Prime Minister’s [Winston Churchill – Ed] advocacy of such a bombing strategy. On 14 February 1943 – two years ahead of the Dresden raids – he urged the House of Lords to resist the War Cabinet’s decision for area bombing, stating that it called into question all the humane and democratic values for which Britain had gone to war. In 1944, during debate, he again demanded the House of Lords to stop British area bombing of German cities such as Hamburg and Berlin as a disproportionate and illegal “policy of annihilation” and a crime against humanity…” (Source: Wiki)

Sept 1939 – The Bell Declaration 1939 – “The Church ought to declare what is just”

 

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1940

August 16 1940 – “Principles of Peace” by CEM Joad – The Spectator

Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Oct 5 2018 at Church House:
 
Perhaps one of the great gifts of Judaeo-Christian culture has been the presumption of innocence in our legal system...”
 
C.E.M. Joad on Aug 16 1940 – The Spectator 
 
“There are certain principles which form the heritage of our Western civilisation, principles which are derived partly from ancient Greece, partly from Christianity…”.
 
 
Richard W. Symonds is currently (2018) co-writing a biography on CEM Joad, with particular focus on his ‘swansong’ – “The Recovery of Belief – A Restatement of Christian Philosophy” [Faber & Faber 1952]

1944

Oct 1944 – Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple dies unexpectedly, aged 63

Oct 1944 – Prime Minister Winston Churchill strongly disapproves of Bishop of Chichester George Bell

In 1944 the Archbishop of CanterburyWilliam Temple, died after only two years in the post. Bell was considered a leading possibility to succeed him,[by whom?] but it was Geoffrey FisherBishop of London, who was appointed. Bishops of the Church of England are chosen, ultimately, by the British prime minister and it is known that Winston Churchill strongly disapproved of Bell’s speeches against bombing.[citation needed] It has often been asserted that Bell would otherwise have been appointed,[by whom?] but this is debatable; there is evidence that Temple had thought Fisher a likely successor anyway. Bell’s high posthumous reputation[9][10] may have coloured later opinion. For example, Archbishop Rowan Williams said in 2008 that he thought Bell would have made a better Archbishop of Canterbury than Fisher.[11]

Nov/Dec 1944 – Geoffrey Fisher selected as Archbishop of Canterbury by Prime Minister Winston Churchill

Fisher was also a committed Freemason,[4] as were many Church of England bishops of his day. Fisher served as Grand Chaplain in the United Grand Lodge of England

He advised the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, that he did not consider Michael Ramsey, who had been his pupil at Repton, a suitable successor. Ramsey later relayed to the Reverend Victor Stock the conversation Fisher had with the Prime Minister.

According to this account, Fisher said:[7]

I have come to give you some advice about my successor. Whomever you choose, under no account must it be Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of York. Dr Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer. Therefore, he is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury. I have known him all his life. I was his Headmaster at Repton.

Macmillan replied:[7]

Thank you, your Grace, for your kind advice. You may have been Doctor Ramsey’s headmaster, but you were not mine.

Ramsey was duly appointed.

 

1945

July 1945 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Service of Remembrance – Holy Trinity Church – Brompton Road – London

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1946

1946 – ‘Compendium of the Codes and Practices of Episcopacy – Clergy: Discipline and Disability’ – “Perhaps the only official, printed acknowledgement that there existed in the Church of England a Caution List” – Andrew Chandler

“This significant, secret manual of episcopal practice was no ordinary labour, and it required no ordinary editor. A prefatory note by Archbishop Fisher announced, ‘We owe the revision of a record first compiled in 1912 to the industry of the Bishop of Chichester’ [Source: ‘Private Memoranda of certain matters discussed at the Bishops’ Meetings of Bishops of the Three Provinces of Canterbury, York and Wales held at Lambeth Palace (1902-1945), together with certain Resolutions adopted by the Convocations of Canterbury and York (1946)’, Bell Papers, vol. 306]

– Andrew Chandler – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” (Eerdmans 2016) – Page 196 & 197 – ‘Postlude: History and Allegation’]

“By now a working relationship with the Caution List had been a part of almost Bell’s entire career” – Andrew Chandler [Source: As above]

“It is difficult to believe someone responsible for a ‘Caution List’, which listed priests found guilty of ‘moral offences’, was as guilty as those on that List” – RWS

1948

Dec 10 1948 – “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” ~ Article 11, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly of the United Nations

1956

1956 – “The Wrong Man” – A Film by Alfred Hitchcock with Henry Fonda

1958

Oct 3 1958 – George Kennedy Allen Bell dies

1961

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Arundel-Bell Screen – Chichester Cathedral – RWS Photography

1961 – Newly-built Arundel Screen in Chichester Cathedral dedicated by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey – in memory of Bishop George Bell [thereon called The Arundel-Bell Screen]

“In 1961, Michael Ramsey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, went to Chichester Cathedral to dedicate the newly-built Arundel Screen, in memory of George Bell…”

~ Sandra Saer

1967

1967 – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” by Ronald C.D. Jasper [OUP 1967]

Nov 28 1967 – “The Controversial Bishop Bell” – BBC Radio 3

1971

1971 – Kincora Boys’ Home in Northern Ireland and William McGrath [“Who Framed Colin Wallace” by Paul Foot – Macmillan 1989/Pan 1990 – Pages 115-146/208-209 Photo] 

1983

Feb 4 1983 – The ’Anglo-German Tapestry’, which includes references to the life of St Richard, was commissioned to mark the centenary of Bishop Bell’s birth.

1983 (US) – “It all began in Lafayette” – Child Sex Abuse by the priest Gilbert Gauthe in Lafayette, Louisiana

1984

1984 – The Ecumenical Conference at Chichester Cathedral (which led to the first of the ‘Coburg Conferences’ in 1985)

This ecumenical conference was first held in Chichester 35 years ago [1984] to celebrate the pioneering international work of Bishop Bell. Having been so successful, regular ‘Coburg Conferences’ have taken place ever since. 
The Conferences are held every two years, with four centres hosting them in turn – three in Germany and one in Chichester. This autumn it will be Chichester’s turn. Delegates from the Diocese of Chichester, the Evangelical Kirchenkreis Bayreuth, the Lutheran church in Berlin-Brandenburg, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bamberg meet to share and solve problems together with lectures, discussions and workshops. 
Strong bonds of support, fellowship and understanding have developed.

1985 

Jan 25 1985 – “Power Unlimited And Exclusive” – ‘Nuclear Arms and the Vision of George Bell’ – A Booklet originating from a Talk for Christian CND, given by the Rt. Revd. Peter Walker [Bishop of Ely] at Blackfriars, Cambridge – in the Week of Prayer for World Peace and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity [Hat-Tip: Professor David Jasper]

June 1985 (US) – “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner” – 92-Page Report by Rev Thomas Doyle, Lawyer Ray Mouton, and Rev Michael Peterson (in the wake of the 1983 child sex abuse prosecution of the priest Gilbert Gauthe in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana)

“In 1985, after the Louisiana scandal, Tom Doyle – Secretary Canonist for the Papal Nuncio – co-authored a report warning paedophile priests were a billion dollar liability. He tried to introduce the report at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal Law of Boston initially helped to co-fund the report, but then he backed out and they shelved it” ~ Richard Sipe [quoted in the ‘Spotlight’ film]

1985 – The First of the ‘Coburg Conferences’ at Chichester Cathedral 

1986

Jan 30 1986 – “Anatomy of a Cover-Up” – Gilbert Gauthe – The Diocese of Lafayette and the moral responsibility for the pedophilia scandal – Jason Berry

1988

1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ [Series 5 Disc 2) – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral [‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

1991

July 16 1991 – “American paedophile jailed” [The Times, London, England] – Richard Gauthe, brother of Gilbert Gauthe (see 1983 & 1985 entries)

1992

1992 – Heathfield Sussex – Islington Council – Nick Rabet – Thailand

1993

1993 – “Britain and the Threat to Stability in Europe, 1918-45” – Chapter ‘Bishop Bell and Germany’ [Pinter 1993. Republished Bloomsbury Academic Collections 2016] 

1993 – Rev. Peter Ball, Bishop of Lewes, given a Caution by the Police for gross indecency, after abusing a trainee monk.

1995

1995 – First complaint by ‘Carol’ to Bishop of Chichester Eric Kemp, alleging Bishop Bell had sexually abused her in the 1940s and 1950s (not reported to Police). Second complaint in 2013

“I am increasingly of the speculative opinion that ‘Carol’ might have confused Bishop Bell with Bishop Ball. In other words, a simple case of mistaken identity where it is highly likely she was abused by a priest in Chichester as a child, but highly unlikely it was Bishop Bell” ~ Richard W. Symonds

1998

1998 – Conviction of Father Michael Hill of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton for child sexual abuse – Chaplain of Gatwick Airport & brief Resident of Crawley

2000

July 19 2000 – Archbishop defends paedophile move – BBC News

Sept 13 2000 – “Nolan to review Catholic rules on child abuse” – The Guardian – Stephen Bates [Religious Affairs Correspondent]

2001

May 2001 – Terence Banks – Head Steward at Chichester Cathedral – jailed for 16 years for sexual abuse of children

May 2001 – “Church Steward Who Groomed Boys For Abuse Is Jailed – Terence Banks – Chichester/Hammersmith” – Article written in 2014

May 3 2001 – “Dean denies cover-up” (page 2) – Chichester Observer (mentioned by Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital)(Recommendations only in 2004 – Terence Banks et al not mentioned until 2014)

June 2001 – Edi Carmi is asked to review the Chichester case. The CARMI Report is completed in 2004, but only its Recommendations are published. In 2014 – 10 years later – the CARMI Report is published in full.

Sept 2001 – Nolan Report published

‘Guilty until proven innocent’ [Source: “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study for Procedural Justice for Priests’ by Fr. James Valladares – iUniverse 2012 – Page 160-161]

In a very interesting article entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent,” Fr. Austen Ivereigh, MA, DPhil, of Heythorpe College, Oxford, informs us of the Cumberlege Commission review of the Church’s child-protection policy [Nolan Report – Ed]. And this is his initial observation: “While treatment of the abused has improved, disturbing evidence has emerged that priests who have been accused and not charged are left in limbo, suspicion still hanging over them” [Ref 345: Austin Ivereigh, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Ever since a dithering Caiaphas [See ‘The Caiaphas Principle’ – June 11 2018 – Ed] succumbed to public pressure and maintained that the destruction of an innocent man was justified to save a nation, the law of Christian countries has consistently upheld the presumption of innocence, and the need for definite and incontrovertible evidence, before an accused can be convicted . In the Church’s legal tradition, this is known as ‘favor rei’ – the accused enjoys the benefit of the law and is deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. Said Pope John Paul II in 1979: “Due process and individual rights should never be sacrificed for the sake of the social order”.

In the wake of the explosive revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy in 2002 (exposed by the Boston Globe and highlighted in the ‘Spotlight’ film – Ed), the bishops of the world reacted with drastic measures to repair the scandal and restore justice through penal sanctions. Quasi-judicial bodies were established and duly authorised to implement their policies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there was COPCA (the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults), the child-protection agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, set up at Lord Nolan’s report on abuse in 2001.

Fr. Austen Ivereigh frankly confesses that Nolan was well aware of the possibility of false or malicious allegations, and the haunting danger of reputations being irreparably destroyed. Yet, continues Fr. Ivereigh, “COPCA’s policies have ridden roughshod over these qualms. ‘Nolan would be turning in his grave,’ more than one canonist has told me.” So there is a pressing need for a level playing field [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, the bishop in charge of COPCA, candidly acknowledged last year that an accused priest is unlikely ever to be reinstated. Of the 40 clergy in England and Wales who had been accused by 2005, only two had been restored to ministry; four were dismissed. Of the 41 reports made in 2006, 24 resulted in no further action by the police, while 14 are still being investigated. Ivereigh adds, “And what is the fate of those whose cases have been dropped by the police? Many of them live in limbo, their reputations and vocations cast to the wolves. All too often, they leave the priesthood”. ‘So a priest is guilty until proven innocent – and this is the deplorable stance of the very ones who brazenly preach about justice in season and out of season’.

Fr. Paul Bruxby, the Brentwood canonist who defends accused priests, informs us that most of the 20 priests he is defending have been assessed as ‘low risk’; yet, five or six years later, they are unable to return to their parishes. “They feel shunned by their bishops and describe themselves as lepers. They feel hopeless, and sometimes imagine committing suicide” [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10]

2002

Jan 6 2002 – “Church allowed abuse by priest for years” – Front Page – Boston Sunday Globe…..the scandal broke and a film was made of the investigation 14 years later: “Spotlight” [2016]

“Boston Globe identified a pattern of systematic sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston in which known paedophile clergy were moved around parishes and/or sent to ‘treatment centres’ – but not prosecuted or de-frocked. The abuse was ‘covered up’. Any just legal recourse for victims was difficult – and made difficult” – Richard W. Symonds

2002 – Boston and Beyond – Major abuse scandals uncovered in the following places…

“There are parallels between what happened in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester in 2015 and what had already happened in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Boston in 2002 – and beyond. The ‘Spotlight’ film brings this out clearly” ~ Richard W. Symonds

2003

2003 – Church of England abolishes “Deposition from Holy Orders” [‘Defrocking’]

2003 – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness…” by Dorothy Rabinowitz [Wall Street Journal Books 2003]

Feb 20 2003 – “Police to close sex abuse inquiry” – Daily Telegraph [ Operation Care – Football manager Dave Jones – Merseyside Police “trawling”]

May 10 2003 – “Warnings have been going on for 25 years” (page 2) – Chichester Observer (mentioned by Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital)(Recommendations only in 2004 – Terence Banks et al not mentioned until 2014)

2004

2004 – Carmi Report published (not released by Church until July 8 2014 – following jail sentence of Terence Banks in 2001 – only the recommendations were published)

March 17 2004 – “Child sex ‘expert’ (Stephen King aka Stephen Gosling) is jailed for girls’ abuse” – Daily Telegraph

2007

2007 – House of Bishops Confidential Document 

“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers)…With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it” – Excerpts from House of Bishops confidential document – 2007

March 14 2007 – “Mary Joice, nee Balmer” – Church Times Obituary – Professor Paul Foster 

Bishop Bell’s Secretary from 1941 until his death in 1958

May 28 2007 – “What’s really wrong with English Conservative Evangelicalism?” – ‘The Ugley Vicar’

Dec 5 2007 – Stuart Syvret Interview – “A systemic decades-long betrayal of the innocents” – Jersey Evening Post

2008

Oct 2008 – “George Bell, 1883-1958 -A Bishop To Remember – A Study Guide for his Diocese to mark the 50th Anniversary of his death” by Rachel Moriarty

Oct 2 2008 – “Bishop who stood alone” – Church Times – Alan Wilkinson

Oct 3 – 5 2008 – “Hundreds attend Chichester Cathedral with the Archbishop of Canterbury to Celebrate its 900 years” [and Bishop Bell’s 50th Anniversary] – ‘The Official Chichester Cathedral Website’

Oct 4 2008 – Bishop George Bell Lecture – delivered by Dr Rowan Williams [104th Archbishop of Canterbury] – at the University of Chichester

Oct 8 2008 – George Bell House at Chichester Cathedral opened and dedicated by the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

“Two Archbishops, Two Bishops, Two Dates, Two Arundel Connections, and one SMH book” ~ Sandra Saer

In 1961, Michael Ramsey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, went to Chichester Cathedral to dedicate the newly-rebuilt Arundel Screen, in memory of George Bell (1883-1958), one of the most outstanding Bishops of Chichester. (And, in my book, and in that of the 2000+ who signed a Petition to have his name cleared and his greatness reinstated, a Bishop forever to be remembered.)

In 2008, on another equally special occasion, the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, visited Chichester to declare open George Bell House.

Two of Bishop Rowan’s special guests were Mother Angela and Sister Jane, two Anglican Sisters. (see photo to the right)

Why am I telling you this?

Now we go back in time again, to 2003. when a small package arrived in the post. It contained an exercise book crammed with small handwriting, accompanied by pony-camera photographs which had been glued tightly into the book. A note read: ‘Would you like to publish my story ? Sister Jane.’

I went on to read a beautiful, heart-warming account of an Anglican Community’s life and the devoted but joyful way the Sisters lived it. And of course I published it.

SURPRISED BY JOY A History of the Community of the Servants of the Cross This is a beautiful, heart-warming account . On the back cover, I quoted from the Rt Rev’d Eric Kemp, Bishop of Chichester, 1974-2000, and the Community’s Episcopal Visitor:

…an admirable and encouraging story. I have known the Community since 1974. It has given long years of faithful service to the church, in various ways. The Sisters have been faithful to their calling, through many changes forced upon them by circumstances.

The other Arundel connection? In February, 2014, Rowan Williams, now known more correctly as The Rt Revd Dr and Rt Hon Baron Williams of Oystermouth, made a two-day, unforgettable visit to our Parish and Priory Church of St Nicholas.

He gave the second in the church’s ‘Poetry and Faith’ series, this time on Dylan Thomas, illustrated with readings of his poems. Next day, he celebrated and preached the sermon at the 10 am Eucharist Service.

Needless to say, the church was packed on both days, and a great many people some, we had never seen before, (but hope to see again) had the opportunity to listen, learn, and thoroughly enjoy what the erudite but engaging Bishop said, with such charm and humour. Our Vicar, David Farrer (also a Bishop!) commented to me in an email, after the weekend, that ‘the humble humanity of the man shines through’. That said it exactly!

Sadly, both Mother Angela and Sister Jane are no longer with us. Following Angela’s death, Jane’s Requiem Eucharist took place at The Church of St Mary the Virgin, in the Parish of East Preston and Kingston, on Friday, 13 February, 2015. The Celebrant was Bishop Martin Warner, the last Episcopal Visitor to the Community of the Servants of the Cross. It was a most moving occasion, for all the many of us present.

~ Sandra Saer

 

Oct 8 2008 – Chichester Cathedral’s 900th Anniversary and Bishop Bell’s 50th Anniversary + George Bell House opened by Archbishop Rowan Williams

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Oct 8 2008 – Unveiling of Howard Coster’s ‘Bishop Bell’ Portrait Photograph – with Plaque [in storage within the private Cathedral Library]

December 27 2008 – “Disestablishment of Church of England would be welcome, say leading bishops” – Daily Telegraph

 

“I would welcome anything which means that it doesn’t look as though the Church is controlled by the State”

~ The Rt Rev John Packer, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

 

2009

June 30 2009 – “No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

2010

2010 – “Inspector George Gently” with Martin Shaw [Series 2 – Disc 1 – ‘Gently with the Innocents’] – on the theme of Child Sexual Abuse in a Children’s Home

July 9 2010 – “False Accusations” by John Landry http://www.catholicity.com [Quoted in “Hope Springs Internal in the Priestly Breast – A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests” by Fr. James Valladares – Page 200 – “Where is Justice for Falsely Accused Priests?”]

July 13 2010 – Statement: “Archbishop Chaput defends reputation of falsely accused priest” – Catholic World News – July 16 2010

2011

Jan 11 2011 – The Right Rev Peter Walker – Times Obituary

The Right Rev Peter Walker

Bishop of Ely and familiar figure at Oxford and Cambridge who was an ardent admirer of the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~ The Times

Bishop Peter Walker
Bishop Peter Walker

With the death of Peter Walker, the Church of England loses its last living link with Bishop George Bell of Chichester. He knew him well, and like him had a great interest in the arts and an appreciation of the theology of Bell’s friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor and martyr. Walker had vast contacts in Church and State, especially in Oxford and Cambridge, and was a regular figure at memorial services….

 

May 25 2011 – “Church of England criticised over Sussex sex abuse” – BBC Sussex

“Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is critical both of Sussex Police and Chichester Diocese, for not taking complaints against Pritchard and Cotton  seriously enough. There was ‘a lack of understanding of the seriousness of historic child abuse’ – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 2011 – Coburg Conference 2011 – Chichester and Arundel Cathedrals – ‘The Parish Proclaimer’ 

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Arundel Cathedral

Nov 1 2011 – Jimmy Savile scandal breaks – in UK

Nov 3 2011 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – in US

Dec 8 2011 – Archbishop of Dublin [John Charles McQuaid] Who Died In 1973 Is Linked To Abuse” – New York Times

Dec 29 2011 – “Dr Williams orders visitation” – Church Times

2012

2012 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. [Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, USA – 2012]

February 2012 – Independent Historic Cases Review. Roy Cotton / Colin Pritchard – Diocese of Chichester – Roger Meekings / Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss

“The victims were effectively denied the opportunity of being believed in a meaningful sense and denied the opportunity of ‘timely’ justice. PJ spent many years trying to get the Church [and Sussex Police] to accept his allegations and respond with timely action and recognition of his abuse” – Roger Meekings

March 2 2012 – “Unreserved apology” from Diocese of Chichester regarding Roy Cotton & Colin Pritchard – The Argus [See March 2 2017]

March 2012 – Miles Goslett on Jimmy Savile – The Oldie

May 28 2012 – “Church of England inquiry into Sussex abuse Bishop” – BBC – Colin Campbell

May 29 2012 – “Police review dossier over disgraced Bishop” [Ball] – Eastbourne Herald

“Sussex Police receive dossier from Lambeth Palace relating to Bishop Peter Ball in the Chichester Diocese” – Richard W. Symonds

July 31 2012 – What was Bonhoeffer’s ‘world come of age’?

Aug 30 2012 – “Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – interim report published” – Dr Rowan Williams 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

“The problems relating to safeguarding in Chichester have been specific to that diocese rather than a reflection of failures in the legal processes or national policies of the Church of England. Nevertheless…” – Archbishop Rowan Williams

Aug 31 2012 – “Child sex abuse inquiry damns Chichester church’s local safeguarding” – The Guardian – Reporter: David Batty

“The inquiry by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office concluded that the West Sussex diocese has ‘an appalling history’ of child protection failures, with ‘fresh and disturbing’ allegations continuing to emerge” – David Batty

Oct 12 2012 – “Church considers removing Jimmy Savile’s knighthood” – Christian Today

Oct 20 2012 – “I haven’t handed over a sex offender to the police – ‘because I was told in confidence’ – A leading agony aunt makes an explosive confession” – Daily Mail – Anne Atkins

Nov 10 2012 – “Masonic Paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog [Deleted on Request]

Nov 13 2012 – “Retired bishop Peter Ball held in child sex abuse investigation” – The Independent – Reporter: Rob Hastings 

2013

Feb 20 2013 – Bishop Bell speaks against the Bombing of German Civilians” ~ Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

April 5 2013 – “Great Lives – George Bell” – BBC Radio 4 – Series 30 [with Andrew Chandler, Matthew Parris and Peter Hitchens]

April 30 2013 – “The Big Interview: Dr Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester – The Argus – Bill Gardner

May 2013 – “Retired Canon Gordon Rideout guilty at Lewes Crown Court of abuse at Barnado’s home” [Ifield Hall, Crawley – Diocese of Chichester] – Southern Daily Echo

May 3 2013 – Archbishop’s Church Visitation – final report – Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC

June 12 2013 – “Judge chosen for Jersey child abuse committee of inquiry” – BBC Jersey

July 7 2013 – “Church of England makes Chichester child abuse apology” – BBC News

July 24 2013 – “Jersey historical abuse inquiry head suffers stroke” – BBC Jersey

August 17 2013 – “Diocese of York abuse inquiry opens clergy files” – BBC News

Oct 18 2013 – “How far did [West Yorkshire] police go to protect Jimmy Savile?” – Daily Telegraph

2013 – Second complaint by ‘Carol’ to Bishop of Chichester Justin Welby, alleging Bishop Bell had sexually abused her in the 1940s and 1950s (reported to Police). First complaint in 1995

2014

2014 – Impact Case Study – Bishop Bell and “Modern Church History Informing Civic-Religious Culture and Public Commemoration” – Research Excellence Framework [REF] 2014 – Dr Andrew Chandler – University of Chichester

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Dr Andrew Chandler – University of Chichester

March 27 2014 – “Betrayed – The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis” by Richard Scorer [Biteback Publishing 2014]

April 11 2014 – “Sussex cleric banned for Life” [Rev Wilkie Denford et al] – Conger

July 8 2014 – “Safeguarding Report Published” – Diocese of Chichester – The CARMI Report 2004

July 8 2014 – “Chichester child abuse victims wait 12 years for report” – BBC News – Carmi Report 2014 released – Terence Banks named (but not named in 2004 – only recommendations)

July 14 2014 – “Diocese and Cathedral turned deaf ears to victims’ complaints” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies – Terence Banks named (but not named in 2004 – only recommendations)

August 18 2014 – “BBC’s Cliff Richard raid coverage driven by pressure for exclusives” – The Guardian

Sept 21 2014 – “Jersey Anglican Church abuse accuser needs ‘closure'” – BBC Jersey

Oct 19 2014 – “Sins of the fathers: sexual abuse at a Catholic order” – The Guardian – Catherine Deveney

Nov 2014 – Operation Midland launched by Metropolitan Police [and closed in March 2016]

 2015

2015 – “Chichester in the 1960’s” by Alan H.J. Green [History Press 2015]– highlighting the work of Chichester Town Clerk Eric Banks [1901-1989] – father of Terence Banks – and Chichester Mayor Harry Bell [no relation to Bishop George Bell]

Jan 20 2015 – “Date set for retired bishop and fellow former Brighton priest to face child sex abuse trial” – Brighton and Hove News – Oct 5 – Reporter: Frank le Duc

Jan 25 2015 – “Jersey synod calls for abuse report publication” – BBC Jersey

Jan 26 2015 – “Jersey Church abuse report: Victim against release” – BBCJersey

Feb 15 2015 – “Jersey Church abuse report: Dean supports release” – BBC Jersey

June 12 2015 – “Retired Eastbourne priest [Robert Coles] receives further prison sentence for historic sex offences” – Eastbourne Herald

June 14 2015 – “Former Bishop of Gloucester [Michael Perham] ‘lost confidence’ after sex claims” – BBC

June 22 2015 – Clergy call for resignation of Bishop of Buckingham – Virtue Online

July 13 2015 – “Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals” – The Telegraph – John Bingham 

July 13 2015 – “Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of sexual abuse of children” – Independent – Ian Johnston

July 20 2015 – Diocese of Chichester – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail

https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Vicar-found-dead-in-woodland

August 1 2015 – “Tom Doyle addresses priest abuse survivors” – National Catholic Reporter

August 2015 – Operation Conifer launched by Wiltshire Police – Sir Edward Heath (See Operation Midland & Henriques Report)

Sept 8 2015 – “Retired bishop Peter Ball admits sex offence” – BBC News

Sept 8 2015 – “Peter Ball’s victims accuse C of E, police and CPS of sexual abuse cover-up” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Sept 8 2015 – “Abuse inquiry turns its focus on political forces” – Jersey Evening Post

Sept 13 2015 – “Peter Ball should have been prosecuted for sex abuse 22 years ago, admits CPS” – Christian Today – Ruth Gledhill

Sept 2015 – Diocese of Chichester pays compensation to complainant ‘Carol’

Oct 1 2015 – “Betrayal – The Crisis in the Catholic Church” – The Boston Globe [Book made into the film ‘Spotlight’ – DVD release in UK: See May 23 2016]

Oct 5 2015 – “Independent Review of Peter Ball case announced” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 6 2015 – “‘Deeply corrupt’ Church of England Tried To Silence Abuse Victim” – Rev Graham Sawyer of MACSAS – Video (subtitles)

Oct 6 2015 – “Bishop Peter Ball sex abuse victims sue Church of England” – BBC News

Oct 7 2015 – R-v-Ball. Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Wilkie – Central Criminal Court

Oct 7 2015 – Church of England Statement on the sentencing of Peter Ball

Oct 7 2015 – “Bishop [Ball] escaped abuse charges after MPs and a Royal backed him, court told” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Oct 7 2015 – “Bishop [Ball] ‘avoided prosecution for sex abuse after royal support'” – Daily Telegraph – Nicola Harley

Oct 7 2015 – “Prison for Bishop Peter Ball, but victims of Peter Ball sue Church of England” – Church Times – Tim Wyatt

Oct 7 2015 – “Church inquiry into Bishop Peter Ball abuse ‘cover-up'” – BBC News

Oct 7 2015 – “Former Anglican bishop Peter Ball jailed, as victims sue Church of England over ‘cover-up'” – National Secular Society

Oct 7 2015 – “Peter Ball Sentenced” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 9 2015 – “Jimmy Savile and Prince Charles’ very close friendship with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball” – Daily Mail

Oct 9 2015 – “No more excuses: Bishop Peter Ball’s abuse demands more than regret” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Oct 9 2015 – “Bishop Peter Ball case ‘should be part of child sex abuse inquiry'” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Chichester (Martin Warner) Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell [1883-1958] 

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….” – Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Oct 22 2015 – “I would be grateful…if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine [to Cathedral Guides]

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Oct 22 2015 – Statement on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958)” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 22 2015 – “Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood

Oct 22 2015 – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop of Chichester George Bell sex abuse victim gets compensation” – BBC News – Sussex

Oct 22 2015 – “Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child” – Chichester Observer

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation” – Chichester Observer

“The grandson was asked the reason why his school building, dedicated to Bishop George Bell, had been re-named. The answer came straight back, ‘Because he was a paedophile'” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 23 2015 – “Bishop revealed to have sexually abused child” / “The dark secret of a respected peacemaker” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

Oct 23 2015 – “Conservative Government Threatened By Sex Scandals” – Aangirfan

Oct 24 2015 – “Former bishop’s despicable fall from grace will prompt much soul-searching from the Church” / “Abuse victim hits out over ‘systematic behaviour’” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 27 2015 – Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences – BBC News

Oct 28 2015 – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 28 2015 – “Church in third sex abuse scandal as ex-vicar is convicted” / “Where did it go wrong for the Diocese of Chichester?” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 29 2015 – “Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks” – BBC News

Nov 4 2015 – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 7 2015 – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Nov 9 2015 – “The tragedy of former bishop who committed terrible acts” – Tony Greenstein – Opinion – The Argus

Nov 9 2015 – “Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Nov 13 2015 – “The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell” – The Church Times – Letter – Alan Pardoe QC

Nov 20 2015 – “Church of England media statement on Bishop Bell – further comment” – The Church Times – Letter – Dr Brian Hanson

Nov 22 2015 – “My defence of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 5 2015 – A Background to “The Jersey Way” – Photopol

Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane

Dec 31 2015 – “Peter Ball: letters of support released” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Winter 2015 – Chichester Cathedral Newsletter – Stephen Waine, Dean on Bishop Bell

2016

2016 – From The Archives [1993 – “Britain and the Threat to Stability in Europe, 1918-45” – Chapter ‘Bishop Bell and Germany’ [Pinter 1993. Republished Bloomsbury Academic Collections 2016] 

Winter 2016 – ‘Bishop George Bell’ – Page 37 – Cathedral Guide – “Chichester Cathedral. Society and Faith” [Pitkin 2016]

Jan 1 2016 – “The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell” – The Daily Telegraph – Charles Moore

Jan 5 2016 – “Bishop Bell declared guilty without trial” – The Daily Telegraph – Letters (a) Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (b) Rt Rev Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester

Jan 5 2016 – “Anglican persecution” – Bats in the Belfry – crhill764

Jan 7 2016 – “Doesn’t Bishop George Bell deserve the presumption of innocence?” – The Guardian – Giles Fraser

Jan 13 2016 – “Questionable trashing of Bishop George Bell’s reputation” – The Guardian – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Jan 14 2016 – “This text is intended to give clear guidance on tone and content…if you prefer to leave Bishop Bell out of your conversation or guided tour, this is perfectly acceptable” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine – to Cathedral Guides

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Jan 16 2016 – “Proof of guilt is crucial and must not be assumed” – The Argus – Saturday Guest – Peter Hitchens

Jan 16 2016 – “Bishop’s memorial to remain in place” / “The Church itself has tried to satisfy both camps and in doing so has pleased neither” – The Argus – Spotlight – Joel Adams

Jan 20 2016 – “George Bell: School to remove bishop’s name after abuse claims” – BBC News – Sussex

Jan 28 2016 – “School changes name in clergy sex scandal” – The Argus – Reporter: Peter Lindsey

Jan 28 2016 – House of Lords “Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure” – The Lord Bishop of Durham’s reply to Lord Lexden – Hansard – Column 1516

“What I find deeply disturbing is that a Bishop’s reputation is destroyed and no-one takes any responsibility for destroying it – least of all the Bishop’s own Church” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 3 2016 – Bishop of Chichester issues Statement

“The presence of strident voices in the public arena which have sought to undermine the survivor’s claims has added in this case to the suffering of the survivor and her family. To that extent it is not surprising that she felt it necessary to take the courageous decision to speak out in public and reveal the personal details which the Church could not” – Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Feb 3 2016 – “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me” / “Listen to her story”– The Argus – Front Page + Pages 4-6 / Editorial Comment

Feb 3 2016 – “Bishop Bell’s victim praised for speaking about historic abuse” – Chichester Observer

Feb 3 2016 – “Victim of George Bell: ‘He said it was our little secret, because God loved me'” – Premier Christian News & Radio – Reporter: Antony Bushfield

Feb 3 2016 – “Disgraced paedophile Bishop Bell abused five year old while telling her ‘God loved me’, says victim” – Christian Today – Reporter: Ruth Gledhill

Feb 3 2016 – “Victim describes how she was abused by bishop George Bell” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood (Religion correspondent)

Feb 3 2016 – “Newspaper Interview Reveals Details of Sex Abuse Allegations Against Bishop George Bell” – Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion – Richard Bartholomew

Feb 3 2016 – “Interview with Bishop George Bell’s victim” – Thinking Anglicans

Feb 4 2016 – University of Chichester closes the George Bell Institute and withdraws Fellowships – Director: Andrew Chandler

Feb 4 2016 – “Bishop sex abuse victim is praised for her courage” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Feb 5 2016 – “Bishop’s victim should have got a bigger payout” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Feb 5 2016 – “Visit to Bell’s palace were my girlhood ordeal, paper told” – The Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

Feb 5 2016 – ‘Spotlight’ Film – “Phil Saviano: The Child Sex Abuse Survivor who refused to be silenced by the Catholic Church” 

Feb 6 2016 – Argus Comment – Richard W. Symonds

Feb 8 2016 – “Statement from Bishop Paul Butler on George Bell” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Feb 9 2016 – “When did child abuse become the unforgivable sin?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Feb 9 2016 – “George Bell: Former wartime bishop ‘abused girl in cathedral'” – BBC News – Sussex

Feb 9 2016 – “When did child abuse become the unforgivable sin” – Archbishop Cranmer

Feb 13 2016 – “George Bell is wiped out” – Argus – In Brief – [George Bell House re-named 4 Canon Lane]

Feb 18 2016 – “Chichester Cathedral memorial to Bishop George Bell could be changed” – BBC News – Sussex

Feb 21 2016 – “Now war hero bishop branded an abuser may lose cathedral tribute” – The Mail on Sunday – Reporter: Jonathan Petre

Feb 22 2016 – “Bell’s family hit back” – The Argus – Barbara Whitley aged 92 [Niece of Bishop Bell] + Tim Sutcliffe [Former Member of General Synod]

Feb 24 2016 – “Independent Review into Peter Ball case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Feb 25 2016 – “Does silence say it all” by Richard W. Symonds / “I could not agree more” by J Robinson – Chichester Observer – Letters

Feb 26 2016 – Letter to Richard W. Symonds from Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Feb 28 2016 – Boston Globe/‘Spotlight’ – “Sex and power in the spotlight”

Feb 29 2016 – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler [Eerdmans 2016]

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s anger over disgraced bishop” / “Carey anger over sex abuse case” / “Former Archbishop slams church for destroying reputation of George Bell” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s fury at Church over abuse case bishop” / “Major New Development in George Bell case – Lord Carey speaks out” – Mail on Sunday – Reporter: Jonathan Petre & Columnist Peter Hitchens

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s support for abuse accused Bishop Bell ‘distressing'” – BBC – Sussex

March 9 2016 – “Church defends stance in historic sex abuse inquiry” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

March 11 2016 – AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse) – High Court case

March 13 2016 – Peter Hitchens on ‘Carol’ and Lord Carey – Mail on Sunday

March 15 2016 – “Damning report reveals Church of England’s failure to act on abuse” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

March 17 2016 – “‘Seriously misled’ by the diocese over allegations” – Chichester Observer Letters – Marilyn Billingham

March 19 2016 – “Church ‘wrong’ to name Bishop of Chichester a paedophile” – Daily Telegraph – Patrick Sawer

March 19 2016 – “Welby urged to apologise over sex abuse inquiry. Bishop’s reputation has been ‘carelessly destroyed’ by allegations” – Mail on Sunday – Jonathan Petre

March 20 2016 – “Challenge to Bishop George Bell abuse claim” – BBC News

March 20 2016 – “A Review by the George Bell Group of the treatment by the Church of England of the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell” – The George Bell Group

March 20 2016 – Peter Hitchens on the George Bell Group formation – Mail on Sunday

March 20 2016 – “The Defence of George Bell – Full Documents in the Case” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

March 20 2016 – “Murder in the Cathedral. The Casual Wrecking of a Great Name” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

March 20 2016 – “Group challenges naming of Bishop George Bell as paedophile” – Thinking Anglicans

March 20 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (1)” – Bats in the Belfry – crhill764

March 22 2016 – “Group blasted as they question abuse victim – Solicitor claims client is ‘not allowed closure she deserves'” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

March 23 2016 – “Group challenges Bishop Bell claim” – Crawley Observer

March 24 2016 – “C of E must apologise for destroying Bell’s reputation, says his defenders” – Church Times – Reporter: Tim Wyatt

March 24 2016 – Church Times Letter – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

March 25 2016 – “Uncertainty hurts”- Argus Letters – Mark Dunn

March 26 2016 – “Archbishop: Cleric [Bishop Bell – Ed] likely child abuser” – Argus – In Brief

March 29 2016 – “Credible and True” by K. Harvey-Proctor [Biteback 2016]

March 30 2016 – “Group set up to back disgraced bishop” – West Sussex Gazette

March 31 2016 – “From The Editor’s Chair – Mike Gilson” – The Argus

March 31 2016 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – The Spectator

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Charles Moore

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Fifty-seven years after George Bell’s death, his own diocese, supported by the national Church authorities, announced that Bell had sexually abused a child between 1949 and 1953. They gave no details, and paid compensation. (The complainant later revealed herself to have been a five-year-old girl when the alleged abuse began.) The Church said it had decided against Bell ‘on the balance of probabilities’. No other such accusations — or even rumours — have ever been heard against Bell. His name was removed from buildings and institutions named after him.

A recent detailed review of the case showed that no effort had been made by the Church to consider the evidence for Bell: his voluminous papers and diaries had not been consulted, nor had living people who worked with him at that time (including one domestic chaplain, Adrian Carey, now aged 94, who spent virtually every waking moment with Bell for more than two of the years in which the abuse supposedly happened). His cause was given no legal advocate. Instead, in a process still kept secret, the ‘victim’ was believed. The normal burden of proof was reversed and so it was considered wicked to doubt her veracity.

As Chandler puts it, ‘We are asked to invest an entire authority in one testimony and to dismiss all the materials by which we have come to know the historical George Bell as mere figments of reputation.’ Of course, if Bell was guilty, his high reputation should not protect him. But we have not been given the chance to establish fairly whether he was. Jesus, of course, also suffered from unjust process. When the Church forgets this, it is not — as it claims — rejecting the dreadful child-abuse cover-ups of the past. It is dishonouring the example of its founder.

 

March 31 2016 – “Group is formed in support of Bishop Bell” / “Archbishop responds to criticism” / “Bishop Bell reaction – School and Cathedral buildings renamed” – Chichester Observer

April 2016 – “False allegations, emotional truth and actual lies” – The Justice Gap]

The present preoccupation with sex crime and victims of crime has given rise to a new type of victim: the falsely accused…I believe that victims of false accusations now deserve more consideration…Various victims of false accusations, of whom the most high profile and outspoken is the well-known BBC radio presenter Paul Gambaccini (& Sir Cliff Richard – Ed) have voiced dismay at the authorities’ willingness to entertain complaints that in the past would have been seen as outlandish, even vexatious…It star witness is an anonymous accuser, whose multiple personalities include ‘Nick’, ‘Carl Survivor’ and ‘Stephen’…It’s time for a much more rigorous and open discussion about why some people…make false accusations. But first I should clarify what is meant by ‘false’. The word is ambiguous, covering a spectrum of claims that are simply unfounded, to those that are mistakes, to those that are dishonest.

In their 2012 paper, Jessica Engle and William O’Donoghue proposed 11 pathways to false accusations of sexual assault. These are: 1. Lying 2. Implied consent 3. False memories 4. Intoxication 5. Antisocial personality disorder 6. Borderline personality disorder 7. Histrionic personality disorder 8. Delirium 9. Psychotic disorder 10. Disassociation 11. Intellectual disability.

Crucially, they omit ‘the honest but mistaken person’: Pathway 12. A classic example of this is the rape victim who misidentifies her assailant in an identity parade (or the elderly ‘Carol’ who mistakenly identified Bishop Bell when she was very young? – Ed)…

People can also develop false memories of abuse, for example as a result of contact with therapists, pressure from peers or from significant others (such as partners or parents), or even from reading stories in the media. There is no space here to discuss this important topic in detail.

It is a sad fact that those with mental disorders or learning disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual assault. But it should also be recognised that third parties – such as care providers – may stand to benefit from a false allegation.

That mental problems could potentially lead to false allegations is rarely discussed. But it is a very serious issue, which would benefit from wider debate. Those with personality disorders may be motivated to make false accusations out of motives of revenge, ot attention-seeking. Some may misperceive non-sexual events as sexual. Those who are delusional may also make false accusations of sexual misconduct….”Testifiers do not inevitably speak the truth, as virtuous as they may perceive themselves to be” [Professor Janice Haaken]

~ Barbara Hewson 

April 1 2016 – “Vigil to protest against treatment of late bishop” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

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Vigil outside Chichester Cathedral – Sunday April 3 2016 [from right to left: Tim Hudson, Charlotte Evans, Unknown, Richard Symonds, Peter Billingham, Marilyn Billingham, Meriel Wilmot-Wright, Unknown, Unknown]

April 2 2016 – “‘I want to be a voice for the voiceless’, says nun left in limbo over sex abuse allegations” [Sister Frances Dominica OBE and President of F.A.C.T. – Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers] – The Guardian – Esther Addley 

April 2 2016 – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – [Petition closes in Oct 2016 with 2169 signatures, and delivered to The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock at Lambeth Palace by Richard Symonds & Marilyn Billingham on October 19 2016]

April 3 2016 – “Archbishop in an unholy mess” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

April 3 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (2)” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

April 4 2016 – “Group wants new look into case of late bishop” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams [The Vigil + Photo – Sunday April 3]

April 5 2016 – “Credible and True: the evidence against Harvey Proctor and Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

April 6 2016 – “Bishop Bell Group” – Anglican Mainstream

George Bell Group

Apr 6, 2016

We are an independent group whose members represent a concentration of experience in public life, in the fields of law, policing, politics, journalism, academic research and church affairs. This group began to meet in response to the 22 October statement issued by the Church of England about Bishop George Bell.  See this BBC report for the full story.

We are now publishing our analysis of the way in which the allegation against Bishop Bell has been handled by the authorities of the Church.

We note that the public has been consistently assured that the process by which the Church of England reached a view on Bishop Bell was ‘thorough’ and ‘objective’, and that it commissioned ‘experts’ whose ‘independent reports’ found ‘no reason to doubt the veracity of the claim[s]’ of sexual abuse made by the complainant.

However, although the nature of this process has never been publicly disclosed, we have discovered enough to establish its severe limitations which render it quite inadequate as a basis for assessing the probability of Bishop Bell’s guilt. The scope of the independent experts’ inquiries was limited to a degree that made a proper analysis of the complainant’s allegations virtually impossible. Our criticisms of the investigation are highlighted in paragraphs 15 to 17 of the enclosed Review. What is more, little or no respect seems to have been paid to the unheard interests of Bishop Bell or his surviving family – a serious breach of natural justice.

In view of the evidence that we have gathered and examined we have concluded that the allegation made against Bishop Bell cannot be upheld in terms of actual evidence or historical probability.

Our review sets out our concerns at length.

Read here

Read also: Credible and True: the evidence against Harvey Proctor and Bishop George Bell by Archbishop Cranmer

April 6 2016 – “Abuse was alleged” – Argus Letters – Richard W. Symonds

April 7 2016 – “When the spire collapsed” / “New name for the tower” – Chichester Observer Letters – Richard W. Symonds / Brian Hopkins

April 10 2016 – Peter Hitchens on ‘No reason to doubt’ and Archbishop Justin Welby – The Mail on Sunday

April 11 2016 – “Why All The Fuss About George Bell. A New Biography Explains” – Peter Hitchens

April 13 2016 – “In Britain, the name of a courageous Christian is smeared” – The Catholic World Report – Joanna Bogle

April 14 2016 – “Disappointed at church reaction” – Christopher Hoare / “What else could Church do?” – Peter Rice – Chichester Observer Letters

April 21 2016 – “No answer from the council” – Chichester Observer Letters – April 21 2016 – Tim Hudson + “Bishop Bell portrait is reinstated” – Chichester Observer – May 12 2016

April 23 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (3)” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

April 24 2016 – “‘Murder in the Cathedral’ explains why you should sign the George Bell Petition” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

April 29 2016 – “Abuse victim accuses C of E of cover-up” – Church Times – Reporter: Tim Wyatt (Re: Bishop Peter Ball & Rev Graham Sawyer)

April 29 2016 – “Lessons for the Church from Hillsborough” – ‘Brother Ivo’

May 2016 – A survivor of child sex abuse made a formal complaint under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure procedure against Burrows and five other bishops (Steven CroftMartyn SnowGlyn WebsterRoy WilliamsonJohn Sentamu) for failing to act on his allegations. The survivor said he first told Burrows in 2012 about his abuse by a serving priest. All five bishops dismissed the complaint owing to the one-year time limit imposed by the CDM process.[4][5] The priest against whom the allegation was made went on to commit suicide the day he was due in court in June 2017 [See Sept 30 2016 – Protest]

May 5 2016 – A Good New Independent Account of the George Bell Controversy” – Peter Hitchens

May 5 2016 – “George Bell – The battle for a bishop’s reputation” – BBC News Magazine – Reporter: Justin Parkinson

May 6 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (4) – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

May 11 2016 – Letter to Bishop Martin Warner from Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (cc Archbishop Justin Welby)

May 11 2016 – “At last – a small victory in the rehabilitation of George Bell” – Peter Hitchens

May 12 2016 – “Bishop Bell portrait is reinstated” – Chichester Observer – May 12 2016 + “No answer from the council” – Chichester Observer Letters – April 21 2016

May 12 2016 – “Petition to reopen Bell case” – Chichester Observer Letters – Marilyn & Peter Billingham, Richard Symonds and Meriel Wilmot-Wright

May 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell’s reputation is besmirched by witch hunt, claim angry campaigners” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

May 14 2016 – “Portrait of sex abuse bishop is back on council office wall” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

May 17 2016 – “More proof needed” – Argus Letter – Martin Sewell

May 19 2016 – “The ‘absurd fiction’ of the need for secrecy in the trial of Bishop Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

May 19 2016 – “Church just prolongs agony” – Chichester Observer Letter – Martin Sewell (same letter as the Argus “More proof needed” – May 17 2016)

May 19 2016 – “Bishop George Bell – The lack of information given by Church of England unsatisfactory” – Editorial – Chichester Observer [Gary Shipton – Editor-in-Chief – Sussex Newspapers-Johnston Press]

May 20 2016 – “Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Jersey Dean over abuse case” – BBC Jersey

May 23 2016 – “Spotlight” DVD Film release in the UK [Boston Globe investigation of Child Sexual Abuse in Roman Catholic Church]

“A small team of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe (US) – known as ‘Spotlight’ – investigate allegations of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, and expose the scandal that the Archdiocese of Boston knew of the abuse, but did nothing – or not enough – to stop it. Disturbing parallels with the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester” – RWS

May 25 2016 – “The Stalinesque Disappearance of George Bell House” – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

May 26 2016 – “Commonsense from council” – Chichester Observer Letter – Richard Wilby

May 27 2016 – “Campaigners’ fight to clear ‘sex attack’ Bishop goes viral” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

May 31 2016 – “Bell secrecy” – Argus Letter – Richard W. Symonds

June 2 2016 – “Chichester Diocese can learn from its own lessons” – ‘ Brother Ivo’

June 3 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [‘Spotlight’ & Bell Petition]

June 10 2016 – “I treated kids Bell ‘abused’. A young man tried to kill himself, says retired nurse” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

June 10 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [Kincora, “Who Framed Colin Wallace?”]

June 20 2016 – “Accusation against Bishop George Bell” – Peter Hitchens – youtube

June 24 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [Church of England Press Statement Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Durham/House of Lords Statement – Jan 28 2016]

June 28 2016 – Independent review into handling of George Bell case – Church of England News Release

June 28 2016 – “Independent review into handling of George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

June 29 2016 – “Church review on Bell” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

June 30 2016 – House of Lords Debate – Hansard – Historical Child Sex Abuse

https://churchinparliament.org/2016/06/30/bishop-of-chelmsford-calls-for-statutory-guidelines-on-historic-abuse-allegations-responds-to-concerns-about-george-bell-case/

June 30 2016 – “Review of Bishop Bell case processes is announced” – Chichester Observer – Reporter: Nikki Jeffery

June 30 2016 – “Bell review welcomed” – Chichester Observer – Editorial [Gary Shipton?]

July 2016 – “Surviving The Crucible of Ecclesiastical Abuse” by Josephine Anne Stein – ‘Safeguarding’ – Journal of Christian Social Ethics

July 1 2016 – “Review launched into Bishop Bell case by Church” – Chichester Observer

July 1 2016 – “Lord Carey critical of the Church” – Argus

July 3 2016 – “The Lord, St Thomas, and Bishop Bell” – ‘Brother Ivo’

July 4 2016 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – “Charles Moore Notebook” – The Daily Telegraph

July 6 2016 – “Synod ‘No Confidence’ motion looms in the secret trial of Bishop George Bell (RIP)” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

July 7 2016 – “Sympathy for the Bishop of Chichester” – ‘Brother Ivo’

July 7 2016 – “Will review be independent” – Chichester Observer – Letter – The Revd David Burton Evans

July 8 2016 – “‘No confidence’ motion about Bell affair circulated to Synod” – Church Times – Tim Wyatt

July 8 2016 – Martin Sewell given just Two Minutes to make his Statement at General Synod

July 8 2016 – Chichester Post – Letter – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society [Trust, Synod & Secrecy]

July 12 2016 – “Update On Peter Ball Establishment Cover-Up: FOI Documents Reveal Ball Investigated In 2008 For Being Part Of A Suspected Paedophile Ring” – Goodness and Harmony

July 14 2016 – “Further points on the George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 20 2016 – “Campaigners fight to give Bishop George Bell a ‘fair’ posthumous hearing on charges of child abuse” – Christian Today – Contributing Editor: Ruth Gledhill

July 22 2016 – “Identity of abuser in Bishop Bell case questioned” – The Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

July 24 2016 – Chichester Cathedral – Notice on Pews – Sunday

July 26 2016 – “Senior Anglican clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood [Religion Correspondent]

July 29 2016 – “The C of E smears saints and shields scoundrels” – Rev Jules Gomes

Aug 4 2016 – “Police say sorry over Bishop Bell” – Chichester Observer (not online)

Aug 5 2016 – “Sussex Police apology over Bishop George Bell affair” – BBC Sussex 

Aug 5 2016 – “Police say sorry over Bishop Bell. BBC says sorry over Bishop Bell. And The Church?” – The Bell Society – Richard W. Symonds

Aug 6 2016 – “Police to apologise to Bishop George Bell’s family” – Premier – Antony Bushfield

Aug 6 2016 – “Police apology to niece of child abuse bishop” – The Argus – Assistant News Editor: Arron Hendy (not online)

 

Aug 6 2016 – “Bishop Bell’s Ecumenical Vision Lives On” – Joanna Bogle – Bishop’s Palace, Chichester

Aug 19 2016 – “Chichester needs to explain itself, publicly” – The Church Times – Letter – Marilyn Billingham

Aug 21 2016 – “Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph“Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Aug 25 2016 – “While the Church of England becomes a safe place for children, it is hell for those wrongly accused” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Aug 26 2016 – “The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – The Church Times – Letter – Gabrielle Higgins (Diocesan Secretary of Chichester)

Aug 31 2016 – “The Church of England masters the non-apology” – Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes – The Conservative Woman

Sept 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell: a straw in the wind” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 16 2016 – “Court tells Sister Frances’s son to stay away from her” – Oxford Mail

Sept 17 2016 – “Bishop Bell: the complainant’s payoff” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 26 2016 – “Play reading as part of ‘Justice for George Bell’ campaign” – Chichester Observer – Phil Hewitt

Sept 26 2016 – “Bishop Bell: The Church recumbent” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 29 2016 – “Bishop Bell: victim of CofE ‘kangaroo court'” – Chichester Observer – Phil Hewitt [Group Arts Editor]

Sept 30 2016 – Protest by Matt Ineson [and others] outside the Inauguration of Bishop Croft (formerly Bishop of Sheffield) as Bishop of Oxford. Leaflet distributed of 6 Bishops (incl. Croft) accused of misconduct – failing to report abuse – via a formal complaint under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure – CDM [See May 2016]. The abuser committed suicide in June 2017.

Protest_at_Oxford

Oct 1 2016 – “Bishop Bell: The Continuing Campaign for Justice for the late Bishop George Bell” – Peter Hitchens 

Oct 3 2016 – Reading of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in Chichester [as part of the “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester” Campaign] – Peter Hitchens

Oct 5 2016 – Service at St. Michael’s Cornhill, City of London [to mark the life and work of Bishop Bell in the Church Calendar] – Peter Hitchens

Oct 7 2016 – “Victims or Survivors” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Oct 7 2016 – “In an era in need of it, courage” – Book review of Andrew Chandler’s Biography – ‘George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship’ [Eerdmans 2016] – Church Times – The Revd Dr Jeremy Morris, University of Cambridge

Oct 7 2016 – “Lambeth receives petition in support of George Bell” – Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

Oct 12 2016 – Church of England National Safeguarding Steering Group meet for the first time – Chair & Lead Bishop for Safeguarding: Rt Revd Peter Hancock [Bishop of Bath & Wells]. Vice Chair & Deputy Lead Bishop: Rt Revd Mark Sowerby [Bishop of Horham]. Other Members include Rt Revd Nigel Stock [Bishop of Lambeth][who received the Bell Petition at Lambeth Palace on Oct 19 2016]

Oct 12 2016 – Letter to The Archbishop of Canterbury from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell was commemorated” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Tim Hudson

Oct 15 2016 – “Justice for bishop” – The Daily Telegraph – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 19 2016 – The Bell Petition closes with 2169 signatures – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester”

Oct 19 2016 – Visit to Lambeth Palace to deliver The Bell Petition. Marilyn Billingham and Richard W. Symonds meet with the Bishop of Lambeth, The Rt Revd Nigel Stock.

Oct 19 2016 – “Petition seeks ‘justice’ for ‘abuse’ Bishop George Bell” – BBC Sussex

Oct 22 2015 –1st Anniversary of the Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2016 – “Former Archbishop of Canterbury admits he deserves criticism over ex-bishop sex abuse ‘cover-up'” – The Daily Telegraph – Chief Reporter: Robert Mendick

Oct 22 2016 – Letter to Graham Tilby [National Safeguarding Adviser for the Church of England] – from Marilyn Billingham

Oct 22 2016 – Letter to Graham Tilby [National Safeguarding Adviser for the Church of England] – from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 23 2016 – “This is NOT justice – it’s a witch hunt” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell

Oct 27 2016 – “Petition in support of Bishop Bell is delivered” – Chichester Observer – Reporter: Steve Pickthall

Oct 28 2016 – “Congregation make feelings clear over abuse allegations” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Ruth Scammell

Oct 28 2016 – Chichester Post – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Oct 29 2016 – Letter from Kay McCluskey [Manager of ‘Cloisters’ Cathedral shop] to Richard W. Symonds – in reply to a written request for the withdrawal of the Cathedral Guide relating to Bishop Bell.

Oct 31 2016 – “An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations, alleged against persons of public prominence” – Sir Richard Henriques

Nov 1 2016 – “In defence of George Bell” – First Things (US) – Peter Hitchens

Nov 1 2016 – Letter from the Bishop of Lambeth [The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock] to Richard Symonds and Marilyn Billingham

Nov 8 2016 – “Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s statement following Sir Richard Henriques Review” – The Metropolitan Police

Nov 10 2016 – “Henriques Report: ‘Deputy Heads Must Roll'” – ‘BarristerBlogger’ – Matthew Scott

Nov 11 2016 – Chichester Post – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Nov 12 2016 – “Abuse of an inquiry” – The Daily Telegraph – Letter – CDC Armstrong [Belfast]

Nov 14 2016 – “End the witch-hunt” – Daily Telegraph – Editorial

Nov 14 2016 – “Heath’s godson (Lincoln Seligman) : stop the police witch hunt now” / “Police ‘destroying Heath’s reputation to rescue theirs'” – Daily Telegraph

Nov 16 2016 – “Trial of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Nov 16 2016 – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Signatories delivered to the Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner

Nov 18 2016 – Reply by the Bishop of Chichester to the co-signed ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Nov 16

Nov 18 2016 – “Bell affair: implications of the Henriques report” – Church Times – Letter – C.D.C. Armstrong [Belfast]

Nov 18 2016 – “Henriques: Help or Hindrance” – David Hencke

Nov 20 2016 – “Finally…one brave bishop says sorry” – Peter Hitchens

Nov 22 2016 – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – Chair: Frances Oldham – Latest Updates [Final Report: Early 2017]

Nov 22 2016 – “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer of George Bell case” – Church of England News Release

Nov 23 2016 – “Bishop George Bell case: Lord Carlile to lead review” – BBC Sussex

Nov 23 2016 – “Church of England appoints Lord Carlile to review George Bell claim” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood/Religion correspondent

Nov 23 2016 – “Ex-terror reviewer Lord Carlile to re-examine Bishop Bell sex abuse decision” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham/Religious Affairs Editor

Nov 23 2016 – “Top QC will review the Bishop George Bell case” – Chichester Observer

Nov 23 2016 – “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer in George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Nov 23 – Nov 26 – Comment & Analysis on “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer in George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Nov 23 2016 – “Some Cause for Modest Hope in the George Bell Case” – Peter Hitchens 

Nov 25 2016 – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges'” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 26 2016 – The Spectator on Lord Carilile’s Review [Brief Note]

Nov 28 2016 – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 2 and List of Signatories delivered to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester

Nov 30 2016 – “Bishop Bell abuse case” – West Sussex Gazette – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Dec 1 2016 – “Please withdraw Cathedral guide” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Dec 2 2016 – The Letter of Christopher Hoare to Chichester Cathedral – with Replies from the Bishop, Dean and Chancellor

Dec 3 2016 – “Heath abuse inquiry ‘not a witch-hunt’/’not a fishing trip'”/Wiltshire Police – The Guardian – Reporters: Vikram Dodd & Owen Bowcott

Dec 7 2016 – Dean of Chichester replies by Email to the ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 2 of Signatories

Dec 9 2016 – Statement of The George Bell Group [following the appointment of Lord Carlile]

Dec 13 2016 – A Local Contribution from ‘P’

Dec 14 2016 – Dean of Chichester orders removal of all plants from Bishop Bell Memorial in Cathedral – without explanation

Dec 19 2016 – “A Sprig of Christmas Holly for the Bishop Bell Memorial?” – Charles Moore Notebook – The Daily Telegraph

Dec 24 2016 – Information for Submissions from Lord Carlile

Dec 24 2016 – Graham Toole-Mackson to co-ordinate Submissions of 70-strong for presentation to Lord Carlile

Dec 27 2016 – “2016 in front pages” – The Argus [Feb 3 2016 Front Page “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me”]

Dec 27 2016 – Unpublished Letter from Martin Sewell (in response to The Argus “2016 in front pages”)(“He told me it was our little secret because God loved me” – Feb 3 2016)

Dec 30 2016 – “2016 really was a year to talk about” – The Argus – Spotlight Argus – Reporter Joel Adams’ ‘favourite quote’ on Week 5’s Front Page (Feb 3): “He said it was our little secret, because God loved me” [The word “allegedly” is inserted in the write-up – which was missing in the Dec 27 write-up]

2017

Jan 3 2017 – “Stories of 2016” – The Argus – [Feb 3 2016 Front Page “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me”][Write-up prompts formal complaint to Argus Editor by Richard W. Symonds]

Jan 3 2017 – Formal Complaint (1) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds

Jan 6 2017 – Formal Complaint (2) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds

Jan 6 2017 – Letter Submission by Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Jan 7 2017 – Revised Formal Complaint (3) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds [Revision of Complaint (1) & (2) – and re-submitted]

Jan 10 2017 – The ‘Bishop Bell’ Submission to Lord Carlile Q.C. from the 70-strong – New Year Update from Graham Toole-Mackson

Feb 2 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘delightful’ friend accused of killing teenager in Zimbabwe” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 2 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury issues ‘unreserved and unequivocal’ apology after links to ‘child abuser’ emerge” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 3 2017 – Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes, released from jail after serving 16 months of a 32-month sentence

Feb 5 2017 – “John Smyth, the school predator who beat me for five years” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 5 2017 – A Poetry Evening to mark the Birthday of Bishop George Bell – Friends Meeting House – Chichester – 6.30pm

Feb 6 2017 – “Iwerne Trust camps, the abuse of LGBTI people in the C of E and the theology of violence” – Colin Coward

Feb 6 2017 – “Dear Archbishop of Canterbury: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?” – An Open Letter – Daily Telegraph

Feb 6 2017 – “He should have died in prison / Victim’s disgust as priest abuser is freed” – The Argus – Front Page / Page 2 – regarding Peter Ball (former Bishop of Lewes within the Diocese of Chichester) – Reporters: Siobhan Ryan and Andre Rhoden-Paul

Feb 7 2017 – Bishop George Bell and The General Synod – Christian Today – Reporter: Harry Farley

Feb 7 2017 – “Seven per cent of Australian Priests accused of Child Sexual Abuse” – Christian Today

Feb 9 2017 – Archbishop denounced by Bishop of  Buckingham – Virtue Online

Feb 10 2017 – Poetry Evening – Chichester Post 

“After the Poetry Reading at the Quaker Meeting House, there was a retiring collection for the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture [MFVT] – raising £210” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 12 2017 – Archbishop of Westminster says decision to end child refugee scheme ‘shocking’

“In 1936 Bishop Bell was appointed Chairman of the International Christian Committee for German Refugees” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 16 2017 – “No coverage of city event” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Richard W. Symonds

Feb 18 2017 – “Welby’s Masonic Service at Canterbury Cathedral at Odds with the Christian Faith – David W. Virtue

Feb 19 2017 – “Police Chief : Heath WAS a Paedophile” / “Is he guilty? Yes, I’m 120% sure” / “[Wiltshire] Police refuse to call off the dogs after VIP child sex ring fiasco” – Mail on Sunday – Front Page and Pages 4 & 5 – Simon Walters [Political Editor]

Feb 19 2017 – “[Wiltshire] Police chief ‘120 per cent convinced’ Edward Heath was a paedophile” – The Independent 

Feb 19 2017 – “Top bishop’s diocese under fire over child abuse ‘cover-up'” – Mail on Sunday – Simon Walters [Political Editor]

Feb 20 2017 – “Police chief hits out at tabloid over Edward Heath claims” – The Guardian

Feb 21 2017 – “Refugees” by Brian Bilston

Feb 25 2017 – “Jailed sex predator priest (Gordon Rideout) handed additional sentence” – The Argus [See ‘May 2013’ entry] 

Feb 26 2017 – “Report due soon on historical child abuse” – Jersey Evening Post

March 2 2017 – “Unreserved apology” from Diocese of Chichester in 2012 regarding Roy Cotton & Colin Pritchard – The Argus – ‘On This Day – Five Years Ago’ [See March 2 2012]

March 5 2017 – “We always start from the position of believing the victim” – ‘Broadchurch’ Police TV Drama – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

March 22 2017 – “On Leaving The Church of England” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Video (subtitles)

March 2017 – Publication of ‘The House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy Statement – Promoting a Safer Church for Children, Young People and Adults

‘Responding to, Assessing and Managing Safeguarding concerns or Allegations against Church Officers’ [published October 13 2017] – Disclosures or allegations of abuse – Section 2 – First Response (Page 25) – “a person receiving a safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer should ‘respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard and taken seriously.’

April 26 2017 – “‘Paedomanic Media’ to relegate Bishop Bell Report to back pages as Jersey Care Inquiry hits front pages?” – Gatwick City Times

May 30 2017 – Judge orders BBC to name source in Sir Cliff Richard case

June 7 2017 – Jersey Inquiry Report on July 3 2017 at 3pm. No questions will be allowed.

June 9 2017 – “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – ‘Trump’s Meddlesome Priest’ – New York Times

June 16 2017 – Review of “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler ~ Journal of Church & State – Volume 59. Issue 2. 

Bishop George Bell’s reputation lies in tatters following revelations in October 2015 that the Diocese of Chichester has issued a formal apology and paid an out-of-court settlement after an allegation that the bishop sexually abused a young child in the 1950s. The establishment has rushed to distance itself from Bell. His name has hastily been deleted from associated institutions, like the Bishop Bell School in Eastbourne, and there have even been suggestions that his memorial in Chichester Cathedral might be removed. The manner in which the Church of England has dealt with the allegation has itself caused a furor among Bell’s supporters, who accuse the authorities of throwing the deceased bishop overboard in a panic, instead of defending his innocence until proven…

June 21 2017 – Jersey Inquiry Report – Ben Shenton [and John Lennon] on the critical need to tell the truth…or else

June 22 2017 – “Church [of England] ‘colluded’ with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball” – BBC

June 22 2017 – Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and The Gibb Report: A Personal Reflection by Richard W. Symonds of The Bell Society

June 22 2017 – Lord Carey criticised by damning report which finds Church ‘colluded’ with disgraced Peter Ball to cover up sex offences – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Justin Welby has asked a former Archbishop of Canterbury to step down from his current role after a report found that he and other senior figures in the Church of England “colluded” with a disgraced paedophile bishop to prevent him facing criminal charges. George Carey, currently an honorary Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Oxford, has been urged to “carefully consider his position” by Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury. 

June 23 2017 – “Church Protected Paedophile Bishop” [Peter Ball] – The Argus – June 23 2017 + Guardian

June 23 2017 – Argus Letter [not yet published] – Richard W. Symonds [Peter Ball, Lambeth List, Caution List]

June 25 2017 – Unholy Trinity ? Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG] – Allchurches Trust Limited [ATL] – Church of England [CoE] 

“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers)…With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it” – Excerpts from House of Bishops confidential document – 2007

June 26 2017 – Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey resigns after Gibb Child Abuse Report

June 28 2017 – “Church resignations” – The Argus – June 28 2017

June 29 2017 – “Would Bishop George Bell do the same as Cardinal George Pell, if he was alive today?” – Richard W. Symonds

June 29 2017 – “The Safeguarding Industry has become a Witch Hunt” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Jules Gomes

June 30 2017 – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – Jersey Evening Post – “Those cited for wrongdoing will face justice…”

July 3 2017 – Jersey Child Abuse Report “lifts lid” at Haut de la Garenne; but the stones are left unturned and undisturbed ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

July 12 2017 – Law protects liars in Jersey

July 13 2017 – “I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m ashamed” – Comment – Jersey Evening Post

July 14 2017 – Politician stands down amidst allegations he lied to Jersey Inquiry – ITV News

July 21 2017 – “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way'” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Yes, the inquiry was about child care, but at its heart is the Jersey Way in its sinister, controlling manifestation: ‘protection of powerful interests and resistance to change, even when change is patently needed’”

~ Richard Digard [Jersey Evening Post – “Complacency over Inquiry’s report has been astonishing” – July 21 2017]

July 21 2017 – “Church of England ‘withdrew emotional support for abused'” – BBC News

July 29 2017 – “The Jersey Way” and Stuart Syvret

July 2017 – General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

Aug 4 2017 – “The Jersey Way”, Doublethink and Andrew Lewis

Aug 12 2017 – “The Jersey Way” – When a Lie is not a Lie

Aug 13 2017 – Historic Child Abuse Panel Member: “I was silenced…”

Aug 14 2017 – Legal protection for lying politicians may be removed

Aug 15 2017 – “Charges for priests who don’t report child abuse?”

Aug 22 2017 – “Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover-Up Found Dead” – News Punch [+ Jersey Evening Post]

Sept 1 2017 – Charles Henry Gordon Lennox – the 10th Duke of Richmond – dies aged 87 – one of the signatories of the Bell Petition delivered to Lambeth Palace on Oct 19 2016

Sept 2 2017 – “[Roman Catholic] Bishop remained deeply ashamed over his handling of sex abuse claims” – The Argus (written by Editor Arron Hendy)

Sept 6 2017 – “Rotherham Sex Abuse Survivors Still Seek Answers”

Sept 8 2017 – Carlile Review on Bishop Bell imminent

Sept 9 2017 – Heritage Open Day – Chichester Cathedral

Sept 9 2017 – “Sex Abuse Inquiry To Probe Ted Heath” – The Mail on Sunday – Front Page

Sept 11 2017 – ‘Cliff Richard’s agony: “I’ve been hurt so much by false sex abuse claims, I just don’t think I’ll ever recover”‘ – Daily Mirror – Front Page

Sept 12 2017 – “Abuse victims ‘need specialist help'” – Jersey Evening Post

Sept 24 2017 – “Police: If Heath was alive today we’d quiz him under caution on child abuse” – The Mail on Sunday – Page 12

Sept 25 2017 – “Why did the authorities not act any sooner?” – The Argus

Sept 30 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church” – Christian Today [Ruth Gledhill]

Oct 1 2017 – Commemoration Service at St Martin-within-Ludgate [Ludgate Hill] to mark Bishop Bell’s 59th Anniversary – Wednesday October 4 (5pm)

Oct 1 2017 – “Heath ‘abused boys young as 11′” – Mail on Sunday – Oct 1 2017 + Oct 5 Breaking News Updates

Oct 3 2017 – “Justin Welby telling off the BBC over sex abuse was the pot calling the kettle black” – iNews – Simon Kelner

Oct 3 2017 – Bishop Bell Day to mark the 59th Anniversary of his death

Oct 4 2017 – “A Service of Evensong – To observe the day on which Bishop George Bell is remembered by the Church of England” – St Martin-within-Ludgate – Ludgate Hill – City of London [5pm] – Readings by Peter Hitchens and Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 5 2017 – “Did Church keep abuse secret?” – The Argus

Oct 5 2017 – “Heath ‘abused boys young as 11′” – Mail on Sunday – Oct 1 2017 + Oct 5 Breaking News Updates

Oct 6 2017 – “Sir Edward Heath had a case to answer on sex abuse allegations, Wiltshire Police say” – Church Times

Oct 6 2017 – “Complexity does not imply criminality” – Church Times

Oct 6 2017 – “Former Prime Minister would have been interviewed under caution for allegations of sexual abuse if he were still alive” – Christian Today

Oct 6 2017 – “We don’t know if Ted Heath abused boys , but it’s right to try to find out” – The Guardian – Gaby Hinsliff

Oct 6 2017 – Edward Heath – A Range of Articles

Oct 6 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 25 2016] – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges'” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Oct 6 2017 – “The Police report on Ted Heath is a tissue of baseless innuendo and craven self-protection” – Daily Telegraph – Matthew Scott

Oct 6 2017 – From The Archives [July 21 2017] “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way’” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – “The Jersey Way: Protection of powerful interests – thus lack of protection of non-powerful interests – and resistance to change”

Oct 7 2017 – Lord Carlile submits his Review to the Church of England 

Oct 8 2017 – “Ted Heath police chief: Now probe ‘cover-up’ in Westminster” – Mail on Sunday [Simon Walters] + “At last…a policeman who isn’t just a political pawn” [Maggie Oliver]

Oct 8 2017 – “It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

Oct 8 2017 – “Celebrated Church of England bishop accused of child abuse ‘will have his good name restored’ by an inquiry” – Mail on Sunday

Oct 8 2017 – “Child abuse in the Church of England: Justin Welby must either accelerate the change or carry the can” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog – Guest writer: Martin Sewell [Deleted on Request]

Oct 8 2017 – “The Exculpation of Bishop Bell – 4 Resolutions” – The Lychgate – Ifield Village – Wednesday Oct 11 2017 – 2pm to 5pm

October 9 2017 – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Oct 10 2017 – “Bishop George Bell review to criticise Church’s handling – reports” – Christian Today

Oct 11 2017 – From The Archives [Aug 26 2016] – “The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – The Church Times – Letter – Gabrielle Higgins (Diocesan Secretary of Chichester)

Oct 11 2017 – “The Lychgate Resolution” – The Lychgate – Ifield Village – 2pm to 7pm

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 22 2015] – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 7 2015] – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Jan 1 2016] – “The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell” – The Daily Telegraph – Charles Moore

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [March 2017] Publication of ‘The House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy Statement – Promoting a Safer Church for Children, Young People and Adults

‘Responding to, Assessing and Managing Safeguarding concerns or Allegations against Church Officers’ [published October 13 2017] – Disclosures or allegations of abuse – Section 2 – First Response (Page 25) – “a person receiving a safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer should ‘respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard and taken seriously.’

Oct 14 2017 – “Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse” – New York Times

October 14 2017 – Request to Archbishop for a Statement regarding Bishop Bell on October 22 2017 [as a follow-up to the Statement on October 22 2015]

October 15 2017 – “‘Presumption of innocence’ – innocent until proven guilty – is a high standard of justice. ‘On the balance of probabilities’ – guessing – is a low standard of justice. Bishop Bell was judged by those with a low standard of justice. This led to a miscarriage of justice. Restoration of justice is therefore required by those with a high standard of justice” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Oct 15 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologises to sexual abuse survivor ‘Gilo’ for C of E failings” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Oct 15 2017 – “Bishops damn church insurers Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG] over ‘horse-trading’ with child abuse survivors” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog [Deleted on Request]

Oct 15 2017 – “Ted Heath sex abuse expert: I’d never let him near children” / “Met DIDN’T probe claim by 11-year-old” – Mail on Sunday – Simon Walters

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2010] – Statement: “Archbishop Chaput defends reputation of falsely accused priest” – Catholic World News – July 16 2010

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [June 30 2009] – “No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 28 2015] – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 17 2017 – “Former bishop of Chester investigated over abuse allegations” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2015] “Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2015] – “Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of sexual abuse of children” – Independent – Ian Johnston

Oct 18 2017 – Anglican Communion Sexual Abuse Cases

Oct 18 2017 – “Former Bishop of Chester Hubert Whitsey investigated over abuse allegations” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [Aug 21 2016] “Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Oct 18 2017 – “Act promptly” – Bishop George Bell – ‘The Caution List’ – January 1939

Oct 19 2017 – “The right royal cover-up continues” – Morning Star – Peter Frost

Oct 20 2017 – “Let the Chronology speak” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society [adapted from Page 167 of “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler: “it is as well to let chronology speak for itself” and Dennis Potter: “Let The Past Speak”]

October 21 2017 – “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – A Prayer by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Published in the Chichester Diocesan Gazette – 1936

Oct 21 2017 – From The Archives [July 29 2016] – “The C of E smears saints and shields scoundrels” – Rev Jules Gomes

Oct 21 2017 – From The Archives [June 29 2017] “The Safeguarding Industry has become a Witch Hunt” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Jules Gomes

Oct 22 2017 – ‘”I need a friendly bishop”, said the child abuse survivor, as the prelate passed by on the other side’ – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog – Guest Writer: Martin Sewell [Deleted on Request]

Oct 22 2017 –2nd Anniversary of the Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 22 2015] – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2017 – “The Lychgate Resolution”

Oct 27 2017 – From The Archives [Jan 16 2016] – “Bishop’s memorial to remain in place” / “The Church itself has tried to satisfy both camps and in doing so has pleased neither”– The Argus – Spotlight – Joel Adams

Oct 27 2017 – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait 

img_9510 (2)

‘Bishop Bell’ Portrait Photograph by Howard Coster 1953 [stored by the Canon Librarian in Chichester Cathedral’s Private Library]

The Portrait is, at present, in storage within the Cathedral Library
The Plaque below the Portrait reads:
“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation”

Oct 29 2017 – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait imminent ?

Oct 30 2017 – From The Archives [June 9 2017] – “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – ‘Trump’s Meddlesome Priest’ – New York Times

Oct 30 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 3 2016] – Reading of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in Chichester [as part of the “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester” Campaign]

Oct 31 2017 – “Bishop Bell declared peace on war. We silence him at our peril. His exculpation may well prove a critical pre-condition for our very survival” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 23 2016] – “Ex-terror reviewer Lord Carlile to re-examine Bishop Bell sex abuse decision” – Daily Telegraph

“Bishop Bell, who served the diocese for 30 years until his death in 1958, is regarded by some as one of the great peacemakers of the 20th Century and had been granted the closest thing Anglicanism has to a saint’s day, an annual commemoration” – John Bingham – Telegraph Religious Affairs Editor

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 28 2015] – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reas