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Case for Bishop Bell

Sir – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is not alone in being ashamed of the Church in its handling of child abuse cases in the Diocese of Chichester (report, March 22). So are quite a few others. And some of us would add that we are ashamed of Archbishop Welby too.

At the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing on Wednesday, the Archbishop was questioned about his continuing attack on the late Bishop George Bell, whose reputation has been besmirched by what Lord Carlile, the Church’s own eminent appointee to examine its legal processes, has described as a very misguided rush to judgement on a single accusation of historic child sexual abuse.

The continued anger that the case has aroused has nothing to do with Bishop Bell’s eminent reputation. It has everything to do with the fact that no one has ever been allowed to present a case in his defence.

The recent effort by the family to appoint its own lawyer in a new investigation has been turned down by the Chichester authorities. And once again, the Archbishop missed a chance to affirm his belief in Bishop Bell’s innocence as presumed by the law.

When will the Archbishop have the grace to admit that the Church leaders responsible for handling the George Bell case – including himself – have made the most colossal error of judgement in this instance?

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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March 24 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley – March 23

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/george.bell.was.fond.of.paedophile.bishop.peter.ball.and.sponsored.him.through.ordination/127773.htm

George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination

George Bell was ‘fond’ of paeodophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him for ordination, an inquiry has heard.

As former bishop of Chichester, Bell is considered one of Anglicanism’s heroes. However, it emerged in 2015 the Church of England paid £16,800 to the woman, known as Carol, in a legal settlement after she accused Bell of sexually abusing her as a child.

Now it can be revealed Peter Ball, who was jailed for a string of sex offences against teenagers and young men in 2015, was close friends with Bell.

Peter Ball
Bishop Ball sentenced to 32 months in prison but served only 16 months.

Ball was initially rejected in his attempt to become a priest in 1951 but Bell wrote to the selection panel in support of Ball’s application.

When Ball applied for ordination a second time it was Bell who sponsored him through the process.

In his witness statement to an inquiry investigating child sex abuse within the Church of England, Ball denied that Bell had ‘overruled’ the selection board allowing him to be ordained.

However he said that after his ordination Bell would visit his parish to take services, adding he was ‘aware that he was “fond” of me’.

In response to a question about Bell’s involvement in his ordination, Ball told the inquiry: ‘It is not right therefore to say that Bishop Bell “overruled” the selection board in order for me to be ordained.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell is an iconic figure for the Church of England and was bishop of Chichester from 1929 to 1958.

‘Although Bishop Bell had indicated in 1951 in a letter to the first Selection Board who did not recommend me for ministry that he would be “prepared to accept me for ordination” even though the Selection Board had not recommend me for training at that time, that is not how matters proceeded.’

He went on: ‘After theological college, it was Bishop Bell ultimately who did sponsored [sic] me for ordination, but with the approval of the Selection Board. Bishop Bell then placed me in the parish of Rottingdean where I undertook my first curacy.

‘He would visit my curacy on occasion to carry out confirmations and to take services.

‘We had a good working relationship; I was aware that he was “fond” of me. He was someone who I looked up to when I was a young curate starting out in the Church.’

Bell, who died in 1958, was revered by Anglicans before the abuse allegations against him emerged. However a report earlier this year heavily criticised the Church’s handling of the accusations and found it ‘rushed to judgement’ and failed to give proper consideration to Bell’s rights.

But the archbishop of Canterbury refused to back down and said a ‘significant cloud is left over his name’.

Ball went on to become bishop of Lewes in the diocese of Chichester and then bishop of Gloucester. He was accused of gross indecency against a 16-year-old in 1992 but escaped with a police caution after he received backing from a member of the Royal Family and a number of other establishment figures. He was told to step down from his role as a bishop. However he continued to minister in churches and schools until 2010 before he was eventually arrested.

At the age of 83 he was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office and 15 months for indecent assaults in 2015. He was released after serving 16 months.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has been investigation how the diocese of Chichester handled allegations of child sexual abuse as a case study for the wider Church of England.

In his concluding remarks today solicitor David Greenwood said the CofE was more ‘malign’ than the Catholic Church in its response to abuse and accused it of ‘a conscious effort to treat survivors badly’.

The archbishop of Canterbury in his evidence said he had ‘learnt to be ashamed again of the Church’ and warned child sexual abuse would ‘destroy the Church’ if not addressed.

You can read more about the past three weeks of hearings here.

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March 9 2018 – David Virtue – Viewpoints – VirtueOnline

http://www.virtueonline.org/

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND is reeling from one crisis to the next, with one never knowing how and where it will all end.

Here is the latest: The Church of England was warned by the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, that sexual abuse crimes would be on the front page of newspapers and television for the next two years. This, after years of institutional neglect and lethargy. This week is perhaps the start of the purging of complacency, said one report.

The opening of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the deficiencies of the Established Church took the headlines, but other stories also arose. The poor handling of Fr Matt Ineson’s complaints against five bishops was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme, and the substance of it appeared on the BBC website. It was also covered by Christian Today.

Further stories are beginning to emerge which have not yet been published but will add to our institutional woes, said another report.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y9agjjom

It was learned that Archbishop John Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest — leaving him to abuse again and then commit suicide.
You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y8dk9bec

There were attacks on Lord Carey again with one headline that ran:
‘An Attack On Lord Carey Is An Attack On Us All’, Say Church of England Figures.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”.

The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/ydg8hhd3

But the week ended on a moderately high note when the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace and discussed a range of issues including religious freedom for Christians in Saudi Arabia and the conflict in the Yemen.

In a statement, a Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said that Archbishop Justin was “encouraged” to hear about Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 roadmap. “The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” the statement said.

“The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK.

 

Canadian blogger Samizdat wryly noted on seeing Welby bowing to the Saudi prince, “Welby may be pointing out to Mohammed bin Salman that his shoelace is undone; or warning him not to slip on a banana peel; or inviting the prince to inspect his head for lice.

“Or he might have been bowing.

“Welby is meeting with the Crown Prince to discuss Saudi Arabia’s “strong commitment to interfaith dialogue”, an idea so preposterous only an ex oil executive could take it seriously. The country renowned for beating critics of its leaders practically to death, that practices the most barbaric excesses of sharia law, that mutilates women because it is “noble”, has no Christian churches. None. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy, a nasty, brutish, despotism which does not tolerate the public practice of other religions. There is no “interfaith” because there are no other state tolerated faiths.

“In other news, next week Justin Welby will be meeting with Satan to foster reconciliation, begin interfaith dialogue, and persuade him to turn down the temperature in hell.”

 

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February 26 2018 – “The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell” – OXSTU [Oxford Student]

http://oxfordstudent.com/2018/02/25/church-england-stand-bishop-bell/

The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell

A short biography of George Bell, who had been Bishop of Chichester for 27 years when he died in 1958, begins by acknowledging a recurring pattern regarding the reputation of notable people. It points out that after such people die, their reputations are often reshaped and defamed by harsh criticism not voiced during their lifetimes – but that the Bishop had managed to be an exception to this rule.

This claim, published in 1971, would no longer be written today. Whilst the memory of George Bell has been cherished over the past 60 years due to his significant support of the Protestant opposition to Hitler, his work in bringing over many non-Aryan refugees from Germany and his emphatic opposition to the bombing of civilians during the Second World War, Bell’s reputation is now at risk of being utterly decimated. A complaint made to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 accused Bell of having committed grotesque acts of child abuse in the 1940s and 50s. In response, the Church apologised and paid the accuser £16,800 in compensation. Various memorials, such as one proclaiming him a ‘champion of the oppressed’ in Chichester Cathedral, faced removal. An Eastbourne school, formerly known as the Bishop Bell Church of England School, has changed its name altogether.

Most would agree that this sort of action would be justified in the face of conclusive evidence against Bell. But it has since transpired that the church acted far too hastily. Following their acceptance of the abuse claims, a robust movement was sparked to defend Bell’s reputation, involving major journalists such as Charles Moore and Peter Hitchens. The Church then initiated an independent inquiry, led by Lord Carlile (one of the country’s top legal experts), which concluded that they had “rushed to judgement” and that the damage to Bell’s reputation was “just wrong”. Lord Carlile even went so far as to say that had he been prosecuting a case against Bell in court, Bell would have won. Nevertheless, this report was withheld by the Church for two months. After its eventual release, Justin Welby insisted that a “significant cloud” still hangs over Bell’s name in spite of Lord Carlile’s conclusions.

We should be equally concerned for protecting Bell’s reputation against false accusations as we are for spoiling his reputation over true accusations

This strange outcome highlights an element of mystery that has surrounded the Bell case. The initial claim against Bell was anonymous and the church revealed no details about the accusation when making their apology. As mentioned, it took two months for the Church to release the Carlile report after having received it. Once it was released, Justin Welby did not follow the logical implications of the report, but refused to retract his statements because of a vague belief in a “cloud”. On the 31st January, the enigmatic plot thickened when the Church announced that a further anonymous and unspecified accusation had been made and was being investigated. Some felt the timing of this was suspicious, given that a motion to debate the restoration of Bell’s reputation was due to be voted on at the Church’s General Synod the following week. Lord Carlile, who knew nothing of this accusation during his investigation, described the announcement as ‘unwise, unnecessary and foolish’. At the very least, we can all recognise the strange and stark asymmetry between the previous withholding of the completed Carlile investigation report and the eagerness of the recent announcement of an incomplete investigation. Things got worse when it emerged that the Church of England had refused to allow Mrs Barbara Whitley, Bell’s 93-year-old niece, to have the lawyer of her choice represent her side in the proceedings – instead choosing on her behalf someone who is neither a lawyer nor known to Mrs Whitley.

At this point, while many will sympathise with the active supporters of George Bell, which now includes leading groups of historians, theologians and church leaders who have written public letters asking for Welby to retract his statement, others feel a sense of unease. After all, it is of course possible that the accusations are true. Justin Welby, in a recent interview with the Church Times, said that the alleged victims should be “treated equally importantly” as the reputation of George Bell. Some would say this does not go far enough: surely we must be more concerned for the alleged victims, who are still living, over the reputation of someone who died 60 years ago?

The general nervousness of the Church of England’s handling of the Bell case must be related to the fact that the Church currently faces over 3,000 complaints of sexual abuse

Perhaps a better way of framing this would be to say that we should be equally concerned for protecting Bell’s reputation against false accusations as we are for spoiling his reputation over true accusations. The trouble is that most people have an instinctive tendency to find the latter much easier than the former. When the Church of England apologised and paid the first alleged victim in 2015, The Guardian ran the story with the headline “Church of England Bishop George Bell abused young child”. At that stage, nothing was known about the identity of the accuser nor the accusations, and yet headlines announced the claims as fact. Once the Carlile report was made public, it would have been no less factual to run the headline ‘George Bell declared innocent of abuse claims’, yet nobody did so. In fact, most would consider this overstepping the mark.

The general nervousness of the Church of England’s handling of the Bell case must be related to the fact that the Church currently faces over 3,000 complaints of sexual abuse (including both long-standing and recent accusations). Other high-profile cases of clergy committing child abuse, such as that of former bishop Peter Ball, have highlighted the shocking failures of senior clerics to listen to victims and pass allegations on to the police. Taking into consideration the sharp spike in awareness of the prevalence of sexual abuse in society more broadly, following Weinstein, Larry Nassar and the #MeToo movement, it is not hard to imagine why the Archbishop of Canterbury would not want to stick his head above the parapet and defend the innocence of an archetypal establishment figure: a dead, white, male clergyman.

Courage, after all, comes at a cost. George Bell discovered this himself when his opposition to the bombing of innocent civilians during the Second World War put him on the wrong side of Winston Churchill, probably the main reason why he was never appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. In the absence of substantial evidence in support of the accusations against him, Bell’s reputation deserves to be defended. This is not only in the interest of truth, but also in the interest of maintaining a legacy of courageous leadership which is desperately needed among Bell’s clerical successors today.

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February 22 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person at inquiry into Church of England’s handling of sex abuse allegations” – MailOnline

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5422805/Archbishop-Canterbury-quizzed-sex-inquiry.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

EXCLUSIVE: Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person at inquiry into Church of England’s handling of sex abuse allegations

  • Justin Welby will appear at Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
  • Former archbishop Rowan Williams will also be called to answer questions
  • They’ll be asked about the handling of abuse claims in the Diocese of Chichester
  • Welby will be pressed on the investigation involving the Reverend George Bell
  • Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 40s
  • The hearing will also look at the Lord Carlile Report, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and failing to consider the rights of Bishop Bell
  • The hearing in London will start on March 5 and continue for three weeks 

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is to be questioned in person over how the Anglican Church dealt with allegations of sexual assaults against children.

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month.

The most senior clergyman in the Church of England – and his predecessor Rowan Williams – will be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex.

Most notably he will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester.

Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl, starting from when she was just five-years old, in the 1940s and 50s.

A complaint was initially made to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in 1995 but it wasn’t until a second complaint was made to Welby’s office in 2013 that the matter was passed on to the police.

The subsequent investigation by Sussex Police found that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.

The diocese apologised and paid compensation to the victim, known only as Carol, in 2015.

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month

The archbishop will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 1940s and 50s

The archbishop will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 1940s and 50s

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since.

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell.

At an IICSA preliminary hearing on January 30, it was announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Williams had provided witness statements.

The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 which will last for three weeks.

Lambeth Palace say they will make a formal statement once the witness schedule has been finalised.

However, a spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council told MailOnline: ‘The Archbishop was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Church of England is committed to working with IICSA in a transparent way.

‘He is aware that for the survivors who are brave enough to come forward to the Inquiry and give their testimony this will be a very difficult time which is why he is prepared to do the same.’

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

Welby's predecessor Rowan Williams will also be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex

Welby’s predecessor Rowan Williams will also be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex

 The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 in central London which will last for three weeks

 The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 in central London which will last for three weeks

As part of its investigation into the Diocese of Chichester it will examine allegations of abuse by other priests, particularly Roy Cotton, Colin Pritchard and Gordon Rideout.

Rev Cotton, a parish priest in Brede, near Rye, Sussex had been convicted for an indecent assault on a child in 1954 but despite this was ordained in 1966.

He is thought to have had as many as 10 victims, which included two brothers from Eastbourne who won damages from the diocese after it recognised that the Church had failed to stop them being abused as choirboys in the 1970s and 80s.

Cotton died in September 2006 before he could be brought to justice.

Pritchard served as the vicar of St Barnabas, in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex until 2007 after being arrested over sex abuse claims

He pleaded guilty the following year to sexually abusing two boys in the 70s and 80s and was jailed for five years.

The offences took place while he was parish priest at St Andrew’s Church in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

A subsequent report in 2011 into Cotton and Pritchard found that victims’ claims had not been treated seriously.

Meanwhile Canon Rideout was found guilty of 36 separate sex offences by a jury at Lewes Crown Court in 2013.

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ¿rush to judgement¿ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell (above, centre)

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell (above, centre)

The attacks, which included attempted rape and indecent assaults on both boys and girls, some of whom were 13-years of age, took place between 1962 and 1973 in Sussex and Hampshire.

He later pleaded guilty in 2016 to one charge of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 at a children’s home in Reigate, Surrey which took place between July 29 1969 and July 21 1974.

The Chichester hearing will also consider the case of Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes and subsequently Bishop of Gloucester, and investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences.

However a separate, more detailed hearing into Ball, who was friends with Prince Charles, will take place in July.

On the website, the inquiry states: ‘There have been a significant number of internal investigations of the diocese carried out both by child protection individuals and individuals within the church itself.

‘The Chichester hearing will examine those investigations, what they found and what has changed as a result.

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

‘The Chichester hearing will also examine what steps the Church of England as a whole has taken to improve its practice and to respond to the experiences discovered within the Diocese of Chichester.

‘Of importance to the focus to the hearing will be the accounts of disclosure of abuse by complainants from within the Diocese of Chichester: both whether they were believed, how they were treated, and what happened as a result of the complaint.

‘If they were unable to disclose their abuse at the time, why they were so unable and what steps they consider the church could and should have made to improve the processes in respect of safeguarding where they consider that the response given was not adequate.

‘The case study will investigate, amongst other things, the following: the culture of the church, by which the investigation team means its behaviours, values and beliefs, and if those behaviours, values and beliefs inhibited or continued to inhibit the investigation, exposure and prevention of child sexual abuse.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5422805/Archbishop-Canterbury-quizzed-sex-inquiry.html#ixzz57rKe2oTt
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[Original submission – before editing]

Dear Editor

It is also our duty to prioritise those falsely accused of sex abuse [“Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety”, Telegraph, Feb 20).

In 2009, football manager Dave Jones wrote a book about his experience – “No Smoke, No Fire” * – which led Judge David Clarke to conclude after the court case:

“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”

In 2015, Bishop George Bell was falsely accused of sex abuse, which led the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to monstrously conclude last month that a “significant cloud” still hangs over this long-dead, venerated Bishop of Chichester – even after a report by Lord Carlile QC.

The words of Judge David Clarke should haunt the present Archbishop.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

 

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley, West Sussex 

RH11 0NN

 

Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

“No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

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February 20 2018 – “Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety” – Daily Telegraph – Paul Hayward – Chief Sports Writer

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/02/19/duty-prioritise-child-safety/

Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety

Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety
Gary Cliffe, a victim of Barry Bennell, speaks outside Liverpool Crown Court after the sentencing of his former coach CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

One of the beauties of sport is that it populates its landscape with young people dreaming of making it into the big time. Among its darkest aspects is the violation of those dreams by predators who see aspiration as a vulnerability they can exploit.

From the depravity of Barry Bennell right down to the spiv who tries to get rich on the back of a child’s talent, young people are in need of protection by families, institutions, vigilant individuals and of course the rule of law, which has caught up with Bennell – jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for 30 years for abusing 12 young footballers between 1979 and 1991.

Those protective structures failed abysmally for a generation of children who were defenceless against Bennell’s brazen and routine sex crimes, which, as the court heard, occurred on an “industrial scale.” As we know from the Jimmy Savile case and others, this level of sexual criminality is not possible unless those with the power to stop it are blinded by the perpetrator or place their own self-interest first.

In this case, parts of the Football Association, Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra – in that period – refused or failed to see Bennell’s interest in scouting and coaching was incidental to his main reason for working in football. His chief purpose was to gain access to children. He played a double game to satisfy his appetites, conning the clubs into thinking he was a talent-spotter par excellence and the children and their families into believing he held the key to a future in the game.

The NSPCC’s statement after sentencing pointed out that Bennell “ruthlessly preyed on the hopes and aspirations of young footballers who believed he held the key to their dreams”.

Procedures are much tighter in football now. Awareness has improved exponentially since the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. Yet, as the many recent welfare-in-sport scandals have demonstrated, there is still a phase in which young people are vulnerable if they have not attained full adulthood or the power that comes with success.

That stage of life, where children are most open to being exploited, is the one that requires the most careful policing, because sex offenders are drawn to professions in which they have access to, and can exploit the ambitions of, young people. Thus it falls not only to governing bodies but also coaches, parents – all of us, in fact – to recognise the danger signs and intervene, as opposed to merely muttering our concerns.

From Bennell’s perspective, reptilian deceit was effective. One member of City’s staff called him “the star-maker”. Concerns raised by Len Davies at City and Hamilton Smith at Crewe gained no real traction. Now, a further 86 alleged victims have reportedly come forward, which accentuates one of the truly shocking features of this tragedy: the impunity with which Bennell abused children, and the breadth of his crimes, in homes, holiday camps, football clubs and even on the pitch at Maine Road.

The FA have a responsibility to show negligence and complicity have consequences

Only the victims who came forward to testify can know how long the “relief” will last. And relief was certainly the most conspicuous first response. No quest for justice – even one so obviously grounded in fact – guarantees the kind of outcome that exposed Bennell’s sadism and perversion.

The first emotion, one assumes, is one of vindication. The lie has been broken. An expectation now, however, is that thoughts will turn quickly to those who excused Bennell’s paedophilia, looked the other way, or facilitated it in ways that require them to be held to account.

Lord Carlile, one of the country’s leading legal figures, has said Bennell’s behaviour was “brushed under the carpet” by Crewe.

These failures, where they existed, cannot be marked down as unfortunate accidents. The victims are entitled to justice from football as well as the legal system. The FA bear a responsibility in their forthcoming report to show that negligence and complicity have consequences, not least for the FA of that time.

The societal nature of this crime was grimly apparent when a “Cambridge-educated” geophysicist from a “privileged” background, Matthew Falder, was jailed for 32 years at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting 137 offences including blackmail, voyeurism, encouraging child rape and sharing indecent images – on the same day Bennell began his latest prison sentence.

Football is not uniquely blighted by child sex abuse, and its safeguards now are better. But in all cases it needs to think first of child protection, of child welfare, and punish those who have failed in that duty.

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February 18 2018 – Hitchens on Bell – Mail on Sunday

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2018/02/return-to-times-tables-not-when-we-can-ask-poles-to-do-our-sums.html

What would you think of a country or a company which  publicly claimed that someone was a wicked paedophile, was found to be mistaken – and then refused to apologise and did it again? Hang on, I haven’t finished. What would you think if that country or company then refused to allow the accused person’s 93-year-old niece to have the lawyer of her choice at the hearing? You’d think you were dealing with arrogant, tyrannical  fat cats. But actually, the culprits in this are the Church of England, still unable to admit a grave error in besmirching the name of the late Bishop George Bell. Why and how does Archbishop Justin Welby permit this behaviour?

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February 17 2018 – “With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip” – The Guardian – Andrew Brown

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/16/justin-welby-church-archbishop-canterbury

With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip

The Archbishop of Canterbury has shaped the CofE to his will with a skill of a politician – and made it all the better

 

Last Saturday in central London, two archbishops joined a small group of people protesting about sexual abuse. Though you might expect – or at least hope – to find archbishops on the side of the angels, what was remarkable was that they were protesting against their own church. The building in question was Church House, in Westminster, where the Church of England’s General Synod was meeting, due later that day to discuss the problem of sexual abuse, with the church facing more than 3,000 historical claims. By standing with the protesters, the Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were making a loud statement about where their sympathies lay. You had to listen very carefully under the noise to notice that the synod debate was in fact a presentation of a report and there were no survivors speaking in it.

The day before, there had been two other announcements on the subject: the church passed over its papers on the diocese of Chichester, where most of the scandals have come from, to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – 75,000 documents in all. What needles might be concealed in this haystack will be for the commission to discover. More sensationally, it announced that a second allegation against the late, and almost sainted, Bishop George Bell of Chichester had been passed to the police.

This came in the wake of unprecedented public criticism of Welby by heavyweight legal figures for his apparent assumption of Bell’s guilt on the word of one pseudonymous accuser. He has refused to back down despite Lord Carlile QC’s scathing verdict of the church’s inquiry. Welby has refused to say either that Bell was guilty or that his name can be cleared. So you might say that this is a typical Anglican fudge, but it is very much more hard-edged than most of those.

The whole show was typical of Welby’s style as Archbishop of Canterbury: he combines energy, ruthlessness and a determination to get the church moving, through a mixture of public theatricality and arm-twisting behind the scenes. He has been archbishop for five years and next month will publish a fat state-of-the-nation book that covers almost all the current areas of political and cultural dispute in the church. The early coverage of him concentrated first on the unashamed poshness of his background – an Etonian whose mother had been one of Churchill’s secretaries and who had worked for 10 years in the oil industry – and then on his attacks on payday lending. The church, he promised, would outcompete Wonga in helping the poor. This was a successful piece of outrageous bluff. The church did no such thing, but in pledging to do so Welby captured the public imagination.

Since then he has proved more effective than any of his immediate predecessors in pushing the church in the direction he wants, despite the lack of formal power in the role. He told the Church Times: “Don’t waste time looking for levers to pull [in this role], because there aren’t any. It’s a process of persuasion, of example, of blessing and withholding blessing for particular things.”

On the other hand, he loves the work of nudging and manipulation. When he was trying to get the bishops of the worldwide Anglican communion to agree to meet again after decades of wrangling over gay sex and female bishops, he spent much of his annual holiday ringing the heads of the member churches for 20 minutes each – not how most people would choose to spend their holidays. And though he disclaims the ability to select bishops, ever since he drove through the legislation to make women bishops in 2013, the holy spirit has somehow ensured that half of the bishops appointed have been women, among them Sarah Mullally to the prominent see of London, and Jo Bailey Wells, his former chaplain, to be bishop of Dorking.

His manner is austere, somewhere between oil industry executive and crisp infantry officer. His temper is widely feared (“I haven’t been spoken to like that since I was at school,” said one victim), but at the same time it’s difficult to talk to him seriously without glimpsing beneath the armour of success, self-discipline and charming self-deprecation, the clever and miserable boy he must once have been. His critics say he is trying to turn the church towards soulless managerialism, devoid of mystery or imagination – and this stings him deeply. He is immensely proud of the small monastic community he has established inside Lambeth Palace, where young people spend a year doing nothing much but praying and thinking.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during the Eucharist at York Minster in York.
Pinterest
‘Justin Welby has done an enormous amount to centralise the church’s institutions and make it more of an organisation.’ Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Behind the scenes, Welby has done an enormous amount to centralise the church’s institutions and make it more of an organisation, although it will never in fact become one. He has hired high-profile PR advisers from Buckingham Palace and the City of London and given them substantial budgets. He works enormously long hours and is unsparing of failure in others. His treatment of one of his predecessors, Lord Carey, was startlingly ruthless. Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1990s, had much the same diagnosis of the church’s ills as Welby and many of the same answers, but entirely lacked the political and presentational skills to carry them out. He also had a much greater respect for the establishment than the Etonian Welby, who sometimes burns with an insider’s scorn and anger at the fools he went to school with.

While in office, Carey connived at the partial rehabilitation of the paedophile bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball; he gave him money, and tried to get him a job in South Africa under Desmond Tutu. When this came to light last year, Welby promptly sacked Carey from his retirement job as an unpaid priest.

Whether any or all of this will be enough to stem the long-term decline of churchgoing remains to be seen. The problem facing the Church of England is that it hardly ever makes converts of adults, while those born into it are not very concerned with passing the faith on to their children. In fact, for many congregants the church seems to be a place of refuge from the modern world: in a recent case where parishioners objected to their priest’s attempts to install toilets in a medieval church, one reason given was “toilets attract children”.

Changing that is beyond the power of any archbishop; it will require a profound cultural revolution that starts in the parishes. But what he can justifiably claim after five years is that he has done nothing to make the task more difficult and much to make it seem more urgent. That may not seem much but it’s more than any other archbishop has managed for a long time.

Andrew Brown is a Guardian columnist

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February 16 2018 – “Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile” – BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38632026

Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile

Barry Bennell: Lord Carlile says football failed to protect youngsters from abuse

The Barry Bennell scandal was “brushed under the carpet” by Crewe Alexandra, according to the eminent barrister who prosecuted the serial paedophile in 1998.

Lord Carlile – one of the country’s top legal experts – told the BBC the club at the centre of the case was guilty of “institutional failure” over their former youth coach.

He also fears young footballers were abused because “this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public”.

Bennell, 64, who has already received three prison sentences – in 1995, 1998 and 2015 – has been convicted of 43 further charges of child sex abuse by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court. The jury were told of abuse of 12 boys between 1979 and 1990.

In a statement on Thursday, Crewe said the club “was not aware of any sexual abuse by Bennell” until his arrest in Florida in 1994, and that it did not receive any sexual abuse complaint about him “before or during his employment with the club.”

Crewe also said a police investigation found “no evidence to corroborate that the club was aware of Bennell’s offending”.

Chris Unsworth, Micky Fallon and Steven Walters

Bennell, who worked with a number of clubs across the north west of England, including Manchester City and Stoke City, was jailed for nine years in 1998, pleading guilty to 23 specimen charges at Chester Crown Court.

But the prosecuting barrister at the trial, Alex Carlile QC, who was made a life peer in 1999, has now spoken out for the first time about Crewe’s handling of the case.

“I believe the Crewe board should have addressed this issue, and I’d be very interested to see the board minutes of the time because I feel sure the board would have discussed it in some way, but I have the feeling it was brushed under the carpet,” he said.

“What I am satisfied about is that there should have been further inquiry by any club involved, including Crewe Alexandra. I’m surprised I did not read subsequently that Crewe had carried out an inquiry into what had occurred.”

Speaking to the BBC last year, Carlile said Bennell “seemed to me to be the embodiment of the sort of person you wanted no nearer than a million miles from your children”.

Barry Bennell calling card
Bennell’s relationship with Man City remains unclear, but the BBC has obtained what is believed to be a business card that the coach handed out to young players and their parents, describing himself as a the club’s ‘North-West representative’. The BBC cannot verify the authenticity of the card, but if this is what it appears to be, it may show how Bennell used City’s name to lure some of his victims.

League Two club Crewe have been under intense scrutiny over what was known about Bennell since former player Andy Woodward spoke out in November about the abuse he had suffered while a trainee at the club. Since then, other former players who say they were victims of Bennell have come forward.

A former board member at Crewe, Hamilton Smith, has claimed he had warned the club about Bennell’s relationship with young boys in the late 1980s, but the coach was allowed to stay in his job.

Bennell was eventually sacked in 1992 for reasons that have never been made public. Smith also says he asked the FA to investigate the case in 2001, after Bennell was convicted, but was ignored.

“If any senior people at the club knew more than they let on at the time then they should have been open about it,” said Carlile.

“Football coaches had immense power over young boys who they were training and clubs were in the place of parents and it’s quite clear that they didn’t take that position seriously.”

Andy Woodward says ‘justice has been served’

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi, who was the club’s manager from 1983 to 2007, was suspended by the Football Association in November 2016. During Bennell’s trial in 1998 it was revealed that one of the offences happened at Gradi’s house.

John Bowler, who has been chairman of the club since 1987, continues in his role.

“I’m very surprised about the continuity in the club of a number of people who were present at that time,” said Carlile.

“Dario Gradi was a relevant figure in this case. I’m not making any sort of allegation against Dario Gradi, but he was a relevant figure and I think Crewe ought to come clean about the way in which they dealt with this problem, admitting their shortcomings where there were shortcomings.”

Both Gradi and Bowler have denied any wrongdoing, and say the first they knew about Bennell’s crimes was when he was arrested in 1994.

Gradi has said he would “do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities” while Crewe announced in November 2016 the club would hold an independent review into how it dealt with historical child sex abuse allegations.

But Carlile has also spoken about his dismay at the lack of interest in the case at the time of Bennell’s earlier conviction.

“I’m absolutely certain that at the time there was institutional failure, and I’m very disappointed that it now appears as a result of a lack of publicity of that case other boys have been abused, because this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public,” he said.

“If someone was prosecuting that case today about serious indecency against young boys, some of whom might have stardom as footballers in front of them, it would’ve had blanket press coverage.

“The follow-through by the media would have been huge, and I suspect more complainants would have come forward as a result.

“I’m absolutely certain that if the media and the sport had taken this on as an issue in 1998, a lot of young people would not have been abused in the years that followed.”

Football child sex abuse scandal one of FA’s biggest crises – Greg Clarke

With hundreds of potential victims coming forward, multiple suspects, and many clubs and police forces across the country now investigating, the FA has begun an internal review into the crisis, headed by barrister Clive Sheldon QC.

“The FA inquiry has spluttered into life,” said Carlile, who spent a decade as the government’s terrorism legislation reviewer, and is leading an independent study into how the Church of England handled child abuse accusations.

“There was a change of leadership within almost days, the explanation has never been entirely clear to me, but I think that Clive Sheldon will be a splendid head of that inquiry.

“What we’re talking about is multiple, repeated, horrific crimes and I think the inquiry will have to have a keen intelligence about the way in which crimes of this kind develop.

“The lessons learnt must include explaining to those who run [sports] clubs to be able to anticipate these events and to take child safeguarding measures that will make it much more difficult for these events to happen.

“It’s a huge crisis for sport, it’s a bigger crisis than doping for athletics. It’s a crisis of confidence. It will diminish Britain’s very considerable success in every sport unfortunately, because parents will be more reluctant to allow their children to take part in sports clubs.

“It is going to provoke real difficulties for sports, but the sports have themselves to blame for this to some extent.”

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February 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Hugh Wyatt CVO

December 2017

Very Revd. Stephen Waine

Dean of Chichester Cathedral

The Royal Chantry

Cathedral Cloisters

Chichester

PO19 1PX

Following the publication of Lord Carlisle’s report on the Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell’s case. The time has surely now come to re-dedicate the house in Canon Lane (presently known as 4 Canon Lane) to the name it carried before it was summarily re-named i.e. GEORGE BELL HOUSE.

The re-naming and re-dedication of this building would create an immense amount of goodwill among the many worshippers at the Cathedral and citizens like myself who have never believed the accusations made against the Bishop and feel that proper remembrance, respect and love should be restored to him as soon as possible. This re-dedication should also be signal for schools and local authorities to restore his good name.

The Cathedral Chapter should make it their urgent business to re-dedicate this building as soon as possible and suggest that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, be invited to return to Chichester to re-dedicate it.

Yours faithfully

Christopher Hoare

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February 13 2018 – Letter to a Bishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Hugh Wyatt CVO

January 2018

Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Warner

Bishop of Chichester

The Palace

Chichester

PO19 1PY

Thank you for sending me a copy of your statement to the Diocese on the

George Bell matter and Lord Carlile’s review.

You have plenty to say about “Carol”. You were “privileged to meet her”; you think “she is a woman of courage and integrity”; she behaved with “dignity and was not greedy”; and you had a “patient and generous conversation” with her.

But, as you admit, George Bell was found guilty by the Core Group. You also say “this was a Church matter”. You are correct – it was – and it failed to deal with the matter properly and fairly.

Many of George Bell’s supporters, some of whom including myself actually knew George Bell, think that the buck stops in Chichester and that you should be carefully considering your position.

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February 13 2018 – Letter to an Archbishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Hugh Wyatt CVO

4th February 2018

The Most Reverend Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury

Lambeth Palace

London

SE1 7JU

Bishop George Bell was my father’s tutor at Oxford, he married my parents and he buried my father in 1954 when I was aged 20. I remember him well.

This whole matter has been effectively shouldered by you and the Bishop of Chichester and I have written to the Bishop of Chichester to say so. Lord Carlile makes it clear that the impression is left by the Core Group that George Bell was guilty.

Your remarks on the publication of Lord Carlile’s report were disgraceful – and you did not retract them some days later. In my letter to the Bishop of Chichester I suggested that he should seriously consider his position. You have also subjected one of your predecessors, George Carey, to dreadful humiliation.

In view of these two episodes in the Church of England, in which you played a major part, I think that you, too, should very seriously consider your future.

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February 13 2018 – Release of Bishop Bell Document – A Critical Analysis by His Honour Charles Gibson [distributed by Tom Sutcliffe to General Synod in Feb ’18]

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE RESPONSE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND TO THE REPORT OF LORD CARLILE OF BERRIEW, CBE, QC

In the Christian liturgy a form of confession comes early on in the service. One would reasonably expect Archbishops and Bishops to be very good at it, not only in services but also in their reflections on the decisions they make in their episcopal and everyday lives. I have considered the responses of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath and Wells (the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop) to the Carlile Report in the light of this expectation.

Lord Carlile QC was commissioned to conduct a review into the way in which the Church dealt with the complaint made by ‘Carol’, first in 1995 and again in 2012 and 2013, that the late Bishop George Bell had sexually abused her on occasions in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In September 2015 the Church issued a formal apology to Carol, paid her a sum in damages and costs, and issued a public statement in terms which led to widespread reporting of the story, all to the effect that Bishop Bell had been guilty of appalling sexual abuse of a child – a conclusion which, though not expressly stated, was to be implied from the Bishop of Chichester’s “deep sorrow” while he acknowledged that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church”. He referred to “the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse”.

By its statement the Church pinned the label ‘Abuser’ on Bishop Bell as securely as it pinned the labels ‘Survivor’ and ‘Victim’ on Carol.

The inevitable (and eminently foreseeable) publicity led in turn to widespread and passionate responses in defence of the high reputation of Bishop Bell which the Church had destroyed; and the Church was challenged to demonstrate the quality of the process which it had adopted and which had led to such a shocking result.

Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not include determination of the truthfulness of Carol or the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell [para 9]. In essence, he was required to examine the procedures which the Church followed, the way in which it obtained and assessed evidence, and whether it was right to make a public statement of apology and pay damages.

In relation to the complaint which Carol made in 1995 Lord Carlile found that the Church did not serve Carol well [para 96]. There can be no argument about that, and the Church’s shortcomings at that time were specifically acknowledged by the Bishop of Chichester in October 2015 and by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in his response to the Carlile report: he described the failures at that time as “lamentable”. Those failures consisted in offering pastoral support but taking the matter no further. It is reasonable to expect the leaders of the Church, having dealt with the matter in recent years with the benefit of wisdom and practice accumulated over twenty years or so since the “lamentable” failures of its predecessors, to be equally willing to acknowledge and castigate any serious failings in their own conduct which Lord Carlile might identify in his report.

Lord Carlile made a large number of specific criticisms of the way in which the Church dealt with the complaint which was made in 2012 and 2013. He accepted that the errors which he identified had been made in good faith, and that they resulted from ‘oversteer’ in the direction of what were believed to be the best interests of Carol and of the Church, and without a calculated intention to destroy Bishop Bell’s reputation. This is unsurprising. It would be scandalous in the extreme if the Church had been found to have acted in bad faith with the specific intention of damaging (more accurately further damaging, having regard to the 2015 statement) Bishop Bell’s reputation. But equally unsurprisingly Lord Carlile found that in fact and in reality his reputation was destroyed in the eyes of all but his strongest supporters [para 119].

Lord Carlile made sixteen criticisms which fall into five categories.

Approach to the investigation

(1) The allegation being serious and apparently credible, the Church implicitly accepted it without serious investigation or enquiry. This was an inappropriate and impermissible approach [para 43]. There was an underlying acceptance of Carol’s case; she was referred to as the ‘victim’, not the ‘complainant’ [para 155(iii)]. The use of this term and ‘survivor’ contributed to decisions which might otherwise have been scrutinised more critically [para 274].

(2) The Church concluded that the needs of a living complainant who, if truthful, was the victim of very serious criminal offences were of considerably more importance than the damage done by a possibly false allegation to a person who was no longer alive. This approach was wrong in principle, for three separate reasons [paras 43-48].

(3) No steps were taken to ensure that Bishop Bell’s interests were considered actively by an individual nominated for the purpose. His reputation, and the need for a rigorous factual analysis of the case against him, were swept up by the focus on settling Carol’s claim and the perceived imperative of public transparency [paras 142, 155(ii), 159(i) and (ii), 188]. The Core Group never seriously engaged with protecting the legitimate interests of Bishop Bell [para 263].

(4) The reputation of the Church was apparently treated as of greater importance than the justice of the case [para 155(i)].

Assembling and dealing with evidence and advice
(5) The Church reached a conclusion without actively seeking the widest available

evidence [paras 36, 140-141, 155(iv), 229]. Significant evidence was readily available [paras 214-220 (‘Pauline’), and 221-225 (Canon Adrian Carey)]. See also (10) below, and the detailed points made by the George Bell Group in its Review dated 18 March 2016.1 The Bishop of Chelmsford, who had a very limited knowledge of the case, was wrong to assert in a debate in the House of Lords that the allegations had been “tested ….. so far as possible”.

(6) The Core Group failed to appreciate the appropriate test for prosecution, viz whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction, and the duty of prosecutors to be impartial, following leads which might cast doubt on the complaint as well as those which are likely to support it [para 41].

(7) The Core Group failed to give the considerable weight which should have been given to Bishop Bell’s good character, his inability to defend himself, and the lack of any other allegations [para 56].

(8) Although counsel’s advice was obtained on the issue of which part of the Church (if any) would have to meet an award of damages, no specialist criminal lawyer was asked to advise on the strength of the evidence [para 170]. Such advice probably would have been to the effect that the prospects of a successful prosecution would have been low [para 171]; and it would have affected the approach to negotiations [para 172].

(9) Only some members of the Core Group were shown the full report of the Consultant Psychiatrist who was consulted. Had they all seen the report they would have seen his advice that

http://www.georgebellgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/George-Bell-Case-Review.pdf. 2

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the delays in reporting in this case were exceptional, that memory is not reliable over such long periods, and that the only way to establish the truth of the allegations would be through corroborating evidence [paras 178-181].

(10) Evidence that Bishop Bell had access to many young girls during World War II2 and that this had given rise to no complaints was wrongly treated as not undermining the Core Group’s conclusion that the allegations against Bishop Bell were true [para 233].

Treatment of relevant people

(11) The response of the Archbishop’s staff to the complaint which Carol made in September 2012 was inadequate [para 107].3

(12) Nothing was done to identify living relatives of Bishop Bell and to ensure that they were informed of the allegations, let alone asked for or offered guidance [paras 142, 207].

Constitution of the Core Group
(13) There were unacceptable variations in membership and attendance at meetings ofthe Core Group [para 176].
The various criticisms of the establishment, structure and work of the Core Group were summarised in fourteen separate points in para 254 of the Report.

Settlement of the claim
(14) Insufficient attention was given to points which were available for use in negotiations: the fact that Bishop Bell had been dead for over half a century and a fair trial would be extremely difficult; the absence of any corroborative or similar fact evidence; and that Carol had alleged abuse in 1995 but had not made a claim for many years afterwards [paras 146-147, 155(v), 188, 190].

(15) The Church was wrong to settle Carol’s complaint without an admission of liability, while knowingly and apparently deliberately destroying the reputation of Bishop Bell [para 52].

(16) Lord Carlile stated that if the criticisms which he made were substantially valid the decision to settle the case in the form and manner which was followed was indefensibly wrong [para 258]. With the evidence which he found to be readily available a denial of liability would have been the right initial response by the Church [para 260]. There could have been an economic case for a ‘litigation risk’ settlement with an express denial of liability [para 261]. A confidentiality clause probably would have been complied with, and in the event of breach the repayment aspect of it could have been enforced, and cogent reasons for the settlement could have been given [para 262]. Had this been done the legitimate interests of Bishop Bell would have been protected, and he would not have been cast out into the moral wilderness in any statements by the Church [para 263]. This is what should have been done [para 283].

In reading the report all those who had participated in producing the result which led to the review should have considered carefully (i) the extent to which their acts and omissions were criticised, (ii) to what extent the situation in and after September 2015 would have been different had they acted in such a way as not to have attracted criticism; and consequently (iii) to whom and in what terms they should make apologies. This duty should have been undertaken with humility and frankness, particularly in the light of the unqualified nature of the apology which had been offered for the acts and omissions of Bishop Eric Kemp, the then Bishop of Chichester, in and around 1995.

2 Through his active participation in the Kindertransport scheme.

3 At the time of the complaint the Archbishop was The Most Revd and Rt Hon Rowan Williams. The present Archbishop was elected on 4 February 2013 and enthroned on 21 March 2013.

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It is my firm conclusion that in view of the catalogue of faults which Lord Carlile found in the Church’s approach to dealing with Carol’s complaint and in its processes the one word answer to (ii) is ‘massively’; and that the appropriate apologies would have been deeply penitential.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, responded to the report on behalf of the Church. As mentioned above, he used the word “lamentable” to describe the handling of the case in 1995. He rejected the recommendation of a confidentiality clause. He accepted that the Church’s processes had been deficient in a number of respects. He claimed that much professional care and discussion were taken over agreeing the settlement and the decision to make it public; and that the Church had acted in good faith throughout with no calculated intention to damage Bishop Bell’s reputation. He apologised for adding to the additional pain suffered by Carol and the Bishop’s surviving relatives by the handling of the case.

The Bishop of Chichester started his statement by asserting that Lord Carlile’s review was a demonstration of the Church’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency. He apologised for failures in the work of the Core Group and for inadequate attention to the rights of the dead. He accepted that there should be further consideration to the complexity of the case, such as what boundaries should be set to the principle of transparency. He described the principle of innocent until proven guilty as “emotive”. He praised Carol’s dignity and integrity, whether she was technically a complainant, survivor or victim.

The Archbishop of Canterbury referred to Bishop Bell’s heroic stature, saying that the decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance. He disagreed with the recommendation as to a confidentiality agreement. He observed that Lord Carlile did not seek to say whether Bishop Bell was responsible for the acts alleged. He apologised for failures in the process. He accepted that a significant cloud was left over Bishop Bell’s name, saying that no human being is entirely good or entirely bad, and that while Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero he is also accused of great wickedness.

The most striking aspect of this trio of responses is that in none of them is found any recognition of the radical and damning observations which Lord Carlile made about the Church’s approach to the matter: see (1) to (4) above. Lord Carlile tactfully used the word “oversteer” to describe the Church’s approach and the detail of its work. An equally appropriate term is bias. In the points which Lord Carlile made we can see manifest bias in favour of Carol and against Bishop Bell. This is consistent with the doctrine which has been adopted in recent years by, in particular4, the police. Widely criticised for failing to take seriously complaints of sexual abuse and to deal sensitively with those complaining of it, the police adopted a principle that such complainants were always to be believed and were to be assured that they were believed. This has led inexorably to an inherent disbelief in the alleged abuser; and in practice there has been shown in many cases a sharp contrast between diligence in pursuing lines of enquiry likely to support a complaint and a lackadaisical approach to the equally important duty of pursuing lines of enquiry which may cast doubt on it. This is a duty owed in law by the prosecution in a criminal case. I suggest that the duty is equally owed by all those responsible for dealing with complaints of serious misconduct, not least the Church.

4 See, for example, the recent case of R v Allen, where the officer in the case not only failed to review the complainant’s telephone records, which served to exonerate the defendant, but also asserted that they contained nothing relevant to the issues in the case. In the light of this case and others it seems that there is now a prospect that this intrinsically unjust principle is being abandoned.

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4

Regrettably, the three responses show not a hint of recognition of this duty; and the damning indictment of the breach of it has been lightly brushed aside by prelates who are all too keen to show pride that their “good faith” has been recognised. All that this means is that they did not set out deliberately to destroy Bishop Bell’s reputation. But this is not much of a point in the Church’s favour when that result was eminently foreseeable, indeed virtually certain, as the consequence of the Church’s approach; and we have seen that this approach was replicated throughout the investigation. Moreover, the statement by the Bishop of Chichester that Lord Carlile’s review was “a demonstration of the Church’s commitment to equality of justice” is startlingly inaccurate. On the contrary, it is a demonstration of the Church’s devotion, not to the principle of justice simpliciter, but to the fashionable but misconceived principle of justice for the particular class of persons who claim to be victims and/or survivors. As this case vividly demonstrates, the application of this principle foreseeably, if not inevitably, makes victims of people such as Bishop Bell and those who honour his reputation.

In a very broad way the statements did recognise that there had been faults in the process of investigation. But in view of the wide range of Lord Carlile’s criticisms it was inappropriately boastful of Bishop Hancock to refer to “much professional care and discussion”. Further, although the Bishop of Chelmsford had no more than a walk-on part, he had no justification for saying that the allegation had been “tested ….. so far as possible”.5 This is an example of the Church’s readiness to be reckless in its self serving response to criticism.

The statements showed no recognition of the wholly different result which would have come about had the Church proceeded in the proper manner, based on sound principles, clearly described by Lord Carlile.

It would have been clear that there was not a single shred of corroborating evidence, in circumstances in which, in spite of the passage of time, such evidence could have been found if it existed. Proper attention to the advice of the Consultant Psychiatrist6 would have led to the conclusion that it would be wrong to admit any possibility of Bishop Bell’s guilt. For all Carol’s honest belief in the accuracy of her story, there was no good reason for the Church to share that belief. Quite simply, her memory could not be relied upon after such a long lapse of time, and the absence of any corroboration demonstrated that her memory was at fault.

It was therefore culpably wrong of the Bishop of Chichester to equivocate as to whether Carol was “technically” a complainant, survivor or victim; and the Archbishop of Canterbury was equally culpable in qualifying his recognition of Bishop Bell’s high reputation with the gratuitous comment that “he is also accused of great wickedness”. It appears to me that so wedded is he to the fundamentally flawed approach which Lord Carlile described that he cannot contemplate going any further than admitting that it is equally likely that Bishop Bell was an abuser as it is that he was not. Moreover, it was discreditable of him to support this stance with the assertion that “Lord Carlile does not seek to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the acts about which complaint was made”. Of course he does not do so: this question was outside his terms of reference, as he recognised [para 9].

While the Bishops of Bath and Wells and of Chichester in their responses appeared to disclose a measure of willingness to look again at what the Bishop of Chichester called “the

  1. 5  See (5) above.
  2. 6  See (9) above.

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5

principle of transparency”, the Archbishop makes it clear enough that for him this principle trumps all others. It is eminently foreseeable that other people, whether of high reputation or not, will be sacrificed on the altar of transparency before his archiepiscopate comes to an end.

Reading and analysing the material in this case leaves me as a lifelong Anglican with a deep sense of sadness that between my sense of justice, formed and developed over a long period in the law, and that of at least some of the leaders of my Church there is “a great gulf fixed” [Luke 16.26]. I fear that, unless we see a recognition of, and repentance for, the great wrong which has been done to Bishop Bell, to those who treasure memories of him and those who admire him for what he did for the Church and for the moral and spiritual life of the country, that gulf will remain unbridgeable.

His Honour Charles Gibson

December 2017

6

ADDENDUM

Since I wrote the Analysis just before Christmas 2017 widespread criticism of the Church’s response to Lord Carlile’s review has been published. Prominent among this body of criticism was a letter dated 17 January 2018 and signed by seven eminent historians.

They asserted that the Church’s response involved perpetuation of a single allegation, and that this flew in the face of the review, which had devastated the Church’s claim that its view was based on an investigation which was “very thorough”. They emphasised that the allegation against Bishop Bell was not only wholly uncorroborated but was contradicted by considerable and available circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible. They claimed that the allegation was unsupported and unsupportable, asserting that there was no credible evidence that Bishop Bell was a paedophile.

In a letter dated 19 January 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, writing with the support of the Bishops of Chichester and of Bath and Wells, rejected the contention that the Church should amend its response to the Carlile review.

The letter contains a number of points which in my opinion are wholly without merit.

The Archbishop made much of the Church’s having taken the allegation seriously, implying that in the past the Church had failed to treat such allegations with the seriousness which they deserved. I hope that he was not implying that the historians or any other of those who have expressed criticism have suggested that any such allegation need not be taken seriously, for any such implication would be insulting. In making so much of the seriousness of the Church’s intent and its determination to listen carefully and sympathetically to those making allegations the Archbishop is pushing at an open door. None of the critics would suggest otherwise.

Taking an allegation seriously involves investigating it thoroughly, and the Archbishop appears to persist in the contention that the Church passed this test, in spite of Lord Carlile’s unequivocal opinion that it did not: see in particular items (1), (2), (3), (5), (7), (8), (9), (10) and (13) in my Analysis. For him and the Bishops it seems that performance of the duty to treat the complainant seriously absolved the Church from the equally important duties to avoid bias and ‘oversteer’, to seek out and investigate all potentially relevant evidence, and to be prepared not to shirk from drawing the conclusion to which the evidence inexorably leads.

In this case that conclusion was clear. It was ignored because of the Church’s incorrect approach to the matter, and as a result of a particular example of the shoddiness of its processes. Not all members of the Core Group, which in any event had a variable membership, saw the full report of the Consultant Psychiatrist whom the Church consulted. Those who did see it cannot have read it thoroughly. His advice was unequivocal. Memory is not reliable over the long periods which elapsed in this case, and the only way to establish the truth of the product of such memory is through corroborating evidence. In its investigation the Church failed to seek such evidence. Had it done so it would have found none. Moreover, as the historians point out, there was a wealth of persuasive circumstantial evidence which was not neutral: it contradicted and undermined the allegation.

The Church has shirked the difficult, but necessary, task of explaining to Carol that after thorough investigation of her complaint her honesty was accepted, but that the Church could not

7

in good conscience and with fairness rely on her memory. The reasons for that conclusion could have been explained to her in a pastoral way, without derogation from the policy of taking allegations seriously.

The Archbishop states that “claims are from time to time dismissed because we do not accept the allegations. However, we do take all allegations seriously”. That being the case, why was this claim not dismissed? On the expert evidence, it was not to be accepted unless it was corroborated. The Archbishop, in a comment which is as patronising as it is inaccurate, suggests that the historians in their letter seem to confuse the two standards of proof, beyond reasonable doubt and on a balance of probabilities. The point which he wilfully ignores is that the evidence in this case was such that no reasonable tribunal, applying the latter standard which all agree was the appropriate one, could have concluded that Bishop Bell was guilty in any respect.

That conclusion would have disposed of the allegation. Once a tribunal has found that an allegation is unreliable it has no business to give it further currency. The Archbishop compounds the wrong he and others have already done by repeating that Bishop Bell is “accused of great wickedness” and that a “significant cloud” still hangs over him.

It is disturbing to see the Archbishop recording that “the Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof”. Maybe it was; but, as Lord Carlile observed, legal advice was not sought on the strength of the evidence. The advice must have been tendered on the basis of the conclusions of the Core Group, which, as has been clearly demonstrated, were fatally flawed.

On the insupportable basis that the allegation has a continuing validity the Archbishop insists that to achieve transparency Bishop Bell had to be named. What happens in those cases, which he says do occur, when claims are dismissed, as this claim should have been? Is the alleged perpetrator against whom there is no reliable evidence to be hung out to dry as Bishop Bell continues to be? If this is the case, the sooner the Archbishop treats Lord Carlile’s opinion and recommendation with the seriousness which he accorded to Carol’s allegation the better.

Unless he does so, any pronouncement of his as to where justice lies in any situation is not to be treated with respect by those, whether or not they are members of the Church which he leads, who are seriously concerned with justice.

His Honour Charles Gibson

23 January 2018

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February 13 2018 – “Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations'” – The Week

http://www.theweek.co.uk/91551/church-facing-two-years-of-abuse-revelations

Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations’

Feb 12, 2018

General Synod warned of dark days ahead after 3,300 reports of alleged sexual abuse in 2016

Chris J Radcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

The Church of England is facing two years of revelations about sexual abuse and attempts to cover it up, its ruling general synod has been told.

Responding to reports the Church is dealing with more than 3,000 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Rev Peter Hancock, said: “We will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, and over cover-up.”

Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, told the synod that “this will not be an easy couple of years”.

The most recent figures for 2016 showed that dioceses are dealing with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”, the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within Church communities”.

The Times says about a fifth of the claims were made about clergy and other church officials, “with the rest relating to other members of the congregation who perform unofficial roles or volunteer within the church”.

The disclosures come as the Church prepares for scrutiny by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which starts hearing evidence next month.

A series of sex abuse scandals connected to the Church have come to light over the past few years. Former Bishop Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys over three decades.

An independent inquiry last summer found the Church had failed to protect boys and then concealed evidence of Ball’s crimes while another review was highly critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for his handling of the case of former bishop, George Bell, who was posthumously accused of sexual abuse.

Many in the Church of England fear a repeat of the scandal that has ripped through the Anglican Church in Australia.

A royal commission last year revealed more than 1,100 allegations of child sexual abuse over 35 years, with the Church admitting it tried to silence victims to protect its reputation.

While the allegations of a cover-up and endemic sexual abuse are damaging to the image of the Church of England, they could also put financial strain on its already depleted coffers.

The Daily Mail reported that the Church paid out £15,000 in compensation over unproven allegations against a former bishop, suggesting it could face a bill of almost £50m if every complaint currently being investigated was settled for a similar fee.

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February 13 2018 – “Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure” – Chichester Observer

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/church-defends-its-position-on-bishop-bell-amid-mounting-pressure-1-8375675

Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure

George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on October 3 1958 Published: 17:45 Monday 12 February 2018

A Church of England representative has defended its position amid mounting pressure over its handling of abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell.

An independent review carried out by Lord Carlile found the Church ‘rushed to judgement’ in paying compensation to a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by Bishop Bell as a girl.

Days after its publication the Church announced on January 31 it was now investigating ‘fresh information’ concerning the late bishop.

Lord Carlile, having advised in his report that alleged perpetrators, living or dead, should not be publicly identified unless a ‘proper and adequate investigation’ is settled with ‘admission of liability’, has openly criticised the Church for ignoring his recommendations in announcing this new information. Speaking on Radio 4 Today on Saturday morning ahead of the General Synod gathering for a third day, Lord Carlile said:

“The Church in doing this is behaving in a very peculiar way…It’s like a small dictatorial government deciding to go ahead and acting any way it wishes, regardless of due process of the rule of law…It flies in the face of the recommendations I made which the Church said it accepted…The Church has got to get a grip on this.”

The programme also reported that the Church has denied Bishop Bell’s surviving family legal representation from their chosen barrister for this new investigation.

Speaking on the programme on behalf of the Church, Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth, said instead someone had been ‘put forward to represent the voice of Bishop Bell’ and his family. Bishop Thornton said: “We are taking Lord Carlile’s recommendations very seriously, we are going through our processes. “Even before they’ve done that it’s tragic that some more information has come forward since the publication of his report and we are taking the voice of the survivors and those who are complaining very seriously”.

Archbishop Justin Welby’s response to Lord Carlile’s report that a ‘significant cloud remained over Bishop Bell’s name has provoked growing anger amongst Bell supporters, some calling for his resignation. Asked if that remained the position of the Church, Bishop Thornton replied ‘yes’.

Mr Welby was among several bishops to join a silent protest staged by surviving victims of abuse within the Church of England outside Church House. He told the Church’s ruling synod that its approach to safeguarding ‘needs culture change’.

George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on October 3 1958. He was revered for his support of Christians and Jews in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and condemned the British government over its bombing of civilian areas in Germany. Read more about Lord Carlile’s review here

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/church-defends-its-position-on-bishop-bell-amid-mounting-pressure-1-8375675

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February 12 2018 – “Church of England bullies George Bell’s elderly niece by denying her choice of lawyer” – Martin Sewell

Martin Sewell writes here

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February 12 2018 – “Rebuilding Bridges” – ‘News Alert’ – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ with Lord Carlile (Feb 10) – Comment by ‘GTP’

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/2018/02/09/news-alert/

 

1. Carlile was recorded to the effect that the C of E said it had accepted and would act on his report. It had done
neither.

2. A church rep. [Bishop of Lambeth Tim Thornton – Ed] explained that new evidence had come to light since Carlile’s report.

3. He did not say whether this evidence lay behind Welby’s ‘cloud’ remark. but plainly encouraged us to think that
it did.

4. [I don’t believe it did. Else why did Welby not mention the new evidence when he made his remark ? It would have
explained what otherwise appeared an unjustifiable refusal to exonerate Bell. ]

5. The new evidence is being examined.

6. Bell;s family have asked to be represented at the fresh examination by their own barrister, a Mr Brown.

7. The C of E has refused the request and has appointed one of its care representatives to represent Bell’s interests.

8. Why has it refused ? Because until the evidence is examined, it is not known whether it makes any difference. It
may be too slight to take seriously or it may be important.

9. The obvious response to this, not answered straight by the church rep., is that a barrister appointed by Bell’s family
should be a part of the process by which the credibility of the new evidence is examined. If the church has appointed
its own person to represent Bell’s interests, why can’t those interests be represented (as they would be in a court of
law) by a barrister chosen by the defendant or in this case by the defendant’s family ?

10. All the signs are that the C of E has appointed someone whom it can control and who can be counted on to follow
the party line.

11. The Bell family are to be kept informed. This means that no-one has told them anything about the new evidence and
they will only know what the new inquiry ‘finds’.

I don’t need to comment.

~ ‘GTP’

 

 

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February 12 2018 – “Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3000 sexual abuse complaints” – Christian Daily (US)

https://www.christiandaily.com/article/church-of-england-could-pay-millions-in-compensation-for-3000-sexual-abuse-complaints/62033.htm

Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3,000 sexual abuse complaints

The Church of England could reportedly end up shelling out millions in compensation for the more than 3,000 child sex abuse complaints it had received by 2016.
(REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett)Church-goers arrive for a Christmas carol service at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, December 23, 2009.

The total number of sex abuse complaints that the Church of England had received by 2016 had reached 3,300. Although the new complaints were not set apart from the old ones, the Church could still end up paying millions in compensation to the victims, The Daily Mail reported.

In a case against deceased Bishop of Chichester George Bell, the Church had to pay 15,000 British pounds in compensation even though the abuse allegations were unproven. If each complaint would cost that amount, the Church could then end up shelling out almost 50 million pounds.

The specifics of the abuse complaints were handed to the Church of England’s General Synod. This included the one filed against former bishop Peter Ball, who was imprisoned in 2015 for 32 months for abusing boys for more than 30 years.

On Feb. 5, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the woman who had accused Bishop George Bell of sexual abuse could not be overlooked. He said the accuser ought to be “treated equally importantly” as the person being accused, The Church Times reported.

Lord Carlile’s independent review criticized the Church of England’s decision to reveal Bell’s name in the case, and Welby also drew flak for saying that he could not clear the embattled bishop’s name. The Archbishop defended the Church’s decision to reveal the amount of compensation it had given to the woman, which was 16,800 pounds, and told the Church Times that he accepted Lord Carlile’s recommendations except the one about naming the accused.

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable,” said Welby. “But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

In addition, Archbishop Welby said safeguarding was the most difficult thing he had to do because it dealt with the sin of the Church and the damage that it had inflicted on the victims. He said the problem has to be addressed both in spiritual and “mechanistic” ways.

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February 8 2018 – “Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations” – The Times – Kaya Burgess

Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations

About a fifth of the 3,300 allegations being dealt with in 2016 were made against clergy and other church officials
About a fifth of the 3,300 allegations being dealt with in 2016 were made against clergy and other church officialsGETTY IMAGES
The Church of England is dealing with more than 3,000 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes.

The most recent figures for 2016 show that dioceses were dealing with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”, the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities”.

About a fifth of the reports were made against clergy and other church officials, with the rest relating to other members of the congregation who perform unofficial roles or volunteer within the church. The 3,300 figure related to both open cases and those newly reported that year. It is not known how many involved active claims against the church for compensation.

The figures were revealed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Rev Peter Hancock, who is the church’s lead bishop on safeguarding issues. He issued the figures in response to a written question from Kat Alldread, a lay member of the church’s General Synod, which starts its three-day meeting today.

The bishop said that in 2016 alone 338 risk assessments were carried out by the church’s dioceses, of which 19 per cent were carried out on priests. In the same year, 867 “safeguarding agreements” were in place, made when someone is believed to pose a risk to young or vulnerable people and must agree to be monitored or to restrict their interaction with possible victims of abuse.

Of these 867 agreements, 682 related to known sex offenders.

Bishop Hancock was also asked whether it was right for the church to refer to those who made abuse allegations as “victims” or “survivors” instead of “complainants”.

He replied that church guidance stated that the terms were used without making any judgment about the veracity of the allegations and explains: “This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”

The church commissioned Lord Carlile of Berriew to conduct an independent investigation into the church’s handling of abuse allegations made against George Bell, the revered former bishop who was posthumously accused of abusing a child. The report criticised the church for “rushing to judgment” in declaring that he was likely to have committed the abuse and paying out compensation of almost £17,000 to his alleged victim, who is now in her 70s.

Bishop Hancock revealed that the review cost the church £38,000 in addition to any costs incurred by dioceses that were asked to provide information.

He also said that bishops would look at ways to “strengthen independent oversight” of the church’s safeguarding practices.

The bishop said that there were no plans to change church laws that state that general complaints against clergy must be made within a year of the alleged incident for them to be dealt with under Clergy Discipline Measure but he said that this one-year limit had been removed in cases of alleged sexual misconduct towards children or vulnerable adults.

23 comments
MJJ

A good job Carey is no longer in charge. His compulsion to reward abusers might get near bankrupting the Church. Sickening to remember how the then leader of the Church of England took the part of a despicable sex abuser, provided funds for his escape from justice and, cherry on the top, withheld evidence from the police. Now he has the nerve to whinge because people express their disapproval (for my part, utter contempt) of his conduct and his lucrative little part time bishopric is snatched from him.

.

I must say that I will need convincing that other clerics, those self styled “men of god” are so very different. Their aim is to protect their church, and if it costs the happiness, or even the sanity, of their many victims, then too bad!

John D Finlay 

IMO religion of any kind is about power, pure and simple. Invented/developed so that some should have power over others and generally enforced by a set of rules constructed to purport to tell the majority how they should live their lives. Of course those who do not follow the rules are severely punished.

Peter O’Toole 

The article relates to the C of E, yet the headline photo is of a Roman Catholic priest’s collar.

Both branches of British Christianity have a lot to answer for, but try to get the details right .

MJJ 

I’m sure most of us don’t consider CofE clerics so very different from their Catholic counterparts, and who really cares about the different styles of their collars. Badges of honour for hypocrites some would say

Pumpiepants 

682 agreements relate to known sex offenders. Not sure why the church engages these people in the first place. Surely, a policy of zero tolerance, zero engagement is better than exposing young people to the prospect of sexual abusers. The scars of sexual abuse can last a very long time.

Leanora Munn 

““This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.” ”

Victims/survivors are not neutral terms. If you want an even field it’s victim/survivor and perpetrator, or complainant and respondent.

Doc Torrants 

On a serious note…I have experienced at first hand the inadequate safeguarding procedures of a local church where the leadership was intent on promoting a convicted paedophile to positions of responsibility within the church (initially without the knowledge of parents or  some members of the church leadership team)  and didn’t even think to have an agreement which said they shouldn’t attend family services.  A spectacular failure of the Daily Mail Test (apologies for using bad words) .   After having had my concerns repeatedly ignored by the leadership, the incoming safeguarding officer took them seriously and some of these issues have been addressed.   As a practising christian I believe in forgiveness and redemption.  As a parent and health professional I also believe in appropriate safeguarding procedures and these should be of  paramount importance.

Let’s ask ourselves a simple question…in the history of the church, both anglican and catholic, how many serious problems reported on the front page of the national press have arisen from being too strict with respect to safeguarding and erring on the side of caution?  Anyone?  No?  And another question…how likely is it that a convicted paedophile would knowingly be employed in a school, as opposed to a church?  We need to get real with a bit of muscular christianity.

And finally on a frivolous note: as a child of the Blackadder era I am amazed that the Bishop of Bath and Wells would be in charge of safeguarding.  We all know his proclivities 😉

James 

To be fair and very few commenting on here are, can anybody point to institutions such as political parties, every religious group, police, armed forces, public sector, private sector sports clubs, education, all races  that hasn’t been guilty of covering up.

I bet we are all in one of those groups where those in charge have been at best slow to contact the police or in the case some downright frown on anybody reporting somebody from their group to one who isn’t .

Part of the problem is that far too many jump up and condemn very quickly when its not one of their “gang”.

Andy Webb 

@James

That is blatant whataboutery James.

Yes, these things happen in all walks of life, but this article is about the church of England and sex abuse……..again!

Bishop Jonathan Blake 

Unaccountable clergy wielding autocratic authority, and disturbed individuals allured into membership and given access to vulnerable children creates a hotbed of perverse abusive relationships that sane members of the community would do well to avoid.

OutsidetheM25 

Who would dare let their children anywhere near the Church of England? It’s a giant institution run by, and for the benefit of, perverts. Best avoid.

Andrew Middlemiss 

“Of these 867 agreements, 682 related to known sex offenders.”

Meanwhile, on Planet Earth, known sex offenders are not allowed to work in schools.

You truly can’t make this story up; yet again the Church is showing itself to be an anachronism, unworthy of respect.

Malcolm Gray 

@Andrew Middlemiss I am not clear that these 682 relate to people who work for the church – I think they probably include people who attend services – an agreement that said X may not attend services that children attend would seem to agree with your comment?

Richard Moss 

“This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”

That is a distortion of the English language. The Church seems to want to be seen to be sympathetic to victims of abuse while making a passing nod to the principle of innocent until proven guilty. You can’t have a victim without a crime or attack  and a survivor must by definition have suffered an injury, attack or accident and survived it. Rigor and religion don’t seem to go well together.

BlueInTheFace 

“[Bishop Hancock] replied that church guidance stated that the terms [“victims” or “survivors” instead of “complainants”] were used without making any judgment about the veracity of the allegations and explains: “This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.” ”

Another Bishop who seems to be able to talk out the wrong end of his alimentary canal while keeping a straight face.

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February 8 2018 – “Church of England facing more than 3000 abuse cases” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/church-of-england-facing-more-than-3000-abuse-cases/125479.htm

Church of England facing more than 3,000 abuse cases

The Church of England is facing more than 3,000 abuse complaints, the vast majority of which relate to children or vulnerable adults.

Peter Hancock, the lead bishop on safeguarding will reveal the full extent of the scandal the Church faces when he answers questions from the ruling general synod later today. Of roughly 3,300 ‘concerns or allegations’ dealt with by the Church in 2016 alone, ‘the vast majority of which related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities,’ he will say.

Church of England synod
The Church of EnglandThe Church of England’s General Synod is its ruling body and sets its laws.

The revelation comes as the CofE’s general synod, or parliament, meets in Westminster for three days that are set to be dominated by questions around abuse.

A presentation around safeguarding on Saturday will outline the issues the Church is facing but Christian Today understands that survivors of abuse are furious the presentation is ‘stage-managed’ by bishops and is not a full debate that would allow more probing issues to be raised. Several synod members are planning to push for a full debate rather than simply a presentation but their calls are likely to be rejected.

Victims of clergy sex abuse will protest outside Church House before the presentation on Saturday and the Archbishop of Canterbury along with other bishops and members of synod are planning to go and join them for two minutes of silent prayer.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will face questioning by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) next month. The Church is facing three weeks of public hearings into how it dealt with allegations of abuse in the Diocese of Chichester and one CofE source told Christian Today they expected the hearings to be ‘very painful’.

Welby has said the way the Church has abused people, particularly children, leads him to tears and frequently keeps him awake at night. But victims are warning the time for words is over as they demand fuller compensation.

The archbishop is also under significant pressure from supporters of George Bell, the late Bishop of Chichester, who the CofE effectively admitted was a paedophile when it announced it had paid £16,800 in compensation and legal fees to a complainant known as ‘Carol’. However a review of the decision by Lord Carlile QC found the Church’s process deficient in a number of ways.

Peter Hancock
Church of England Rt Rev Peter Hancock is Bishop of Bath and Wells and the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding.

His review was published in December and found the Church had ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its attempt to avoid being seen as soft on clerical sex abuse. The inquiry found ‘serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence.

But Welby appeared to leave open the possibility of Bell’s guilt when he responded to Carlile’s review by saying a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over his head.

Despite coming under immense pressure from Bell’s supporters, who include academics, historians and peers, Welby has refused to withdraw his statement and last week the Church said ‘fresh information’ has emerged about the case which has been handed to Sussex Police.

The CofE’s general synod meets from today until Saturday in Church House, Westminster.

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February 8 2018 – General Synod – Questions 40 to 60 – Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2018-02/Questions%20Notice%20Paper%20February%202018%20%2807.02.18%29.pdf

The Revd Wyn Beynon (Worcester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q40 In the light of the Carlile Report and the letter of several eminent
historians to the Church Times about the failures in investigating
claims of past historical abuse against Bishop George Bell and the
response from the Archbishop of Canterbury in December, that a
“cloud still hung over the memory of Bishop George Bell”; what weight
will be given to the value of fair historical judgement in assessing the
lives of the saints for inclusion in the Sanctorale at its next revision
and in particular the continued presence of George Bell in the
calendar?
The Bishop of Exeter to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:
A All liturgical business, including any future review of the Calendar, is
only carried out by the Liturgical Commission at the invitation of the
House of Bishops. If such a request were made, any proposed
amendments to the Calendar would require a full synodical process
and at that stage the Commission would seek advice from the House
about the parameters of the review. It

Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q41 What is the role of General Synod with regard to safeguarding,
particularly in terms of policy, oversight and review?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Under Article 6 of its Constitution, the Synod’s functions are legislative
(6 (a)) and deliberative (6 (b)). Under 6 (a) the Synod considers and
enacts legislation on safeguarding. In exercise of its deliberative
function it can debate motions on matters of safeguarding policy,
oversight and review.
Additionally, the Standing Orders relating to Questions allow members
to put questions to the Chair of the House of Bishops relating to those
aspects of its business that concern safeguarding, including the
formulation of safeguarding policy and the guidance it produces on
safeguarding (to which bishops and others are legally required to have
due regard).
The Synod’s safeguarding role is set out in House of Bishops practice
guidance which may be viewed on the Church of England website.
Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q42 What is the role of bishops with regard to safeguarding and to whom
are they accountable on safeguarding matters?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The Bishops’ role with regards to Safeguarding is twofold.
Firstly, as Diocesan Bishops, they have overall responsibility for
Safeguarding within their diocese as outlined in House of Bishops
Practice Guidance.
Secondly, as members of the House of Bishops, they have a collective
national responsibility as leaders of the Church of England to ensure
that the whole of the Church is a safe place for children and
vulnerable adults and that survivors are treated fairly.
Bishops are accountable to the Archbishop of their Province for all
matters including Safeguarding. They are offered support and
challenge by the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding
Board. As trustees of their Diocesan Board of Finance they are also
accountable to the Charity Commission.

The Revd Christopher Robinson (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask
the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q43
Under the Disclosure and Barring service eligibility guidelines, leading
regular Sunday worship is not defined as a regulated activity. In rural
areas lay people often lead Morning or Evening Prayer on a Sunday
where there is no priest present (under Canon B 11(1)), and will
sometimes robe for the purpose, and some dioceses have authorised
lay worship leader schemes for such ministries. At present, these
people are not eligible for a DBS check for this ministry alone, and yet
leading worship and robing puts them in a perceived position of
trustworthiness and authority in a congregation or community. Will the
church of England take active steps to address this issue with the
Government, to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in
our churches?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It is not clear that any change in the current position is called for.
Lay people leading worship are already eligible for basic DBS checks.
Enhanced DBS checks are only for those individuals who work, or
have substantial contact, with children or vulnerable adults. So lay
worship leaders of the kind described will be eligible for enhanced
checks if they lead services exclusively for children or vulnerable
adults or where they are members of a PCC, which qualifies as a
children’s or vulnerable adults’ charity.
In any event, it needs to be borne in mind that only a tiny percentage
of individuals who abuse are convicted. DBS checks can only ever
therefore be one element of the safer recruitment process and
organisations must never rely solely on DBS checks when recruiting.
Further guidance on best practice can be found in the Safer
Recruitment Practice Guidance on the Church of England website.
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q44 Has any consideration been given to the value to the Church of the
process of Neutral Notification whereby an individual, concerned that
their actions, however minor, towards a child or vulnerable adult might
be misconstrued or misinterpreted, can make their own report to a
responsible person without fear or detriment or stigma?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The current guidance in relation to responding to an individual who
may have concerns about their own behaviour in relation to a child or
vulnerable adult is outlined in the House of Bishops guidance
responding to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers. This is based on the Children Act 2004 (section 11)
requirements for faith organisations. This expects that any information
received about concerning behaviour needs to be shared with a
safeguarding professional, in the Church’s case the DSA, for
consideration. If an offence is indicted and/or there is a potential
current risk to a child and/or adult this information will also be shared
with statutory agencies.
DSAs are currently available for advice and support in relation to
appropriate behaviour around vulnerable people.
Outside of statutory organisational requirements, there is more
flexibility to offer such a service, for instance ‘Stop it Now’
https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/.
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair
of the House of Bishops:
Q45 Given the Church of England’s commitment to becoming a safe
church, what consideration is being given to removing the one-year
rule in the Clergy Discipline Measure in relation to cases where
bishops and other office holders fail to respond appropriately to
disclosures of abuse that are made to them?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The one-year limitation period generally serves a useful purpose,
recognising that justice needs to be administered without delay.
Where there is good reason for a complaint not having been made
within one year, the President of Tribunals can nonetheless give
permission for the complaint to be made out of time. However, the
limitation period has now, for good reason, been removed in cases
where the alleged misconduct is of a sexual nature towards children or
vulnerable adults; and when considering the responses to the NST’s
recent consultation on the CDM we shall consider whether there is a
case for removing it in other safeguarding contexts.
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q46 Given Lord Carlile’s recommendation (at paragraph 49) for a
published standard of proof that applies to complainants can the
Church of England’s safeguarding arrangements continue to describe
those alleging abuse as ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Whilst paragraph 49 is not a recommendation by Lord Carlile, the
response to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers is outlined in House of Bishops guidance, which was agreed
by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The guidance is clear
that the use of the expression ‘victim/survivors’ does not presuppose
that any allegation will be substantiated. The guidance states, “This
guidance will usually be needed before there have been any findings
in criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings. At this stage there will be
people who have made complaints (referred to as safeguarding
concerns or allegations in this guidance) and people against whom
complaints have been made. Both victims/survivors and respondents
will at this stage be alleged victims/survivors and alleged respondents.
For ease of reference this guidance will use the terms
‘victims/survivor’’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy
of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do
not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”
Mrs Kat Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q47 Given that many General Synod members may be unaware of the
scale of safeguarding casework, please could you state the number of
open safeguarding cases in the Church of England as a whole in
2017? Of those cases, how many involved an allegation of some form
of abuse?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Each diocese is asked to complete an annual self-assessment
circulated and collated by the National Safeguarding Team for the
previous year’s activity. Our current data therefore relates to 2016
activity. In 2016, dioceses reported that they were dealing with around
3300 safeguarding concerns or allegations, the vast majority of which
related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church
communities. Around 18% related to safeguarding
concerns/allegations against church officers. These figures do not
distinguish between previously open and new cases that started
during the year.
During 2016, 338 risk assessments were completed by dioceses, of
which 19 (6%) were in respect of members of clergy. During 2016,
there were 867 Safeguarding Agreements in place of which 682 (79%)
related to known offenders. A small number of complex and highprofile
cases are managed by the National Safeguarding Team in
collaboration with relevant dioceses.

The Very Revd David Ison (Deans) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q48 The Elliott Review of a safeguarding case which reported in March
2016 included in its recommendations two key statements about
structurally changing how the Church of England approaches
safeguarding: that ‘The National Safeguarding Team should be given
the power and the responsibility to monitor practice and to intervene
where it is thought necessary to do so’ and ‘Safeguarding decisions
as they occur across the Church, should be subject to review by an
independent body within the Church, which has the skills, knowledge
and expertise to do this. The role of the National Safeguarding Team
should be looked at again to enable it to possibly fulfil this
requirement.’ What progress has been made in implementing these
recommendations?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells  \sdreto reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Since the publication of the Elliott Review in March 2016, the role of
the NST has been defined within House of Bishops practice
guidance, ‘Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders
and Bodies’, October 2017. The independent Peter Ball Review
recommends that ‘the role and responsibilities of the National
Safeguarding Team should clearly reflect an emphasis on planning
and supporting continuous improvement in diocesan safeguarding
services’. The NST is taking an increasing role in quality assurance
work having commissioned independent diocesan safeguarding
audits and ‘Safeguarding Progress Reviews’ with all dioceses, where
it will take a ‘critical friend’ role. The House of Bishops session on
safeguarding in December 2017 also agreed that further work be
undertaken this year in respect of ways to strengthen independent
oversight and scrutiny of safeguarding practice, and this will include
how the role of the NST can be strengthened in relation to its
monitoring and powers of intervention.
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q49 In the light of the Carlile Report, what actions are the House of
Bishops planning to take to restore the reputation of Bishop George
Bell?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.

The Ven Julie Conalty (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q50 For the record and the benefit of members of General Synod who
have not read the Carlile Report, could you please summarise the
principal errors of law and good practice identified therein, and
outline what measures are being taken to avoid those mistakes in
future by way of retraining, amending procedures, recruiting a
specialist safeguarding lawyer, or otherwise?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It would not do justice to Lord Carlile’s review to attempt to
summarise the key points of learning and I would encourage
members of Synod to read the report for themselves. However, the
National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements t

against church officers’ which includes further clarity with regards to
its membership and function. I am confident that collectively the core
groups have the right spread of skills and expertise they need to
perform this role. It is, however, accepted that further guidance is
now required with regards to posthumous allegations, which will give
consideration to Lord Carlile’s specific recommendation concerning
the presence of someone assigned to the core group to represent the
interests of the accused person and his or her descendants.
Fr Thomas Seville (Religious Communities) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q52 (i) What fees and expenses have been paid (or agreed to be paid)
to Lord Carlile for his Review, published on 15 December 2017,
into the way in which the Church of England dealt with a
complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’
against the late Bishop George Bell;
(ii) What other costs were incurred by the church (including by the
Diocese of Chichester) in relation to Lord Carlile’s review; and
(iii) Who, or what church body, has paid, or will be paying, all such
fees, expenses and costs?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A (i) Having consulted Lord Carlile, I can confirm that the costs of
the review were £35,000 plus an additional £3,000 for
administrative support;
(ii) I am not able to identify the costs of incurred by the church in
relation to Lord Carlile’s review as this would involve extensive
work and have an unreasonable impact on the work of the
NST;
(iii) The costs of the independent review were met jointly by the
Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners.
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q53 Which individuals and/or groups were provided with Lord Carlile’s
draft report (in whole or in part) for comment, between the receipt of
the draft in October 2017 and publication of the final version on 15
December 2017?
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q54 Were any significant amendments or redactions made to the draft
Carlile report (as received in October 2017), before the final report
was published?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A With permission I will answer questions 53 and 54 together.
Upon receipt of the first draft of his report, the NST agreed with Lord
Carlile the key areas on which comments might be offered, which
were:
• factual points
• general substantive points not affecting the recommendations
• matters affecting the possible jigsaw identification of ‘Carol’
• typographical errors
The above criteria informed decisions as to who to circulate the
report to for comment. Upon receipt of a range of comments relating
to the above areas, Lord Carlile accepted some changes and
rejected others. For the most part, the amendments made were in
respect of matters of factual accuracy and possible identification of
‘Carol’. No changes were made to the recommendations of the
report.
The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q55 In order to clarify the role intended to be undertaken by the external
lawyer who attended meetings of the Core Group, can the standard
client care letter (which all solicitors must deliver on receipt of
instructions) provided by her be made public, so as to make clear her
understanding of the role she was asked to perform?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The external lawyer involved in the core group was given clear
instructions well within her professional expertise. The Carlile Report
recognised that the external lawyer offered advice, including in
respect of the civil burden of proof and expert evidence. This would
be consistent standard practice in such cases. The release of any
standard client care letter would be a matter for consideration by the
Bishop of Chichester.

The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q56 On what basis did the Press Statement of 22 October 2015 [Carlile
Report Annex A, pages 3-4]:
(a)state that “expert independent reports” had found “[no] reason to
doubt the veracity” of the allegation made against Bishop George
Bell when the psychiatric report commissioned by the Core Group
referred expressly to the possibility of false memories and said
unambiguously that that could not be excluded; and
(b)give the impression that a “thorough pre-litigation process” had
taken place when no serious attempt had been made to seek
testimony from important living witnesses?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I understand that Professor Maden routinely makes reference to the
‘possibility of false memories’ in his reports. Their inclusion does not
therefore suggest that this was more or less likely in this case.
The Carlile Report offers a chronology of the work that was
undertaken by the core group including the use of an external,
experienced lawyer and consideration of two external experts’
reports. However, I accept that a number of aspects of the process
could have been much better, as pointed out in Lord Carlile’s report. I
have apologised for these failings, and we are seeking to learn the
lessons of this review.
We are now examining in detail how best to give effect to the
recommendations, taking account of Lord Carlile’s analysis.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q57 In the light of the statement on 15 December 2017 by the Archbishop
of Canterbury in his response to the Carlile Review into the way in
which the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse
made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop George
Bell, “We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name … no
human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a
hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not
diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good,”
is there considered to be any evidence or other information that
would support or corroborate the claim by ‘Carol’ that she was
sexually abused as a child by Bishop Bell?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q58 Since Lord Carlile, in the report of his review into the way the Church
of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman
known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop George Bell [GS Misc 1173],
has effectively found the process of the Core Group that investigated
the complaint to be fundamentally flawed, is it accepted that, if the
Church of England wishes to act justly, it has two options: if it is to
maintain that “a significant cloud” remains over Bishop Bell’s name, it
must either (i) set up a fresh independent review into the truth or
otherwise of Carol’s allegation, to be conducted in accordance with
correct procedural principles, to include ensuring representation of
the interests of the late bishop, and abide by the outcome, or (ii) if it
is not prepared to go to the expense of such a review, it must accept
that the Core Group’s effective finding of Bell’s guilt [see Carlile
report para 237] cannot stand, and say so?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q59 Is it unambiguously accepted that the prejudging of a case through
the legal heresy that “the victim must be believed” must play no part
in the Church’s processes in determining whether a case of alleged
sexual abuse is or is not made out?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It has never been the case that the ‘victim must be believed’ in
determining a case.
The determination in any case whether an allegation is made or not
made has always been in accordance with a civil standard of proof,
i.e. the balance of probabilities. The process determining this is
32
outlined in the House of Bishops guidance ‘responding to
safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church officers’. This
was agreed by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The
guidance uses the term ‘taken seriously’ in responding to such
concerns. Section 2.2 clearly states that the response should not
prejudice any statutory investigation that may be required but should
be compassionate.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q60 Before the Statement issued on 28 June 2016 that there was to be
an independent review, commissioned by the Church of England’s
National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop
of Chichester, “to see what lessons can be learned from how the
[George Bell] case was handled”, the Church of England refused to
disclose any information, beyond that set out in the 22 October 2015
statement, on which the civil claim by ‘Carol’ was settled, claiming
that it was precluded in law from doing so by the need to protect the
“survivor’s” privacy. It was indicated that this was in accordance with
legal advice. Given the comprehensive explanations set out by Lord
Carlile without in any way compromising the complainant’s proper
claim for anonymity, is it now conceded that a transparent
explanation of process is desirable, lawful, and not at all problematic?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The purpose of commissioning an independent review was to ensure
that there was a transparent explanation of the processes that led to
the decisions made in respect of this case. In doing so, a judgement
was made that it was in the best interest of all concerned that this be
explained by someone independent of those processes.
The National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements that the NSSG accepts the main
thrust of the recommendations, though respectfully differing on one
part of one of them. I have apologised for any failings in the process
and we are now considering how best to make improvements in light
of the review. The NSSG will report to the House of Bishops as soon
as this process is complete.

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February 9 2018 – “Bishop Bell is still being defamed by the Church of England” – The Times – John Charmley

 the times

Bishop Bell is still being defamed by Church of England

The coincidence of a second sexual assault allegation against Bishop George Bell coming to light a month after the initial one was discredited and a week before the synod of the Church of England was due to hear a motion on the issue was remarkable. Quite why the church had to issue a press release is unclear. Lord Carlile of Berriew, who investigated the first allegation, has been told nothing about the second.

When did the church first hear of this allegation against the former Bishop of Chichester, who died 60 years ago, and why release it in a manner that suggests an attempt to divert attention from criticism of the church’s initial investigation?

The work of the Carlile report and the George Bell Group has shown that the original investigation by the church was inadequate. There was no attempt to talk to surviving witnesses, or to look at his papers, nor was there any evidence of a pattern of offending behaviour.

The obvious thing for the Archbishop of Canterbury to do would have been to accept this as, at the least, a sign that it was unsafe to condemn Bishop Bell. That would not mean that the complainant, “Carol”, was wrong, but would have aligned with the conclusion that there was no evidence of guilt.

Instead the archbishop managed to make two mutually exclusive claims: first that a cloud hung over Bell’s reputation, but that he remained an “Anglican hero”. These two things cannot both be true. Bell’s reputation as an Anglican hero rests on his record of integrity in opposing the persecution of Jews in the 1930s and the bombing of Germany in 1944, and on his work as a great ecumenist. If he was abusing a child or children during this time, his integrity disintegrates. The archbishop tells us his own integrity is at stake here, although it is unclear how.

The Archbishop Cranmer blogger has suggested that this second allegation may come from a source who failed to contact Lord Carlile. The church could confirm or deny that but prefers to say nothing.

The archbishop clearly wishes to escape the charge that, in the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, it failed to investigate child abuse allegations, but it cannot do that by mounting an inadequate allegation against a long-dead bishop. If it thought that it could signal virtue by throwing Bell under the bus, it failed.

Doubling down here does not raise questions about the archbishop’s integrity, but rather about the quality of the advice he receives and his own judgment.

Professor John Charmley is pro vice-chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham

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February 8 2018 – “Church of England is facing more than 3000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation” – Daily Mail – Steve Doughty

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5365473/Church-England-facing-3-000-sex-abuse-claims.html

Church of England is facing more than 3,000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation

  • The Church paid out £15,000 in compensation over unproven allegations
  • The compensation related to claims against the long-dead bishop George Bell
  • It is feared that similar payments could end up costing the church some £50m 

The Church of England is facing more than 3,000 complaints over sex abuse. The total number of ‘concerns or allegations’ had reached 3,300 by 2016.

The figures do not distinguish new complaints from longstanding ones, but almost all involved the treatment of children, young people or vulnerable adults. If even a proportion were upheld the Church would have to pay millions in compensation.

One recent compensation payment in an unproven and heavily-disputed case of abuse alleged against long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell amounted to £15,000. Matching that sum in every complaint now facing the Church would cost almost £50million.

The Church of England paid out £15,000 in compensation in an an unproven and heavily-disputed case of abuse alleged against long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell, pictured

 

Despite the growing controversy over false allegations, bishops will continue to call those who make claims of sex abuse ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’. But they say this ‘does not presuppose that any allegation will be substantiated’.

Details of the abuse complaints were prepared for bishops and will be given today to the General Synod, the Church’s parliament. The disclosure follows difficult months for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and colleagues over a series of damaging sex abuse scandals.

They include the case of former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys over three decades. An independent inquiry last summer said the Church had failed to protect boys and then concealed evidence of Ball’s crimes. Most recently, Archbishop Welby has been criticised for his handling of the George Bell case.

Former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys 

Of the 3,300 sex abuse complaints the Synod will hear about nearly one in five, 18 per cent, involved ‘church officers’, likely to be mainly clergy. Other complaints are likely to have been made against lay individuals or churchgoers.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, said in documents prepared for the Synod that during 2016 dioceses did 338 ‘risk assessments’ after complaints against individuals. Of those assessed, 19 were clergy. The Church made 867 ‘safeguarding agreements’ with individuals – drawn up to ensure someone assessed as a risk is kept away from possible victims of abuse and is supervised.

 

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February 2 2018 – “Judges join call for Welby to apologise over Bell claims” – Daily Telegraph – Page 2

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180207/281547996343338

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February 7 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late Bishop’s reputation” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop-of-canterbury-says-george-bells-accuser-is-as-important-as-late-bishops-reputation/125411.htm

Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late bishop’s reputation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said the woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her should be ‘treated equally importantly’ as the reputation of the late bishop, and that she is ‘not an inconvenience to be overlooked’.

In an interview with the Church Times ahead of a gathering of General Synod, which is like a church parliament, Archbishop Welby defended the decision, made by the Church of England with Welby’s involvement, to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as ‘Carol’.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has defended the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Bishop George Bell.

That decision and the ‘rush’ that led up to it was heavily criticised in a review published in December by Lord Carlile into the handling of the allegations made against Bishop Bell, regarded as a 20<sup>th Century giant of Anglicanism who died in 1958.

Since then, Archbishop Welby has come under growing criticism from historians and academics for insisting that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over Bell’s name.

Speaking to the Church Times, Welby acknowledged that the Carlile report ‘points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell’ and he said that he ‘accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation’ [the naming of those accused of abuse].

But he added: ‘Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse]…that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose…

Welby continued: ‘We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.’

Last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received ‘fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell’ and said that Sussex police had been informed, without providing any details of the ‘new’ information about the late Bishop of Chichester. It was subsequently reported that a new complainant had come forward.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House in Westminster, with the keynote speaker  as Dr Jules Gomes, the controversial pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

This led the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, to attack the meeting as ‘outrageous’ when speaking to Christian Today.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House on Saturday morning.

Reflecting on the past five years in office, Archbishop Welby said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. ‘It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

‘I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.’

Archbishop Welby has taken a leading role in defending the Church of England’s approach to Bishop Bell, having been involved in his name becoming public in relation to allegations. The Carlile report reveals an email from the Bishop of Durham on April 29, 2014 to the so-called ‘Core Group’ in the Church of England, which reads: ‘Dear All, At the meeting of Archbishops & Diocesans Archbishop Justin decided that he should inform those gathered of the possibility of the name of the person concerned becoming public in due course.’

The full interview with Archbishop Welby will appear in the next issue of the Church Times.

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February 6 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby” – Church Times

Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby

06 February 2018


richard watt – Archbishop Welby at Lambeth Palace on Monday

THE woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her is “not an inconvenience to be overlooked”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Monday. Instead, she is someone who should be “treated equally importantly” as the reputation of Bell.

In an interview with the Church Times, Archbishop Welby defended the Church of England’s decision to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as “Carol”, who, in 1995 and again in 2012 and 2013, told church officials that Bishop Bell had abused her as a young girl.

The decision to make Bell’s name public was criticised by Lord Carlile’s independent review (News, 22 December 2017). Since the publication of the review, Archbishop Welby has been fiercely criticised for saying that he could not, with integrity, clear Bell’s name (News, 26 January).

Speaking to the Church Times, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Carlile report “points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell”; and he “accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation” [the naming of those accused of abuse].

He said: “Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse] . . . that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose. . .

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

Campaigners for George Bell have cast doubt on the account given by Carol (News, 24 March 2016). But on Wednesday of last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received “fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell”. It did not give any further details.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House, Westminster. The keynote speaker was Dr Jules Gomes, pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

There has also been press coverage of Julian Whiting, a survivor of private school and church abuse, who wrote to Archbishop Welby last month to complain about the settlement that he had received.

“I have struggled for years to obtain appropriate compensation, which despite huge efforts over many years I have failed to receive”, Mr Whiting said on Monday. “Even direct approaches to Justin Welby have proved fruitless.”

Accounts by other survivors were published in a booklet on Tuesday, We Asked for Bread but You Gave Us Stones.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House, Westminster on Saturday morning.

Archbishop Welby, reflecting on his first five years in office, said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. “It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

“I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.”

 

Read the full interview in next week’s Church Times. See our special subscription offer: ten issues for a tenner.

 

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February 6 2018 – “Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/welby-under-pressure-as-general-synod-members-asked-to-back-motion-of-regret-over-bishop-george-bell-case/125358.htm

Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be under renewed pressure at the Church of England’s ruling General Synod this week to renounce his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over George Bell, a highly-respected bishop accused of sex abuse.

Members of synod, which acts as the church’s parliament, are today being asked to back a motion expressing ‘regret’ over Justin Welby’s handling of the case and calling for Bishop Bell’s ‘reputation as one of the great bishops of the Church of England is restored untarnished’.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell is accused of historical child sex abuse but his supporters insist the allegations are uncorroborated and without evidence.

The motion, seen by Christian Today, will be published as synod opens on Thursday after being approved by the church’s lawyers. It will not be debated at this week’s sessions but could be discussed at the next synod in July, if it receives enough support.

It comes after Welby said he could not retract his assessment that a ‘significant cloud’ hung over Bell’s reputation and the Church announced ‘fresh information’ had emerged about the case. Christian Today understands this involves a new complaint against Bishop Bell.

David Lamming, a lay member of synod and proposer of the motion, told Christian Today: ‘Regardless of this new information, the conclusions made in the damning Review by Lord Carlile QC into how the Church handled the case are important. General Synod must be given the opportunity to debate them.’

He added: ‘I initially considered putting the motion on ice while the investigation into these latest allegations unfolded but on second thoughts I think it important that synod has the opportunity to hold the Church to account for its processes and a debate on this motion would do just that. It will not be debated this week in any event, but if sufficient synod members sign it, that will be a clear indication that it should be on the agenda at York in July.’

The controversy over the George Bell case is likely to dominate this week’s synod with several questions tabled to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the issue.

Synod
The General Synod will meet this week in Westminster.

It comes after an independent review into how the Church dealt with the allegation made by ‘Carol’ found officials ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its desperation to avoid being seen as soft on clerical sex abuse. The inquiry by Lord Carlile QC found ‘serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence.

Despite the highly critical report Welby refused to apologise to Bell’s relatives and supporters and instead issued a statement that appeared to leave open the possibility of his guilt.

Two groups of Bell’s supporters, alongside a number of historians and academics, have criticised Welby’s statement after Carlile’s review judged there would not have been sufficient evidence for a guilty verdict in a criminal court.

A question from Mr Lamming is thought to have prompted the Church’s admission of ‘fresh information’ after he tabled a question asking if there is ‘considered to be any evidence or other information that would support or corroborate the claim by “Carol” that she was sexually abused as a child by Bishop Bell?’

 

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February 4 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Website launch [following the Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Feb 1]

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Website following on from The Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1 2018

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

In the news…

External links to a selection of Bishop Bell-related article that appeared after the Rebuilding Bridges conference.

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February 4 2018 – “The Bridge on the River Chaos” – ‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes – Conservative Woman

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-bridge-river-chaos/

The Bridge on the River Chaos

 

Last Thursday our very own ‘Rebel Priest’, the Rev Dr Jules Gomes, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the George Bell Group at Church House. It was an impassioned plea for justice for the still-impugned Bishop Bell. But more than that, it was a plea for bridge-building with a Church of England that has entrapped itself in the morally relative world of victim politics and orthodoxies. This, Jules argued, citing biblical, philosophical and legal sources, has been at the expense of truth, right and justice. ‘Right’, not the modern ‘rights’ culture, must guide the Church and Christian faith.

You can listen to his full address here. An edited version is posted below.

By Rev Jules Gomes

The human compulsion to build bridges is deep-rooted; it is archetypal. Jacob in Genesis dreams of a ladder bridging earth to heaven. This archetypal story is immortalised by William Blake’s painting and by Francis Thompson’s poem situating Jacob’s ladder in London.

Paradoxically, bridge building is fiercely contested. The compulsion to blow up bridges is also deep-rooted in human nature. The monumental clash between these conflicting compulsions is what makes Sir David Lean’s World War II movie The Bridge on the River Kwai one of most gripping of the 20th century.

In the movie, Colonel Nicholson is fixated upon building the bridge linking Bangkok to Burma, convincing himself that the bridge is a monument to British character. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission to blow up the bridge. Ultimately, Nicholson, who has successfully built the bridge, is trying to prevent the Allied commandos from blowing it up. He is shot and stumbles over to the detonator plunger and falls on it, just in time to blow up the bridge and send the enemy train hurtling into the river. Major Clipton, the British medical officer who has witnessed the carnage unfold from his vantage point on the hill, says as he shakes his head incredulously: ‘Madness! Madness!’

To build, or not to build, that is the question we are posing at the George Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference.

Order and chaos are the constituent elements of this world. According to Jordan Peterson, ‘Order is where the people around you act according to well-understood social norms, and remain predictable and cooperative. It’s the world of social structure, explored territory, and familiarity.’ If the hierarchy of the Church of England had conducted its investigation into Bishop Bell on the principles of order, we would not be battling to clear the slander against his reputation. We are here because order has been overwhelmed by chaos.

The opening verses of the Bible present us with the picture of an ocean of chaos. The Hebrew text paints for us pictures of mythological sea monsters of chaos intent on devouring God’s creation. God subdues and defeats the monsters of chaos through the logos, God’s Word. Chaos is also marked by ‘darkness over the face of the deep’. God’s first act is to dispel darkness by creating light. Light is God’s first bridge-building act.

Over the last two years, the Bishop Bell group has been fighting this battle between chaos and logos. Finally, logos has triumphed. Hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken by dozens of historians, lawyers, clergy, columnists, churchgoers and choristers have prevailed. The Lord Carlile Review, a leading manifestation of ‘order’, even though restricted in its brief, has found a subtle way to pronounce Bishop Bell ‘not guilty’.

But the bridge over troubled waters is yet to be built. Justin Welby doubts the logos and rejects the light and clarity of order. He returns to the darkness and disorder of chaos in his insistence that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over Bishop Bell’s character.

Thus we may not be able to build this bridge with Welby, even though we are desirous of so doing. Our chief task, then, is to build the bridge between present and past. We build our most strategic bridge with history. History held Bishop Bell in the highest honour. The present zeitgeist blew the bridge of historical record to smithereens. It adopted a scorched earth policy and obliterated Bell’s name from institutions that had sought to etch his memory in stone.

Structurally speaking, the most important part of a bridge is the beams that support it. Our bridge with history should be built on the twin beams of truth and justice. The torrential waters of the River Chaos threaten both beams.

We live in a post-modern and post-truth age. Postmodernism dismantles truth as relative and perspectival. Philosopher Richard Rorty unapologetically proclaims, ‘There is no truth. We should give up the search for truth and be content with interpretations.’

In its handling of the Bell enquiry, the Church of England has revealed its first postmodern and post-truth archbishop for whom there is no truth, only interpretations, for whom the only virtue is openness, and for whom personal experiences are more influential than objective facts in shaping public opinion.

The second beam that will support our bridge across the River Chaos is justice. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his book Whose Justice? Which Rationality?  speaks of ‘different and incompatible conceptions of justice’ and of ‘conflicting conceptions of justice’.

Is this what is being played out in the drama of Bishop Bell? There is one school that defines justice as that which is ‘right’, and another that defines justice as ‘rights’. ‘Rights’ are the obligations society is said to have towards certain social groups and it is the status of a person in the organised hierarchy of such groups that decides what is ‘right’ according to the ‘rights’ accorded to that group. In other words, justice is now re-defined as the ‘rights’ of a victim; these rights may even trump what is ‘right’, because postmodernism defines all claims to ‘truth’ and what is ‘right’ as claims to ‘power’.

In this radical re-conceptualisation of justice, those who claim to have suffered qualify by default for privileged status. They are right because they have the right to be right irrespective of what is objectively right. This, of course, is not to dismiss Bishop Bell’s accuser ‘Carol’ and her claims, it is simply to argue that the Church of England has moved considerably in its conception of justice. It is a very different conception from those who conceive of justice as ‘right’ because it is part of the right order of the logos and its features are truth and light.

The problem with grounding this beam of justice so as to build our bridge is that it is constantly threatened by chaos. In his Republic, Plato seems to think that people are pushed into the path of justice only by coercion and force of law. People choose to act in their own interest given the opportunity to commit injustice, because that is what nature deems good. Of course, Plato ultimately argues that humans submit freely to justice and law because there are rewards for those who restrain themselves in the face of temptation and make amends in the case of transgression.

But making amends requires great courage and it is ‘courage’ which Aristotle called the greatest of all virtues, because without courage it is impossible to practise any of the virtues. It is courage which will drive the building of our bridge across the River Chaos. Will Archbishop Welby have that courage?

As a tribute to Bishop George Bell I can do no better than conclude with these words from Romans 8: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

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February 2 2018 – “New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – SpiritFM

https://www.spiritfm.net/news/sussex-news/2492202/new-investigation-into-former-bishop-of-chichester-george-bell/

New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell

 

chichester cathedral

5:13am 1st February 2018

The Church of England says it is in the process of launching a fresh investigation into allegations of sexual abuse concerning the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

A statement from the Church confirmed ‘fresh evidence’ has been brought to light concerning Bishop Bell, and that they would work collaboratively with Sussex Police.

Bishop Bell was accused of abusing a woman over a four year period, starting when she was five-years-old in the 1940s and 50s.

He was the Bishop of Chichester for almost 30 years until his death in 1958.

In 2015, the Church made a formal public apology to the alleged victim, known as ‘Carol’, and paid her £16,800 following the settlement of a legal civil claim.

The handling of the allegations triggered furious reaction from Bell’s supporters, who said his reputation had been ruined.

In December last year, an independent inquiry led by Lord Carlile criticised the church for a ‘rush to judgment’ over the case, saying that although the C of E acted in good faith it failed to give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

The Church of England subsequently apologised to the family of Bishop Bell.

Read the review in full here.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations.

“The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent  investigation in respect of these latest developments.

“As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

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February 2 2018 – “George Bell: Justin Welby and the perils of navigating a binary argument” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/george-bell-justin-welby-and-the-perils-of-navigating-a-binary-argument/125199.htm

George Bell, Justin Welby and the perils of navigating a binary argument

There can surely be no middle ground when it comes to sexual abuse: it makes a villain of anyone who perpetrates it.

George Bell was either a giant of the Anglican Church who helped rescue Jewish children from the Nazi regime and, against the grain, heroically opposed the bombing of Dresden, or he was a child abuser and all his achievements are for the birds.

Perhaps that is why the debate, if it can be called that, around the reputation of the late Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958, is so binary, even by the standards of the age of social media.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell.

This stark reality helps explain why so many of Bell’s supporters have directed their anger in the aftermath of Lord Carlile’s report into Bell at Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who insists that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over the late bishop’s name.

It is worth quoting at some length from Welby’s statement which coincided with the release of the Carlile review in December, a statement that he has since refused to rescind.

It said: ‘Bishop George Bell is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century. The decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance, and all involved recognised the deep tragedy involved… The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievement. We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. Let us therefore remember his defence of Jewish victims of persecution, his moral stand against indiscriminate bombing, his personal risks in the cause of supporting the anti Hitler resistance, and his long service in the Diocese of Chichester.

‘No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.’

To be fair to Welby, although he has pointed out that his position is supported by the Bishops of Chichester and Bath and Wells, in standing by this statement, even in the face of direct attacks against him from leading academics and historians, he is taking responsibility for the modern-day Church’s controversial position on Bell – and seeking to subvert that binary narrative by saying any bad things he did should not entirely obliterate the good.

Welby is surely right to take responsibilty. For the detail of the Carlile report makes it clear that the archbishop himself was involved in the early stages of discussions about releasing Bell’s name to the media and public following complaints from the woman known as ‘Carol’ who claims she was abused by Bell and to whom the Church paid damages of £16,800 in 2015.

It should be said at this point that it is almost impossible to believe that ‘Carol’ made her allegations up out of thin air. And some of Bell’s fiercest critics are surely wrong to traduce her, or claim that the abuse came later than her childhood. But it remains possible of course that she was abused by some church figure other than Bell. We will never know.

Nonetheless, the Carlile report reveals an email from the Bishop of Durham on April 29, 2014 to the so-called ‘Core Group’ in the CofE, members of which have come under immense strain in recent weeks and who were, after all, amid all the chaos of the modern media age, trying their best to do their difficult jobs.

The email reads: ‘Dear All, At the meeting of Archbishops & Diocesans Archbishop Justin decided that he should inform those gathered of the possibility of the name of the person concerned becoming public in due course.’

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
ReutersArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

It was the ‘rush’ to name Bell, and the very fact of naming him at all in the face of unproven and unprovable allegations, that led Carlile to be so critical in his report.

Arguably, Welby and the Church have since backed themselves into a corner on the case. The archbishop’s refusal to climb down, doubtless heavily influenced by legal advice, leaves wide open the question about what is justice for an accused person. There are false and mistaken accusations, but the position still seems to assume that an accusation alone can be taken as almost conclusive.

Of course, the Church must be hyper-cautious following the separate case of the former bishop Peter Ball – and the safeguarding team should be commended for its efforts in recent years — but the two cases are in fact widely different, as Ball was accused by a significant number of people and accepted his guilt.

Then there is the Church’s decision to release yesterday what some see as a cryptic statement saying that it had received ‘fresh information’ concerning Bell, a statement which left open the assumption that another complainant had come forward, and one that appeared to critics to be a case of ‘We told you so’. It is reported that the Church has known about this ‘new’ information for two weeks, which raises questions, if true, about the timing of the release of the information ahead of General Synod which begins next week and at which Welby is expected to come under fire. More importantly, it also raises the question why Bell has effectively been named again as the subject of an accusation, but this time only weeks after the Church received the information, not years as in the case of ‘Carol’.

On the other hand, it is hard not to sympathise with the safeguarding team especially, and even with Welby. After all, the only truth present in this tale with few heroes is that no-one knows whether or not Bell committed the grave sins of which he has been accused. And, as even the leading pro-Bell campaigner Peter Hitchens concedes, if Bell did do it then his achievements are as nothing.

He tells me: ‘George Bell’s memory is revered not because he was a great artist, the inventor of a drug or medical procedure which transformed the world for the better or a warrior who saved his country from subjugation. Such persons can be to some extent separated form their other deeds because their actions endure in a material way. Bishop Bell’s memory is revered because of repeated acts of self-sacrificing goodness, a rare example of a man who placed truth and justice before self. If it turns out that he was in fact a lying traitor, who abused defenceless little children by perverting the Gospel and sought to make them complicit in concealing the crime, then he was not good and his reputation was a shining robe laid over a rotting heap of filth. William Blake reminds us that true good is done in minute particulars. Likewise evil.’

But in the terms of reference, the Church of England constrained Carlile from making a judgment on whether or not Bell was guilty as accused.

All of which is why this argument will, sadly but inevitably run and run.

As the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has said: ‘The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally…[and] will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case.’

Like Welby, he is anxious to move beyond the binary split between Bell as hero or Bell as villain. But in this polarised and super-sensitive area, that may not be an option.

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February 2 2018 – “Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish” – Church Times

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/2-february/news/uk/lord-carlile-says-new-statement-about-bishop-george-bell-is-unwise-and-foolish

Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish

01 FEBRUARY 2018

PA

Lord Carlile

 

LORD CARLILE, who investigated the Church of England’s handling of the sex-abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell and found them wanting, has expressed his astonishment at the release of news about a new allegation.

On Wednesday, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received “fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell”. The statement gives no further details on the grounds of confidentiality, but goes on: “Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.”

A key recommendation by Lord Carlile, who was commissioned to look into the way the Church had dealt with accusations that Bell had abused a woman, named as “Carol” when was a young girl, was that Bell’s name should not have been broadcast without a greater certainty of his guilt.

“For Bishop Bell’s reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way that occurred was just wrong,” Lord Carlile wrote in his report (News, 22 December 2017).

On Wednesday evening, Lord Carlile told The Daily Telegraph: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the Church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated, and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known, and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

The Church’s statement goes on: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments.”

In a covering note, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, writes of “ongoing queries and comments around the Bishop Bell case”. And he puts the Church’s statement in the context of the IICSA investigation into safeguarding in the diocese of Chichester, and the impending debate in the General Synod next week.

He makes no mention of a debate in Church House, Westminster, today, organised by supporters of Bishop Bell, which is aimed at “restoring Bishop Bell’s place in history”, and which is expected to be critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has declined to clear Bell’s name.

The safeguarding team’s statement reads in full: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell. Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.

“This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments.

“As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

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February 2 2018 – “Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/exclusive.bishop.blasts.disgraced.priest.allowed.to.defend.george.bell.at.church.of.englands.headquarters/125197.htm

EXCLUSIVE: Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters

It is ‘outrageous’ that a disgraced priest banned from ministry has been allowed to speak at the Church of England’s headquarters, a bishop said today.

Rachel Treweek
Rachel Treweek was the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords.

Jules Gomes, formerly a priest at St Mary’s on the Harbour on the Isle of Man, addressed a group of supporters for the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, who is accused of historical sex abuse, in Church House, Westminster, this morning.

But today the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, blasted his presence at the event, which is titled ‘Rebuilding bridges’.

‘He has been invited to speak under that wonderful title whereas all his writings about me and other bishops who are women are being destructive and destroying bridges not building them,’ she told Christian Today.

‘I think it is outrageous that he has been allowed to speak at Church House under that title when his writings demonstrate that he is not up for living in reconciliation or relationship.’

Church House is the building used as the Church of England’s main London base. The National Church Institutions (NCIs) which govern the Church’s daily running, do not own the building nor control its bookings and the CofE appeared to distance itself from the event.

A Church of England spokesperson previously told Christian Today: ‘We are aware of an event due to take place at Church House Conference Centre Limited, in Westminster, on Feb 1 at which we understand Jules Gomes, a former Church of England parish priest prohibited from ministry for 10 years by a Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal, has been invited to speak.

‘The National Church Institutions are tenants at Church House. Church House Conference Centre Limited, who manage bookings from clients and operate the conference spaces, is an independent conference centre located at Church House.’

Jules Gomes
Jules Gomes.comJules Gomes was barred for 10 years from ministry for conduct unbecoming a priest.

Gomes was banned from ministry for 10 years after a disciplinary tribunal found against him following complaints about his behaviour. Deeply opposed to female clergy, refers to female bishops as ‘bishopesses’ described Sarah Mullally, the new Bishop of London, as ‘safe space Sarah, the box-ticking Bishopette of Londonistan’ who ‘doesn’t have the foggiest idea about the biblical gospel’.

Elsewhere in a blog badged as ‘satirical’ he described a ‘gaggle of anorexic and bulimic teenage girls’ accompanying ‘Rachel Treweek, Bishopess of Gloucester’.

Treweek told Christian Today: ‘I have known him in the past so it is deeply disappointing that he feels able to write things about me and others without ever trying to communicate in a relational way.

‘If rebuilding bridges is about relationship then it is a very funny and strange way to demonstrate that if you feel able to simply write abusive things on blogs.’

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February 2 2018 – “Police should have truck with the hounding of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/02/01/police-should-have-no-truck-churchs-hounding-bishop-bell/

The police should have no truck with the Church’s hounding of Bishop Bell

Dr George Kennedy Allen Bell (1883 - 1958), Bishop of Chichester, in his study at Chichester Palace
Dr George Kennedy Allen Bell (1883 – 1958), Bishop of Chichester, in his study at Chichester Palace CREDIT: TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY/GETTY

 

There is an old political law that states: “When you are in a hole, stop digging”. It is a maxim that should have an ecclesiastical application, too.

The case of Bishop George Bell has damaged the reputation of the Church of England and of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Although Bishop Bell died in 1958, allegations of sexual abuse against the prelate were accepted by the Church with no evidence.

When an independent report concluded he had been unjustly treated, the Church declined to exonerate him while accepting the process it had undertaken was flawed. But instead of leaving matters there (which Bishop Bell’s supporters were reluctant to do in any case) the Church has become even more resolute in its pursuit.

It has forwarded to the police a separate allegation of sexual abuse some 70 years old, a decision that the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile QC, called “unwise, unnecessary and foolish”.

Archbishop Welby has said he will not clear Bishop Bell’s name because he cannot be sure he is innocent. But neither can he be sure he is guilty, and due process in this country means that he is innocent until proven otherwise. Clearly, since he has been dead 60 years and no evidence could be adduced to corroborate an offence that possibly happened in the late 1940s, there is simply no point in pursuing this matter.

The police have been asked by the Church to investigate but to do so would be a misuse of their time, just as it was to investigate dead politicians like Edward Heath.

It is not the function of the criminal justice system to investigate, to no purpose, those who cannot be brought to book, nor the Church’s place to request that it should.

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February 1 2018 – “Church accused of launching new shameful attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/31/church-accused-launching-new-shameful-attack-memory-bishop-george/

Church accused of launching new ‘shameful’ attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell
Bishop George Bell

The Church of England has been accused of launching a ‘shameful and foolish’ new attack on one of its most revered bishops, by making public an uncorroborated child sex abuse allegation almost 70 years old.

The Church announced on Wednesday it had referred to the police a second claim of sexual assault made against Bishop George Bell, who died in 1958.

It made the allegation public amid growing pressure on Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for the Church’s handling of a previous claim against Bishop Bell, which shredded his reputation.

The General Synod is to discuss the Church’s treatment of Bishop Bell with some suggestion that Archbishop Welby should have resigned over his refusal to say sorry.

In a statement, the Church said: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell.  Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.”

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop, said: “Due to the confidential nature of this new information I regret I cannot disclose any further detail until the investigations have been concluded.

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby CREDIT: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/ REUTERS

The Church refused to give further details such as the date of any alleged wrongdoing nor even whether the complainant is a man or a woman or even still alive. That raises the prospect Bishop Bell is being investigated 60 years after his death on claims made by someone from beyond the grave.

An independent report by Lord Carlile QC into the previous claim – made by a woman known only as Carol – had found the Church had “severely and unnecessarily damaged” Bishop Bell’s reputation. A psychiatric report suggested her claim could have been the result of false memory.

Lord Carlile said he was astonished that the Church had gone public with the new claim against Bishop Bell. Among his recommendations was that people accused of abuse should remain anonymous until the allegations are proven.

Lord Carlile said last night: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER PLEDGER

Professor Andrew Chandler, his biographer and spokesman for the George Bell Group, said: “This is shameful. The issuing of this press release shows the only way the Church can justify itself is at George Bell’s expense.”

A source close to the case said it was “outrageous” that the Church had made the announcement on the eve of a debate held at Church House which is expected to lead to calls for Justin Welby to quit over his handling of the matter. General Synod will also hear calls for Archbishop Welby to apologise when it meets next week.

The new complaint is understood to be at least 70 years old and is uncorroborated.

The source added: “This is outrageous behaviour on the part of the Church.”

The Telegraph understands the Church has known about the case for at least a fortnight before making it public 24 hours before the Church House debate.

One source suggested the Church might be keen to pay damages to the complainant because it will help to justify its contentious decision to pay damages to “Carol” in 2015.

Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester, was one of the Church’s outstanding clerics of the 20th century, recognised for helping to save the lives of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.

Carol had first gone to the Church with her complaint in 1995 and made her allegations a second time direct to Archbishop Welby in 2013. The psychiatric report suggested it was highly unusual for her to have waited almost 50 years before making her initial complaint. The fresh allegation will raise similar concerns.

 

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January 18 2018 – “Fresh information sparks new Bishop Bell investigation” – Chichester Observer

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/crime/fresh-information-sparks-new-bishop-bell-investigation-1-8358546

‘Fresh information’ sparks new Bishop Bell investigation Bishop Bell

STEPHEN PICKTHALL Email Published: 15:57

Wednesday 31 January 2018

The Church of England has announced that it has received ‘fresh information concerning Bishop Bell’ and is now in the process of launching a new investigation.

A statement on the Church website today (Wednesday, January 31), states: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell. “Sussex Police have been informed and we will work corroboratively with them.” The Church said the new information had been received following the publication of the Carlile Review, which looked into the Church’s handling of an allegation of sexual abuse by a woman when she was a child while the late George Bell was bishop between 1929 to 1958.

The woman, known as ‘Carol’, received compensation and an apology from the Church, as well as an apology from current Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner in September 2015. The Church statement adds: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. “The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments. “As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/crime/fresh-information-sparks-new-bishop-bell-investigation-1-8358546

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January 22 2018 – “What does the Archbishop think he is doing?” – Peter Hitchens – Mail Online

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2018/01/what-does-the-archbishop-think-he-is-doing-.html

22 January 2018 5:23 PM

What Does the Archbishop Think He is Doing?

I cannot say that I care much who occupies the throne of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church of England, for me, has a ghostly existence in poetry, music, arches and stained glass, quite independent of the banal persons who tend to hold this post. It’s not for me to go round calling for resignations or such things. My only concern with the man who currently holds this office is the pointless, easily cured injustice he has done to the great George Bell, to those who rightly revere him for Christian self-sacrifice and true moral and civil courage over great issues,, and to his surviving niece, Mrs Barbara Whitley. I know this is an unpopular preoccupation, obscure to many of my readers. But it is based on a universal, simple desire for justice to be done and truth told, wherever possible.

But those who do care about the C of E’s temporal structures and authority  must surely be worried about the behaviour of the current Archbishop, the Most Revd Justin Welby. Mr Welby will not climb down from his assertion that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over the name of George Bell. Why not? What good does this stance do him or the Christian faith? What, in short, is he on about?

On Monday afternoon, after being the target of powerful criticism by a group of eminent historians, and then by a group of eminent theologians, he issued an astonishingly unyielding statement on the subject.

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/achbishop.of.canterbury.stands.by.statement.saying.there.is.a.significant.cloud.over.bishop.george.bells.name/124313.htm

Yet I can find nothing in this text to justify his position. He refers repeatedly to the wholly different case of a living Bishop, Peter Ball, convicted beyond doubt, in an open court of law, of sexual offences.

In an astonishing passage, he responds to the concerns of the historians, who are urging him to reconsider, by ludicrously comparing them to emotional defenders of Ball. He says ‘As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret. The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic.’

What sort of non-logic is this? It may *have been* suggested, before Ball was convicted and sent to prison, that what was alleged could not have been true. But is there any serious person (as serious as, for instance, Sir Ian Kershaw) who is suggesting it now? Who? How can Mr Welby possibly compare opinions held mistakenly before a fair trial and conviction showed them to be wrong, and opinions held where there has not been and cannot be any such trial, and where the evidence against the accused is solitary and weak?

The police arrested Ball, the CPS charged him, and Ball, who was able to ensure that he was professionally defended throughout, and was able to avail himself of the presumption of innocence, eventually pleaded guilty in court to serious charges and was sent to prison.  I have not since heard it suggested by any of his former defenders that he is innocent of the charges he himself admitted. So those who may have found it difficult to believe that Peter Ball was a wicked abuser were shown to have been wrong in a fair and due process.

How on earth can Mr Welby equate this case with that of George Bell, who faced one uncorroborated accusation made years after his death, and was then condemned without any defence by what Lord Carlile found to be a sloppy and inadequate process in which key evidence undermining the accusation was not even seen by some of those involved, and in which key witnesses were neither found nor interviewed.

 

Mr Welby, in his very thin responses to the Carlile report, has never really addressed this. He has said that the report didn’t rule on Bell’s guilt or innocence, an almost childishly absurd response,  since Mr Welby had told Lord Carlile in his terms of reference that he could not rule on this. In any case, Lord Carlile has repeatedly said since, in response to media questions, that no court would have convicted George Bell on the evidence which has been produced against him. It is clear that had Lord Carlile been asked to rule on George Bell’s guilt or innocence, he would have pronounced him ‘not guilty’.  So what, precisely is the evidence on which the Archbishop of Canterbury, supposedly spiritual leader of millions, guardian of the foundations of truth and justice, maintains that there is still a ‘cloud’over George Bell’s name? Does he have second sight?   Does he know something he is not telling us? If so (though I cannot see how this can be so) , why will he not say what it is? If not, why is he of all people exempted from the good rule, surely Biblical in origin, that if you cannot prove that a man is guilty, he is innocent and you shouldn’t go round saying that he is guilty just because in some way it suits you to say so. Some miserable rumour-monger in a pub might be entitled to drone that there is ‘no smoke without fire’, but not the inheritor of the See of Saint Augustine, I think. I doubt Mr Welby is familiar with the catechism in his own Church’s Book of Common Prayer, it having fallen rather out of use since that Church became happy and clappy. But I am sure the Lambeth library can find him a copy, and point him to the passage in which the candidate for confirmation is asked ‘What is thy duty towards thy neighbour’? I commend it to him.

He has rejected one of the report’s conclusions on how the case should have been handled. But I have never seen him acknowledge the Carlile report’s clear demonstration that the secret trial of George Bell was what it was, a badly-run, one-sided mess which failed to find key evidence or witnesses, and even failed to tell some of its members about key evidence which greatly undermined the accusation.

Yet Mr Welby continues to describe this marsupial outfit as if it was serious, saying ‘The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused.’

Indeed they should not, and it was the Chichester diocese which deliberately confused them when it claimed (wrongly) that Bishop Bell would have been arrested if alive, so unsurprisingly poisoning many trusting and naive minds against George Bell.  But in fact, as was discussed at length when this subject was raised in a House of Lords debate attended by some of the country’s most eminent lawyers, the civil standard of proof requires that both sides are properly considered. In civil cases, plaintiff and defendant have lawyers and the chance to plead and the secret trial of George Bell did not even contain anyone arguing for his side. The idea that this farce met even the civil standard of proof is unsustainable, and I am amazed that anyone who has read the Carlile report could persist with this nonsense. It was one of the Church’s very early attempts to defend itself, back in 2016. It didn’t work then, when we still didn’t know how bad the secret trial had been. It certainly doesn’t work now.

We have all done wrong things. Some of them are irrevocable, and we can make no restitution to those whom we have hurt, in which case we shall just have to hope for mercy.

But where we *can* put right what we have done, things are different. I am haunted and much influenced by this passage of scripture. I commend it to the Archbishop. It begins with the 25th verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew. The words are those of Our Lord himself, and I take them to mean that when we have been found to be wrong, we do all we can to put that wrong right while we can, for if we do not we condemn ourselves to a long and needless grief which can only be expiated and assuaged at a far greater cost. He knows who the judge is in this reference, I think.

‘Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.’

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I see Mr Hitchens has exceeded the 500-word limit (smiley). I’ll try not to!

I’d like to make several points, but first let me assure Mr Hitchens a) that I do not want to draw attention to myself, b) that I did not mention the “significant cloud”, and c) that in my opinion, if I had to express one, I would say that I think it most likely that Bishop Bell is innocent. Just to make that quite clear.

My second point is that Mr Hitchens apparently fails to understand that I am trying to help – with constructive criticism. I’m pointing out a flawed argument which I think Mr Hitchens would do well to discard since false arguments can be counter-productive.

Now to Mr Hitchens’ response. I realize he may have written and compiled in haste since he probably has more important things to do. And I have read it with some care. But I must admit to having difficulty in sorting out what the Archbishop stated, what Mr Hitchens comments are and what the historians are saying. There are various single and multiple asterisks and one or two inverted commas, but – please – is it possible that Mr Hitchens could make this a little clearer for anyone as dim as myself? – My thanks in advance.

Now to the substance of Mr Hitchens’ response: Nowhere has he shown that I am wrong to point out that the Archbishop has made a clear and correct statement about the way some people think a person may be “too good” to be guilty of a crime, and that in some cases they may be right, but, for example, in the case of Bishop Ball they were wrong. The Archbishop is stating a fact, and there is nothing “non-logical” about it. He is not comparing the case of Bishop Ball to that of Bishop Bell, nor comparing the two Bishops to each other. even if some people would like to believe so. — Otherwise I agree in essence with what Mr HItchens says.

I cannot comment fully on the response of the historians since I’m not familiar with all the details. They may intimate that they know better than the Archbishop, but whether they do or not is a matter of opinion. They appear to me to be saying that the Church is upholding the allegation – but is that really so? Or is the church – is the Archbishop – rather refraining from making any judgement, (in the spirit of Christ on the Mount and as any historian should do if there is no evidence) but pointing out instead that allegations may be true – or false. (At the time they were made, it seems some people did actually believe them.)

As to the “significant cloud” – if all that is meant by that is that “mud sticks” and there will always be someone who says “Ah, yes, another priest” and see a blot on the Bishope reputation, then that is in order. If however the Archbishop means something going beyond that, then he is wrong. Whatever, it is a very unfortunate choice of words.

I’ve written this in haste, so please excuse errors – and I haven’t counted the words.

Well done Mr Hitchens on your valiant quest to clear the name of a great man. I wouldn’t like to pass judgement on Justin Welby but will only say his attitude on this matter and others strikes me as not being particulary christian.

@Mr Bunker 23rd January at 12:24PM

“I think that some contributors to the blog “know” or at least think they know that Bishop Bell cannot be guilty – “because he was a good man”.

That is far too vague and insubstantial a suggestion, Mr Bunker. Please name these contributors, identify their posts, by date and time, and give the verbatim quotes, which lead you to such a conclusion.

It seems that the Archbishop is, or has been battling on several fronts, with regard to the C of Es involvement, or non involvement in matters of sexual impropriety. A recent New York Times article entitled “Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse”, and another article in the Guardian, concerning the Jimmy Savile affair seem to add to the feeling that all is not as it should be.

I’m just re-reading our host’s ‘Abolition of Britain’, Chapter 10, on Mrs White’s Bill, of 1951, which allowed for divorce after 7 years separation. Attacked for its own criticism of the Bill, the C of E responded with the following question:

‘Whoever succeeded in raising the moral tone of any society without causing the frustration of some natural desires, and the hardship of having to forgo them?’

Who, in the C of E, would have the courage to pose such a question now?

Re: Mr Bunker | 23 January 2018 at 12:24 PM

‘… I think some contributors to the blog “know” (or at least think they know) that Bishop Bell cannot be guilty – “because he was a good man”.’

What you think is interesting, Mr Bunker, and why you think it a mystery. It seems to me that most contributors here know that Bishop Bell is not guilty because there is no, none, nil, nichts, nix, nought, nothing, zero, zilch, nada, zip, diddly-squat by way of corroborating or other evidence to suggest that an event or events alleged to have occurred in the middle of the last century actually did occur. Case dismissed, as they say in the movies.

The good name of the alleged perpetrator has no relevance to his guilt or otherwise; he simply has not been shown to have been guilty of anything. His good name has likely rallied more to his defence than would have been the case for someone more obscure, but the principle is the same and is worth defending for its own sake.

We can pity poor Archbishop Justin Welby in his “personal tragedy” of having been an inaccurate judge of character. I hope it is not due to similar disappointing experience, Mr Bunker, that your thinking is on the same lines as his. In your considered opinion, does a cloud, significant or otherwise, still hang over the name of Bishop George Bell?

Sirin,

I agree. The statement seems suffused with a sense of Bell’s guilt. This seems to motivate the sheer belligerence and inability to consider properly the objections made. I can only put it down to Welby succumbing to a contemporary, ideological position on abuse and assault claims.

You have to understand the cultural context here. The archbishop is just being as trendy and right-on as one would expect from an Anglican prelate. We live in a cultural climate where sexual abuse and assault accusations are increasingly treated as convictions, where we’re told alleged victims (especially women) must be believed. This is the case even when, as in some of the recent allegations, they don’t seem to amount to actual assault or even harassment, even on the worst interpretation. And it is even the case when the allegation seems dubious.

Still, for me, the issue is not so much the term cloud as the term significant. There was this accusation, which could be true or could be false – it is impossible for us now to say either way. I think it would be inaccurate to say there was specific evidence or reason to distrust this allegation, anymore than there is to think it true. It is really a matter of suspending judgment in this case (and many others). Any historian looking into Bell’s life in later ages would have to consider it in just this way. You could call that a cloud, although I wouldn’t say it was significant, given that it is a single, uncorroborated account. The problem with the Archbishop’s response is he does think it was significant and clearly, and belligerently, seems to come down not for a just and careful balance between accusers and accused but as more keen to consider the needs and desires of accusers over proper protections for the accused.

No need to re-read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement to know that he did not “compare opinions held mistakenly before a fair trial and conviction showed them to be wrong” with current opinions on the Bishop Bell case. Far from it.

The Archbishop merely pointed out the following: That what is “alleged could not have been true” (because someone is “absolutely certain that it was impossible”) “sometimes turns out to be untrue” as it did, for example, in the case of Bishop Ball.

And that is a simple statement of fact. Not a comparison. – I can’t put it more plainly than that.

PH responds: here is the Archbishop’s statement in full : ‘

‘Following a letter sent to Lambeth Palace and also to the Telegraph newspaper by a group of academics, I felt it important to send a considered, personal response and this statement reflects the essence of my reply.

I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case. I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him.

Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example. As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focussed in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March.

The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused. It should be remembered that Carol, who brought the allegation, was sent away in 1995, and we have since apologised for this lamentable failure; a failure highlighted by Lord Carlile.

I wrote my response with the support of both Bishop Peter Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, and Bishop Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester. We are clear that we accept all but part of one of the recommendations Lord Carlile makes and we are extremely grateful to him for what he has done and the help he has given the Church.

He indicates that in his judgement, a better way to have handled the allegation would have been for the Church to offer money on condition of confidentiality. We disagree with this suggestion. The confidentiality would have been exposed through the IICSA process, and the first question we would have faced, both about Bishop Bell and more widely, would have been ‘so what else are you concealing?’. The letter from the historians does not take into account any of these realities, nor the past failures of the Church. But we will go on considering how we can make our processes better and more robust, as pointed out by Lord Carlile.

*As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged*. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret. The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic. But as I said strongly in my original statement the complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th Century.’

He will note the operative section ‘As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret.’

This is a direct response to the historians’ saying:
First : ‘We regard George Bell as a significant historical figure and *our assessment of his life and career has been an important aspect of our academic work. On this basis we suggest that our collective view on these matters constitutes a genuine and very pertinent authority.*

In this matter they are saying, with astonishing bluntness just this side of scorn that they know better than the Archbishop, and are better qualified to judge the matter than the Archbishop.

They continue : ‘In your public statement of 15 December 2017, the authority of your position was used to perpetuate a single allegation made against Bishop Bell, and you did so in face of the independent review which the Church itself commissioned. We believe that your statement offends the most basic values and principles of historical understanding, ones which should be maintained firmly by those in positions of public authority across society. They must never be ignored or abused.’

**This elaborates the same point***

‘In the past you have insisted that the Church’s view was based on an investigation that was ‘very thorough’. But Lord Carlile has plainly, and utterly, devastated this claim. Historians and lawyers both attach great importance to the presumption of innocence. Your comment seems to imply that a case against Bell has actually been established. It has not.

History cannot be made out of allegations. It is the study of sources. Lord Carlile’s review sets out the material of the allegation for everyone to assess for themselves, and he invites them to do so. There is nothing in it that connects in any way with what is firmly known about Bishop Bell. The allegation is not only wholly uncorroborated but is contradicted by all the considerable, and available, circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible. Furthermore, even on its own terms we find it to depend wholly on scenarios which simply could not have occurred, given what is firmly known and authoritatively established.

*There is no credible representation of personalities, relationships, patterns or locations which is remotely recognisable*. Far from enhancing the allegation, the insistence on vivid quotations undermines critically a testimony in which the experiences of infancy are ‘recollected’, not immediately but at a distance of many decades. Even a modest historical sensitivity would have established the basic implausibility of such a testimony.

The material supporting this allegation does not in our view constitute a credible basis for the writing of history and it flies in the face of our customary critical method. It represents something quite different, an unhistorical, indeed anti-historical, testimony, explicable, perhaps, but in different terms. We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible.’

The reference to the Ball case is clearly a riposte to this, though as I have explained it is a pathetically, pitiably inadequate and misplaced one.

As it happens, nobody in the Bell campaign, to my knowledge , has said that he or she *knows* him to be innocent. I certainly have not. In fact, from the very start, I have conceded explicitly that the allegations against him *might* be true. I specifically said so in my original article on the subject in the Spectator. No honest inquiry could proceed unless our minds were open to this possibility. I several times said privately to my allies in this that we must not be afraid of the truth. If persuasive evidence emerged that Bell was indeed a child molester, then we must concede it immediately, and withdraw. This was the explicit price of engaging in such a campaign, and if we lacked the courage to face it, we should keep quiet. As it happens, in the years of this campaign, not one solitary further accusation of this kind has emerged, despite local, national and now international publicity given to the accusation. On the contrary, two persuasive witnesses have emerged, who recall the time and place at which the crimes are supposed to have taken place and who(from very different perspectives) offer evidcence which fails to confirm, and casts doubt upon, the accusation.

Without knowing the answer to my question, I contacted both Sussex police and the NSPCC (who set up a helpline after the allegation was publicised) to ask if there had been any further complaints against George Bell. For the same reason, I sought (and was not permitted) a meeting with the accuser, though she had been willing to speak to other media and i was willing to abide by all necessary conditions to preserve her anonymity.

If Mr ‘Bunker’ has actually read the Carlile report, he will know the great cloud of circumstantial evidence undermining Carol’s claim, and the total lack of hard corroboration of it, , just as he will know that Professor Maden, engaged by the Church to examine the accusation, warned specifically and voluntarily of the possibility of false memory (though not all members of the investigating team were not told of this) . No court, civil or criminal, would have found against George Bell on the basis of what we actually know. Thus, by any civilised measure, he remains innocence of the charge made (just as Peter Ball, by comparison a trivial figure, remains by any civilised measure guilty of the crimes of which he was accused) , and those who insist there is a ‘cloud’ over George Bell’s reputation are no better than gossipers, rumour-mongers and purveyors of tittle tattle. I really do not know why Mr Bunker clings to his position, except to draw attention to himself.

What I find extraordinary, is that Mr Welby was told by his legal advisers to make a settlement to ‘Carol’ based on the ‘Civil’ standard of proof which is ‘the balance of probability’. How on earth could these people have possibly come to this decision since it is precisely, on ‘the balance of probability’ that there was no case to answer? The circumstantial evidence pointed firmly towards innocence and therefore, the balance was completely in Bishop Bells favour.
There must have been something else that was going on, at the time they all came to this ludicrous decision. Otherwise, I think these ‘legal advisers’ should let us all know who exactly, they are and publicly justify their conclusions, for on the face of it, it seems very odd advice.

Mr Welby said he agreed with all but part one of Lord Carlisle’s recommendations, the part about confidentiality as you mention, possibly leading to future accusations of a cover up. But he fails to acknowledge that this is a unique case with a tiny chance if any, of there ever being another like it. And refuses to grant any mercy or good will to Bishop Bell despite commending him on all the good deeds the man did throughout his life nor considered the awful impact it has had on his very elderly surviving relative. And he should.

In truth Mr Welby *must* know that not only would this case have been dismissed in a *criminal* court, but rather, it would never have come to court. So the mystery of why he continues to cloud the dead Bishop’s name and refuses to back down, remains.

@ Sirin: What astonishes me about the Archbishop’s statement is that he seems to have entirely failed to grasp the point of the criticism he’s been faced with.

Sorry, Welby isn’t that dull. This is “strategic muddle”, “accidentally on purpose”, “selective deafness”, as a cover for deliberate evasion. Which is what makes it so infuriating. He issues flannel as a cover for his real purposes, which are an attempt (increasingly pathetic) to “move on” from the actually proven instances of clergy sexual abuse. George Bell’s reputation ? Expendable material, in his eyes. Far easier to bundle him with the proven rogues. Distinguishing the guilty from the innocent is way too complicated.

@Mr Jackson: … the more I try and engage others who are members of CofE congregations about what is going on, the more I realise that they are generally ignorant of what is happening here.

I concur. Long-standing and committed friends to whom I brandished my copy of the Carlile report over the holidays had not heard about it, were aware only vaguely as another example of “paedomania” accusations against high-profile names which subsequently came to nothing. Welby manages to “bury bad news” quite skilfully.

Nothing in my experience of the CoE upsets me more than this case. I attend Anglican churches quite frequently, have many times considered confirmation, but the Church’s antics are an increasingly difficult obstacle. If there is no moral leadership from its senior Archbishop, what on earth is it for ?

Peter. At some point you will have to acknowledge facts.
1) Welby is a globalist and serves the elites as the Anglican Church did at its inception. That said, it later included many great Christian thinkers like CS Lewis and, from your information, clergymen like Bishop Bell.
2) Welby started out as a CEO and intended to pursue the globalist progressive liberal agenda in all his actions and words.
3) He wants to get rid of tradition.
4) He will undermine and belittle people who want to maintain tradition even if that means obviating justice and smearing Bishop Bell’s good name.

I support your actions and your words on this issue but call him what he is, a progressive liberal globalist who even wants to endorse the worst aspects of this and then have it inflicted on to Anglican schools. His actions are those of an ideologue and not an honourable man. He’s been presented with irrefutable evidence but is terrified that the traditional wing of the Church is galvanised so he, cruelly refuses to give the justified comfort and closure to Bishop Bell’s relatives. We should pray for people like him and the late Peter Sutherland because they are unwittingly or not, honouring and promoting pure evil. How’s that for truth?

What astonishes me about the Archbishop’s statement is that he seems to have entirely failed to grasp the point of the criticism he’s been faced with. It is implied throughout that he seems to consider it a matter of obvious fact that George Bell really was guilty, and that those who have written to him with their concerns are pedantically insisting on some obscure and wholly irrelevant point of law. He seems incapable of believing it possible that a man can be accused of such a crime and yet be innocent of it.

Let the Bell be sounded for Ball, and let the Ball be kicked for Bell.

Carey was undone (by Welby) for errors based upon his erroneous belief in the innocence of Ball. Let Welby be equally undone for errors based upon his erroneous belief in the guilt of Bell.

Sympathy for Welby should be tempered by his intolerance of Carey mentioned above, and his intolerance of his mother, whom he recently publicly identified as an adulteress.

Mr. Hitchens,

One writer above has suggested that there may some momentum growing among grass-roots Anglicans regarding this issue. I too would hope there would be such a thing, but the more I try and engage others who are members of CofE congregations about what is going on, the more I realise that they are generally ignorant of what is happening here. One can only pray that momentum really does grow and demands are made to correct this injustice and end the farce.

What an appalling lack of moral courage from the Archbishop. He is doing wrong purely for purposes to suit himself. The absurdity of casting doubt over Bishop Bell because others in the C of E have been proved to have been child abusers. What does this mean? Does one person’s guilt mean another person is guilty? Are people and situations not different? How can you hold this logic and rise to such a position of authority?

If someone made a claim against Archbishop Welby, however absurd and easily disprovable it was, by his own logic and reasoning he should have a ‘significant cloud’ over his name, be fired from his job, and by civil authorities would be proven guilty (and arrested?) just because there was an accusation, even if it had no credibility to it.

Please keep going. I can see why this raises the temperature of the blood.

The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: “… it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged.”

Indeed, and I think some contributors to the blog “know” (or at least think they know) that Bishop Bell cannot be guilty – “because he was a good man”. But as the Archbishop quite rightly points out, some people thought the same about Bishop Ball – and they were later proved wrong. – So far, so good.

But apparently not for Mr Hitchens who asks: “How can Mr Welby possibly compare opinions held mistakenly before a fair trial and conviction showed them to be wrong, and opinions held where there has not been and cannot be any such trial …?” And: How on earth can Mr Welby equate this case with that of George Bell…?”

Well, for a start, that is NOT what the Archbishop is comparing.

PH writes: He most certainly is. This is his direct retort to the historians. Read his statement. **** In fact, I doubt whether he is comparing (or equating) anything at all. He is merely stating a fact – that naive beliefs of this kind may turn out to be right, but they may equally possibly be completely unfounded. I see no lack of logic in that.

To argue as Mr Hitchens does over this point is, in my opinion, counter-productive for his struggle to right the wrongs done to Bishop Bell (for which he has my full support).
PS – Yes, I have actually read the Archbishop’s statement.
***PH: Then read it again****

Now I am getting use to the method of conflating the two different things, which Archbishop Welby and his supporters in the Church are adopting, possibly in order to manipulate the readers of their statements.

This time he writes the case of Peter Ball and the case of George Bell side by side, as Mr Hitchens points out;

”How on earth can Mr Welby equate this case with that of George Bell, who faced one uncorroborated accusation made years after his death, and was then condemned without any defence by what Lord Carlile found to be a sloppy and inadequate process in which key evidence undermining the accusation was not even seen by some of those involved, and in which key witnesses were neither found nor interviewed.”

Mr Welby talks about his personal tragic experience without articulating in whom he discovered ’feet of clay’ more than Mr Ball. But he *happened* to put this sentence between the names of Mr Ball and Mr Bell.

”As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret.

The experience of discovering feet of clay in *more than one person* I held in profound respect has been personally tragic.

*But* as I said strongly in my original statement the complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th Century.”
By using a linking word *But* in the last sentence, Mr Welby seemingly implies Bishop Bell is also included among the people in whom he has discovered ’feet of clay’. If not, why does he write their names side by side?

I think this comment about his personally tragic experience has nothing to do with the actual case of Bishop Bell that has been objectively and throughly investigated by Lord Carlile who has not found any feet of clay in Bell.

Does Mr Welby deny the Review de facto without explicitly stating so?

Weasel-Words Welby has really done it this time. Only media-management matters, so he dredges up the Ball case as distraction. Who knows how many people will be confused by a one-letter difference – whatever, they’re all useful to him. Keep it off-topic, evade the question, side-step somewhere else, fire up the irrelevances of a totally different person in totally different circumstances, anything, anything at all to avoid addressing the issues.

He must surely realise he is digging himself a deeper and deeper hole for people like readers here, following this case, aghast – but does not care, so long as big numbers of people do not come to know, and, slowly, understand what has been going on.

Only one thing for it: do not, please, let this drop, and in so doing, let him off the hook.

“Moving on” is one of the guiding principles of the modern politics of dissembling, and I am sure Welby knows just how it works. The Carlile report exists because of the pressures brought by Peter Hitchens and others like the Bell group. Now he’s trying to “move on” and pretend it doesn’t say anything important.

We need to hear a loud chorus of Oh Yes It Does.

This case seems to be part of some sort of civil war in the C of E.The one conservative Archbishop of Canterbury in recent history George Carey was foisted on the C of E by Mrs Thatcher.This caused a lot of resentment and Welby was able to use the Peter Ball case to remove George Carey from any position within the Church.despite the fact that he continues in holy orders and sits in the House Of Lords. Having treated one of his predecessors in such a fashion basically having accused him of collusion with Peter Ball he obviously feels powerful enough to ignore any protest about Bishop Bell. There is now basically a war between Left and Right now in Western Culture with issues like this weaponized to take out opponents.As Brexit and Trump have shown the Left are not good losers and fight dirty.If you are against them it is wise to remember this.

Mr Hitchens, God bless you, you are doing a splendid job defending the good name of Bishop Bell and exposing Welby for the not so bright person that many think he is.

However, all is not lost. Welby, by his actions, has also exposed himself and cannot possibly escape the natural justice that will oust him from the position for which he is so thoroughly unsuited and from the Church that agonises in confusion from the worldly influences inflicted upon it by him and many of his kind that surround him.

He and they have had their day and will shortly reap their reward!

“I cannot say that I care much who occupies the throne of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

I’ve heard Catholics saying similar things these days regarding their current, loose-cannon pontiff.

The response that Welby issued yesterday is laughable. He’s appears to be saying that Bell is guilty by association – the association in this case being the C of E. Because others there did it then Bell could have done it too. Brilliant.

You do well to pursue this, Mr Hitchens. And who knows, there seems to be some momentum, so maybe grass-roots Anglicans – who surely know a miscarriage of justice in their church when they see it – will make the Archbishop eventually see sense.

The Archbishop also said the following:

‘The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century.’

Eh? As Mr Hitchens said in a previous blog, it’s either/or. If a ‘significant cloud’ – a cumulonimbus, say – hangs over the Bishop’s name, it surely diminishes (at least obscures) his importance and achievements – and broods rather portentously over the mountain path to heroism.

Quite apart from the travesty of justice here, consider the banality of the Archbishop’s language. A ‘significant cloud’ hangs over George Bell. A significant cloud? When was the last time you saw a cloud signifying, let alone a significant cloud? As Orwell says, ‘the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts’.

-“Yet Mr Welby continues to describe this marsupial outfit as if it was serious, saying ‘The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused.’”-

A civil standard of proof of a serious crime?

The CofE is again, as it has done from its first, conflating not just two separate things but three.

Rather than it being for the CofE to determine the probable guilt or innocence of someone accused of very serious criminality, it was merely to decide whether or not the Church was going to settle a civil claim made against it.

The Law being such as to make the living Church and Congregation financially liable for alleged individual criminal behaviour over which they could have neither knowledge or control.

The limited action undertaken by the CofE panel was explicitly orientated to that purpose – NOT to establish the truth or otherwise of the allegation itself:

Annexes of the Carlile Review [separately also on the web] state:

“Annex E Advice given by Paula Jefferson, Solicitor, to Core Group on the 24 October 2014 [DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd]

“I have asked for some independent evidence of the family relationship but none has been provided. Her solicitors say that her younger siblings did not know her [relative] and are not able to provide evidence of the relationship. They point out that when the Claimant wrote in 1995 she did not identify her [relative] by name, but the response she received did and the name stated was correct. I am surprised that a statement has not been provided by the Claimant’s brother [ ] to whom she says she is close and to whom she also says she revealed the abuse. I would have thought he would have been able to confirm the family relationship.

“Ultimately whether or not she is believed will depend upon her oral evidence in court and whether she is a plausible witness. However all of the current information suggests that she is likely to be believed and to therefore establish on the balance of probabilities that assaults did occur.

“Annex H Minutes from ACC [Carlile] meeting with George Bell Core Group, Lambeth Palace – 11/05/2017: 14. […] GT also added that the focus of the core group was on the settlement, but he now thinks that investigations may well be needed in some cases.”

As detailed in Lord Carlile’s review, the Church Core Group particularly failed to find the two other still living witnesses who were there as young girls in the era of the alleged events who have since spoken on behalf of the late Bishop Bell and who could establish their bona fide relationships with the Bishop and his household.

Featured post

January 24 2018 – “Mr Bunker is back in his Bunker

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2018/01/mr-bunker-is-back-in-his-bunker-.html

24 January 2018 11:39 AM

Mr Bunker is back in his bunker.

I felt this exchange from the latest George Bell thread deserved a post of its own, and some emphases that cannot be given in the text of comments:

Mr Bunker writes:’ No need to re-read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement to know that he did not “compare opinions held mistakenly before a fair trial and conviction showed them to be wrong” with current opinions on the Bishop Bell case. Far from it.

The Archbishop merely pointed out the following: That what is “alleged could not have been true” (because someone is “absolutely certain that it was impossible”) “sometimes turns out to be untrue” as it did, for example, in the case of Bishop Ball.

And that is a simple statement of fact. Not a comparison. – I can’t put it more plainly than that.

****PH responds: here is the Archbishop’s statement in full :

‘Following a letter sent to Lambeth Palace and also to the Telegraph newspaper by a group of academics, I felt it important to send a considered, personal response and this statement reflects the essence of my reply.

I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case. I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him.

Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example. As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focussed in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March.

The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused. It should be remembered that Carol, who brought the allegation, was sent away in 1995, and we have since apologised for this lamentable failure; a failure highlighted by Lord Carlile.

I wrote my response with the support of both Bishop Peter Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, and Bishop Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester. We are clear that we accept all but part of one of the recommendations Lord Carlile makes and we are extremely grateful to him for what he has done and the help he has given the Church.

He indicates that in his judgement, a better way to have handled the allegation would have been for the Church to offer money on condition of confidentiality. We disagree with this suggestion. The confidentiality would have been exposed through the IICSA process, and the first question we would have faced, both about Bishop Bell and more widely, would have been ‘so what else are you concealing?’. The letter from the historians does not take into account any of these realities, nor the past failures of the Church. But we will go on considering how we can make our processes better and more robust, as pointed out by Lord Carlile.

As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is allegedAs with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret. The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic. But as I said strongly in my original statement the complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th Century.’

 

** PH continues :He will note the operative section ‘As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret.’

This is a direct response to the historians, when they said: (First) : ‘We regard George Bell as a significant historical figure and *our assessment of his life and career has been an important aspect of our academic work. On this basis we suggest that our collective view on these matters constitutes a genuine and very pertinent authority.*

In this matter they are saying, with astonishing bluntness just this side of scorn,  that they know better than the Archbishop, and are better qualified to judge the matter than the Archbishop.

They continue : ‘In your public statement of 15 December 2017, the authority of your position was used to perpetuate a single allegation made against Bishop Bell, and you did so in face of the independent review which the Church itself commissioned. We believe that your statement offends the most basic values and principles of historical understanding, ones which should be maintained firmly by those in positions of public authority across society. They must never be ignored or abused.’

**This further passage elaborates the same point***

‘In the past you have insisted that the Church’s view was based on an investigation that was ‘very thorough’. But Lord Carlile has plainly, and utterly, devastated this claim. Historians and lawyers both attach great importance to the presumption of innocence. Your comment seems to imply that a case against Bell has actually been established. It has not.

History cannot be made out of allegations. It is the study of sources. Lord Carlile’s review sets out the material of the allegation for everyone to assess for themselves, and he invites them to do so. There is nothing in it that connects in any way with what is firmly known about Bishop Bell. The allegation is not only wholly uncorroborated but is contradicted by all the considerable, and available, circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible. (****PH: This argument is what Mr Welby refers to, and seeks vainly to rebut,  when he says lots of people thought Peter Ball was innocent, before he pleaded guilty to his undoubted crimes****)

 

The historians continued: ‘ Furthermore, even on its own terms we find it to depend wholly on scenarios which simply could not have occurred, given what is firmly known and authoritatively establishend

There is no credible representation of personalities, relationships, patterns or locations which is remotely recognisable (***PH notes, this passage is also plainly the object of Mr Welby’s reference to those who doubted the guilt of Peter Ball)**. Far from enhancing the allegation, the insistence on vivid quotations undermines critically a testimony in which the experiences of infancy are ‘recollected’, not immediately but at a distance of many decades. Even a modest historical sensitivity would have established the basic implausibility of such a testimony.

The material supporting this allegation does not in our view constitute a credible basis for the writing of history and it flies in the face of our customary critical method. It represents something quite different, an unhistorical, indeed anti-historical, testimony, explicable, perhaps, but in different terms. We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible.’

***PH notes: The reference to the Ball case is clearly a riposte to this (Mr Welby’s statement is a direct response to the letter. To which parts of that letter could it possibly be a response, if not those I cite?), though as I have explained it is a pathetically, pitiably inadequate and misplaced one.

As it happens, nobody in the Bell campaign, to my knowledge , has said that he or she *knows* him to be innocent. I certainly have not. In fact, from the very start, I have conceded explicitly that the allegations against him *might* be true. I specifically said so in my original article on the subject in the Spectator. No honest inquiry or trial could proceed unless our minds were open to this possibility. (You might say that the Church could not have honestly inquired into the matter unless their minds were open to the possibility that George Bell was innocent. And you could reasonably say that they did nothing which suggests that their minds were open to this – not least, the appalling fact that Bishop Bell had no advocate or defender during this procedure, let alone a presumption of innocence).

 

I several times said privately to my allies in this that we must not be afraid of the truth. If persuasive evidence emerged that Bell was indeed a child molester, then we must concede it immediately, and withdraw.  This was the explicit price of engaging in such a campaign, and if we lacked the courage to face it, we should keep quiet. As it happens, in the two years of this campaign, not one solitary further accusation of this kind has emerged, despite local, national and now international publicity given to the accusation. On the contrary, two persuasive witnesses have emerged, who recall the time and place at which the crimes are supposed to have taken place and who (from very different perspectives) offer evidence which fails to confirm, and casts doubt upon, the accusation.

I acted accordingly. Without knowing the answer to my question, I contacted both Sussex police and the NSPCC (who set up a helpline freephone after the allegation was publicised) to ask if there had been any further complaints against George Bell. I waited some months to do so. There were precisely none.  For the same reason, I sought a meeting with the accuser, so that I could hear her side. This request was denied,  though she had been willing to speak to other media and i was willing to abide by all necessary conditions to preserve her anonymity.

If Mr ‘Bunker’ has actually read the Carlile report and its annexes, he will know the great cloud of circumstantial evidence undermining Carol’s claim, and the total lack of hard corroboration of it, just as he will know that Professor Maden, engaged by the Church to examine the accusation, warned specifically and voluntarily of the possibility of false memory (though not all members of the investigating team were told of this) . No court, civil or criminal, would have found against George Bell on the basis of what we actually know. Thus, by any civilised measure, as well as in law,  he remains innocent of the charge made (just as Peter Ball, by comparison a trivial figure, remains by any civilised measure guilty of the crimes of which he was accused). Those who insist there is a ‘cloud’ over George Bell’s reputation are no better than gossipers, rumour-mongers and purveyors of tittle tattle. I really do not know why Mr Bunker clings to his position, except to draw attention to himself.

 

 

Comments

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I do not think whether ’to suspend judgement or not’ is the heart of the matter in this case now.

The restoration of the good name of George Bell is the most crucial issue, especially after the Review.

The C of E had failed to respond to the claimant properly earlier and apologized her about it and paid for a certain sum of money. This part of the case is completed and closed.

The C of E had wronged the good name of Bishop Bell on 22 Oct. 2015 through the statement they had made.

The consequences of the statements were/are among others:

Many (or the majority) of journalists of news media *believed* and wrote the allegation as the proven fact. None of them has, as far as I know, retracted their articles (most of them were published on 22 Oct. 2015 and still available on the Internet) or apologized Bishop Bell’s relatives. I have not heard that the C of E has protested to the media who described the Bishop as a pedophile then.

The name of Bishop Bell has been swiftly and unfairly removed from many places. It was reported that the portrait of Bell was put back to the former place in the city hall of Chichester, if my memory serves well. But otherwise we have not seen that his good name has been restored concretely and thoroughly.

What the Archbishop Welby is doing is that he is saying ’Yes’ in practice to all the negative consequences upon the good name of George Bell and therewith hurting Mrs Whitley. Why is it *Bishop Bell* who continuously has to pay the price now and even in future for the allegation no one can sufficiently prove?

 

I wonder if Mr Hitchens noticed an apparent contradiction in the Carlile report?

I mean, “without a calculated intention to damage Bishop Bell’s reputation.” vs. “apparently deliberate destruction of the reputation”

Surely it can’t be both? Full quotes…

“I consider that what happened resulted from oversteer in the direction of what was believed to be the best interests of Carol and of the Church, and without a calculated intention to damage Bishop Bell’s reputation.”

“There is an innate contradiction between a settlement without admission of liability, as at least technically happened here, and the knowing and apparently deliberate destruction of the reputation of the alleged perpetrator, as plainly happened here.”

 

> ***PH writes. This is simply not true. No judgement is implied on ‘Carol’. The only thing that is judged is the case against George Bell, which is inadequate to justify a prosecution, let alone to secure a conviction( or compel him to give restitution for tort in a civil case). If this were not so, we would have to prosecute for perjury the advocates and witnesses in any failed prosecution, or nay failed defence, for that matter. Why do people refuse to understand the operation of the law? ****

What law? There was not a legal or civil trial. It was a “process”, internal to the Church.

Surely it is a judgement of some kind on “Carol” when you refer to “the great cloud of circumstantial evidence undermining Carol’s claim, and the total lack of hard corroboration of it”?

The George Bell Group refers to inconsistencies in the account of ‘Carol’ and asserts that it, “contributes to any assessment of Carol as a witness”.

Plainly, Mr Hitchens and other people believe her account is untrue (this does not mean she is deliberately lying, as I made clear). Logically, they must disbelieve Carol. Even if they don’t claim to *know* her account is untrue.

I am interested to know, what would satisfy Mr Hitchens? Would he be satisfied if the Archbishop said that George Bell should be “considered (or presumed?) innocent” in a probatory sense? I mean based on the something like the civil concept of the “balance of probabilities”.

Or would Mr Hitchens only be satisfied if the Archbishop declared that George Bell is, simply, innocent? I still maintain that at least in this latter sense, that would reflect badly on ‘Carol’.

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Hitchens, I support and commend your efforts throughout this affair.

 

Contributor Mike B, whom I thank for kindly replying, wrote:

“I think that you will find, Mr Preston, that the defence of Bishop Bell’s good name is all that is concerning those on Peter Hitchens’s side of the argument, who have contributed to this, and other threads, regarding this matter.”

Well, I am not sure who exactly you may mean by “those on Peter Hitchens’s side of the argument”, sir. Any decent person will naturally support a defender of another’s good name and especially the good name of a deceased person, for such a person is unable to defend himself or his reputation.
Yet I wonder if you may be exaggerating a little the disinterestedness of some of those supporters by your expression “all that is concerning” them.
I may be wrong, of course, but I seem to detect here and there in their writings a certain readiness to criticize the Archbishop himself and the Church along with him, a readiness which seems to me hardly to become people solely concerned with putting right an alleged defamation of a man’s character.
In defending one man’s good name shouldn’t people be careful to avoid any righteous exuberance in which they might be tempted to defame another?
You conclude, sir “..given that the Archbishop went public with his comments, it has become a public matter, hence the public’s business.”

How so, sir? I had never even heard of the good Archbishop’s comments nor indeed of the good bishop himself, until I happened to read Mr Hitchens’ robust defence of his reputation. Nor do I imagine that I was alone in that ignorance of events. If it is anyone’s “business” at all, it is surely the business only of those who manage and apply or withhold our laws, their advocates, plaintiffs and any summoned witnesses and jurors.
For the rest of the population it is, I maintain, none of their business, though some may be so susceptible to what Mr Hitchens himself has aptly called ‘gossip, rumour and tittle tattle’ that they are inclined to make it their ‘business’.

 

Peter Preston, “What I simply cannot make out is why anyone should interest himself at all – except to defend, as Mr Hitchens has done in the matter of the bishop’ good name – in whether a person with whom he or she has no connection whatever is to be held guilty or innocent of this or that offence. Why cannot people simply mind their own business?”

I’m not sure to whom you are referring?! Are you perplexed over the considerable comments and interest found here over a number of threads on the subject? If so, I wonder why. I do take your point that probably none of those posting knew the Bishop, (I don’t think) but even so, is it not the case, possibly, that firstly, we are responding to the numerous articles PH has provided us about the continuing issue and his part in it, to which many of us would want to show our support? Also there is the interest which all of us should be concerned with and that is the presumption of innocence which was wrongly denied the Bishop. And perhaps, since all of the discussion concerns the Church of England, we also ought to be concerned about its own behaviour throughout this most unedifying case.
All of which, regardless of whether we should really be concerned as to the guilt of a man we never met and don’t know, rather tips the balance in favour of sustained interest in all that Peter is kindly providing us for our information. And it is promoting a general discussion about several aspects of the case which could come up in other cases of both well known and anonymous people in future and things we need to try to guard against too.

 

@Peter Preston 27th January at 11:06AM

“What I simply cannot make out is why anyone should interest himself at all – except to defend, as Mr Hitchens has done in the matter of the bishop (sic) good name – in whether a person with whom he or she has no connection whatever is to be held guilty or innocent of this or that offence.”

I think that you will find, Mr Preston, that the defence of Bishop Bell’s good name is all that is concerning those on Peter Hitchens’s side of the argument, who have contributed to this, and other threads, regarding this matter.

Unfortunately, that good name has been wantonly discarded by Justin Welby and the Church of England, and Justin Welby has done so through statements which not merely hint at, but strongly suggest that Bishop Bell was guilty of prolonged child sex abuse. (I shan’t use the word paedophilia for reasons which you, as a Greek scholar, will doubtless understand.) Moreover, the Archbishop has done so, when there is nothing but the flimsiest of evidence to suggest Bishop Bell’s guilt. Hence, the discussion of legal principles and of the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell. What is more, given that the Archbishop went public with his comments, it has become a public matter, hence the public’s business, so that people who care about the wanton discardment of someone’s good reputation are quite right to voice their concern and even anger, at what has occurred..

 

-“I’m not trying to justify Welby’s actions, just to point out that from his perspective, there may be other issues to consider than the strictly legal ones.”-
Posted by: Persephone | 27 January 2018 at 11:02 AM:

Self-interest..?

 

What I simply cannot make out is why anyone should interest himself at all – except to defend, as Mr Hitchens has done in the matter of the bishop’ good name – in whether a person with whom he or she has no connection whatever is to be held guilty or innocent of this or that offence. Why cannot people simply mind their own business?
If I read in the newspaper that Mr Fred Whatshisname of Somewhere or other Street has been charged with riding a bicycle without lights after dark, I may be momentarily shocked by the depths of depravity to which unregenerate human nature can sink but, as I don’t know the fellow, I would quickly consign the news item to the ‘nowt-to-do-with-me’ file and get on with the rest of my life. To continue to interest myself in the matter to the extent of guessing at the man’s personal state of conscience would indicate, I think, an unhealthy state of mind in myself.
Would my state of mind be any healthier, if the fellow had faced a more serious charge?

 

It’s certainly true that many people don’t understand the law, but what’s more to the point is that many people aren’t very good at thinking logically. If the law was the only issue here it would be straightforward, but it’s not. Welby also has to consider the public response to a high-ranking CoE official speaking about child abuse – however irrational that response might be. So what can he do? He can direct people to look at the evidence, he can state that the Bishop would probably have not been found guilty, had the case gone to court. But he can’t make any public statement that would even imply that ‘Carol’ was speaking untruthfully (let’s not use the word ‘lying’, to avoid the matter of intention). Many people would interpret this as an attempt to cover up child abuse. That’s not a logical conclusion, but a lot of people aren’t logical thinkers. They won’t read the Carlie report, they won’t bother to look at the evidence and even if they do, they won’t be able to interpret it in a logical way. They won’t know how the police proceed in a criminal investigation, or how lawyers work. They won’t understand the difference between criminal and civil cases or what the different standards of proof are. No point in telling them that the evidence available would probably not even have led to the man being charged – their reply will be ‘there’s no smoke without fire’.They’ll just immediately jump to the conclusion it’s an attempt to cover up child abuse. And he can’t risk that.

I’m not trying to justify Welby’s actions, just to point out that from his perspective, there may be other issues to consider than the strictly legal ones.

 

Archbishop Welby subscribes to the contemporary progressive-liberal worldview, and one of its tenets is that all men accused of sexual assault are guilty until proved innocent. My hunch is that, despite all the legitimate criticism he’s faced from Lord Carlisle and others, he’s ideologically incapable of taking any stand other than the one he regrettably continues to. I think he maintains there’s still a cloud over Bishop Bell’s name because, if he didn’t, he would be forced to challenge many of his own deeply-held beliefs, and just for today he’s unwilling or unable to walk down that particularly difficult and painful road.

I’m aware I’m talking about things I can’t know, but I’ve yet to see anything to suggest I’m not making reasonable assumptions.

 

Jeremiah Jones 26 January at 03:31PM

I agree with you, Mr Jones, that it is simply ignorance of the law (which isn’t that difficult to understand) which is causing confusion.

All that matters is whether the burden of proof has been met in the case of Bishop Bell. It clearly has not been, even on the less onerous civil standard.

That is all. ‘Carol’s’ character would not have been impugned simply because it was decided that the case she had brought had not met this requirement.

 

I must say, rare as it is, I’m in more or less complete agreement with Bunker’s last paragraph to Robert Duncan. I think that the presumption of innocence is a legal principle and not strictly relevant for how we judge even living individuals outside the legal system. Rather, what’s important is we err on the side of suspending judgement – the evidence must be very strong before we conclude someone is likely guilty of some accused offence. But there doesn’t have to be a trial, and it is even possible to disagree with the verdict of a trial.

In this case, the evidence isn’t strong. We have one accuser without corroborating evidence. On the other hand, there is little that casts definite suspicion or doubt on Carol’s claim. Somewhere should suspend judgement, neither suggesting Bell guilty nor Carol is lying or mistaken.

 

Persephone replying to Peter Preston,26th Jan @11.02am, about what Justin Welby can do regarding his “significant cloud” remark.

“This is where Justin Welby’s problem lies, I suspect, whatever he may personally think. He can’t risk publicly saying anything that would even imply that ‘Carol’ is lying. Apart from the fact that this cannot be proved, the papers could spin it as saying that all victims of child abuse are lying…”

He doesn’t need to make any further comment about whether ‘Carol’ is lying, mistaken or suffers faulty memory. That is something people can decide for themselves. As PH has repeatedly pointed out, in law, there is no legal recourse to a witness in any criminal case, otherwise courts would be full prosecuting them, and they would not be so willing to give evidence. People can be found not guilty regardless of the truth of a witness’s evidence for any number of reasons. That is why they are not pursued in law.
Mr Welby could still say he has reconsidered the situation and retract this statement and leave it to people to draw their own conclusions as to what may or may not be the truth in ‘Carol’s’ accusation.
The only query I have, is why he specifically told Lord Carlisle not to decide if Bishop Bell was guilty or not in his enquiry into the church’s handling of the case? That seems odd to me. Why leave that out of the enquiry?
One final point, I don’t quite understand how it follows that if ‘Carol’ is lying, the press could say, “all victims of child abuse are lying.”? Why would that be?

 

Posted by: Persephone | 26 January 2018 at 11:02 AM:

-“This is where Justin Welby’s problem lies, I suspect, whatever he may personally think. … He risks being accused of wanting to cover up child abuse. Basically, he’s in an impossible position. What’s the answer?”-

The Archbishop’s statement reads:

“The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused.”

Its meaning is open to interpretation.

The CofE made an out-of-court settlement of the civil claim precisely so that it would not be decided in court based on the civil standard of proof.

The allegation made was never examined in court and so never the subject of a legal finding.

Therefore, not only was it “not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt” – more precisely, in terms, Bishop Bell was “not found to have abused” – there was no legal finding AT ALL.

 

***PH writes. (re Mr Phil W) This is simply not true. No judgement is implied on ‘Carol’. The only thing that is judged is the case against George Bell, which is inadequate to justify a prosecution, let alone to secure a conviction … Why do people refuse to understand the operation of the law? ****

I don’t think they are *refusing* to understand, I believe they genuinely *don’t* understand. Either the facts as to how English law works, or, far less, the reasons *why* it operates like that. The proximate reasons for what we have are buried in the accidents of our history, and what we have we now analyse at our (complacent) leisure. One could drone on about the failure of our school system to educate people in the most elementary facts of our history, constitution, law, presumption of innocence (isn’t that what we’re talking about ?) etc – but PH has done that better, many times. I comment only in surprise that he doesn’t answer his own rhetorical question.

Mr Robt Duncan’s contribution is pertinent:

“Perhaps, then, you will see the importance of this issue. It is not enough to suspend judgement. It is not enough to talk cloudily of clouds. In such cases, where knowledge is impossible, one has a duty, formally, to ASSUME innocence.”

Some people here seem to be getting stuck on a merely logical quandary of ‘Carol’ vs Bell, one or the other. This may be good mathematics (though only if you have your abstraction right), even useful for detective analysis, but it is completely useless for justice and morality. It is the stuff of continental “inquisitorial” justice systems (which, like Justin Welby, would be stuck forever on this case because the detailed truth is now irrevocably lost), but alien to the English justice system, which could easily have decided any case brought against Bell, and on all the public facts now known, would have acquitted – had there not been an early ruling that there was no case to answer.

***PH notes (re Persephone, and “survivors’ memories are false” etc) If any newspaper did this, it would certainly be open to condemnation under the IPSO code for inaccuracy, and so forced to print a prominent retraction, and probably also for a suit at libel from the Archbishop. The person who *has* suggested that the complainant’s memories *may* be false (not that they are which is unknowable) is the professional psychiatrist employed by the C of E to examine the claim.***)

Quite so. So even if Persephone is right as to Welby’s fears, he can easily (if he bothers to think it out properly) face down not only his own fears, but any ignorant flak that might fly as a result. The question is, does he have the basic moral courage required? Sadly I don’t think so.

 

I thank Phil W for his reply, in which he says: “Like I said, imagine the headlines? My point is that the explanation for [the Archbishop’s] behaviour is obvious.”

Not to me it’s not. Is the suggestion that the Archbishop is afraid of personal criticism in the newspapers, or negative headlines aimed at the complainant?

If the former, are we not entitled to expect a religious leader to do what he believes to be morally right irrespective of whatever criticism his actions may attract? George Bell certainly lived up to that.

If avoiding criticism is his motivation, the untenable stance he is taking is hardly helping his cause as he is on the receiving end of lots of it – and from people with a lot more standing than the editor of a tabloid newspaper.

If the latter, I cannot see the problem.

Phil writes: “…if we assume that she was confused or suffering from false memories then still her account cannot be believed by someone who believes George Bell to be innocent.”

Indeed. I do not believe her account. Does Phil? If so, on what basis given that there is no corroborating evidence but several inconsistencies in it?

Every legal case has a winner and a loser. Losers do not normally come in for criticism unless they have deliberately lied, and I stress I am not suggesting that applies here. Who among us has a clear recollection of events that took place in our childhood? Why therefore would Carol be likely to receive unpleasant press coverage? Even if she were, that is still no reason to avoid doing the right thing.

This should be a rare case with two winners: George Bell emerges with his reputation intact and Carol keeps the financial compensation she received for abuse she may well have endured at the hands of an unknown perpetrator.

I also thank Mr. Bunker for his reply but wonder if perhaps the legal system in Germany is different from that in England and Wales. I am not a legal expert either. I believe “not proven” is a possible outcome in Scotland but my understanding is that south of the border the onus is on the complainant to prove their case; the defendant remains innocent until such time that the case is proven beyond reasonable doubt. If there is doubt – and how can there not be in this case? – then George Bell is innocent.

I am not sure why Mr. Bunker feels the need to mention that he does not judge Carol to be guilty. George Bell’s innocence does not imply Carol’s guilt. Carol is not on trial.

 

@Phil W

“‘SURVIVOR’S MEMORIES OF ABUSE ARE “FALSE” CLAIMS ARCHBISHOP'”

Actually, this might not be the headline in the papers. They might take the apostrophe out, and make the word ‘survivor’ plural – with all that implies.

***PH notes: If any newspaper did this, it would certainly be open to condemnation under the IPSO code for inaccuracy, and so forced to print a prominent retraction, and probably also for a suit at libel from the Archbishop. The person who *has* suggested that the complainant’s memories *may* be false (not that they are which is unknowable) is the professional psychiatrist employed by the C of E to examine the claim.***)

 

@ Peter Preston

“But what need is there that “we” should decide such things at all, ma’am, when we have law courts whose precise function that is? Isn’t that a bit like keeping a dog and barking yourself?”

Well, this is the problem isn’t it? If an accusation is made against someone who died decades ago, there is no possibility of taking the case to court, and establishing guilt or innocence in the usual way. “We” – I use the term impersonally, to mean anyone who considers the case – may think it is extremely unlikely that the accusation is true, and indeed the “balance of probabilities” would indicate that it is not true – but this can’t be established with certainty. This is where Justin Welby’s problem lies, I suspect, whatever he may personally think. He can’t risk publicly saying anything that would even imply that ‘Carol’ is lying. Apart from the fact that this cannot be proved, the papers could spin it as saying that all victims of child abuse are lying. He can’t even say that false memory may be involved, even though this is a likely enough scenario, as there is also no way this can be conclusively proved. He risks being accused of wanting to cover up child abuse. Basically, he’s in an impossible position. What’s the answer? I don’t know. Perhaps the Scottish verdict of ‘not proven’. But what can he say that won’t be spun as saying the accuser if lying?

 

Contributor Mr Bunker wrote:

“In a way, I feel more comfortable if, instead of “assuming innocence”, I simply do “not assume guilt”. I think this must be because assuming innocence is “active” (and could easily be false) whereas not assuming guilt is “passive” (and cannot be false).”

Now that’s what I call plain good sense. The law-courts themselves sensibly concentrate on the charge brought against the defendant and so they do not “find innocent” but rather “not guilty as charged”, when they acquit.
Unless and until any charge is brought, the law, as I understand it, presumes innocency of life – a courtesy of the law to the citizen and a right thereto, should it fail to be accorded.

 

Peter Preston – 25 January 2018 at 11:47 AM – understandably cannot make out how what is called “the civil standard of proof” comes into the matter at all.

It’s a good question.

In fact it only came into it as a civil action in prospect which was never in the event either properly investigated or examined in court.

The civil claim brought against the Church of England was settled out of court when the CofE was confronted with the prospect of denying liability and the case being decided in a public judgement “on the balance of probabilities”.

The point is not academic.

That an institution is faced with being held financially liable by association in civil law – as a collective punishment – for serious crimes allegedly perpetrated in secret by one individual, even sixty years dead, whether or not they actually occurred, is an incredible situation.

The resulting confusion has been so all pervading from the outset that anyone might be forgiven for thinking that it appears intentional.

As is stated in paragraph 52 of the Carlile review:

“There is an innate contradiction between a settlement without admission of liability, as at least technically happened here, and the knowing and apparently deliberate destruction of the reputation of the alleged perpetrator, as plainly happened here.”

 

@Phil W 25 January at 02:28PM

“That is a legal principle.”

So it is; and it was a legal case which ‘Carol’ brought, so she should have been required to comply with it. That she clearly was not, is what has brought about this whole debate.

 

I was thinking about this regarding the previous thread on this theme, and am glad that PH has once again stated in this one that fighting for the presumption of innocence is not the same thing as an absolute declaration that the Bishop could not have committed any abuse. Because PH and his allies have been clear about this, it makes it even harder to understand why the Archbishop, with this qualification in mind, cannot bring himself to rehabiliate the reputation of Bishop Bell until and unless any hard evidence comes to light to cast doubt on it.

What other clergy have done is not relevant to this particular case.

Oh identity politics, what crimes are committed in thy name !!

 

”Oddly enough though, the impression I get from this article and the current discussion in general is that it is no longer primarily a question of whether the Bishop is innocent or not. Instead it had degenerated into a question of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s role in this affair and how suited he is for his job. I won’t take part in that discussion.” (Mr Bunker 24 January 2018 at 10:52 PM)

I think it is not *odd* at all. Since the Carlile Review has been published, it becomes clear that Lord Carlile has found no *feet of clay* in George Bell but rather found the wrongful actions of the C o E regarding this case from the beginning. It had not * degenerated* but rather focused on the responsibility of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As adeledicnander comments:

”This has been the actual point at issue from the very beginning.”

We should not forget what the C of E did on 22 Oct in 2015 to the good name of George Bell and how the media responded to it.

We should not forget that the name of George Bell has been *swiftly* removed from many places, especially around the C of E, from the schools, guidebooks and buildings etc.

His name has not yet been restored in many places because of the choice of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his supporters.

Mr Hitchens latest posts on this case are titled:

– What Does the Archbishop Think He is Doing? (22 Jan 2018)

– Historians and now Theologians are amazed by Welby’s refusal to admit that George Bell is not guilty of child abuse (18 Jan 2018)

-Justin Welby’s astonishing refusal to accept the outcome of a report he commissioned” (1 Jan 2018)

– Who’s really preaching fake news, Archbishop? (31 Dec. 2017)

– Acquitted and Vindicated – but his Reputation is Still in Prison.
The Church’s Duty to George Bell” (20 Dec. 2017)

 

I think this whole issue has been neatly summed up in Martin Sewell’s forum when he states

“If Bishop George Bell were alive today, and if he had children, they would have been removed from his care as soon as the allegations were made. Upon receipt of Prof. Maden’s report and the report of a judge of Lord Carlile’s expertise, these children would have been returned to his care. There would have been no lawful basis to do otherwise.”

In such a hypothetical situation one wonders if Archbishop Welby would stand by his statement that he believed there to be a ‘significant cloud’ hanging over Bell’s reputation.

 

Contributrix Persephone wrote:

“……it is naive to imagine that good people can’t do bad things. But there has to be evidence. And when an accusation is made decades after an event, where it comes down to one person’s word against another’s, how do you gather evidence? You can’t take forensics, you can’t interview witnesses if almost everyone involved is dead. So how do we decide?”

But what need is there that “we” should decide such things at all, ma’am, when we have law courts whose precise function that is? Isn’t that a bit like keeping a dog and barking yourself?
Why in any case need the condition of one person’s word against another be in any way a decisive consideration? Might not an individual still be innocent, even if several accusers should bring allegations of wrongdoing after the individual’s death, particularly if the latter had in his lifetime been wealthy and might therefore have been seen by unscrupulous persons as a potential source of compensation?
At all events, whether any of us is “guilty” or “not guilty” as charged is for the law courts to establish and not for others. In other words, since the adjective “forensic” actually means ” of or pertaining to the law courts”, we are in fact obliged to leave it to the “forensics”.

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January 28 2018 – “‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell” – ‘Conservative Woman’

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-deluded-beyond-belief-welby-cant-say-sorry-bishop-bell/

‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell

 

‘Wobbly’ Welby has unexpectedly firmed up into the Rock of Gibraltar. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is acclaimed for apologising as prolifically as water dripping from a leaking tap, has abruptly turned off the stopcock and is refusing to apologise for the most monumental cock-up of his career.

Welby has donned sackcloth and ashes and publicly flogged himself for the ‘hurt and pain’ the Church of England has (allegedly) inflicted on LGBTI people. Welby has crawled on his knees and cried mea maxima culpa for the ‘scars’ and ‘hurt’ to the campaigners for women’s ordination and ‘for my own part in that hurt’. Welby has walked on broken glass and slept on a bed of spikes as he even apologised for the Reformation. When the steam in the Lambeth pressure cooker threatened to blow off the lid, Welby apologised to a sexual abuse survivor for his office’s failure to respond to 17 letters seeking help and redress.

So why is Archbishop Justin, who like Uriah Heep has been ‘very umble to the present moment’, refusing to apologise for defaming the reputation of Bishop George Bell? Why has ‘Wobbly’ hardened his heart like Pharaoh in the story of the Exodus even after seven senior historians wrote an open letter complaining that the archbishop had shamed his office with ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ claims that Bishop Bell may have been a paedophile?

Welby’s Taliban-like intransigence has alienated even his loyal fans. According to a well-placed source inside the C of E, ‘there is a head of steam in the Church of England that could end up in his resignation over this’. If there is a miracle and the water in Lambeth Palace turns to blood or a plague of boils erupts on the skin of every canon at Canterbury Cathedral, Welby could well apologise by the time this column is published. There will be much rejoicing, and Bishop George Bell’s 93-year-old niece Barbara Whitley, who has called for Welby’s resignation, will pass the rest of her days singing the Nunc Dimittis.

So why doesn’t the spiritual head of 80 million Anglicans say the two most gracious words in the English language? Why is a man who is supposed to model repentance – the core Christian virtue at the very heart of the gospel – refusing to repent? Why has the Archbishop issued a statement that reads like a memo from the Ministry of Circumlocution and Periphrasis?

‘I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case,’ states Welby categorically. Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden has come close to describing the archbishop as psychologically unbalanced: ‘He has at best muddled himself. He is in the grip of what appears to be both a serious sin and a psychological distortion. At some point, he has conflated what he thinks is right with the notion of his integrity.’

I believe Welby is one hundred per cent sincere. His absolute and emphatic claim to occupy the higher moral ground and to be right beyond the faintest glimmer of doubt is not feigned. It is not a publicity stunt. Welby genuinely believes he is right and everyone else (including seven eminent historians, another group of theologians including heavyweights from the World Council of Churches, and Lord Carlile) is wrong.

If Welby sincerely believes he is right, we need to pray for him and to understand him sympathetically using the best spiritual and psychological resources at our disposal. The social psychologist Leon Festinger provides us with precisely such a vehicle of sympathetic insight into the archbishop’s mind and soul.

Rather unexpectedly, I stumbled on Festinger in an academic journal when doing research on the Hebrew prophets. What does psychology have to do with prophecy? Later, when studying apocalyptic cults I became even more interested in Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance. I also found his work invaluable in pastoral ministry when I met people who insisted that Jesus was going to return on a particular date (a house-church in a Mumbai suburb firmly believed that Jesus was coming back on November 20, 1999).

Following their research on a flying saucer cult, Festinger and his co-researchers argued that when a prophecy or strongly held belief is proved wrong, this results in intensification of belief. ‘Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, but he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: What will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervour about convincing and converting other people to his view,’ Festinger observes.

So what happens if a person is forced to do or say something contrary to the opinion he strongly holds? First, a person might change his beliefs. Welby could simply admit he made a mistake. Second, a person might change the way he perceives his actions. This is what Welby is doing by insisting on his ‘integrity’, drawing on a tenuous analogy with the real abuser Bishop Peter Ball (oddly, I wrote a column on the tale of two bishops Bell and Ball and demonstrated how the C of E ‘smears saints and shields scoundrels’) and rationalising by drawing on his personal subjective experience of ‘discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect’ as the benchmark of justice and truth.

He is trying to resolve his cognitive dissonance by standing by his slander that the heroic Bishop of Chichester, who sheltered Jewish children during the Second World War, was a child abuser who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name, despite evidence to the contrary. The sordid saga has demonstrated that it is actually the Archbishop of Canterbury who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name and office. It is the ‘significant cloud’ of self-delusion.

The global Anglican Communion can no longer afford the luxury of a Commander-in-Chief who has succumbed to what Friedrich Nietzsche called the ‘deplorable victory of the sanctified lie’.

  • Not so much a Christian Archbishop. More the wimpish CEO of a struggling charity wedded to the Labour party.

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    Careful Jules you will be excommunicated.

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    Agree wholeheartedly with your post, but sorry to see you adopting that awful American usage of the word ‘survivor’. Survivors are people who lived through Auschwitz or who are dug out ruins after an earthquake. Those who have suffered abuse are NOT survivors, they are victims

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    Que sera, sera, whatever Welby will be.

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    He is trying to protect the CofE Brand.

    His Brand has lost market share for a very long time and now only occupies a tiny segment of the market, due to the extreme left wing policies (theologically, socially and morally) that the self selecting hierarchy has embarked upon, regardless of the cost in membership (Or Biblical justification).

    Welby sees the future of the Cof E as being like Corbyn’s Momentum of Christian Britain and he will not condone anything that detracts from that trajectory.

    The lack of any apology is then seen as a rational act. He cannot upset what is his last significant customer base

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    Like Donald Trump, Justin Welby ought to undergo a mental examination and make the results public. Only then, we will be convinced that he is mentally fit for the job. But if the issue is moral, more than it is mental, Welby must resign. After all, he has been pointing fingers at the Donald, and the President of the US has graciously apologised for his re-tweets of a certain video. If Welby’s morality cannot match that of Trump’s (whom he has severely criticised), then Welby ought to call in the Removals. Jesus’ words about first removing the beam from your own eye before you can remove the log from your brother’s eye, are more than apt here.

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    Jesus’ words? The CofE don’t have faith in a book written by men don’t yah know. You simply behave in whatever way that “feels right”. If you are not sure then group prayer (preferably by a group of sisters, especially if you are male and always if you are female – of course, cannot ever have men having influence over women) can determine God’s will for your life.

    Where the Bible is used it is reinterpreted. Haven’t you heard about the Syrian Feminist who, singlehandedly got Jesus to change the direction of his ministry? It is one of their favourites. They have whole colleges reinterpreting the Bible to condone a Feminist, LGBTI and of course “abortion is a blessing” (actually stated by a female Principal of an Anglican Theological College)

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January 26 2018 – “Church loses legacy over paedophile bishop ‘myth'” – Daily Telegraph + Letters: “Welby must change his stance on Bishop Bell”

IMG_0719

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180126/281736974881073

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January 26 2018 – “Saint, tarnished” – Church Times – Leader Comment

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/26-january/comment/leader-comment/saint-tarnished

Saint, tarnished

26 JANUARY 2018

THE Archbishop of Canterbury would have us rethink our at­­titude towards heroes: acknowledging their bravery and moral rectitude while allowing them to have the feet of clay that belong to the human condition. But the Church does not think in terms of heroes. It has saints. And, although we allow our saints to have a shady past, and overlook a few negative traits — irascibility, per­­haps, or poor personal hygiene — we draw the line at abuse. The Archbishop might be able to think well of Bishop Bell while believing, as he seems to, the probability that Bell was responsible for the abuse of “Carol”. But this is like maintaining respect for Jimmy Savile because he was a good DJ and did charity work.

The pathology of paedophilia is held to be such that isolated cases rarely exist. It is this argument that is used to justify the public naming of suspected abusers to encourage other victims to come forward. But, when such an exercise fails to turn up any further evidence — and, indeed, prompts testimonies to the probity of the accused — this ought to have a bearing on the original accusation, especially when confidence in the treatment of sexual offences is being under­­mined by high-profile bungles.

It would be wrong to dismiss Carol’s testimony out of hand, as some of Bell’s supporters have. A power-company policy of ignor­­­ing a report of an outage until it receives a second phone call is no help to the household sitting in the dark. But the law courts are brutally black-and-white: there is no verdict between guilty or innocent, at least outside Scotland, and even Arch­­bishop Welby acknowledges that no court would convict on the present evidence.

It is because innocence is harder to prove than guilt that the UK legal system insists on assuming innocence until guilt has been proved. It is this assumption that Bishop Bell is being denied, and it is for this reason that Lord Carlile and others have advocated anonymity for those accused of abuse. Sir Cliff Richard, at the end of a successful fight to clear his name, re­­­marked: “It hurt me so much I don’t think I can ever recover personally.” Of course, Bishop Bell knows nothing of the accusation. Instead, it is the Church of England’s own history and reputation that is being harmed, despite this talk of heroes.

It is clear that the Lambeth psyche has been seriously bruised by the Peter Ball affair. Archbishop Welby named the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester three times in his short statement about Bishop Bell on Monday. Possibly, too, there are personal scars from the John Smyth cover-up. But an unwinnable wrangle over an unprovable case undermines the Church’s efforts to construct a credible response to present-day instances of abuse.

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January 25 2018 – “Church of England must exonerate Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Martin Sewell and Jill Davies

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180125/282093457164206

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January 25 2018 – “Archbishop refuses to lift significant cloud left over Bishop Bell” – Chichester Observer – Anna Khoo

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/archbishop-refuses-to-lift-significant-cloud-left-over-bishop-bell-1-8344085

Archbishop refuses to lift ‘significant cloud’ left over Bishop Bell

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has refused to apologise for his response to a report into the Church’s handling of historic sex abuse claims against Bishop Bell.

His comment that ‘a significant cloud had been left over’ the Bishop Bell’s name had provoked anger from campaigners pushing for George Bell to be celebrated again following the review by Lord Carlile, which found the Church ‘rushed to judgement’.

Bishop Bell

Bishop Bell

Responding yesterday, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he ‘cannot with integrity’ rescind his statement, in which he also said the Church would continue to name alleged perpetrators of sexual offences.

He said: “Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions.

“I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example.

“As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focussed in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March.

“The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability.

“It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt.

“The two standards should not be confused.

“It should be remembered that Carol, who brought the allegation, was sent away in 1995, and we have since apologised for this lamentable failure; a failure highlighted by Lord Carlile.”

He added that abuse was ‘often kept very secret’ but reiterated his previous comments that Bishop Bell was one of the ‘greatest Anglican heroes of the 20th century’.

Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958, was commended for his work supporting the anti-Hitler resistance.

The Bell Society had invited clergy to a ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ event in Westminster on February 1, with the aim of securing pledges to ‘restore Bishop Bell’s place in history’.

Measures being called for include 4 Canon House in Chichester being returned to its former name of George Bell House.

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January 23 2018 – “The Church of England’s Bishop Bell battle” – The Spectator – Tim Wyatt

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/01/the-church-of-englands-bishop-bell-battle/

The Church of England’s Bishop Bell battle

23 January 2018

4:03 PM

The Archbishop of Canterbury has once again been dragged into a battle between traditionalists and modernisers. This time though it’s not about gay marriage or women bishops, but the tattered reputation of one of the Church of England’s most-celebrated figures, Bishop George Bell.

Justin Welby was sorely mistaken if he hoped commissioning an independent report into the claim that Bell was a child abuser would draw a line under this messy two-year row. Instead, the report found that the church has made mistakes in the way it handled the accusations. This infuriated Bell’s supporters, who always maintained his innocence. Now, some are calling for Welby to walk, or at least apologise. But he refuses to do either.

Even Welby’s supporters would probably concede that his refusal to back down has poured fuel on the fire. In his report, Lord Carlile was scathing about the way the Church of England had handled things, suggesting that it had ‘rushed to judgement’ when it decided the allegations against Bell were probably true.
Carlile also concluded that Bell, who died in 1958, had not been given a fair hearing. Yet Welby continued to cast doubt on Bell’s integrity, issuing a statement saying: ‘We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name…Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness… No human being is entirely good or bad’.

This response has done little to calm Bell’s supporters. Now, three open letters chastising Welby have been published. In one of these, a group of historians, including Sir Ian Kershaw, call for Welby to take back his remarks about Bell: ‘We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible’.

To make matters worse for Welby, a group of church leaders from across the world have also spoken out. ‘The way in which the allegations against him were dealt with has shocked people well beyond both the Anglican communion and Britain. There has been a miscarriage of justice for one who himself fought so earnestly for the victims of injustice,’ their letter says.

Yet still Welby refuses to budge. ‘The letter from the historians does not take into account…the past failures of the Church…The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic’, he said.

The bust-up is now arguably about more than just Bell. Instead, it looks to be part of a wider war between two factions in the church: those who look back, and those who look forwards. The way in which Bell was promptly written out of history – buildings named after him were quickly re-named when the scandal first broke – seemed to some like a telling example of the progressive, thrusting, cavalier attitude they suspect also drives the CofE’s hierarchy. But for the clerics leading the church, there is little time for nostalgia for the ‘good old days’. They do not believe the church exists to venerate long-dead bishops and want to get on with the day job of doing God’s work.

So when the allegation arose against Bell, they had, it would seem, no interest in fighting to protect the reputation of one of the 20th century’s great Christian leaders. In the wake of other sex scandals that have plagued the church, the leadership was desperate to prevent a repeat of another cover up. Painfully aware of their dismal record in handling other historic cases of clerical abuse, the CofE ‘oversteered’ – to use Lord Carlile’s euphemism – in the other direction and rushed to condemn Bell, irrespective of what actually happened.

To the modernisers, this seemed like the logical and moral response to ensure the CofE could move on. Yet the irony is that in trying to dampen this row, Welby’s response has led to things blowing up. The fallout has also exposed the deep divisions rumbling at the heart of the Church of England. It is difficult to see how things will be solved amicably. And meanwhile, Bishop Bell’s name has been badly traduced.


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January 25 2018 – Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case, as Bishop of Peterborough calls for ‘a major review of anonymity'” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case as Bishop of Peterborough calls for ‘a major review of anonymity’

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to "uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty".  
Peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.   CREDIT: PA ARCHIVE 

Peers including the Bishop of Peterborough have called on the Government to protect the identity of people accused of a crime after their death.

One member of the House of Lords said Anglicans were “deeply ashamed” of the Church of England’s handling of the case of Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a child several decades after his death in 1958.

A report published at the end of last year by Lord Carlile found that the highly-respected bishop’s reputation had been unnecessarily damagedby the Church when it publicly named him in an apology to the alleged victim in 2015.

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.

In cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public wayRt Revd Donald Allister

Official historian of the Conservative Party Lord Lexden asked home office minister Baroness Williams whether the Government would “review the law governing the naming of deceased individuals against whom criminal allegations have been made”.

He called on the Government to review the law in order to to ensure the anonymity of dead suspects accused by “one uncorroborated alleged witness”.

Fellow peer Lord Cormack added that the case was “deeply shocking” and said “the reputation of a great man has been traduced, and many of us who are Anglicans are deeply ashamed ​of the way that the Anglican Church has behaved”.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister echoed the calls and added: “In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.”

However Baroness Williams said the Government “do not have plans to review the law”.

“Any decision to name an individual where that is considered to be in the public interest will necessarily be specific to the circumstances of an individual case,” she said.

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January 24 2018 – “Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/bishop-of-peterborough-breaks-ranks-over-churchs-handling-of-george-bell-case/124492.htm

Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case

The Bishop of Peterborough has broken ranks after the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to rescind a statement saying a ‘significant cloud’ hung over the late Bishop George Bell’s reputation after he was accused of abusing a young girl.

Donald Allister said George Bell’s ‘reputation has been severely damaged’ by the allegations, which a legal expert reviewing the case suggested would not have led to a guilty verdict ‘beyond the balance of probabilities’ in a criminal court.

Justin Welby
ITV / Peston The Archbishop of Canterbury has faced calls to resign from Bishop Bell’s supporters after his handling of the case.

 

Allister called for ‘a major review of anonymity’ in sex abuse cases and suggested that where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, the law should allow for the respondent also to be anonymous.

‘Until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way,’ he said in a debate in the House of Lords.

Explaining his remarks to Christian Today, Allister said the name of the accused should only be disclosed ‘when there was a substantial body of evidence suggesting guilt’.

‘I suggest that if a complainant is allowed to be anonymous, there should be a presumption that the respondent should normally be afforded the same right,’ he told Christian Today.

Bishop of Peterborough
Diocese of Peterborough Donald Allister, the Bishop of Peterborough, called for a government review on anonymity.

‘I am simply asking for a public debate and for the government to review this matter. I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers, merely that I believe such a review is necessary.’

The comments highlight divisions within the Church of England over how it has responded to the allegations against Bishop Bell.

The former Bishop of Chichester was deeply revered in the Church of England and was one of the Church’s most respected 20th century leaders. However his reputation was destroyed in 2015 when the Church of England appeared to admit he was a paedophile by publicly apologising to an alleged victim, known only as Carol, and paid her more than £30,000 in damages and legal fees after a civil claim was launched.

A subsequent review of how the Church dealt with the accusations by Lord Carlile QC found it ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its desperation to avoid being seen as soft on clergy sex abuse. ‘Serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence, Carlile’s review found.

But despite the highly critical report Welby refused to apologise to Bell’s relatives and supporters and instead issued a statement that appeared to leave open the possibility of his guilt.

‘We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name,’ he said at the time. ‘No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.’

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

After three open letters of complaint were sent to the archbishop, Welby issued a statement explaining he could not clear Bell’s name and defending the Church’s decision to make the settlement public.

‘Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions,’ he said.

‘The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic.’

He added it was important to distinguish between the level of proof needed for a criminal case in court, where the accuser needs to prove guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and a civil claim, which Carol bought, where guilt ‘on the balance of probabilities’ needs to be proved.

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January 24 2018 – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden

About

About Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden

Gavin Ashenden lives partly in Shropshire and partly in Normandy. He grew up in S.W. London, and then Kent, and was educated at the King’s School in Canterbury. After originally reading Law at Bristol University intent on a career at the bar, he found himself with a vocation to the priesthood. He trained at Oak Hill Theological College studying theology. He was ordained by + Mervyn Stockwood in Southwark Cathedral in 1980, and was appointed to a curacy in Bermondsey.

He spent the next ten years as a parish priest.. His curacy was at St James’, Bermondsey, then a docklands parish along the river Thames by Tower Bridge, and subsequently became Vicar of a Church on the edge of South London.

During the 1980’s when he was also vice-chair of Keston College, he was involved in smuggling bibles and medicine into the former Soviet Union, and samizdat out -for publication in the West. The experiences of being occasionally arrested and interrogated by the KGB and other security services played an important part in the development of his views on totalitarianism.

After postgraduate study in the Psychology of Religion with the Jesuits at Heythrop College in the University of London , he then completed a doctorate on the life and work of the Oxford Inkling, Charles Williams, and subsequently published ‘Alchemy and Integration- A study of the Life of writing of Charles Williams. (Kent State University Press).

He spent 23 years at the University of Sussex as a senior lecturer and senior chaplain, lecturing in the Psychology of Religion, Literature, and convening an MA programme in Monotheist Mysticism.

During this period he was also employed freelance by the BBC to present a weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme for four years.  He also become Presenter of the  the international Faith & Ethics podcast.

He has published on the Oxford Inklings and CS Lewis in particular, writing Op Ed pieces for the London Times, and occasional articles and book reviews in the Church Times.

He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England for 20 years, and was appointed one of the  theological canonries  at Chichester Cathedral. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Cross.

In 2008 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (2008-2017).He spent a number of years as a member of the ecumenical priestly fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld)

He has lectured in the USA as a visiting theologian for the Lutheran Church in Oregon, spoken at a variety of Diocesan Conferences in the UK, and represented the Church of England as a delegate to the World Council of Churches.

In 2017 and he resigned from his chaplaincy to the Queen in order to be free to speak out for the faith in the contested public forum, and subsequently appeared on media outlets across the world, including Fox News in the USA and the Bolt Report in Australia.

Convinced that the consecration of women to the episcopate represented the replacement of apostolic and biblical patterns with the competing culture of the values of Cultural Marxism, and dissenting from the increasing accommodation of the Church of England to  radical secular views on gender, he  resigned from  the Church of England in 2017.

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017, the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr Ashenden had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.

Much of his ministry is found on the Internet. Between 100 and 400 people share in the daily office and the viewing figures of his weekly homilies vaary between 200 and a 1,000 viewers.

He broadcasts weekly for Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and the Rev’d George Conger.
——————————–
Press Release from the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church.

The Feast of St Michael and All Angels

September 29th 2017 :

 

Former Queen’s Chaplain Consecrated as Missionary Bishop to Anglicans in

the UK and Europe.

 

 

The Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the USA, has announced the consecration in Vancouver, BC, during the course of an Episcopal Synod, of the Rt. Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the Queen, as missionary bishop to the United Kingdom and Europe.

 

Bishop Ashenden is charged with the responsibility of working as closely and collaboratively as possible with those Anglicans who are committed to remaining faithful to orthodox Christianity. In particular with the Free Church of England and the ‘Unity Forum’ that has been created to achieve that unity of purpose and action in the UK.

 

The Right Reverend John Fenwick, convenor of the Unity Forum, said: ‘Gavin’s stand for orthodoxy has been an encouragement to Anglicans in the UK and beyond. We look forward to working closely with him as we face the challenges that lie ahead.’

 

The Christian Episcopal Church is a traditionalist Anglican Denomination which originally emerged from The Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) in the 1980s in response to the capitulation of that Church to secular values and priorities.

 

Its bishops celebrate the fact that their Orders derive from both Anglican and Roman Catholic successions, and so offer potential for mutual recognition and collaboration in ecumenical relationships.  At the same time their commitment to the Gospel and the Scriptures has created powerful alliances across the evangelical and charismatic spectrum.

 

As the Church of England is in the process of abandoning Christian teaching on culture, sexuality, marriage and the uniqueness of Christian revelation, the Bishops of the Christian Episcopal Church believed that it was their responsibility to offer a renewed episcopal oversight and encouragement to those Anglicans in the UK and Europe who had become distressed and disillusioned by the changes of direction and the adoption of secular values by the Church of England.

 

Dr Ashenden trained originally in the law, and was ordained as an Anglican priest in Southwark Cathedral in 1980. He worked in parishes in South London for ten years before becoming a University Chaplain and a lecturer in the Psychology of Religion for 23 years.

 

He holds degrees in Law, Theology, the Psychology of Religion and a doctorate on the work of the Anglican theologian and poet, Charles Williams. He was a member of the General Synod for 20 years.

 

He was appointed as one of the Canon theologians at Chichester Cathedral, and in 2008 as a Chaplain to the Queen. He was a presenter for the BBC Radio’s Faith and Ethics programmes for four years and has written as a columnist for the both the Times and Church Times. In 2017 he resigned as Chaplain to the Queen so that he could speak out more freely in the wake of the Quranic readings in Glasgow Cathedral which denied the divinity of Christ.

 

 

The Most  Rev’d Theodore Casimes,

 

Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church in the United States,

Bishop Co-adjutor of the Christian Episcopal Church in Canada, Bishop of the Diocese of Seattle.

 

http://www.xnec.us/Christian_Episcopal_Church/Welcome.html

 

 

Gav photo full.jpg

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The Bell Chronology – 1883 to 2083 – Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester

 

 

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Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester

1883 to 2083

CHRONOLOGY COMPILED BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

 

 

 

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Thursday February 1 2018 – Church House Westminster

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]

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Friday October 5 2018 – Church House Westminster

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

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

1929 – George Bell appointed Bishop of Chichester 

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)

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

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]

1967

1967 – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” by Ronald C.D. Jasper [OUP 1967]

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

1985 

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)

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)

1993

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 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]

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)

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

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 8 2008 – George Bell House at Chichester Cathedral opened and dedicated by the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

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

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

Nov 1 2011 – Jimmy Savile scandal breaks – in UK

Nov 3 2011 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – in US

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]

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

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

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

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

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

March 27 2014 – “Betrayed – The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis” by Richard Scorer [Biteback Publishing 2014]

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

Nov 2014 – Operation Midland launched by Metropolitan Police [and closed in March 2016]

 2015

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” – BBC Jersey

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

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 – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail

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 – “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 – “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 – 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

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 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 CN hichester 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 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 – “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

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 – “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 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

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 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 – 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 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 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 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]

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 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 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 3 2017 – Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes, released from jail after serving 16 months of a 32-month sentence

Feb 5 2017 – A Poetry Evening to mark the Birthday of Bishop George Bell – Friends Meeting House – Chichester – 6.30pm

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 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 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 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 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 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.’

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 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 

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 reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 1 2017 – “What matters is the Conclusion to Lord Carlile’s Review – and that is already known. The rest are just ‘footnotes'” ~ Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [October 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 25 2016] – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 1 2017 – “Call for ‘living memorial’ to child abuse victims” – Jersey Evening Post

Nov 2 2017 – Justice for Bishop Bell hindered by further delay in Church Statement

Nov 2 2017 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell and the Carlile Review – Expected Release Date (Delayed)

Nov 4 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 4 2015] – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 8 2017] – “It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 8 2017] – “Celebrated Church of England bishop accused of child abuse ‘will have his good name restored’ by an inquiry” – Mail on Sunday

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 10 2017] – “Bishop George Bell review to criticise Church’s handling – reports” – Christian Today

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [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

When raised with two trustees of ATL last year after the Elliott Review, an irritated retort from one senior cleric was “We don’t own our own insurer”. This senior cleric sits on the board of Trustees that owns the insurer, and also on the Archbishops’ Independent Safeguarding Panel. If that’s not a conflict of interest – I don’t know what is. It’s not surprising that many survivors feel the CofE National Safeguarding is in place to safeguard institution and hierarchy!  – ‘Sea of Complicity’

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [March 15 2016] – “Damning report reveals Church of England’s failure to act on abuse” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Nov 5 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

“Yes, the inquiry was about child care, but at its heart is the Jersey Way in its sinister, controlling manifestation: ‘protection [‘safeguarding’ – Ed] 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]

Nov 6 2017 – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’. Deleted on request.

Nov 6 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

Nov 6 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 13 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.’

Nov 6 2017 – Justice for both Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’ hindered by further delay in Church Statement – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Nov 7 2017 – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’. Deleted on request.

Nov 8 2017 – “Guard against hysteria” – West Sussex Gazette – Letters – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Nov 9 2017 – “Victim Must Be Believed” versus “Victim Must Be Taken Seriously” [See Nov 6 2017]

”Must Be Believed” vs. “Must Be Taken Seriously”
The key passages seem to be this – an Oct 13 2017 re-draft of the House of Bishops Policy & Practice Guidance: [a re-draft which appears to have been made less than a week after the Church received the Carlile Review – Oct 7 2017 – a Review which has yet to be released ‘in the public domain’ (although its “flawed and unfair” conclusion has been ‘leaked’)

* NEW – as of Oct 2017 – Responding to, assessing and managing concerns or allegations against church officers practice guidance 

Page 23 – 2. Responding to a safeguarding concern or allegation against a Church Officer
 
Page 25 – First Response – The person receiving a Safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer
2. Respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard AND TAKEN SERIOUSLY (please see sections 2.2 – 2.5)
 
Page 30 – 2.2 Responding to an adult a safeguarding concern or allegation
 
In a Preface, +Peter Hancock says “This guidance substantially updates and replaces the ‘Responsibilities of Church Organisations’ section in ‘Protecting all God’s Children 2010’. It is in line with ‘Promoting a Safer Church’ : The Church of England policy statement for the children, young people and adults.
 
I was hoping to find the phrase “must be believed” in these old policy statements but, alas, no – unless I’ve missed it. These old policy statements are very generalised, so make for wide and open interpretation. I think this is what has happened, and the phrase “must be believed” has crept into the unwritten language of Safeguarding.
It would appear the phrase “To ensure they feel…taken seriously” is the new post-Carlile guideline, introduced on Oct 13 2017 – thus erasing the unwritten pre-Carlile “must be believed” idea which somehow crept into proceedings.
~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 9 2017 – Martin Sewell on ‘Must Be Believed’ vs. ‘Must Be Taken Seriously

“Many people claim to have been abused. but you cannot know for sure if these claims are true. I’m not suggesting that people in making these claims are lying or being malicious. Their stories may be true, but equally they may be mentally ill and delusional. You simply cannot know without proof. The point is that people – who may be innocent – are defamed and have their lives destroyed by these claims” ~ Anonymous

Nov 10 2017 – James Macintyre and George Santayana

“The treatment by the Church of England of the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, and that of the late former Bishop George Bell, needs further scrutiny and reflection…” ~ James Macintyre

Nov 10 2017 – “Act Promptly” – Bishop George Bell

It’s a sad sad situation
And it’s gettin’ more and more absurd…
Always seems to me
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

~ Elton John

Nov 12 2017 – Resignation of Lorna Ashworth who “has represented the diocese of Chichester on the Synod for 12 years and elected to the Archbishops’ Council last year”

Nov 12 2017 – From The Archives [July 4 2016] – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – “Charles Moore Notebook” – The Daily Telegraph

Nov 13 2017 – “Many Big Brothers are Watching You” – ‘All Things Considered’ – Rev Dr Peter Mullen

Nov 14 2017 – From The Archives [July 2017]  General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

The Bishop of Bath & Wells [Safeguarding Bishop Peter Hancock]: At the meeting on Thursday of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, we will already be giving consideration as to how and when we might consider the report when it is made available to us in order that there may not be any delay once the report
is published.

Nov 16 2017 – Church of England launches new-style Website and News Releases [but not a new Statement on Bishop Bell or the Carlile Review Release Date]

Nov 16 2017 – “As the C of E still sits on the report into his unfair trial – the story of how George Bell’s reputation was ruined” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Nov 17 2017 – Richard W. Symonds. The Bell Society

Is the Church of England, as an institution, capable of a public ‘we were wrong & we are sorry’ apology, genuine repentance and humility- especially in the case of Bishop Bell and George Bell House ?

Martin Sewell has noted the “extraordinary lack of curiosity as to whether there was a case for the defence”.

There was also an extraordinary lack of concern and care for basic justice regarding both Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’.

Carl Jacobs has said: “The Church of England deliberately threw George Bell under the bus because he was dead. It sacrificed his reputation to protect the institutional reputation of the CoE. It wanted the story buried, and George Bell’s grave was a convenient place to bury it….the CoE knew an investigation would produce no conclusive result. An unresolvable accusation that remained in the public domain was the worst possible outcome – especially given the current climate where an accusation against a church is sufficient to establish guilt. Pursuing an investigation would guarantee the problem would never go away. So to make the problem go away, they decided to presume George Bell was guilty. You can’t libel the dead. Only his family would be affected, and they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. That beyond any reasonable doubt is what I think happened”

~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 17 2017 – “Publish the Carlile Report Now! We have waited long enough” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Nov 18 2017 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letter by Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson – Church Times – Nov 17 2017

Nov 18 2017 – Meeting of the Chichester Diocesan Synod – Sussex Downs College, Lewes

Nov 20 2017 – National Safeguarding Steering Group [NSSG] and National Safeguarding Panel [NSP]

Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lead Bishop for Safeguarding (Chair)

Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham, Deputy Bishop for Safeguarding (Vice Chair)

“The Rt. Revd. Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham in the Diocese of Chichester is available for interview today. Please use the above numbers or contact his office on 01403 211139” [October 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883-1958]

Nov 20 2017 – An Open Letter to William Nye and the National Safeguarding Steering Group [NSSG] and National Safeguarding Panel [NSP] – Church of England

Nov 20 2017 – Church of England Statement on George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

Nov 20 2017 – “Row as Church of England hits back over claims it is ‘delaying’ George Bell report” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

“The report concerns one issue, one case and its message that the secret trial of George Bell was wholly unfair is quite clear. There is no real reason for any further delay. There has been quite enough delay in the Church acknowledging that it made a grave and severe mistake by treating allegations against George Bell as proven facts back in October 2015. They then sought to claim, falsely, that critics of their action were attacking the complainant. It really is time they grew up and owned up. If the Church had spent as much time thinking about whether to publish the smears against George Bell as it is about publishing the Carlile report, we could have been saved a lot of trouble”  ~ Peter Hitchens

Nov 20 2017 – “C of E tries to defend its delay over publishing the Carlile Report, which severely criticises its handling of the Bell case” ~ Peter Hitchens

“For what I care, those responsible for this nasty episode can remain anonymous with their shame, and be left to seek forgiveness in private,  through contrition. All I want to see is an admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust, and immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks. And the recognition by several media organisations that they treated an allegation as a proven charge and were wrong to do so. It took quite long enough to persuade a reluctant church even to admit there was anything to worry about. But if they are so keen on delay and caution, why did they not pause for a little longer before publicising the original claims, as they so energetically did?” ~ Peter Hitchens

Nov 21 2017 – “Bell review imminent” – The Argus – November 21 2017

Nov 21 2017 – The Church Times Letter by Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson that helped ‘turn the tide’ in the Bishop Bell case

Nov 21 2017 – Photo – George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester

Nov 22 2017 – “Terms of Reference” of the The Carlile Review ?

Nov 23 2017 – “This delay is intolerable” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Nov 23 2017 – The Reclamation, Restoration and Repatriation of the Bishop Bell Legacy [Part 1] – “George Bell Bishop of Chichester” by Ronald C.D. Jasper (OUP 1967) and “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” by Andrew Chandler (Eerdmans 2016)

Nov 23 2017 – “This delay is intolerable” – Midhurst and Petworth Observer – Letter – Meriel Wilmot-Wright

“It is now eight weeks since the eminent QC Lord Carlile delivered to Archbishop Justin Welby the report of his investigations into the unproven allegations against the late Bishop George Bell. Eight weeks – and the report is still unpublished. This delay is intolerable and there is now a large body of people nationwide calling for its immediate publication – one hopes, without redactions” ~ Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Nov 25 2017 – From The Archives [April 2 2016] – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – Petition closed 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]

Nov 25 2017 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – The Spectator

“Just over two years ago, the Church of England authorities hurriedly condemned George Bell because of claims that he had abused a child nearly 70 years ago. They paid money to the alleged victim. Bell, Bishop of Chichester and the leading British supporter of Christian resistance to Hitler, died in 1958. Many protested at the process by which Bell had been condemned. No contemporary documents seemed to have been studied and no surviving witnesses, such as his domestic chaplain, had been asked for their testimony. The mere accusation carried all before it. So great was the anger that the Archbishop of Canterbury courageously decided to review the decision to which he had been party and called in Lord Carlile QC to review the process which damned Bell. Lord Carlile reported in early October, and the steer was that the church would release his report roughly now. On Monday, however, a C of E press release said that the authorities ‘are at the stage of responding with feedback from those who contributed’. ‘This is the process with all independent reviews, there is a period of a few months between receiving the first draft and final publication,’ it explained. A few months! Obviously those criticised should be allowed to comment privately on what the report says, but there was only one accuser and only one supposed perpetrator. This is not the Chilcot report. Two thoughts occur. The first is that the delay strongly suggests that Lord Carlile has found the process to have been severely wanting. The second is that the ‘safeguarding’ team at the heart of the process are being much better safeguarded than ever poor Bell was” – Charles Moore

Nov 25 2017 – Memorial Service in Chichester Cathedral for the Duke who signed The Bell Petition

Nov 26 2017 – “What good is a church without justice?” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell – Mail on Sunday

“What good is a church without justice? As Mrs Merton might have asked: ‘So, Archbishop Welby, why have you now sat for 50 whole days on a report which says the Church of England did a wrong and unjust thing?’ I am repeatedly disgusted by the way in which our country has forgotten the basic rules of English justice. And I have written before here about the case of George Bell, the saintly and brave Bishop of Chichester who repeatedly risked unpopularity rather than remain silent about wrongdoing. If only there were more like him. He died in 1958, much mourned. Yet two years ago, on the basis of a single uncorroborated accusation made many decades after the alleged crime, the Church of England publicly denounced him as a child abuser. Somehow, the allegation became a conviction and was blazed abroad on the BBC and in several newspapers which should have known better. Despite huge publicity nationally and locally, no other accusation has been made in the years since. I had long revered Bell’s memory, and, with several allies, sought to get justice for him. We found that he had been convicted by a slapdash and inconsiderate kangaroo court. They made no serious effort to consult Bell’s huge archive (or his biographer, who knew his way around it) to check the claims against it. They never found or warned Bell’s living niece, Barbara Whitley, who was astonished and appalled to see her uncle suddenly smeared in public, and is still livid. They never looked for or consulted Adrian Carey, Bell’s personal chaplain, who lived in the Bishop’s Palace at the time of the supposed crimes. We did. Until the day he died, Canon Carey rejected the charges as baseless and impossible. The Church’s main response was to accuse us, quite falsely, of attacking the complainant, which we never did. Then, very grudgingly, it announced a review. Then, with glacial slowness, it appointed a QC, Lord Carlile, to undertake it. Lord Carlile delivered his report on October 7. You can imagine what it says. The C of E is still making excuses for not publishing it. How quick they were to condemn another. How slow they are to admit their own fault. Publish it now” ~ Peter Hitchens

 

The entrance door to george bell house in chichester partly open

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]

Nov 26 2017 – “Refugees” – A Poem by Brian Bilston

Nov 26 2017 – Anglo-German “Reconciliation” Tapestry in Chichester Cathedral by Ursula Benker-Schirmer – commissioned for the centenary of Bishop George Bell’s birth in 1983.

Nov 26 2017 – “Piety and Provocation: A Study of George Bell” by Andrew Chandler – Humanitas – George Bell Institute [2008]

Nov 26 2017 – Accuracy and “On reading and seeing what is not there” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

Nov 29 2017 – From The Archives [April 2 2016] – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – Petition closed 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]

Nov 29 2017 – New Bell Petition – “Publish the Carlile Review on Bishop Bell – Now!”

Nov 29 2017 – “If you like justice and loathe injustice, then please sign this petition” – Peter Hitchens

Comments

It’s naive to imagine that good people can’t do bad things, of course, but there has to be evidence. In cases like this, it seems impossible to even obtain evidence, let alone determine guilt or innocence. And yes, it’s a very dangerous situation if we get to the stage where people are assumed to be guilty unless proven innocent.

Posted by: Persephone | 30 November 2017 at 12:02 PM

I have signed the petition. The C of E’s horrible statement irritated me because it referred to ‘Carol’ as ‘the survivor’, and did so over ten times. This is deeply wrong, and isn’t much different from a barrister referring to a defendant as ‘the murderer’. If such a thing happened, the judge would have something to say about that kind of language. The problem with it is obvious.
I suggest that everyone now refers to Bell’s reputation ‘as if’ it has been restored.
The damage to his reputation should be written and spoken about in the past tense. Can’t we should just assume this, as if it’s a given, as in ‘Now that Bell’s reputation is restored we can relax until the next attack on the presumption of innocence comes along…’ or something like that….
Posted by: John Aspinall | 30 November 2017 at 08:53 AM

It’s very important that when an organisation decides that someone is guilty without a fair hearing they are held to account for that decision.
Posted by: Jacob Chase | 29 November 2017 at 05:43 PM

Nov 30 2017 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letter – Martin Sewell – The Spectator

Dec 1 2017 – “Justice” – Joanna Bogle

Dec 2 2017 – “Bishop Bell delay…What delay?” says Church – Letters – The Spectator

Dec 2 2017 – From The Archives [July 2017] – General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

14. Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) asked the Chair of the House of Bishops: The
Terms of Reference of the Carlile Review provide that: “The Church of England will
determine whether the full report can be sufficiently redacted or otherwise anonymised to
enable its publication without risking disclosure of the complainant’s identity.”
So that there may be complete confidence in our transparency, how will it be ensured that
those whose original judgements may be criticised are suitably distanced from the
redaction of the report, and will Lord Carlile be free (should he so choose) to indicate
whether he agrees or disagrees with the redacted format when published?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells (Rt Revd Peter Hancock) replied on behalf of the Chair of the
House of Bishops: The redaction of the Carlile Review will be undertaken solely by
reference to the normal principles, including where appropriate the need to honour
assurances of confidentiality and to comply with the Data Protection Act. The redaction
will be overseen by the Secretary General to the Archbishops’ Council [William Nye – Ed] who was not involved in the decisions being evaluated by the Carlile Review. It will of course be
62 entirely up to Lord Carlile to state whether he agrees or disagrees with the format upon
publication.
Mr Martin Sewell: The Carlile Review arose partly because the Church allegedly used
victim confidentiality to shield its own self from criticism. The answer that you have given
refers to confidentiality assurances having been given in the plural. Is that intended to
imply that the complainant to the Bishop Bell case will not be alone in the witness
protection programme?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: By now General Synod is aware that Martin Sewell knows
a lot more about the Lord Carlile Review process than I do. It is right that I do not know
that level of detail. Where there is an independent review, it is very important that I stand
– and others stand – back from it. I am here to help the archbishops and the House of
Bishops respond to those reviews. So the answer, Martin, is that I do not know the
answer to that very detailed question, but I will get a written reply for you.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich): In the light of the answer referring to
the redaction of the report being overseen by the Secretary General to the Archbishops’
Council [William Nye – Ed], are you able to give Synod a timetable as to when that is going to happen and when the report is to be published, particularly bearing in mind your answer to the last
question that it is to be considered at the next full meeting of the House of Bishops?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: You are talking about the Lord Carlile Review?
Mr David Lamming: Yes.
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: My understanding is that the work of the review itself will be
completed by the end of this month. It will then be down to Lord Carlile when he publishes
the report. At the meeting on Thursday of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, we
will already be giving consideration as to how and when we might consider the report
when it is made available to us in order that there may not be any delay once the report
is published.

Dec 2 2017 – Lord Carlile: “A complete loss of authority…the whole conduct of the police in this case [of Damian Green MP] is quite extraordinary”

Dec 2 2017 [Postponed until Church releases Carlile Review] – “Bishop Bell and Re-Building Bridges” – Venue: Dresden and Bonhoeffer Rooms – 4 Canon Lane – George Bell House – Chichester – Keynote Speaker: Martin Sewell [General Synod Member and Child Protection Lawyer – Retd]

Dec 5 2017 – “Justice for George Bell” Poster [distributed outside Chichester Cathedral on Sunday April 3 2016]

Dec 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 27 2017] – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait 

img_9510 (2)

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

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”

Dec 12 2017 – From the Archives [Nov 29 2017] – “If you like justice and loathe injustice, then please sign this petition” – Peter Hitchens

Comments

Signed it just now and glad to be able to do so and would like to say thank you for your own hard work in making this case known to more and more people who should be very concerned by what has been done here.
***PH writes: Thank you. It is quite hard to get most people interested, as George bell doesn’t have the profile other wronged figures such as Lord Bramall have. Yet the principle is the same. I was rather moved last night at the annual Anglo-German Advent Carol service in the Church of St Mary the Virgin (where Anglicans and Lutherans join in singing Advent hymns from both countries, and the Bible is read in English and German, a result of the arrival, 80 years ago, of a group of German Lutheran refugees in Oxford). There were German Christians there who revere George Bell because of his links with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and who were appalled by what had happened, but as yet did not know that there was a group acting in George Bell’s defence. Now they do.***
It’s naive to imagine that good people can’t do bad things, of course, but there has to be evidence. In cases like this, it seems impossible to even obtain evidence, let alone determine guilt or innocence. And yes, it’s a very dangerous situation if we get to the stage where people are assumed to be guilty unless proven innocent.
Posted by: Persephone | 30 November 2017 at 12:02 PM
I have signed the petition. The C of E’s horrible statement irritated me because it referred to ‘Carol’ as ‘the survivor’, and did so over ten times. This is deeply wrong, and isn’t much different from a barrister referring to a defendant as ‘the murderer’. If such a thing happened, the judge would have something to say about that kind of language. The problem with it is obvious.
I suggest that everyone now refers to Bell’s reputation ‘as if’ it has been restored.
The damage to his reputation should be written and spoken about in the past tense. Can’t we should just assume this, as if it’s a given, as in ‘Now that Bell’s reputation is restored we can relax until the next attack on the presumption of innocence comes along…’ or something like that….
Posted by: John Aspinall | 30 November 2017 at 08:53 AM

Dec 7 2017 – Lord Carlile “produced a damning report calling for tougher rules” in 2011 – BBC

Dec 7 2017 – “Why is the C of E still messing around with the Carlile Report?” – The Spectator – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 7 2017 – “Mud sticks to the innocent too” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Marion Somerville

Dec 9 2017 – “Bell Society Notes” by Richard W. Symonds

Dec 9 2017 – “A shocking indictment of complacency and complicity” – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Report – Senator Ian Gorst

Dec 9 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 5 2017 and July 21 2017] – “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way’ or ‘The Lambeth 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 [‘safeguarding’ – Ed] 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]

Dec 14 2017 – Petition Presentation to Lambeth Palace

Dec 14 2017 – BBC South East Today – Short item on Bishop Bell and the Petition [“Blink and you’ll miss it!” – RWS]

“The Church of England is expected to publish tomorrow a long-awaited report into the handling of a sex abuse case involving a former Bishop of Chichester. The Church accepts the late Bishop George Bell abused a girl during the 1940’s and 50’s and has paid her compensation, but he never faced criminal charges. Today, a 1000 signature petition was delivered to Lambeth Palace, calling on the Church to publish its review, of the way the case was handled, as soon as possible”

Dec 14 2017 – C. of E. set to publish report into the handling of George Bell ‘abuse’ case, but will it satisfy the critics?” – Christian Today – James Macintrye

Dec 14 2017 – From The Archives [October 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Dec 14 2017 – “An apology and explanation for my recent absence from here” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog

Dec 15 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

Dec 15 2017 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

Dec 15 2017 – Bishop George Bell – The Independent Review by Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBC, Q.C. [The Carlile Review] – Published: 15 December 2017 

Dec 15 2017 – “Bishop besmirched by the Church” – Front Page Headline – Page 1 – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Dec 15 2017 – “Restore the good name of George Bell, demand bishops” – Page 2 – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Dec 15 2017 – “George Bell verdict – Church’s botched handling unfairly destroyed reputation of bishop” – Christian Today – Harry Farley 

Dec 15 2017 – “Traducing George Bell’s name was ‘just wrong’ says Carlile review” – Church Times – Tim Wyatt

Dec 15 2017 – “George Bell review: Justin Welby refuses to apologise as row over ‘innocent until proven guilty’ rages” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Dec 15 2017 – BBC 1 – South East Today – News – 6.30pm

“For Bishop Bell’s reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way that occurred was just wrong” ~ Lord Carlile

“I am appalled by the Church’s behaviour, particularly by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement ‘there is still a cloud over George Bell’s name’. They should admit entirely what they did was wrong. They dragged his reputation through the dirt, and they should now ‘make of penitential efforts’ – to use a term they will be familiar with – to put right what they have done” ~ Peter Hitchens

Dec 15 2017 – “Anglican church ‘rush to judgement’ in George Bell child abuse case” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 15 2017 – “‘An example of human goodness’: how child abuse claims shredded George Bell’s reputation” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 15 2017 – “Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard & Robert Mendick

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s friend Franz Hildebrandt, said Bishop Bell’s family deserved a personal apology from the Archbishop and the Bishop of Chichester. 

“The Church can’t have its cake and eat it. Either he is innocent, in which case they must apologise, or he is guilty, which they can’t prove, and the report makes clear that they have not proved,” she told this newspaper. 

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bell’s biographer, said the Archbishop’s statement was “wrong” and “illogical”. 

“It fails a basic test of rational justice,”he said. “It lacks an understanding of all kinds of dimensions which require compassion, not least in Chichester, where people feel deeply upset by this.”

Dec 15 2017 – “C of E says sorry for its response to child abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell” – Anglican Communion News Service [ACNS]

Dec 15 2017 – The Church has lost its sense of truth and morality in the Bishop Bell case” – Charles Moore – Daily Telegraph

Dec 15 & 16 2017 – Press Reader – Media coverage on Bishop George Bell and the released Carlile Review

Dec 16 2017 – “Welby criticised over handling of historic child abuse case” – Newburgh Gazette

Dec 16 2017 – “‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts'” – “A person of dignity and integrity” – “Legal expert pointed to overlooked evidence” – The Argus – Spotlight – Reporter: Joel Adams

Dec 16 2017 – “Victim: ‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts” – The Argus Online – Joel Adams

Dec 17 2017 – “If a saintly man can be branded a sex abuser, none of us is safe” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – Mail on Sunday column

Dec 17 2017 – BBC Radio 4 Sunday Morning with Ed Stourton and Guests – including Chichester’s Marilyn Billingham on Bishop Bell.

Dec 17 2017 – “Sorry’s not enough for Church’s betrayal of a hero falsely accused” – Rev Jules Gomes [A Keynote Speaker at the “Re-Building Bridges” Morning Conference on February 1 2018 at Church House Westminster]

Dec 18 2017 – “The Archbishop of Canterbury comes under fire; but there are things to celebrate too” – The Daily Telegraph – Heathcliff O’Malley

Dec 18 2017 – “Former Archbishop of Canterbury lashes out at Justin Welby in letter / Carey lambasts Welby over church sexual abuse case – [Welby’s] decision is unjust and eventually will be judged as such” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 18 2017 – “Carey attacks Welby for ‘unjust’ sacking / Archbishop will be judged for decision, says Lord Carey” – The Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard & Hayley Dixon

Dec 18 2017 – “Archbishops at war. George Carey attacks Justin Welby over ‘unjust’ resignation demand” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Dec 18 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury criticised by Lord Carey” – BBC

Dec 19 2017 – “The Kangaroos of Canterbury” – The Salisbury Review – Peter Mullen

“Hung out to dry,” those are the words of Lord Carlile in his judgment on how the Church of England authorities treated Bishop George Bell

The Church operated a kangaroo court. Here are the facts…

Bishop George Bell (1883-1958), Bishop of Chichester, has been judged and condemned without any case brought for his defence. An elderly woman came forward in 1995 and claimed that Bishop Bell had sexually abused her fifty years earlier. The authorities took no action. The woman complained again in 2013, by which time Bishop Bell had been dead for fifty-five years. The police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify their questioning Bishop Bell, had he been still alive. Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, discussed the matter with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and in 2015 the Church of England offered a formal apology to Bishop Bell’s accuser, paid her an undisclosed sum in compensation – now revealed to have been £31,000 – and allowed her to remain anonymous. Memorials to Bishop Bell were removed and institutions – such as the Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne – changed their names.

Unsurprisingly, there was outrage. On 13th November 2015, Judge Alan Pardoe QC described the way the allegations against Bishop Bell had been handled as “slipshod and muddled.” Judge Pardoe’s criticisms were followed by further censure from a group of historians and theologians led by Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Bishop of Chichester replied with insouciance and a volley of jargon to these criticisms: “The Church is seeking to move on from a culture in which manipulation of power meant that victims were too afraid to make allegations, or allegations were easily dismissed. We must provide safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.”

But there were no “safeguards of truth and justice” for Bishop Bell who was condemned without a hearing.

The outrage did not subside and a committee of senior church people, distinguished lawyers and members of both the Lords and the Commons calling itself The George Bell Group was formed. On 20thMarch 2016, this group published a review in which they challenged the Church’s evidence against Bishop Bell and attacked it for failing to find or interview a key witness or examine Bell’s own extensive personal archive.

On 30th June 2016, the case formed a large part of a debate in the House of Lords on historical child sex abuse.

On 28th June 2016, the Church of England announced that it would hold an independent review of the procedure used. On 22nd November 2016 it announced that Lord Carlile QC would chair this review

Meanwhile, the George Bell Group declared that they had discovered in the Church’s initial case against Bishop Bell “…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. 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.”

Lord Carlile’s report was handed to the Church authorities two months ago and they kicked it into the long grass until last Friday.

So much for Bishop Martin Warner’s vaunted “…safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.” All along, the only interests being safeguarded here were those of the Church’s highest authorities in Chichester and Canterbury. We know very well why these authorities leapt so precipitately to condemn Bishop Bell out of hand: it was because they had previously had to admit to the existence of so many perpetrators of sexual abuse among the senior clergy they wanted desperately to appear to be doing something.

Thus the reputation of Bishop George Bell was tarnished because the Church’s highest authorities are seeking to cover their own backs.

Let us be in no doubt as to the seriousness of the Church’s conduct so eloquently set out in Lord Carlile’s report. To that phrase “hung out to dry,” he adds that the Church’s procedures were “deficient, inappropriate and impermissible”; “obvious lines of enquiry were not followed” and there was “a rush to judgement.”

In the light of this scandalously incompetent behaviour, the least that might be expected from the Archbishop of Canterbury is a profuse apology to Bishop Bell’s descendants, family, friends and numerous supporters for the distress his decisions have caused them. Is such an apology forthcoming? It is not. Instead Justin Welby persists in his mood of arrogant vindictiveness, saying, “……..A significant cloud is left over George Bell’s name. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones…”

This is outrageous. True, Bishop Bell was “accused of great wickedness” – but he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. And there is no “significant cloud” over his name. There is, however, certainly a very dark cloud over Welby’s name after his lamentable performance in this matter.

Well, there is still time: a whole week in which Justin Welby has opportunity to make his Confession before he celebrates Christmas Holy Communion.

Dec 19 2017 – “How can Archbishop Welby leave Bishop Bell’s name ‘under a cloud’?” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – William Jupe

Dec 19 2017 – “Welby was wrong to leave a stain on Bishop Bell’s memory” – Andrew Chandler – The Times

Dec 20 2017 – “Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking” – The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church, Oxford [Christian Today]

Dec 20 2017 – Acquitted and Vindicated – but his Reputation is Still in Prison. The Church’s Duty to George Bell” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Dec 20 2017 – A Call for the Archbishop to “carefully consider his position” – Letter Submission – The Guardian – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society] – Dec 18 201

Dec 21 2017 – “Welby ‘should resign’ over Bishop George Bell abuse claims” – BBC

Dec 21 2017 – “Chichester under fire over George Bell claims” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Dec 21 2017 – “What the Bishop Bell Case Reveals about Our #MeToo Moment” – National Review – Douglas Murray

Dec 22 2017 – “Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Dec 23 2017 – “Whatever has happened to British justice?” – Frederick Forsyth – Daily Express

Dec 26 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (1)” – Bats in the Belfry – Christopher Hill

Dec 28 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (2)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Dec 28 2017 – “‘Me-Too Movement – The Silence Breakers Time Magazine Overlooks” – WND News (US)

Dec 28 2017 – “Restore all the memories” – Chichester Observer Letters [Fiona Lunch]

Dec 30 2017 – “Bishop George Bell (3)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Dec 31 2017 – “Who’s really preaching fake news, Archbishop?” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

“I see the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been complaining about ‘fake news’. As well he might, since ‘fake news’ is a good description of the statement which Archbishop Welby’s church put out to the media, insinuating incorrectly that the late George Bell was a child molester.
Lord Carlile has now produced a devastating report which shows that statement was full of false claims. It said Bishop Bell would have been arrested if he’d still been alive, when he wouldn’t have been. It said there had been a thorough investigation, when there hadn’t been.
It said experts had found no reason to doubt the charges, when one expert most definitely had found such a reason and clearly said so.
Yet despite this total demolition of a case that any court would have thrown out, Archbishop Welby continues to claim (more fake news?) that there is a ‘cloud’ over George Bell’s name, like some dim wiseacre in a pub, utterly defeated in an argument by facts and logic, intoning doggedly that ‘there’s no smoke without fire’.
The only cloud over Bishop Bell’s name hangs there because Justin Welby’s pride prevents him from admitting he got it wrong. He knows what he needs to do” – Peter Hitchens

Dec 31 2017 – From The Archives [June 30 2009 – “No Smoke, No Fire” by Dave Jones]

“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)

Dec 31 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (4)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

 

2018

Jan 1 2018 – “Justin Welby’s astonishing refusal to accept the outcome of a report he commissioned” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 5 2018 – “What ought to happen after the Carlile report” – Church Times – Letters – David Lamming & Alan F. Jesson

Jan 7 2018 – From The Archives [October 22 2015] – Church of England ‘Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883-1958’

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/5-january/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

From Mr David Lamming – Lay Member of General Synod
Sir, — Lord Carlile’s report of his review of the handling by the Church of England of the claim by “Carol” that she was sexually abused by the late Bishop George Bell (News, 15 December) is devastating in its criticisms of the Core Group that agreed the settlement with the claimant (involving the payment of £16,800 damages plus £15,000 costs). Utterly demolishing the claim (made in the statement announcing the settlement on 22 October 2015) that “the settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process,” he shows that it was anything but “thorough”. Moreover, the statement disingenuously claimed that this included the commissioning of expert independent reports “none of [which] found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim”.
Although, as he is careful to point out, Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not include making a finding as to the truth or otherwise of Carol’s claim, the extracts that he publishes from the report of Professor Maden (commissioned by the Core Group), far from showing no reason to doubt Carol’s claim, give every reason to doubt it.
The obvious conclusion (or it should have been obvious to the bishops who commented publicly on the Carlile report) ought to be that if the investigative process was so fundamentally flawed, any finding, explicit or implicit, that Bell committed the alleged abuse cannot stand, with the consequence that the important presumption of innocence (for some reason, pejoratively described as “emotive” by the Bishop of Chichester in his public statement) applies, in the same way as it would apply to a defendant whose criminal conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on the basis of a finding that he had not had a fair trial.
According to the General Synod timetable issued on 14 December (the day before publication of the Carlile report), “Safeguarding” is to be the subject of a “Presentation under SO 107 — with Q&A” on the morning of Saturday 10 February. In the light of Lord Carlile’s report, that is not good enough. Time must be found for a proper debate when the issues arising from the report, and its implications for the Church and the National Safeguarding Team, can be properly discussed.
From the Revd Alan F. Jesson
Sir, — Shakespeare had Mark Antony say of Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interrèd with their bones.” Comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester ensure that this is also shamefully applied to Bishop Bell.
It also raises another important point, which seems to have been overlooked.
I have read Lord Carlile’s report, and the Annexes thereto, and, in the light of the botched inquiries of the Core Group (I cannot call them incomplete), it seems that, if Bishop Bell is innocent, as circumstances suggest, and if “Carol” is truthful, as the Core Group assume them to be, then clearly there must be somebody who has escaped any consequence of his actions.
The comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester render it imperative that a full independent investigation is urgently but thoroughly undertaken.
That tired cliché “Lessons learned” is too often an excuse for little further action. In justice to Bishop Bell, this must not happen.

Jan 7 2018 – “The Seven Resolutions” – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster – Thursday February 1 2018

The Seven Resolutions
1. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” comment concerning Bishop Bell. Any effective ‘rebuilding of bridges’ is almost impossible without this Apology.  
2. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a “face-to-face” meeting [she has already requested such a meeting]. The Bishop of Chichester has already met ‘Carol’.
3. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House – and to invite Lord Rowan Williams to re-dedicate the new plaque at George Bell House.
4. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, Revd Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the display of Bishop Bell’s Portrait (in storage within the Cathedral Library) at Church House on Feb 1.
5. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, to correct Page 37 of the Cathedral Guide “Society and Faith”:
6. General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s report.
7. Prayer

Jan 9 2018 – Letter from Anne A. Dawson from Northolt

Jan 10 2018 – Is the Archbishop of Canterbury in serious breach of Article 10 and Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “The Foundation of International Law”

Jan 11 2018 – “Hope outcome is a positive one” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Anne A. Dawson

Jan 17 2018 – “Bishop George Bell was a hero who saved Jewish children. It is time his reputation was restored” – Dr Irene Lancaster – Christian Today

Jan 18 2018 – “Archbishop criticised for ‘dangerous’ paedophile claim / Welby under pressure for besmirching bishop’s name” – Daily Telegraph – Front Page / Page 2 – Hayley Dixon

Jan 18 2018 – The Jasper-Loades ‘Bishop Bell’ Statement – Scotland

Jan 19 2018 – “Welby under fire from academics over ‘dangerous’ handling of Bishop George Bell” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

“Both Archbishop Welby and Bishop Hancock just don’t seem to get it, do they? There seems to be a moral blindspot in their ecclesiastical eyes. Is it a simple case of Matthew 7 v 5 about removing that mighty plank out of one’s own eye before taking that speck out of someone else’s? Can’t believe it’s just a simple case of a wilful ‘hardness of heart’. I’m all too aware about the dangers of pointing a finger when three are pointing back at me, but I’m really left scratching my head. Elton John was right: ‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word'” – Richard W. Symonds

Jan 19 2018 – “Welby is urged to withdraw George Bell ‘cloud’ statement after Carlile report” – Church Times [online only] – Reporter: Adam Becket

“It was a real pleasure meeting you as I was making my way to Gatwick. I have registered on your forum although unsure of what I can do to help, but after listening to you and the carriage of injustice which befalls a man, George Bell who cannot defend himself and voice his innocence is a worthy and just cause…Very little the Archbishop of Canterbury can do now with the enormity of what has been released aside from perhaps do the right thing which is resign! – David to Richard

Jan 20 2018 – “Defending the dead – The case of Bishop Bell” – The Economist – ‘Erasmus’ – Religion and Public Policy

Jan 20 2018 – “Justice for Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – His Honour Anthony Nicholl

Jan 21 2018 – “Imagine…….” – Peter Hitchens – The Mail on Sunday

Jan 22 2018 – “Bishop George Bell” – The Times – Letters to the Editor – 10 Chichester Cathedral Choristers

Jan 22 2018 – STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Jan 22 2018 – “What does the Archbishop think he is doing?” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 22 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury stands by statement saying there is a ‘significant cloud’ over Bishop George Bell’s name” – Christian Today

Jan 22 & 23 2018 – Full Media Coverage and House of Lords – Thinking Anglicans

Jan 23 2018 – “Bishop Bell not to be cleared of ‘abuse'” – BBC

Jan 23 2018 – “Welby declines to lift the cloud hanging over Bishop Bell” – Church Times

Jan 23 2018 – “Justin Welby: Coward?”

I have been angered this week to see the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to the George Bell case. Mr. Welby has long made it known that he does not wish to uphold the presumption of innocence and this mealy-mouthed statement to a group of leading historians and theologians only confirms this.

He seeks to right the wrongs of the past by digging in his heels against the finding of a report that he commissioned. Rather than do that which Our Lord commands of us, to repent of our sins, he has plunged his fingers into his ears and proceeded to shout over these seekers of justice.

I’ve written before about the anarchic state of justice in Britain and how this is failing to serve our society. But it should be a given that the leaders of the Established Church will do all in their power to uphold that which is right. Instead, his pride and arrogance have gotten in the way and Mr. Welby is unfit to sit on that ancient and hallowed throne.

The excellent Peter Hitchens has proved to be a great advocate for the George Bell Group, as has the wonderful Archbishop Cranmer. You should read their accounts of this disgraceful event. I urge you to do what you can to support this vital campaign, for one day it could be your memory that is trashed to provide an easy get-out for a cowardly, lifeless bureaucracy.

Mr. Welby can save what is left of his reputation if he does the right thing now and then resign, because in the end “people care more about the late, great George Bell than they probably ever will about Justin Welby.”

Why is that? Because Bell did good and was good. I’m sure that Welby is a decent and kind man, but he seems to be proud and unwilling to do what all of us must. His grey administration of the dying Church of England is leaving it mired in scandal. It should not end this way, but it might.

Jan 23 2018 – “Justin Welby under fire over refusal to say sorry over ‘trashing’ of Bishop George Bell’s name” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Jan 23 2018 – “Archbishop refuses to retract George Bell statement” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Jan 23 2018 – “The Church of England’s Bishop Bell battle” – The Spectator – Tim Wyatt

Jan 24 2018 – “Mr Bunker is back in his Bunker” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 24 2018 – “Welby’s Will-To-Power: Pride & Ego – Sanity & Sanctity – in the Saga of George Bell” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Missionary Bishop for the Christian Episcopal Church – Former Chaplain to the Queen and Canon Theologian at Chichester Cathedral

 

Welby pic

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Jan 24 2018 – “Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Jan 25 2018 – “The importance of Bishop George Bell” – F.A.C.T.

The importance of Bishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell (1883 – 1958) is famed for being one of the first to speak out against the dangers Hitler posed in the 1930s and for saving many lives during these years by guaranteeing refugees from Germany. He was one of the few to condemn our government’s obliteration bombing of German cities during the Second World War. He has been, and is, a revered and respected figure.

In 1995 (37 years after he had died) a complaint was made that Bell had abused a child in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The complaint was not passed to the police at the time but was passed to them when the complaint was repeated in 2013. The Church paid compensation to the complainant in 2015 and in 2016 the Church of England commissioned Lord Carlile to review their procedures concerning the investigation into the case. The resulting review was scathing in its criticism of the Church’s handling of the allegations against Bell. Lord Carlile concludes “The Core Group was set up in an unmethodical and unplanned way, with neither terms of reference nor any clear direction as to how it would operate. As a result, it became a confused and unstructured process, as several members confirmed” and “There was no organised or valuable inquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.”

In spite of Carlile’s criticisms the Church remains undeterred in holding Bell responsible. Bell’s name stays removed from buildings, colleges and institutions and his reputation traduced. The problems inherent in a system, like the Church, concerning safeguarding and issues of justice affect all who work or are involved in a church. The case concerning Bishop George Bell has highlighted the flaws and gives no assurance that justice will be done for the accused as well as for the complainant.

As the George Bell Group writes, “Lord Carlile’s report has now left the Church with many searching questions, including how best to remedy the many defects in the current Practice Guidance so as to ensure that such an injustice can never recur.” Unfortunately this injustice is already happening to innocent people in the Church.

Lucy

Jan 25 2018 – “Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case, as Bishop of Peterborough calls for a ‘major review of anonymity'” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Jan 25 2018 – “Archbishop refuses to lift ‘significant cloud left over Bishop Bell'” – Chichester Observer – Anna Khoo

Jan 25 2018 – “Church of England must exonerate Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Martin Sewell and Jill Davies

Jan 25 2018 – “George Bell will not go away” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Jan 26 2018 – “Saint, tarnished” – Church Times – Leader Comment

Jan 26 2018 – “Church loses legacy over paedophile bishop ‘myth'” – Daily Telegraph (Robert Mendick) + Letters: “Welby must change his stance on Bishop Bell”

Jan 26 2018 – “It is quite unnecessary and truly sad…….” – The Spectator – The Spectator’s Notes – Charles Moore

Jan 28 2018 – “‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell” – ‘Conservative Woman’

Jan 31 2018 – “New Bell material sparks fresh investigation” – Church Times

Jan 31 2018 – “Fresh information sparks new Bishop Bell investigation” – Chichester Observer – Stephen Pickthall

Feb 1 2018 – “Church accused of launching new shameful attack on memory of Bishop George Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick and Olivia Rudgard

 

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Feb 1 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

Feb 1 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster

Jules_01 (2)

Speaker on Feb 1: Revd Dr Jules Gomes

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters” – Christian Today

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishops try to blow up bridge, as George Bell Conference tries to build bridge” – David W. Virtue, DD

View story at Medium.com

https://medium.com/@jules.gomes/bishops-try-to-blow-up-bridge-as-george-bell-conference-tries-to-build-bridge-1a77cc0c8869

Feb 2 2018 – “Police should have no truck with the hounding of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 2 2018 – “New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – SpirtitFM

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishop Bell – The Church fights back” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Feb 2 2018 – “Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish” – Church Times

Feb 3 2018 – “Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarrassment” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Feb 4 2018 – “The Bridge on the River Chaos” – ‘Rebel Priest’ Jules Gomes – ‘Conservative Woman’

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 3 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds – ‘Spotlight’ & Bell Petition]

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 10 2016 – “I treated kids Bell ‘abused’. A young man tried to kill himself, says retired nurse” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt]

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 10 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds – Kincora, “Who Framed Colin Wallace?”]

Feb 4 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Website Launch [following the Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Feb 1]

Feb 4 2018 – Events in Chichester to mark the 135th Anniversary of the birth of George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

Feb 5 2018 – “Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Martin Sewell

Feb 6 2018 – “Welby under attack as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Feb 6 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby” – Church Times

Feb 7 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late Bishop’s reputation” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Feb 7 2018 – “Judges join call for Welby to apologise over Bell claims” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Feb 8 2018 – Church of England is facing more than 3000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation” – Daily Mail – Steve Doughty

Feb 8 2018 – “Church of England facing more than 3000 abuse cases” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Feb 8 2018 – “Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations” – The Times – Kaya Burgess

Feb 8 2018 – General Synod – Questions 40 to 60 – Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report 

Feb 9 2018 – Bishop Bell is still being defamed by the Church of England” – The Times – John Charmley

Feb 10 2018 – Transcript about George Bell – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ – Saturday Morning – Feb 10 2018

Feb 12 2018 – “Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3000 sexual abuse complaints” – Christian Daily (US)

Feb 12 2018 – “Rebuilding Bridges – News Alert – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ with Lord Carlile [ 10] – Comment by ‘GTP'”

Feb 12 2018 – “Church of England bullies George Bell’s elderly niece by denying her choice of lawyer” – Martin Sewell writes here.

Feb 13 2018 – “Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure” – Chichester Observer

Feb 13 2018 – “Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations'” – The Week

Feb 13 2018 – “Release of Bishop Bell document – A Critical Analysis by His Honour Charles Gibson [distributed by Tom Sutcliffe to General Synod in Feb ’18]

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to an Archbishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to a Bishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Feb 16 2018 – “Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile” – BBC Sport – Dan Roan

Feb 17 2018 – “With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firm grip” – The Guardian – Andrew Brown

Feb 18 2018 – Hitchens on Bell – Mail on Sunday

Feb 20 2018 – “Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety” – Daily Telegraph – Paul Hayward

Feb 20 2018 – 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)

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [May 2001 – Terence Banks – Head Steward at Chichester Cathedral – jailed for 16 years for sexual abuse of children ] – Released 2017 – Carmi Report published in 2004 – but only recommendations published – Terence Banks not named until 2014

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [2004 – Carmi Report published (not released by Church until July 8 2014 – following the jail sentence of Terence Banks in 2001 – only the recommendations were published – Terence Banks not named until 2014 ]

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [July 8 2014 – “Chichester child abuse victims wait 12 years for report” – BBC News ] – Carmi Report 2004 released – Terence Banks named in 2014 – not 2004

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [July 14 2014 – “Diocese and Cathedral turned deaf ears to victims’ complaints” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies ] – Terence Banks named in 2014 but not in 2004

Feb 20 2018 – The CARMI Report – Recommendations only in 2004. Fully published in 2014 – including the name of child sex abuser Terence Banks, the Saturn Centre Crawley, and two Chichester Observer Letters

Feb 20 2018 – Report of a Case Review by Edina Carmi commissioned by John Hind Bishop of Chichester in 2004 – The CARMI Report

Feb 21 2018 – Transcript about George Bell – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ – Saturday Feb 10 2018

Feb 22 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 3 2018 – “Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarrassment” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard ]

Feb 22 2018 – “No smoke, no fire” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Richard W. Symonds – Bell Society

Feb 22 2018 – Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person into Church of England’s handling of sexual abuse allegations” – MailOnline

Feb 23 2018 – Petition – To Re-Instate Bishop Bell as a House Name at Bishop Luffa School in Chichester

Feb 23 2018 – “Position is not defensible” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Feb 23 2018 – “The overreaction of Oxfam’s failings is part of a deeper, and more damaging, malaise” – The Independent – Patrick Cockburn

Feb 24 2018 – “Proof, not reputation, is crux of Bell affair” – Church Times – Letter – Marilyn and Peter Billingham

Feb 24 2018 – “Position is not defensible” + “‘Safer hands’ for royal wedding” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson + Noel Osborne

Feb 24 2018 – “Crux of Bell affair: proof” – Church Times – Letters – Marilyn and Peter Billingham

Feb 26 2018 – “The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell” – OXSTU [Oxford Student]

Feb 28 2018 – “The Importance of Bishop Bell” – F.A.C.T. [Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers]

March 2 2018 – “IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, Church of England safeguarding officials say” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

“We have to…be genuinely transparent and honest, and we have to be repentant”
– Archbishop Justin Welby
“I’m afraid this makes me reach for my ecclesiastical sick bowl – especially after reading Matthew 7 v 5 this morning…all about taking the log out of one’s own eye before taking the speck out of someone else’s. I am acutely aware when I point a finger there are three pointing back at me – but this is beyond hypocrisy”
~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

March 2 2018 – “Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

March 3 2018 – “Poor treatment of moral figure” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Tim Hudson

March 3 2018 – IICSA and Bishop Bell – The Times

March 4 2018 – “Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!” – The Conservative Woman – Rev Jules Gomes

March 5 2018 – IICSA Update – Monday March 5 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC: “…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”

March 5 2018 – “‘Culture of amateurism’ among possible problems with Church of England safeguarding, IICSA told” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 5 2018 – “‘Amateur’ and ‘shameful’ Church of England under intense scrutiny over abuse” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 5 2018 – “Bishops accused of ‘arrogance which equates the church with God'” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

“The Church of England considered itself above the law and only accountable to God…”

March 6 2018 – “‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears” – West Sussex County Times – Michael Drummond

March 6 2018 – “Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest – leaving him to abuse again and commit suicide” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

March 7 2018 – “Absolutely corrupted by their absolute power, the monsters in mitres” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Rev Jules Gomes

March 7 2018 – IICSA Update – Tuesday March 6 – ‘Thinking Anglicans

March 7 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 6

March 8 2018 – IICSA Update – Wednesday March 7 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 8 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 7

March 8 2018 – “Bishop Hind apologises to IICSA hearing over Chichester diocesan safeguarding practices” – Church Times

March 9 2018 – David Virtue – Viewpoints – VirtueOnline

March 9 2018 – IICSA Update – Thursday March 8 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Call for Archbishops resignation

March 9 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 8

Page 154 – Paras 1-25 – Roger Meekings: There are one or two things I would like to say, chair. I think there have been a number of crises and difficulties that the Church of England have experienced, and I think it probably is time for some fairly radical action to be taken by the church, and I know they are thinking carefully about that, but I think my problem is the amount of time it does seem to be taking. I would like to ask a question, really, about whether they should be stripped of their exemption under the Equality Act to help stamp out a culture of abuse and homophobia and sexism, because under the 2010 Act, the church, as a religious institution, has special permission to insist that those it appoints are Christians, but it can also discriminate over sex, sexuality, marital history and gender identity if they conflict with strongly held religious convictions.
Secondly, I would probably support the development now of an independent safeguarding body. Operationally, I’m surprised that the church has not already set up a national database to record cases of concern and to upload case notes and allow a proper audit trail. I think I said in my witness statement I think that the Clergy Discipline Measure does require a complete overhaul to be able to hold people to account.

March 9 2018 – “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is either untruthful or incompetent [or quite possibly both]” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Matthew Ineson calls for Archbishop’s resignation

March 9 2018 – From The Archives – 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” – Richard W. Symonds

March 10 2018 – IICSA Update – Friday March 9 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 10 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Friday March 9 

March 10 2018 – Psychotherapist Anthony Stadlen on Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’: “It is not at all easy to find the right words to respect both the presumption of the Bishop’s innocence until proven guilty, and the presumption of Carol’s integrity of character and memory until proven otherwise”

March 10 2018 – “The Slow Death of Patriarchy” – Jayne Ozanne

March 11 2018 – Private Members’ Motion [PMM] – David Lamming – General Synod – July 2018 ~ Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report

Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report
MOTION DETAILS

March 11 2018 – Timetable for IICSA Hearings this week – Monday March 12 to Friday March 16

March 11 2018 – “Are conservative evangelicals more likely to protect child abusers?” – Christian Today – Mark Woods

March 12 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Monday March 12

March 12 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 12

March 12 2018 – “Don’t blame me for safeguarding blunders, former Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, tells IICSA hearing” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 12 2018 – “Bishop claims he was ‘scapegoated’ over child sex abuse allegations” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

“…the damning extent of dysfunctionality and chaos in the diocese of Chichester was laid bare at the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse today” – Harry Farley

March 12 2018 – “Revealed: How former bishop failed to report paedophile priests” – Chichester Observer – Michael Drummond

March 12 2018 – “Church on the ropes…” – Revd Dr Jeremy Morris

March 13 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Tuesday March 13

March 13 2018From The Archives [Dec 29 2011 – “Dr Williams orders visitation” – Church Times]

March 13 2018 From The Archives [Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane]

March 18 2018 – “IICSA Monday and Tuesday – Reflections on ‘Harm Awareness'” – Stephen Parsons

March 14 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 13

March 14 2018 – “Abuse survivor tells IICSA of her battle for justice” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 14

“The area which he [Lord Carlile] has rightly…identified is that there was nobody there [in the Core Group] to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again…is something that I think was wrong…” ~ The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 Paras 14-18

Fiona Scolding QC and Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Q. Can I turn now to the allegations made against
3 George Bell. An independent review was published
4 in December by Lord Carlile of Berriew. Paul, would you
5 mind getting that up? It is not in your bundle, chair
6 and panel, so we will get it up on screen. ANG000152,
7 Paul. Then we need page 64, which should be section K.
8 This is some conclusions that I am going to ask you
9 to comment upon that Lord Carlile made in respect of
10 the core group.
11 Maybe if I explain, what happened in respect of
12 the George Bell case is that something called a core
13 group was set up, which was a group of individuals. Did
14 that include you? I can’t actually remember?
15 A. I was present at some meetings, but not at others.
16 Q. So there were a number of people — so Colin Perkins was
17 involved, and we will hear some quite detailed evidence
18 from him about his view about the Carlile Report. So
19 I am not going to take you through it in any detail.
20 I just want to deal with this bit, as you were a member
21 of the core group at some point in time.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. They met regularly in order to, firstly, investigate,
24 and, secondly, to reach conclusions.
25 There is criticism of the core group. It is
Page 20
1 described by Lord Carlile as “unmethodical and
2 unplanned” and “it was a confused and unstructured
3 process at which members had no coherent notion of their
4 roles and what was expected of them”. Would you like to
5 comment upon that? Is that your understanding?
6 A. These are stringent and harsh observations which largely
7 we accept. We were in a situation here of breaking new
8 ground. The formation of a core group was something
9 which we were unfamiliar with, which has subsequently
10 been regulated for us, and we were also, of course, very
11 aware of working in the context of a serious criminal
12 allegation against a person of a massive international
13 and national reputation.
14 So I think the failures of consistency, of sense of
15 purpose and how we were to function, those
16 allegations — those criticisms are valid against us.
17 I don’t think, however, that that means we were
18 cavalier or unaware of the seriousness of
19 the responsibilities that we were trying to carry out.
20 Q. Paul, could we turn to the next page, because that’s in
21 fact where my quotation comes from. Yes. So we have
22 254(i). The other matter I want to put to you is, it
23 further comments down at (v):
24 “There was no organised or valuable enquiry or
25 investigation into the merits of the allegations, and
Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018
6 (Pages 21 to 24)
Page 21
1 the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or
2 proportionality.”
3 What is your response to that?
4 A. The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is
5 something of a value judgment, I think, and we certainly
6 didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that
7 which was undertaken through our insurers and their
8 legal representative in whom we had considerable trust
9 and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as
10 a responsible and able person.
11 I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell
12 was never given parity or proportionality. It was
13 certainly given proportionality. We understood
14 absolutely that was the case. I think the area which
15 he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody
16 there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with
17 the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was
18 wrong and we have welcomed —
19 Q. That’s (ix), chair and panel, just so that you know.
20 A. We would recognise it would represent best practice now
21 in the ways in which we have outlined our procedures.
22 Q. Can I ask, why was the decision taken to issue a public
23 statement about the George Bell case, because that’s
24 something that Lord Carlile does also critique?
25 A. Yes.
Page 22
1 Q. Perhaps you would like to explain?
2 A. We were very aware of working in the light of
3 the recommendations in the interim report of
4 the archbishop’s commissaries, which had been very clear
5 that no settlement with a survivor should include
6 a gagging clause. Of course you could say there’s
7 a difference between a gagging clause and making
8 a public statement, but it was very strongly felt that
9 to settle and to write a letter of apology and to make
10 no public statement, with no indication as to whether or
11 not those actions would become public, would look very
12 quickly like coverup. Therefore, we felt that there was
13 an obligation on us to be open about what it was that we
14 were proposing to do.
15 Q. If I can just identify that Lord Carlile at
16 paragraphs 267 and 268 of his report — ANG000152, Paul,
17 at page 68, says:
18 “I am sure that the archbishop does not think it
19 appropriate to support the publication of what may be an
20 unjustified and probably irreparable criticism of
21 anyone, whether a celebrated bishop or not.”
22 And at 268:
23 “I regard this as a case, perhaps a relatively rare
24 one, in which steps should and could have been taken to
25 retain full confidentiality, with a clear underlying
Page 23
1 basis for explaining why it was done. For Bishop Bell’s
2 reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way
3 that occurred was just wrong.”
4 Do you have any comment you wish to make about that?
5 A. The first comment I would want to make is that, I think
6 we have learnt a painful lesson about the difficulty of
7 communicating through the media a very fine legal
8 nuance, and it’s recognised by Lord Carlile that we
9 never asserted the guilt of Bishop Bell, but to
10 communicate that in terms that the general public are
11 going to understand through the media is a very
12 difficult thing to do. Therefore, I think he does raise
13 an important question here about dealing with posthumous
14 cases, but also about being fair, I think, and
15 recognising the legitimacy and substance to an
16 allegation which we certainly felt was necessary with
17 Carol, the name that’s used for the person who brought
18 the case.
19 Q. Can we turn now, if we may, to another topic

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 15

Q. Can I ask you now — I think begin to ask you — about
25 the situation in respect of Bishop George Bell. You
Page 184
1 have provided a — you provided some details about it
2 within your first witness statement. But you also have
3 a supplementary statement in which you comment upon your
4 views about the report of Lord Carlile of Berriew.
5 I want to mainly take you, because I will say again, as
6 I have said several times, we are not interested in the
7 truth or otherwise of the allegations concerning
8 George Bell. I also understand from information which
9 has been — which is in the public domain that there is
10 another allegation. I will not be asking you about
11 that.
12 So if I can just identify, what happened in respect
13 of the George Bell case is that there was a core group,
14 you were part of that core group, consistently, which
15 was set up. What was your understanding of the purpose
16 of the core group?

17 A. If I may, I should say that the core group first met
18 13 months after the first email from Carol came in. She
19 emailed initially to Lambeth Palace April 2013. That
20 was forwarded to me.

21 Q. I think you set out — I don’t think we need to turn it
22 up, but paragraphs 392 to 398, chair and panel, of
23 the statement deal with what steps were taken.

24 A. Exactly. So the steps were essentially to offer support
25 and Gemma Wordsworth was the person who was doing all of
Day 9 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 15 March 2018
Page 185
1 that throughout the rest of 2013, and actually
2 throughout.
3 A civil claim was entered in I believe it was early
4 2014 and the core group was essentially — I think it
5 met in early — in May 2014, essentially to respond to
6 the matters arising from that. I don’t think we
7 initially called it a core group, because practice
8 guidance was still emerging at the time. So it was
9 effectively a meeting between key diocesan and national
10 personnel. It became called the core group because that
11 was the term in the emerging guidance. But I don’t
12 think it was initially called one.

13 Q. At paragraph 6 of your supplementary witness statement,
14 which is, just for the record, ACE0262843_003, chair and
15 panel, of that document, you refer to three documents:
16 a briefing note; a George Bell review timeline of key
17 decisions; and a safeguarding timeline overview.
18 Now, if we could get the first one of those up,
19 ACE026290. So this is the briefing note that took place
20 prior to the first core group meeting, which, as you
21 have said, wasn’t actually called that, in May 2014, and
22 this was just to inform everybody about the nature of
23 the case?

24 A. Yeah, myself and Gemma wrote this to make sure that
25 everyone in the meeting had an appraisal of where
Page 186
1 things — where we were at.

2 Q. Just to — I mean, I think everyone is familiar probably
3 in this room with the allegations in respect of
4 George Bell, but there was an allegation made by Carol
5 of inappropriate touching in the late 1950s. It would
6 appear that the complainant wrote to Eric Kemp in 1995.
7 That letter was on a file. That was then not
8 discovered. Then she then wrote again in 2013 to
9 Lambeth Palace and it was then discovered that the
10 letter had taken place in 1995 and that matters then
11 progressed from there. But it does appear that the file
12 had not been subject to the 2008/2009 past cases review.

13 A. That’s so.

14 Q. I understand there is some reference in one of
15 the documents — and I’m afraid I couldn’t find it —
16 that somebody called it — it was found in the “naughty
17 boys’ cabinet” or something like that. What is that?

18 A. Gosh, that’s an unfortunate phrase, isn’t it?

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. In the corridor in Bishop’s Palace, there is a cabinet
21 to the right which is effectively closed disciplinary
22 cases, so that’s — someone has called it the “naughty
23 boys’ cabinet”. So that’s what’s in there.

24 Q. I understand the reference, if we want to see it, is
25 ANG000030_017 to 018. Thank you, Mr Greenwood.
Page 187

1 A. Opposite that is a cabinet of largely administrative
2 files that are nothing to do with personnel; maybe to do
3 with a particular trust or a particular building. Upon
4 receiving Carol’s letter, Gemma and I went to the palace
5 to see if we could find, well, anything on George Bell,
6 and so we happened to look in that cabinet, not really
7 expecting —

8 Q. Is that the “naughty boys’ cabinet” or the trust deed
9 cabinet, so to speak?

10 A. No, I would have already seen it if it was in the
11 disciplinary cabinet, because I’d gone through that when
12 I first arrived —

13 Q. Right.

14 A. — for obvious reasons. The administrative cabinet, we
15 found just a loose manila folder of — that contained
16 almost all correspondence about George Bell. It was
17 things to do with the 50th anniversary of his death. It
18 was largely people writing in, “I was visiting the
19 cathedral. I was thinking about George Bell and his
20 work in World War II”, et cetera, et cetera. It was
21 that kind of material. We really therefore had no
22 expectation of finding anything, and then we did find
23 this letter from 1995 and the associated material.

24 Q. So this briefing note was given to everyone. Could we
25 just look briefly through the briefing note. Can you
Page 188
1 just talk us through it. I don’t think you need to talk
2 us through — could we go to — is it just one page or
3 does it go over to the next page? It goes over to the
4 next page. Right. It sets out basically the
5 chronology, what’s happened when and the fact that there
6 have been some difficulties. Is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. There is then a timeline of key decisions. So this was
9 prepared in advance of a review meeting held
10 in June 2016. This is ACE026297, tab 50.
11 I’m assuming that this is prepared for
12 Lord Carlile’s benefit?

13 A. Not — sorry, not at that point, no. This was the
14 meeting at Lambeth Palace, as far as I remember, this
15 was the meeting at which it was decided to commission
16 a review which then was the review that Lord Carlile was
17 asked to do. So this was that meeting. He hadn’t been
18 asked.

19 Q. Do you mind, Paul, if we just switch forward slightly on
20 this. There is more than one page. In other words,
21 it’s a chronology which says what happened when. So
22 you’ve got “Email” and then “Detail and comment” and
23 then where it comes from; is that right?

24 A. Exactly.

25 Q. Thank you very much. The third document is
Page 189
1 “Safeguarding timeline overview”, which is, again,
2 another summary also produced for the June 2016 meeting.
3 That’s ACE026288, please, Paul. Again, what’s this?

4 A. I think it — I believe it was a summary of the previous
5 documents.

6 Q. So this is kind of, “We know that some people are not
7 going to read the entire document, so I’m going to give
8 you the headlines”?

9 A. Essentially.

10 Q. An executive summary, I believe is the word that’s
11 usually used?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. That’s fine. Can you describe the approach that you
14 considered what then became known as the core group were
15 taking when they were looking at the situation in
16 respect of Carol? I mean, you detail this in your
17 submission to Lord Carlile in July 2017, but it would be
18 useful to have that precised, really?

19 A. Yes, I’m trying to think how to precis it. The approach
20 of the core group was — it was effectively to — or the
21 approach of the meeting that became the core group was
22 effectively to decide how to respond to the perhaps
23 fairly unique situation we were presented with. As
24 I said, by that point, support to Carol had been offered
25 for over a year. She’d spoken to the police. There’d
Page 190
1 been some counselling provided, and so on and so forth.
2 But I suppose it was the situation that really arose
3 from the receipt of the civil claim, and it was — we
4 were very mindful of —

5 Q. Can I just check. In fact, the civil claim — one of
6 the difficulties with the Carol situation is the fact
7 that the church is not insured in claims against
8 bishops — well, I think it probably is now but it
9 wouldn’t have been at the relevant time that the
10 insurance arose?

11 A. Yes, and that was, I think, one of the prompts for that
12 meeting. I think that for me that is an essential part
13 of understanding what happened here, that we were in
14 a very unusual situation of a civil claim coming in that
15 was uninsured, and, therefore, it wasn’t clear to whom
16 that effectively — to whom the liability belonged.
17 I should say, as I think I allude to in my
18 supplementary statement, there was a backdrop here, and
19 the backdrop was that we would also — well, the church,
20 that any civil claim with regards to Peter Ball would
21 have been in that same position.
22 I wasn’t involved in any of the discussions around
23 this, but I was aware that discussions were taking
24 place, that there could have been a very —
25 a potentially large number of civil claims coming in
Page 191
1 from around Peter Ball that would have also been
2 uninsured. So I think — as I said, I wasn’t involved
3 in any of those conversations, but there was an
4 awareness that any decision made around the George Bell
5 claim, there was a wider context.

6 Q. The approach that you have taken may — some people may
7 perceive it as a “believe anyone” approach. What were
8 you trying to do, or what do you think the core group
9 was trying to do? Because obviously Lord Carlile
10 thought that you were approaching it in the same way as
11 you would approach any other civil claim, so you were
12 trying to make a decision, you know, “Should this
13 individual be believed on the balance of probabilities
14 or shouldn’t they?” Was that the aim and objective of
15 the core group?

16 A. If I could just take those points in order?

17 Q. Of course.

18 A. In terms of the “believe anyone” approach, that’s
19 actually never been the approach that — I can only
20 speak for my team, but that — said in those terms, it
21 sounds quite pejorative. It sounds quite —

22 Q. That’s —

23 A. No, no —

24 Q. I’m saying it to challenge you.

25 A. I understand.
Page 192

1 Q. Because that’s what critics of it would say?

2 A. Exactly. So I understand the caricaturing of that kind
3 of approach is a sort of naive, believing anyone no
4 matter how fantastical the allegation, that has never
5 been the approach of my team. But the approach of my
6 team has very much been a willingness to take very
7 seriously anyone making an allegation and to offer the
8 support that would be offered essentially if the
9 allegation is true. So it’s not assessing the
10 allegation before support is offered, but it’s
11 essentially offering the support on the assumption that
12 it could be true. I’m probably articulating that quite
13 badly, but that’s the approach of my team.
14 In terms of, by the time the core group met, we were
15 aware that the civil claim would have to be assessed, so
16 almost by definition, the core group didn’t meet with
17 that kind of “believe anyone” approach because it was
18 meeting to start thinking about how were we going to
19 assess that claim.

20 Q. But was it meant to be an investigative process, kind of
21 a way of saying — or was it — I mean, please explain?

22 A. Yes. The first meeting, May 2014, was essentially, how
23 are we going to proceed? The second meeting, I believe
24 it was in July 2014, was — the advice received from the
25 lawyer who — the lawyer who was acting in the civil
Page 193
1 claim, although by that point it wasn’t entirely clear
2 who was instructing her because of this concern about
3 with whom did liability rest, but the lawyer acting in
4 that situation effectively — we were quite soon getting
5 into conversations about, should there be some kind of
6 publicity, should there be some kind of, you know,
7 acknowledgement that this claim or this allegation has
8 been made against this huge historical figure, and her
9 advice was very clear: you don’t have much ability to
10 test the claim, because it’s so old, but you do have —
11 sorry, to test the allegation, but you do have a civil
12 claim, so if you were to go public in any way before you
13 have tested that claim, before that claim is settled or
14 resolved, then you will be open to, you know, exactly
15 the kind of allegation of, “Well, you just — you know,
16 you jumped the gun”. So her advice was, allow this
17 claim to run, effectively; let’s do all of the things we
18 normally do in civil claims, instruct psychiatrists and
19 verify what can be verified and so on and so forth.
20 Once that is done, if the claim is settled, then
21 consider what to do about publicity.
22 So that’s what happened.

Really, looking back, we’d
23 all acknowledge that I think this was where the problem
24 arose, that at that point, very unusually indeed, the
25 core group became quite intricately involved with the
1 civil claim and the response to the civil claim —
2 perhaps not quite that they became synonymous, but it
3 was getting there. I think we’d all look back and say
4 that should have been held much more separately.

Page 94

5 MS SCOLDING: I don’t know whether, chair, this might be an
6 appropriate moment to break, because I’m about to start
7 on the response to the Carlile Report which I think will
8 take us past a reasonable hour. So I don’t know whether
9 now might be an appropriate moment?

10 THE CHAIR: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you very much,
11 Mr Perkins.

12 MS SCOLDING: Don’t forget, Mr Perkins, you are under oath.
13 Thank you.
14 (4.24 pm)
15 (The hearing was adjourned until
16 Friday, 16 March 2018 at 10.00 am)

March 15 2018 – Letter submission to the Daily Telegraph from Richard W. Symonds of the Bell Society

Dear Editor
Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner states (IICSA hearing, March 14):
“The area which he [Lord Carlile] has rightly…identified is that there was nobody there [in the C of E Core Group] to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again…is something that I think was wrong”
Then right the wrong which was unthinkable at the time.
This is the time to ensure the long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell is represented by a lawyer in the new Core Group – such as Desmond Browne QC – and someone known to Bishop Bell’s long-living niece.
Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

March 15 2018 – IICSA Update – March 14 & 15 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 16 2018 – IICSA Highlights – March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC: “…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”

March 16 2018 – IICSA Transcript – March 16

Page 30

Fiona Scolding QC – Q. He [Lord Carlile] identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?

Perkins – 2 A. I accept that critique,

Page 24

15 Q. Was it the situation that there was scant, if any,
16 regard to Bishop Bell’s good character? Because that
17 comes out of this at various other points in his
18 conclusions? Paragraph 56 of Lord Carlile’s conclusion,
19 he says:
20 “… scant, if any, regard to … Bishop Bell’s good
21 character [was paid].”
22 Again, he also argued that there was deliberate
23 destruction of the reputation of George Bell. What do
24 you say to those two things?
25 A. In terms of the regard given to his good character, the
Page 25
1 esteem, he also talks about that —
2 Q. You deal with this at paragraph 70 and onwards of your
3 witness statement. Maybe if you would like to turn that
4 up for your own benefit. Chair and panel, that’s
5 page 25 of Mr Perkins’ supplementary witness statement?
6 A. We were very mindful indeed of the reputation of
7 George Bell, and in many ways the reputation of
8 George Bell is why we were holding the core group in the
9 first place. I have just mentioned a number of other
10 allegations we’d received about deceased clergy. Most
11 of those are obscure clergy, and didn’t generate this
12 level of action. Because we were aware of the weight of
13 his reputation and the likely impact of people reacting
14 to any actions we took, to some extent that was the
15 reason that we were having this nationally chaired
16 meeting involving staff from both the national church
17 and Chichester.
18 But I am very surprised at the extent to which,
19 certainly throughout the last two and a half years,
20 there have been many calls, and I am concerned that some
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser.
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against
Page 26
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 —
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace,
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”.
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
15 Q. I think at paragraph 70 of your witness statement you
16 identify some research that the NSPCC did in educational
17 settings which often found that those who sexually
18 abused students are often the most competent and popular
19 of staff and are often — I think the word used by the
20 NSPCC is “adored”?
21 A. Yes. The evidence — much of the evidence this inquiry
22 has heard, much of the academic evidence throughout the
23 world, suggests, again, going back to Nigel Speight’s
24 quote, that people find it extremely difficult to
25 believe that especially their admired leaders, or
Page 27
1 admired teachers within that educational setting,
2 sometimes the teachers that are the most popular could
3 also be guilty of abuse. We know that’s worldwide
4 research.
5 Q. There are two technical issues I want to raise.
6 Lord Carlile criticises the core group, and this is at
7 paragraph 167 of his report, page 044, chair and panel,
8 if you want to get it up, B47. He identifies — he says
9 that one of the things that you got wrong was not
10 understanding that he wouldn’t — had he been alive, he
11 wouldn’t have satisfied the arrest conditions, is what
12 he says.
13 So you mistakenly — what I think he indicates is,
14 having read the minutes, he believes that what happened
15 was, you all thought he would be arrested, he would have
16 been arrested, and therefore that was something which
17 fed into your consideration of whether or not the civil
18 claim should be settled?
19 A. Firstly, I’m not sure that he’s correct about that,
20 having worked with Sussex Police on a large number of
21 cases. I’m actually just not sure that he’s correct.
22 I think he may well have been.
23 But he largely suggested that we were so
24 inexperienced within the criminal justice system that we
25 conflated arrest with charge with conviction. As I say
Page 28
1 in my statement, that is simply not the case. There
2 were plenty of very experienced safeguarding
3 professionals with, between us, decades of experience
4 within the criminal justice system who were perfectly
5 capable of separating those things out.
6 Q. Thank you. He also identifies that you hadn’t followed
7 the basic prosecutorial process of looking at whether or
8 not something had happened and whether or not — you
9 know, the two-stage test which the CPS identified. Do
10 you have any comment that you wish to make about that?
11 A. Well, he specifically criticises that Sussex Police
12 hadn’t communicated properly to us that process. He
13 identifies Detective Inspector EF as the person who
14 should have, but didn’t, correctly communicate that to
15 us. He identifies that from one email exchange in 2013,
16 right at the start, when we were arranging Carol’s
17 interview with Sussex Police.
18 As I say in my statement, between certainly myself
19 and Gemma, we probably had weekly contacts with DI EF
20 across a five-year period between Operation Perry and
21 Operation Dunhill, and I think it highlights my point
22 that making that conclusion based on one email exchange
23 rather than discussing that with us, where we could have
24 explained that level of contact, is one of my concerns
25 about the process of the report.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

Page 29
1 Q. He also recommends, Lord Carlile, at paragraph 170, that
2 there should have been specialist criminal law advice
3 provided to the group. What’s your view about that?
4 A. If I can just —
5 Q. It is page 44 of B47, chair and panel. Thank you very
6 much, Paul.
7 A. I’m just trying to find within my own statement —
8 Q. Oh, you deal with it at paragraph 57, Mr Perkins.
9 A. Thank you.
10 Q. Paragraphs 56, 57 and 58.
11 A. Thank you. Firstly, this was a civil claim, so tested
12 to the civil standard. So it’s still not clear, and
13 I believe not clear to others who are responding to
14 this, why a comment about whether or not it could have
15 been proved to the criminal standard would necessarily
16 help us in deciding whether it could have been proved to
17 the civil standard.
18 But, again, that comment seems to have ignored my
19 submission from July 2016, where I make really clear,
20 and the minutes make really clear, and the legal advice
21 provided to the core group makes really clear, we were
22 making a choice to believe.
23 There was — never at any point, in my recollection,
24 at any point in the core group, did anyone say, “He
25 would have been convicted for this, so we have no
Page 30
1 choice”. That just wasn’t part of the discussion, which
2 I say in that paragraph.
3 Q. Which, again, Lord Carlile in his report at
4 paragraph 171 seems to identify that one of
5 the criticisms of the core group is they didn’t think
6 about whether or not he would have been prosecuted had
7 he been alive, and he identifies that the prospects of
8 successful prosecution were low. I think at
9 paragraph 57, you say —
10 A. Thank you.
11 Q. — “Well, we wouldn’t necessarily have asked ourselves
12 that question”?
13 A. We were fully aware that the chances of a conviction,
14 were he alive, were low, and, as I say at the end of
15 paragraph 57, external advice on that particular point,
16 was a criminal conviction likely, was not sought, not
17 because it never occurred to us to ask, but because the
18 answer was relatively obvious.
19 Q. Can I ask you just about two further points that he
20 raises at paragraph 155, if we can go back to that,
21 please, chair and panel, 038, please, Paul. Page 38,
22 chair and panel, of B47.
23 He identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?
2 A. I accept that critique, although in the submission from
3 the National Safeguarding Steering Group, I would also
4 emphasise the separation in that submission from the
5 action — between the actions of the core group, the
6 work of the core group, and the work of — I think it’s
7 called — a group — a body thinking about the
8 litigation. I am not sure that there should be within
9 the core group a person doing that, because the core
10 group is really managing a different situation. I think
11 that obviously and clearly should happen, but perhaps
12 within that different body. I think that’s the advice
13 from — or that’s the response from the National
14 Safeguarding Steering Group, which I would agree with.
15 Q. Two further issues: one about limitation; the second
16 about non-disclosure agreements. Obviously you are not
17 a lawyer, so I’m not going to ask you this. One of
18 the points that Lord Carlile raises is that nobody
19 seriously considered the limitation issue and/or that
20 the limitation issue should have been considered. Just
21 for the public, the usual rule is that such claims have
22 to be brought within — well, actually, in cases of
23 sexual violence, it is six years, but in cases of breach
24 of duty, ie negligence, it’s three years but with an
25 equitable time limit under section 33 of the Limitation
Page 32
1 Act, which involves, in effect, looking at all the
2 circumstances and saying, is it there or isn’t it there.
3 Now, we understand from the Ecclesiastical Insurance
4 Office’s guiding principles that in an insured claim —
5 we dealt with this with Professor Macfarlane earlier in
6 the week — they only raise limitation exceptionally, so
7 to speak?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was limitation something which was considered and
10 discussed within the context of the group?
11 A. It was —
12 Q. Just to say, “It was just too long ago. We can’t
13 possibly settle a claim on this basis”?
14 A. It was considered and discussed extensively in the
15 second core group, July 2014. The minutes make that
16 very clear. In fact, the explanation you’ve just given
17 is possibly almost verbatim the explanation that was
18 given to that core group, and, as the minutes show,
19 there was then an extensive discussion.
20 I think, again, that goes back to my problem about
21 the process of the Lord Carlile review.
22 What the minutes do not say is, “The purpose of
23 limitation was clearly explained”, largely because
24 everyone was fully aware. They were clearly explained
25 but the minutes don’t clearly say that.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

9 (Pages 33 to 36)
Page 33
1 Q. Of course, the issues of vicarious liability have
2 changed markedly over the past 10 years in respect of
3 cases of sexual violence against individuals?
4 A. Exactly.
5 Q. To make them a lot more generous than they were, shall
6 I put it that way?
7 A. Yes. But, as I say, the very fact that we had an
8 extensive discussion suggests that that — the point of
9 limitation was fully understood. That is certainly the
10 case: it was fully understood.
11 Q. Non-disclosure agreement. The other significant
12 criticism that Lord Carlile makes is, why wasn’t there
13 a confidentiality agreement put to this in order to
14 avoid what he considers to be unfair besmirching of
15 Bishop Bell’s reputation. I mean, that’s probably
16 putting it slightly higher than Lord Carlile puts it in
17 his report, so I’m slightly overegging that, but he
18 considers that it’s unfair. I think the church has
19 responded and said, “We think it was right that there
20 wasn’t a non-confidentiality agreement and we don’t
21 agree to — confidentiality agreements, I think, rather
22 than non-confidentiality agreements — think about NDA,
23 the US word for them. What’s your view about that, if
24 you have any?
25 A. As you said, the church has already rejected that
Page 34
1 proposal. I was very glad to see that. As you said,
2 I’m not a lawyer, so I possibly shouldn’t stray into
3 this, but my understanding of —
4 Q. Well, from the perspective of somebody — you’ve
5 identified that you started this process trying to work
6 from the perspective of providing compassionate support
7 to victims and survivors?
8 A. Exactly.
9 Q. From that perspective, that’s your view?
10 A. From that perspective, my understanding of
11 Lord Carlile’s recommendation with regards to the
12 non-disclosure agreement or the confidentiality
13 agreement, he also suggests — my understanding of his
14 report is — that we should have settled the claim
15 with —
16 Q. Sort of no admission of liability?
17 A. No admission of liability. From my point of view, from
18 the perspective you just described, that would have
19 effectively been saying, “We are not accepting your
20 claim. We are not going to apologise. We are going to
21 perhaps provide some monetary settlement and we are
22 going to require you to sign a non-disclosure
23 agreement”. That is exactly the opposite of where
24 I think the church should be on this issue, from my
25 perspective.
Page 35
1 Q. Can we now — that’s been very helpful, and I think we
2 have got a very clear view from you of your critique of
3 that, which I know you were very clear that you wanted
4 to give to this inquiry.
5 Can we now turn to the more mundane topic, or maybe
6 more exciting topic, of what you actually do on
7 a day-to-day basis?….

March 17 2018 – “‘Painful lesson’ learned from Bishop Bell investigation, chief bishop says” – Chichester Observer – March 16

March 17 2018 – “A shambles is no safeguard” – Church Times

March 18 2018 – From The Archives [2012 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. [Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, USA – 2012]

March 19 2018 – “Bishop George Bell: still no action” – ‘batsinthebelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – Richard W. Symonds

 
Page 25
“…I am concerned that some 
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived 
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s 
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell 
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser. 
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against 
Page 26 
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally 
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within 
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point 
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me 
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an 
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 — 
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was 
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview 
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace, 
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of 
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep 
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very 
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
 
Ignoring the fact Mr Perkins was mistaken on the Argus dates – it was December 16 2017 when ‘Carol’ made that statement – how could he say she “has managed to keep the balance…”! Incredible. ‘Carol’ was five years old at the time! How could she have known it was definitely Bishop Bell at that age! 
 
May I also suggest Mr Perkins reads the book “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – especially page 150 – before pontificating about the John Jay Report [Page 11 & 12 IICSA March 16].
CORRECTION
I stand corrected on the Argus dates – my apologies:
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported this on February 3 2016:
“Because he did good things, they automatically assume that he couldn’t do anything wrong, which was rather hurtful because a lot of men who have done good things have also done very evil things. He might be a man of peace but that doesn’t take away the fact of what he did to me,” said the woman, using the pseudonym ‘Carol’.
I confused this quote above with the quote made by ‘Carol’ on December 16 2017:
“He (Lord Carlile) can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts”
But neither quote helps the Diocesan Safeguarder Colin Perkins. It just confirms he might be seriously mistaken about the “balance” of ‘Carol’.
Also, Mr Perkins shows a serious lack of understanding of False Memory Syndrome (FMS) – “One of the features is that over a period of time – in this case a considerable time – the false accuser has convinced herself that her memory was correct”
Personally, I have little to no doubt ‘Carol’ was sexually abused. What I seriously doubt is that it was Bishop Bell. In other words, a case of mistaken identity.
‘Carol’ is an unreliable witness, and for Colin Perkins to put such faith in her recollections is not just seriously unprofessional for someone in his position, it is also seriously misplaced.
~ Richard W. Symonds

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – David Lamming

“While IICSA should be given full marks for the production of the daily transcript (available to download from about 6 pm each day), the website is both woeful and impenetrable. There is no easy way to find a document, since they are indexed only by the URN allocated to them by the Inquiry. More seriously, witness statements and documents referred to by witnesses (and appended to their statements) are not uploaded in advance, which makes it difficult to follow the oral evidence.

A prime example is the evidence given on 15th-16th March by Colin Perkins. At the beginning of his evidence last Thursday, counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, asked that Mr Perkins’s three witness statements be “placed upon the website at a convenient and appropriate moment.” (Transcript, 15 March 2018, page 82). That moment should have been no later than when Mr Perkins took the oath, yet now, Sunday lunchtime, 18th March, they are still not available for the public to read.

“An illustration of the need for the statements to be published in advance is in the evidence Colin Perkins gave to the Inquiry about the Carlile report on Friday morning (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 1-34). Ms Scolding refers to certain passages in Mr Perkins’s witness statement in which he criticises aspects of Lord Carlile’s review. Those criticisms (at least so far as they appear from the extracts set out and commented on in the transcript) are selective and self-serving. One must ask whether Lord Carlile was done the courtesy of bring provided with a copy of the statement, or even being warned that he would be criticised at a public inquiry where he is not represented. One sentence in Mr Perkins’s evidence is telling: “… it is my job to try and articulate these things from the perspective of the victim.” (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 15-16) Where is the necessary objectivity, when Carol is regarded as victim, not complainant? No wonder one of Lord Carlile’s conclusions was “… the clear impression left is that the process was predicated on [Bell’s] guilt of what Carol alleged.” (Carlile Review, para 254(vi), page 65.)

~ David Lamming

March 20 2018 – Peter Hitchens – The Mail on Sunday – March 18

“The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, admitted last week it had been a mistake not to give the late Bishop George Bell a defending counsel at the kangaroo court which wrongly convicted him of child abuse. When will he admit that he has made a similar mistake by refusing to allow Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, to pick a lawyer to defend him against the mysterious second allegation now levelled against him in secret? Too late, for sure” 

March 20 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 19 

March 20 2018 – “Abuse inquiry reveals Church’s ‘stupidity, incompetence and lying’, says bishop” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 20 2018 – “Safeguarding – reconciling two perspectives” – Stephen Parsons [and Rebuilding Bridges]

March 20 2018 – “Eastbourne school headteacher to step down” – Eastbourne Herald

March 21 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 20

Graham Tilby (National Safeguarding Adviser)
Page 98
6 Q. Do you agree with the conclusion that Lord Carlile
7 reached that you put the reputation of the church as
8 a whole above the untarnished reputation of Bishop Bell?
9 A. I don’t agree with that. I think this was always about
10 trying to come to a process with objectivity. When
11 I arrived, I didn’t actually know who George Bell was,
12 and that’s actually important on one level because that
13 brings an objectivity to the process, but also it is
14 about gathering evidence and making — and forming
15 a judgment based on a balance of probabilities.

March 21 2018 – “Clergy burnt file after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 21 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Wednesday March 21 – Archbishop Justin Welby

March 22 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 21

Archbishop Justin Welby

Page 119-120 [Paras 21-25]

and at the heart of this has to be justice, and justice is a very, very difficult thing to find, as you know much better than I do, but we have to have a system that delivers justice. That is so important. And if it doesn’t, it’s not good enough.

Fiona Scolding QC

Page 123 [Paras 14-25] Page 124 [Paras 1-8]

One of the points that Lord Carlile makes is that the church didn’t take a good enough account of…George Bell’s reputation. Now, we have heard from several individuals about their views about that. But what he seems to suggest is, you have to start — you know, this was such a Titanic figure that one must assume that his reputation is unblemished and, therefore, that has to be weighed very heavily in the balance. Do you have any response to that?

Archbishop Justin Welby

I think the greatest tragedy of all these cases is that people have trusted, very often, those who were locally, in diocesan terms, or nationally Titanic figures, and have then found that they were not worthy of their trust. The fact that someone is a titanic figure doesn’t tell you anything at all, except that they have done remarkable things in one area. It doesn’t tell you about the rest of their lives. And it is not something that we can take into account.

‘If Bishop Bell’s good reputation ‘is not something that we (The Church of England) can take into account’, then the Church of England [and Archbishop Welby as its leader] are breaking the law. As Lord Carlile has said, taking someone’s good reputation into account “is the law. In criminal cases especially, but also in civil cases, where the character of an alleged perpetrator is impugned by the allegation made, the court takes into account evidence of his good character. It does not mean that he can do no wrong. It is a factor to be weighed in the balance”‘

~ Richard W. Symonds

March 22 2018 – From The Archives [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”

March 22 2018 – An Archbishop on Justice and Presumption of Guilt – Rumpole on Justice and Presumption of Innocence

March 23 2018 – “Church has failed to protect children from abuse, says Archbishop of Canterbury” – ‘Sight’ [Australian Christian Magazine]

“Archbishop Welby, the leader of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion – who himself has come under some criticism for his handling of abuse cases – told the commission Wednesday that the church needs new powers to safeguard children…

“The decision by IICSA to turn the spotlight on Chichester Diocese comes amid controversy over the way Archbishop Welby had handled a case that involved a former bishop of Chichester, George Bell, who was accused of abuse. Bishop Bell’s supporters and others say the accusations against him lacked proof.

“Another inquiry last year, specifically into Chichester and chaired by Lord (Alex) Carlile, said the Church of England had rushed to judgement against Bishop Bell, who had died in 1958. But Archbishop Welby has refused to retract his statement that Bishop Bell, who was a leading churchman during World War II, had a cloud over his name because of the allegations. Lord Carlile warned that the Church of England’s processes were deficient and that it did not give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

“But at the IICSA hearing Wednesday, Archbishop Welby focused on the victims…

“David Greenwood, a lawyer representing victims at the inquiry, claimed that Church of England officials had covered up abuse. ‘There is a strong suspicion of an organised conspiracy between clergy and bishops in the Diocese of Chichester to enable children to be abused,’ he said.

~ Catherine Pepinster – ‘Sight’ Magazine

March 23 2018 – Livestream – IICSA hearing  – Friday March 23

March 23 2018 – From The Archives [March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5 ]

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC: “…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”

March 23 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Dear Mark Woods – Editor (Christian Today)( mwoods@christiantoday.co.uk )

Please register this as a formal complaint.

I think your headline – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – is one of the most disgraceful I have ever read.

Shame on you.

If this unbalanced article by Harry Farley is not corrected by 16.00 this Monday – 26th March 2018 – a formal complaint will be made to IPSO at 9am the following day (27th).

Richard W. Symonds ~ The Bell Society

March 25 2018 – “Case for Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph Letters – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson – Saturday March 24 

Case for Bishop Bell

Sir – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is not alone in being ashamed of the Church in its handling of child abuse cases in the Diocese of Chichester (report, March 22). So are quite a few others. And some of us would add that we are ashamed of Archbishop Welby too.

At the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing on Wednesday, the Archbishop was questioned about his continuing attack on the late Bishop George Bell, whose reputation has been besmirched by what Lord Carlile, the Church’s own eminent appointee to examine its legal processes, has described as a very misguided rush to judgement on a single accusation of historic child sexual abuse.

The continued anger that the case has aroused has nothing to do with Bishop Bell’s eminent reputation. It has everything to do with the fact that no one has ever been allowed to present a case in his defence.

The recent effort by the family to appoint its own lawyer in a new investigation has been turned down by the Chichester authorities. And once again, the Archbishop missed a chance to affirm his belief in Bishop Bell’s innocence as presumed by the law.

When will the Archbishop have the grace to admit that the Church leaders responsible for handling the George Bell case – including himself – have made the most colossal error of judgement in this instance?

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

March 25 2018 – “Truth is the scapegoat for Pilate Welby” – Rev Jules Gomes

March 25 2018 – “Where’s the headline: ‘Welby slams Sentamu’s lack of humanity and leadership?'” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ 

March 25 2018 – “IICSA – Final reflections” – Stephen Parsons

March 25 2018 – From The Archives [March 10 2018 – Psychotherapist Anthony Stadlen on Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’: “It is not at all easy to find the right words to respect both the presumption of the Bishop’s innocence until proven guilty, and the presumption of Carol’s integrity of character and memory until proven otherwise”]

March 25 2018 – “If Archbishops and Bishops don’t have enough wisdom and prudence to discern justice from injustice, who the hell does? Thank God for the law and the philosophy of jurisprudence” ~ Richard W. Symonds 

March 25 2018 – “Chichester and Child Abuse” – Independent on Sunday – Andreas Whittam Smith

March 26 2018 – “In Holy Week we should hold our Archbishops’ feet to the fire” – Martin Sewell

March 26 2018 [Re: March 23 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley ] 

March 26 2018 – “@BishopGeorgeBell: episcopal responses” – ‘batsinthebelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 27 2018 – “Church of England ‘no longer competent to manage safeguarding’ says senior cleric” [Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy] – Modern Church

“Everyone knew a little, but no-one chose to do enough. It seems that the cultures of abuse were ultimately no-one’s fault. So no-one did anything [Or not enough – Ed]. Everyone else was to blame” – Martyn Percy

“Everyone was to blame so no-one was to blame. Everyone was responsible so no-one was
responsible. The ultimate cop-out. So Bishop Bell’s reputation remains destroyed”
Richard W. Symonds

March 27 2018 – “Church safeguarding” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Arthur Vandell – Storrington, West Sussex

March 28 2018 – “Assuming guilt” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Colin Bullen of Tonbridge

March 29 2018 – “The Archbishop’s Rocket” – ‘BatsInTheBelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 29 2018 – “Presumption of guilt” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Graham Toole-Mackson JP and Laurence Anderson

March 30 2018 – Unpublished Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – It is right for the the Justice Secretary to be called upon to resign in his “attempt to divert blame…” (‘Worboys victims accuse minister…’, DT Front Page, 29 March).
More so the Archbishop of Canterbury in his attempt to divert blame on to Bishop George Bell for his own shortcomings (‘Presumption of guilt’, Letters, 29 March).
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

March 31 2018 – “Bishop Bell not guilty” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – John Drysdale and His Honour Anthony Nicholl

April 1 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – Contributors to your letters pages last week repeatedly questioned how it was possible for the late George Bell to prove his innocence when he is no longer with us (“Bishop Bell not guilty”, Letters, March 31).
Of course it is not possible.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to speak up for those who cannot, and to demand of Archbishop Justin Welby complete exoneration for this wartime Bishop of Chichester.
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

April 1 2018 – “Apologies, Forgiveness & IICSA” – ViaMedia.News – Revd Canon Rosie Harper

“The horror of what we learnt in the three weeks of the hearing is that the Church is run by the sort of people who are prepared to cover up and lie…” ~ Revd Canon Rosie Harper

April 1 2018 – “Misuse of power is disgusting. But do you do a balance sheet?” – Archbishop Justin Welby Interview – Observer-Guardian – Rachel Cooke

And what of his position on George Bell, the former bishop of Chichester? Bell, who died in 1958, was, and still is, a heroic figure, for his support of the German resistance during the war, and for his opposition to area bombing by the allies. But in 1995, an allegation of child sexual abuse was made against him – a complaint that was not passed to the police by the church until 2013 (after a second complaint was made to what was now Welby’s office). The police concluded that, had Bell been alive, he would have been arrested, and the diocese went on to pay compensation to the victim. But the church’s handling of the case was widely criticised, mostly for its lack of due process. Last year, an independent review of the case by Lord Carlile said that the church had rushed to judgment, perhaps because it wanted to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The church then announced that it had passed new evidence about Bell to the police. The row, however, rumbles on. In January, a group of leading historians, among them Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, urged Welby to withdraw comments he made following the publication of Carlile’s report, in which he said “a significant cloud” still hung over Bell. The archbishop’s comments were “indefensible”, they said; the allegation against Bell is uncorroborated, and in their eyes contradicted by considerable circumstantial material. Welby has so far refused to do so. Is he likely to shift his position?
“Not for the moment. Following Lord Carlile’s report on what was a badly handled inquiry, we had further information which is being investigated, and that will take a long time. Nothing could be better for the church, and for Chichester, than if we were able to say there was nothing to it, but you can’t do that until it is properly investigated. We say that if someone makes an allegation, we always take it seriously.”

April 2 2018 – “It would appear Archbishop Welby is playing God, considering himself above the law regarding Bishop Bell acting both as judge, jury and executioner, and making decisions ‘above his pay grade’. Others might consider the Archbishop more an April Fool of the Church of England who has brought this centuries-old institution into disrepute” ~ Richard W. Symonds

April 2 2018 – “Clergy assumed guilty” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Hugh Whittle and Alison Lambie

April 2 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – In a recent interview*, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was asked whether or not he would change his opinion regarding the late Bishop of Chichester George Bell. 

“Not for the moment” he replied.

Since when have Archbishops been allowed to ride roughshod over British justice – not least the Presumption of Innocence – and become a law unto themselves?

This Archbishop appears to be ‘playing God’ and passing judgement above his ecclesiastical pay grade.

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

April 2 2018 –