20 November 2017 1:16 PM
C of E tries to defend its delay over publishing the Carlile Report, which severely criticises its handling of the Bell case.
The Church of England today published this statement, seeking to defend the 44 day (and counting) delay since it received the Carlile Report into its handling of abuse allegations against the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell (see many posts here)
Nobody wants to risk identifying the complainant and it would, I think, be easy to ensure that the report was redacted to ensure that this risk was removed. It would certainly not take more than six weeks to achieve this. More than six weeks also seems more than enough to consult those criticised, though this is now more or less obligatory under the ‘Maxwellisation’ rules instituted after that businessman was once criticised in a report.
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?