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.
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.’
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.’