The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is, in my view, prissy, pathetic and political. He has utterly failed to stand up for his church against its first compulsory shutdown since the days of Bad King John eight centuries back.
Not long ago Welby supported the disgraceful smearing of a man whose mitre he would not have been fit to carry, the courageous and selfless Bishop George Bell of Chichester (please, please do not confuse Bell with the revolting criminal Bishop Peter Ball, with whom he is not remotely connected).
Bell, long after his death, was wrongly labelled as a child abuser by a secret kangaroo court of the Church of England, which did not even bother to look for living witnesses for the defence.
When this outrage was met with a wave of fury from the many who had known and loved Bell, an independent inquiry tore the case against him to shreds. But even after Bell was cleared to the satisfaction of all open-minded people, Welby (like many weak men reluctant to admit an error) continued to insist that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over Bell.
Am I now entitled to see a spot of divine retribution in the revelation last week that the C of E is investigating how Welby dealt with complaints of serial abuse of young men at Christian holiday camps? Well, I do. One of those affected has now written to the Church with a formal complaint against the Archbishop, once a dormitory officer at the camps, saying Welby did not do enough when he learned of the abuse.
The man claims Welby failed to refer the abuse directly to social services and the police, in breach of church guidelines.
Welby has always said he knew nothing of the allegations until 2013, when the Church referred them to the police. Well, no doubt Welby will be cleared of all this. But will he then proclaim that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over himself? Or will he learn that if you desire justice for yourself, you have to desire it for others?