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Home»News»The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

By Richard W. Symonds
September 28, 2020

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York stated last week [“New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors”, Church Times, Sept 25]:
“As we await IICSA’s report…we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed”

The Church has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, and will continue to do so until there is a public retraction of the “significant cloud” remark by Archbishop Justin Welby, and the name of George Bell House is restored by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner.

Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner still appear to believe there is ‘no smoke without fire’ regarding the Bishop Bell abuse allegations, even though the two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – commissioned by the Church – have clearly shown there is ‘no smoke and no fire’.

Both have the power to heal serious divisions within a Cathedral community – and beyond it.

It is also within their power to commission another investigation into ‘mistaken identity’. ‘Carol’ was clearly abused when she was 8 years old — and she should be fully believed and supported — but there is now clear evidence her abuser was not Bishop Bell.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley – Gatwick
West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Below is the Church Times article.

New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors

The Church Times

THE Archbishops’ Council has approved an interim pilot scheme for survivors of abuse in the C of E, as part of what the Archbishops of Canterbury and York describe as “a turning point” in the Church’s treatment of survivors.

The sum available has not been disclosed, but is believed to be in six figures. Survivors campaigning for redress had argued in the past that anything less than £250,000 would not be worth offering.

The announcement of the fund on Friday was accompanied by a commitment by the Archbishops’ Council “to urgently pursue the principle of independent safeguarding recognising the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding”.

The Church’s hierarchy has long accepted the need to address the question of redress for survivors of church-based sexual abuse, but survivors have been frustrated by the time it has taken to come up with a scheme.

The issue has gained fresh impetus with the appointment of the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, as the Church’s lead bishop of safeguarding, and the imminence of the final report on the Church of England from the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), due to be published on 6 October.

Five weeks ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury released emergency funds for “VB”, whose business was in danger of going under because of a severe bout of depression linked with his abuse (News, 21 August). It is understood that VB has been offered further sums from the new pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme is geared to those survivors’ cases which are already known to the Church, “where the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure”, a statement said on Friday.

Lessons learnt from the pilot will inform the creation of a full redress scheme.

A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, joint chairs of the Archbishops’ Council, spoke of “a long, honest, and soberingly frank discussion. . .

“The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. We are glad that the Church is now going to make this happen. Along with providing redress for victims and survivors, this is the next step we must take.

“Today’s meeting and these decisions feel like a turning point. As we await IICSA’s report into the Church of England, we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed. We are profoundly sorry for our failings, but today our words of sorrow are matched by actions that we believe will lead to real change. We hope that this will provide some hope for the future.”

Dr Gibbs described the move as “an endorsement by the Archbishops’ Council of General Synod’s unanimous vote in February for a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress”.

The interim scheme is expected to help between five and ten survivors initially, although any survivor of church-based abuse “who is in dire straits” can request help. This can be at any stage of their case management, even if they have already accepted a settlement with an insurer.

If it is a recent case, the diocese would be expected to support the application, but a survivor unwilling to engage with the diocese can apply direct. The presumption is that the survivor’s present difficulties are wholly or partially a consequence of past abuse “and/or the re-abuse through the Church’s actions in response to their report of abuse”.

The scheme will be able to offer cash sums, but the emphasis will be on funding support such as financial/debt counselling, therapeutic support, seed funding to help with employment. Help with housing is also a possibility, but is expected to be offered rarely.

Andrew Graystone, who has worked as advocate for victims of abuse, said on Friday: “It is good that the Council seems to have acknowledged — I think for the first time — that the Church cannot deal with safeguarding failures in-house.

“Victims have said for a long time that independent scrutiny and management of safeguarding is the only way to make the church safer. I’m glad that the Archbishops are both now committed to this. I fully expect that IICSA will demand nothing less.”

He said that survivors remained sceptical that a full redress system would be in place in 12 to 15 months, a suggestion from the safeguarding bishops. The interim pilot support scheme was therefore welcome.

He warned, though, that it had to be properly funded. “If the fund runs out in three months, victims will be further damaged.”

And he reminded the Church of the severity of the need. “The Church shouldn’t look at this as an act of generosity, but as the very beginnings of paying its debt to survivors of abuse. The lead bishops know that this fund will do nothing more than rescue a few survivors from the cliff edge. It’s not a repair fund, but a suicide-prevention budget.”

In the view of survivors, the Church should restore them to the place they were when they disclosed their abuse. “No one should be worse off because they have disclosed what was done to them,” Mr Graystone said.

“Beyond that, the needs of survivors are very varied and lifelong. They may include housing, counselling, information, and apology, as well as financial support for lost income. It’s never just a matter of writing a cheque to make things better. I’m glad that the Lead Bishops recognise this, and are committed to designing bespoke packages for individual survivors.”



Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford


From Messrs David Lamming and Martin Sewell

Sir, — The further attempt by malcontents on the Governing Body at Christ Church, Oxford, to oust the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy from his position as Dean of the college has spectacularly failed, as an investigation by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) found that he acted “entirely appropriately” in respect of four instances when he received confidential information from former students of the college, all competent adults (News, 11 September).

The statement by the lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, does not just report a finding that Dr Percy is “not guilty” of the baseless allegations: it is a positive affirmation that the Dean acted wholly properly.

Accordingly, the college’s announcement on its website, stating that it “will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities”, is graceless: it ought to celebrate the reassurance that the Dean understands safeguarding practice better than his accusers, who should now consider their own positions on the Governing Body.

But there is also a lesson for the Church. We are the “two supporters” of the Dean who wrote to General Synod members in June stating that the NST was being “used” by the malcontents (effectively as a cat’s paw) to further their vendetta against the Dean, having lost a costly 11-day tribunal hearing in 2019 chaired by a retired High Court judge (News, 19 June).

As we pointed out, “No person, survivor of abuse, or vulnerable adult has made any complaint, ever, against Dean Percy.” The NST announcement on 8 September vindicates our assessment.

While the outcome for the Dean is indeed welcome, there must now be an investigation into the way in which the Church came to be so embroiled. As the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has commented (on the Thinking Anglicans blog), “a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters and into the procedures the NST employ must now take place.”

On 14 August, you reported the letter sent to the Charity Commission by many survivors, lawyers, academics, and Synod members, urging the Commission to intervene in the light of the Archbishops’ Council’s failure to call to account those with operational responsibility for the Church’s safeguarding practice. That letter was acknowledged on 11 September, a senior specialist case manager noting the “serious concerns” that the letter raises.

The Archbishops’ Council should now state how it intends to respond.



(General Synod members)



OIP (26)





Burnett, Dr Ross – “Wrongful Allegations of Sexual Child Abuse” [OUP 2016]

F.A.C.T. – Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers

Jones, Dave – “No Smoke No Fire” [2009]

McCarthy, William – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” [Bloomington 2010]

Pierre, David F – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” [Mattapoisett USA 2012]

Price, David R & McDonald, James J – “The Problem of False Claims of Clergy Sexual Abuse” [Risk Management. January 2003]

RABINOWITZ, Dorothy – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness and Other Terrors of our Times…” – Wall Street Journal Books – 2003

Sipe, Richard – Clergy Sexual Abuse – Selected Sources [2006]

“Spotlight” Film – [2015]


June 3 2018 – U.S. Catholic Sex Abuse, “Spotlight” and “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” Revisited.

June 6 2018 – “NOT ME” launched  [A Resource for Clergy Wrongfully Accused]

June 8 2018 – “The Dallas Charter” Revisited

June 8 2018 – Rights of  Accused Priests

June 9 2018 – Opus Bono

“Ruining the name of clergy is unfortunately rather easy and is even easier once the person is deceased.  Once the press picks it up and if it is outside the statute of limitations, at least in the USA, anyone can say anything.  The best way to counteract the attacks is to make sure your voice is heard and try to make it louder than the negative.  BUT the raw truth is once it starts and if it gets legs, then damage is done and cannot be undone” – PF

“Who controls the voices and the volume?” – Richard W. Symonds

June 9 2018 – From The Archives [July 20 2015 – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail]

June 9 2018 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” by Monsignor William McCarthy [iUniverse 2010]

“Monsignor William McCarthy paints a picture embracing a situation that is almost impossible to comprehend. Had I not stood by him throughout the years of pure hell he experienced, I would not have believed the outright calumny by a detective, and how the subsequent action of his bishop and diocesan staff could have occurred. Child abuse is a terrible thing, but equally horrible is when innocent priests are unjustly condemned and destroyed by the hierarchy of their church.”

~ Arthur N. Hoagland, M.D. [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

“This book is a must read for any…who loves their Church but is concerned about its often self-destructive response to the tragedy of clerical pedophilia. It is a story about tragedy and triumph. The tragedy of the Church that Monsignor McCarthy loves deeply, and into which he has selflessly devoted his entire life, but is sometimes governed by people who have lost all sense of justice. It is a Church that betrayed him. In its attempt to protect the victims of child abuse, it established a new category of victims: its faithful priests. The triumph of Monsignor McCarthy is his faith and love of Jesus, which saw him through his terrible ordeal in spite of the evil that was perpetuated against him.”H

~ Deacon Joseph Keenan [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

Justice demands that the guilty pay, but it also demands that the innocent not suffer. On June 15-18 [2011], the bishops will meet in Seattle, and one of the items they are expected to address is the issue of accused priests and fairness in dealing with them.”

Epilogue – Chapter 79 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” – Monsignor William McCarthy

I wrote to the former Vicar General of the diocese, requesting an interview. I wanted to go face-to-face with the person who was directly responsible for my destruction … I was told he had strongly advised my former bishop to proceed with my censure.

On March 3, 2009, we both sat down in his office facing each other. I began by opening my Bible to John 7 : 51, and read: “Nicodemus spoke out, ‘Does our law condemn a person without first hearing him and knowing the facts?’”

I then asked him point blank: “Why did you condemn me without hearing me and knowing the facts?”

He replied, “Bill, we were following the system.”

“What system?” I pressed.

“Orders from Dallas,” he said, “when they hastily put together that charter.”

I looked him squarely in the eyes and stated, “That’s what they said at the Nuremberg Trials – ‘We were only following orders.’”

When he didn’t respond, I continued: “They were all convicted of crimes against humanity. In 2003, the diocese also committed a crime against humanity – me in particular. They did not lift a finger to help me. The diocese, particularly you as Vicar General, was reckless and impetuous in censuring me, and calling for my execution as a priest. You behaved badly! Instead of prudently investigating the accusation you rushed to judgement and as a result, you caused me extraordinary damage. You were reckless!”

Again he didn’t respond…

I asked him why I was not brought before the Board that was established for that very reason – why was I not given a chance to present my side of the story?

“One: You never spoke to the detective. Two: You never spoke to my accusers. Three: You never spoke to me, the accused. However, you proceeded in concert with the bishop and the promoter of justice to censure me. You put blind faith in the detective’s report…and accepted it as infallible…

“Bill,” the former Vicar General interrrupted, “we were acting in good faith.”

At that point I almost lost it…”How hypocritical!! You then published in the diocesan newspaper, over the entire front page, the whole sordid story which ruined my health, my reputation, my life. I suffered the humilation of being a censured priest for five long years until finally, through the conclusion of an ecclesiastical trial, I was unanimously declared innocent.”…

I asked the former Vicar General how he could justify his behavior.

Once again, he had no answer, except to meekly offer, “Sorry, Bill, we made a mistake.”

“I forgive you,” I said evenly, “but I will never forget. My life is irreversibly tarnished. I suffer from chronic flashbacks and panic attacks.

“So that my suffering will not be in vain, I want you to go public with an apology to the Press – and further, that you write to the apostolic delegate in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Sambi, and demand that he make a concerted effort to revise that weapon of mass destruction of our priests – that instrument known as the Dallas Charter.

The former Vicar General promised me he would do his best. I must give him credit for his calm demeanor and humility. I got the impression he was not just paying me lip service; and that he would indeed at least make the effort to correct the wrong that he had done. He not only acted like he knew he was guilty; he accepted the blame, which made me think deep down, he was doing what Jesus would want him to do.

June 11 2018 – “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests’ by James Valladares [iUniverse 2012]

“The Caiaphas Principle” – ‘Bishops, who are supposed to be fathers, brothers, and friends to their priests, have instead become mere managers with institutional damage control as their top priority’ (Foreword p. xiv – Rev Michael P. Orsi)

June 11 2018 – From The Archives [July 9 2010 – “False Accusations” by John Landry – 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?”]

June 15 2018 – “These Stone Walls” – ‘Musings Of A Priest Falsely Accused’ – Father Gordon MacRae

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [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]

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [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]

June 11 2018 – “Clergy Suicides in Sussex 1918-2018 – An Investigation by Richard W. Symonds [currently in progress]

June 23 2018 – ITN Solicitors [for the Falsely Accused]


“Hear no evil” – Private Eye – 11 Sept – 24 Sept 2020 [No 1530]

“The church could have launched an inquiry in August 2013, when a full account of the abuse [by John Smyth QC] arrived on Archbishop Justin Welby’s desk. Instead it waited another five years, then failed to appoint a reviewer for a further year”








The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church

on Tuesday, 8 September 2020 at 10.57 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding


Dean of Christ Church cleared of all safeguarding accusations

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Church of England has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford:

Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “An independent investigation into allegations that the Dean, Martyn Percy, failed to fulfil his safeguarding responsibilities has concluded the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The National Safeguarding Team, NST, followed the House of Bishops guidance when the four separate allegations were referred earlier in the year relating to the Dean, a senior office holder. At no point was there any allegation or evidence that the Dean presented a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult.

I am aware this has been a very difficult time for all parties, particularly Martyn and his family, and I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. There will of course be lessons to learn about the processes, as there are with any safeguarding case, and that is an essential part of our guidance to make the Church a safer place for all. We welcome the Dean’s commitment to taking part in this. Now the investigation has concluded and the Dean has been exonerated of these safeguarding allegations, the NST’s involvement has come to an end. I continue to pray for his ministry and the life of the Cathedral and its mission in the diocese and wider Church.

As I have said before, the NST has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the College and the Dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.

The Diocese of Oxford has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford
8 September 2020

In March this year it was alleged that the Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, a senior member of the clergy and Dean of Christ Church Oxford, had not fulfilled his safeguarding responsibilities. The National Safeguarding Team (NST) duly appointed an independent safeguarding person, who was asked to investigate and report back. The report has concluded that the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The Bishop of Oxford has issued the following statement:

“I welcome the news that the investigation by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has concluded and that Martyn is exonerated. The investigation process was not without pain, and could have been concluded more quickly, but it is entirely right that allegations against clergy and church officers are properly investigated when they are made. This investigation brings full closure to the matter put before the NST, though these continue to be testing times for all at Christ Church. My prayers remain with Martyn and Emma, the Chapter and wider College at the start of this new academic year.”

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

The Church Times has published this news report: Dean Percy exonerated over safeguarding charges. This rehearses a good deal of the background.

Update 1:
Christ Church has now issued this: Statement from Christ Church on Church of England Safeguarding Investigation.

8 September 2020

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has announced the outcome of its independent investigation into the handling of four disclosures to the Dean of Christ Church, made by survivors of sexual assault. The NST has now informed Christ Church that its report concludes there has been no breach of the Church of England’s protocols.

“Safeguarding is of the utmost importance at Christ Church, and it is our obligation to report such concerns appropriately. After a query from a national newspaper regarding a serious sexual assault, an independent QC advised that a referral should be made to the Church of England as the handling of such disclosures fell within its jurisdiction. It is vital that everyone has the confidence to report safeguarding concerns. We will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities.

“Our thoughts are with all survivors of abuse. If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.

Update 2
Martin Sewell
 has written at Archbishop CranmerChurch of England clears Martyn Percy of all safeguarding allegations.

“Lest anyone urge us to swiftly move on, suggesting that a good outcome is sufficient closure, let us remind ourselves that a man and his family have been put through the most awful experience by powerful, well-resourced bullies using other people’s money to pursue their own grievances and protect their own vanities. That they failed is good, but both the University of Oxford and the Church of England have a moral duty to look carefully into how this happened, and to ensure it cannot not happen again” ~ Martin Sewell

Harriet Sherwood writes in the GuardianChurch clears Oxford college dean after ‘black ops campaign to discredit him’.
Headline later changed to Church clears Oxford college dean over alleged safeguarding failures.

Tim Wyatt at Religion Media Centre has Oxford dean cleared by abuse investigation and Christ Church Oxford timeline.

Update 3
The Times Dean of Christ Church Oxford cleared of safeguarding failures

Telegraph Oxford University dean finally exonerated after safeguarding dispute

Daily Mail Dean of Oxford’s Christ Church college is cleared of all safeguarding allegations in abuse row

Cherwell Christ Church dean exonerated after safeguarding allegations Subscribe 


3000{}[+]30 COMMENTSOldest 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago

Next stop: full exoneration for Bishop George Bell? 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Just imagine Archbishop Welby now saying there is still a “significant cloud” over Martyn Percy?!

If you can imagine it, then perhaps you can better understand how the Bishop Bell advocates feel. 

John Wallace

John Wallace 1 day ago

Really great news and an answer to the prayers of many. I do hope and pray that his accusers will consider their positions as well as make a full public apology. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  John Wallace

The signs aren’t promising when the public statement concludes “If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.” (My italics.) Reply

Sam Norton

Sam Norton 1 day ago

That Christ Church statement reads like it was written by someone chewing on a wasp.

Mark Beach

Mark Beach 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Norton

Thank you, my thoughts entirely, but put in a very much more poetic way. Its hardly a ringing endorsement….

Can one hope for new beginnings at Christ Church? Reply

Toby Forward

Toby Forward 1 day ago

Mealy-mouthed and mendacious statement by Christ Church. There now needs to be some form of reform of the governing body. Reply

David Lamming

David Lamming 1 day ago Reply to  Toby Forward

A number of questions need to be answered by Christ Church: (i) who was responsible for and/or authorised the above statement on the College website? (ii) will the remainder of the Governing Body now disown the censors who made the wholly misconceived complaint about the Dean to the NST? (iii) who was the ‘independent QC’ who advised referral of the matter to the Church of England and will the College publish his/her advice and the instructions setting out the basis on which it was sought? (iv) what has been the cost to the College (legal fees and those of the… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 22 hours ago Reply to  David Lamming

I am baffled by the final sentence of the Christ Church statement quoted above. Who, in these circumstances, would require ‘support’ – for which they are told they should contact the police and ‘relevant’ safeguarding authority? Is this further mischief-making or just incompetence – using a ‘standard’ wording irrespective of the circumstances – I wonder? Reply

Sam Jones

Sam Jones 1 day ago

It is good that Martyn Percy has been cleared, but his position is untenable if the governing body have no confidence in him. Reply


Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

Isn’t it senior members of the Governing Body who past and potential benefactors will wish to see held to account for the millions of unnecessary expenditure? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

The position of those in the governing body is untenable – there is no confidence in them.


Froghole 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

I think this is right. I am an alumnus of Christ Church, and deplore what has happened. I agree with many of the pro-Percy comments (notably that of Interested Observer). However, the relationship between dean and governing body has become so bitter, so envenomed and so visceral that it is difficult to see how Dr Percy can be an effective leader of the ‘college’. Other heads of house have resigned, and in far milder contexts, when they have lost the confidence of their respective governing bodies. Whilst Dr Percy may be entitled to a feeling of victory, he might lose… Read more » Reply

Fr Gustavo

Fr Gustavo 1 day ago

Perhaps this has been already answered, but, with all that it is going on, would not a Visitation be in order? Reply


Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

A quote from the Financial Times: (less than 30 words, so permissible according to their copyright rules)

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.” Reply


Froghole 13 hours ago Reply to  Richard

Many thanks. I really don’t think that anyone believes that the sovereign would be involved personally. What is more likely to happen is that the private secretary to the sovereign, or perhaps also (and more probably) the privy council, would be petitioned about a possible formal visitation or the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism (there is also an outside chance that they might act of their own motion after taking ‘soundings’). Then, following receipt of that petition and/or consultations, the sovereign (i.e., the prime minister) would secure appointment of a deputy, who will probably be a retired senior judge.… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 11 hours ago Reply to  Froghole

I don’t know how many times I have dealt with these points on earlier TA threads! The procedure for Visitations is all set out in Statute XXXVI (at pages 37-39 of the Christ Church Statutes), and far too long to repeat here. It provides for both a ‘routine’ Visitation every ten years (at Her Majesty’s option) or by intervention. I’m unsure about the machinery for appointing Her Majesty’s Commissary. A retired senior judge seems a likely appointee. There has always been a direct right of appeal to the Crown, which I quote again below, but for whatever reason it has… Read more » Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Richard

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.”

Why not?

Her Majesty is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England!

Dominic Barrington

Dominic Barrington 20 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

I think you are making a false assumption about the powers of the bishop in relation to this unique (and utterly dysfunctional) cathedral. Reply

Interested Observer

Interested Observer 1 day ago

It isn’t actually Confucius, although often credited to him (or James Bond, either will do): “before setting off on revenge, first dig two graves”. It strikes me that there is no way that this ends well for either Christ Church corporately or for Martin Percy’s persecutors. Even “victory” is hollow (Tacitus actually did write “ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant”), if their definition of “victory” is Martyn Percy’s departure; the resulting employment tribunal looks increasingly difficult and the attempt to use CofE safeguarding as a weapon can only backfire in both the short and long term. The loss of credibility for… Read more » Reply

Pete Broadbent

Pete Broadbent 1 day ago

Martyn Percy cleared of all [trumped up] “charges” This is very good news! But it can’t end there – a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters & into the procedures the NST employ must now take place. Reply


Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Yes Reply

Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Indeed. Reply


dr.primrose 1 day ago

There’s an issue of the waste of money for legal proceedings on behalf on the college, which raises the issue of whether the complaints should be required to repay that amount. There’s also an issue of the fees that Percy incurred. I haven’t read anything about that. Is the college liable for those? Reply


Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  dr.primrose

I recall that previous articles about this have said that Percy is liable. There was a campaign underway to assist him financially. Does anyone know differently? Reply


Kate 17 hours ago

Does anyone know what standard of proof Core Groups work to? Is it “beyond reasonable doubt”, “balance of probabilities” or something unique to the Church of England? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Kate

Something unique to the Church of England: faithful belief in its own infallibility. 


Kate 3 hours ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

That’s something which needs to be fixed. Reply

Bill Broadhead

Bill Broadhead 12 hours ago

“An independent investigation into allegations…” Come on, it was hardly that, was it – and since when has the NST been in any way “independent”? Was the Bishop at Lambeth and Ecclesiastical Insurance in the room? While I share the widespread delight that this aspect of the burden Martyn Percy and those closest to him are carrying, if there had not been a significant challenge to the way the NST Core Group for this complaint was set up, there could have been a catastrophic miscarriage of justice. So, to my mind, nil points for the C of E over this… Read more » Reply

Father Ron Smith

Father Ron Smith 12 hours ago

This is very welcome news- especially to those of us who have witnessed with growing amazement the chutzpah of Dean Martyn Percy’s accusers. One hopes they will do the right thing now and meet all of Martyn’s legal expenses. They should also be responsible for some substantial monetary compensation for what Martyn and his family have suffered during this unfortunate breach of common justice. Reply



Pope accepts Chilean bishops’ resignation over abuse scandal

Published 11 June 2018

Bishop Juan Barros (C) attends his first religious service as people protest against him at the Osorno cathedral, south of Santiago, Chile, 21 March 2015IMAGE COPYRIGHT REUTERS Bishop Juan Barros has been accused of covering up child sexual abuse, which he denies
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros, in the wake of a child sexual abuse scandal.
Bishop Barros was accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s.
Pope Francis has said that he made “grave mistakes” by originally defending Bishop Barros.
All of Chile’s 34 Roman Catholic bishops had offered their resignations.
The decision by the Pope to accept the resignation of three of the 34 was announced in a statement issued by the Vatican on Monday.
Apart from Bishop Barros of Osorno, Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso will now be replaced.
It was not clear if the move meant that the remaining 31 resignations would not be accepted.
Pope Francis became involved in the scandal surrounding Juan Barros when he defended the bishop during his visit to Chile in January. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to “slander”.
“The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all slander. Is that clear?” the Pope had said at the time.
In this file photo taken on May 02, 2018 Chilean sexual abuse victims Jose Andres Murillo (R), James Hamilton (C) and Juan Carlos Cruz (L) pose at the end of a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on May 2, 2018.IMAGE COPYRIGHTAFP image caption Victims of sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo have spoken out in public about what happened to them
He later apologised to victims, saying: “I apologise to them if I hurt them without realising it, but it was a wound that I inflicted without meaning to.”
The installation of Juan Barros as bishop of the southern city of Osorno in 2015 met with stiff resistance.
More than 1,000 people wrote to Pope Francis asking him to review the appointment and hundreds showed up at the bishop’s installation ceremony in protest.
They accused Bishop Barros of using his position in the Church to cover up the actions of his mentor, Fr Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing children.
Victims of Fernando Karadima said Juan Barros had been present when the priest had abused them. Bishop Barros denies any wrongdoing.
One of the victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, told Chilean radio that by accepting the resignations, Pope Francis had “sent a message to the world that this culture of abuse and cover-up won’t be tolerated any longer”.
The Pope’s move comes after he received two groups of victims of Fernando Karadima at the Vatican.
About 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse over the past 18 years.
Under Pope Francis, a Vatican committee has been set up to fight sexual abuse and help victims.

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