Victims call for the Archbishop of Canterbury to quit as he says findings of ‘shameful and disgraceful’ CofE child assault inquiry are a ‘big wake-up call’
- Archbishop of Canterbury resisted calls to resign, insisting ‘I’ve got to do better’
- Justin Welby’s position was question after a bombshell report into church abuse
- It recommended that bishops lose their responsibility to keep children safe
- They said alleged paedophiles were being given more support than victims
PUBLISHED: 09:45, 7 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24, 7 October 2020
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has refused calls to resign over a damning Church of England child sex assault inquiry’s ‘shameful and disgraceful’ findings.
The religious leader, 64, admitted he understood why victims may be asking for him to step down, but he insisted he was better staying in the role to continue his work.
It came after a 60-year-old abuse survivor – known only as Gilo – said such failings in any other sector of life would have left their jobs.
Archbishop Welby said: ‘I know that since I came into this job I have worked as hard as I could to move the church to a different place. I understand his anger. I’ve got to do better.
‘The whole system has been broken. It needs to move towards much more independent oversight of safeguarding
‘I am confident now that whenever we know about something we deal with it straightaway
‘I had a disclosure of safeguarding as late as yesterday, around this time as it happens, in an hour it was reported to our safeguarding people and it was in their hands.
‘I think we have been poor with dealing with redress and in dealing with the victims and survivors.’+3
The Archbishop of Canterbury said it had received a new safeguarding report yesterday
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said the church put its own reputation above protecting them.
It recommended that bishops lose their responsibility to keep children safe because alleged paedophiles were given more support than victims.
The IICSA said reports of recent abuse have continued – with 449 in 2018.
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Hundreds of paedophiles have been harboured by the Church over almost 70 years, the report found, undermining its ‘moral purpose’ as a Christian institution.
It said the CofE has been guilty of ‘neglecting the wellbeing of children in favour of protecting its own reputation’.
From the 1940s to 2018, 390 clergy or people in positions of trust associated with the Church have been convicted of sexual offences against children.
The damning report was released yesterday and painted a terrifying picture of abuseChild abuse inquiry: Anglican Church failed to protect children.
Archbishop Welby added to Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s shameful and disgraceful and reveals exactly what they said, a culture in which there was cover-up and hiding and it’s deeply shaming.
‘It didn’t come as a surprise because we’ve been working on this, as the report said later on, we’ve begun a journey of changing that and now certainly over the last few years it is a very serious matter, a disciplinary matter, for anyone to cover up any abuse at all and we’ve strengthened that and multiplied the amount of money for example that we’ve spent on safeguarding ten-fold, but it wasn’t a surprise because I’ve lived that for the seven-and-a-half years I’ve been in post and we’ve been working hard to change it and the report says we’ve begun a journey and quite rightly says we’ve not gone quick enough or far enough yet.
‘I didn’t wonder, I knew. I was shocked by the level when I came into this job by the extent to which it was happening but one was aware that we had a history that was not so good, we knew about Peter Ball, I was ordained in 1992 which I think was about the year where he resigned as the Bishop of Gloucester so one knew about that from that moment onward.
‘In each place where I was working from my parish onwards we tightened up on safeguarding very sharply’
Last night on the radio station’s PM programme survivor Gilo – whose abuser is dead – told them top management should look at their own positions.
Ball, a friend of the Prince of Wales, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades, had been allowed to continue unchecked
He added: ‘Senior figures, including Archbishop Welby should seriously question themselves about whether they should be resigning.
‘In any other sphere of live, you know if look at Government department’s, ministers, etc, you would see failure marked by resignation.
‘I think it’s very clear from this report that the church has failed and continue to fail despite being aware of its failings.’
The findings of the inquiry, set up by Theresa May in 2014 following the Jimmy Savile scandal, amount to a wholesale condemnation of the attitude to sex abuse of both bishops and more junior clergy.
It said Bishop Peter Ball, a friend of the Prince of Wales, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades, had been allowed to continue unchecked after being first caught in 1993 because of the leniency of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
It said Lord Carey ‘simply could not believe the allegations against Ball or acknowledge the seriousness of them regardless of evidence, and was outspoken in his support of his bishop’, adding: ‘He seemingly wanted the whole business to go away.’
It concluded: ‘Many of these cases demonstrate the Church of England’s failure to take the abuse seriously, creating a culture where abusers were able to hide.
‘Alleged perpetrators were given more support than victims, who often faced barriers to reporting they simply couldn’t overcome.’
Paedophile dean silenced accusers
One of the Church of England’s most highly-placed paedophiles used the seal of the confessional to protect himself from exposure and disgrace, the report said.
The Very Reverend Robert Waddington, who was Dean of Manchester cathedral in the 1980s and 1990s, was responsible for repeated sexual abuse of boys in Australia and England over five decades and his case was covered up at the highest level.
The young man whose complaints finally exposed Waddington in 2013 – six years after his death – had been told he must keep quiet to avoid breaking a sacred trust.
One of the Church of England’s most highly-placed paedophiles, Robert Waddington (left), who was the Dean of Manchester Cathedral, used the seal of the confessional to protect himself from exposure and disgrace, the report said. Waddington was exposed after former chorister Eli Ward (right) came forward in 2013
The man said ‘Waddington had told him – falsely – that he could not disclose the abuse, as Waddington had been “absolved of sinful child abuse in the context of the sacramental ministry of reconciliation”.’
The Church has never acknowledged that the scandal was central to its internal debate over the confessional.
Waddington was exposed after former chorister Eli Ward came forward in 2013 to speak publicly about how from the age of 11 he was groomed and then sexually abused by him.
Mr Ward, now 47, said he was sleeping in the dean’s bed by the time he was 13.