Monthly Archives: November 2020

“Looking In – Some Observations” – Memoirs of Christopher R. Hill.

Copies can be obtained from the author at crhill764@gmail.com, or from One Tree Books in Petersfield, Hampshire.

Christopher R. Hill

“LOOKING IN – SOME OBSERVATIONS” – ‘A BURST OF INDIGNATION’ – PAGES 280-284

I have always been interested in institutions and in recent years mortified by the decline of so many which used to function as social cement in our fissiparous society.

In 2015, I read about the treatment of Bishop George Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester (the Diocese in which I live) from 1929 to 1958, whose memory had been shabbily besmirched by the current Church establishment. He died in office in 1958 [? – Ed].

The, greatly shortened, story is that in 2013 a woman, whose name is protected by law from publication in England, accused the Bishop of having molested her sexually nearly sixty years earlier, when she was a small girl. This seemed very unlikely, but had to be investigated by the diocesan safeguarding ‘team’ who set up what safeguarders call a “core group” (in ordinary language a committee) to look into the allegations. The current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, was invited, but was not the chairman, and only attended one or two of the group’s five meetings.

(The safeguarders are tasked with investigating stories about clergy who have behaved badly towards ‘vulnerable’ people old and young, though in practice usually young. There is a headquarters group at Lambeth Palace, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and teams in the various dioceses. Their power seems to be increasing).

The allegations seemed fantastic to anyone who knew anything about Bishop Bell. He had been highly regarded as a theologian, and during the war of 1939 to 1945 he had kept in touch with German Christians, partly in the hope of contributing to a negotiated peace. It is said that Churchill disapproved so much of these courageous activities that he prevented Bishop Bell from becoming Archbishop of Canterbury.

Opinion in the core group gradually solidified towards the finding that Bell was guilty, which caused uproar, largely among Christians in the diocese, though national interest was aroused by two well-known journalists, Charles Moore (now a Peer) and Peter Hitchens; as it happened I had taught the latter at York.

Meanwhile, Bishop Warner rushed to pay off the complainant (who from the start had very often been designated “the victim”, particularly by the safeguarders) who received £16,800, which I understand is near the bottom of the scale in such cases, while the Church’s costs were £18,000 and the complainant’s £15,000.

A minor mystery is that an anonymous donor gave £20,000 towards the Church’s expenditure, which seems a terrible waste of money compared with subscribing to something practical which would try to promote Christian objectives.

I was enraged by the story and contributed in a very small way to the uproar by writing scathing commentaries in my blog, which I had started when I was eighty-years-old, in an effort to get to grips with modernity: I devoted my very first blog , in January 2016, to the Bell case.

The indignation which I quite unexpectedly felt was, to my own surprise, as profound as that which I had felt in Rhodesia over the whites’ treatment of black people, and I embarked on correspondence with as many as I could of those involved, starting with Bishop Warner, and most of the answers added to my conviction that much was amiss. Feeling such indignation, and acting on it, reminded me of Rhodesia, and made me feel that life was coming full circle, despite the difference in scale of the two connections. That with Rhodesia was full-time while it lasted, whereas that with the Bell scandal was more occasional and less central to my life, yet the feelings and energy generated by the two involvements were of the same order.

Fortunately a friend told me that a body had been set up, called the Bell Group, mostly of Christians and many of them prominent, and was doing exactly what I was doing, finding out facts and applying pressure, but in a much more powerful way. I was glad to join the group, though I only attended two meetings, because they were held in a conference room up forty stairs at Faith House, Westminster.

Slowly, very slowly, the Church came to recognise that its findings must be scrutinised, and Lord Carlile, an eminent lawyer, was commissioned to report on the core group’s procedures, though not on it guilty verdict. His report found that the procedures had been amateurish to the point of being shambolic (though he did not use those words) and he made it clear that there was no serious evidence for the verdict.

This did not mean that the complainant was lying; as a psychiatrist explained to Carlile, she might simply be suffering from false memory, but without corroborating evidence it would be impossible to establish whether or not that was the case. It was clear that the procedures were very unlike those of a court of law. What made so many of us angry was that Bell could not defend himself, and no legal representative was called in to defend him against the investigators’ slipshod methods.

The Church was saved from an awkward discussion at the Church of England synod in February 2018 by the convenient discovery of further complaints, which allowed the church to commission another report, this time from Timothy Briden, a respected ecclesiastical lawyer, and to claim that until he reported the whole matter was sub judice and could not be discussed.

The Church complicated matters further by engaging a consultant, whose name and terms of reference it would not divulge, to interview witnesses on Briden’s behalf.

The consultant was an ex police Superintendent, Ray Galloway, and I gained a little rather childish satisfaction by being able to publish his hitherto secret details a day or two before they appeared in the press. When the report was published it became clear that the new complaints, some of them ludicrous and some not fit for a family audience, could have been rejected in an hour or two by any sensible person, and that calling in Galloway had been an unnecessary manoeuvre.

Despite these reports the Church has never recanted. Bishop Warner of Chichester and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, have both refused to acknowledge that Bell’s reputation remains unblemished, and so have damaged their own reputations in the eyes of many devoted church people. There were apologies for the deficient procedures of the “core group” but the Archbishop has refused to withdraw his remark that “a cloud still hangs over Bell’s name”.

The fact that the Bell imbroglio made me as indignant as I had felt in Rhodesia in 1965 and 1966 does not mean that I am comparing the safeguarders to the Rhodesia Front, or the Bishop of Chichester to Ian Smith, but both made me see red. Smith and his cohort were, I believed, defending ownership of what they believed to be rightfully theirs, while the African nationalists were doing their best to recover what they believed to be stolen goods. It was clear that until a new political framework was created, with universal suffrage, there could be no progress towards deciding who owned what. What I disliked about the Rhodesian Government, quite apart from moral considerations, was their obtuseness and arrogance in not seeing that they could not indefinitely get away with suppressing their own black people and defying world opinion.

I thought very much the same about the Church of England . Here was a once-great institution, already turning into a minority sect, whose leaders seemed to have no idea of how to conduct the most basic business. They seemed not to understand that most of the general public, if they were interested at all, would instinctively conclude that Bishop Bell had been badly treated. Prelates seemed not to realise that the actions of their Safeguarding Teams, both in the chaotic conduct of their “core group” and the absence of anything resembling due process, were doing nothing to preserve the Church’s reputation.

_______________________________________________________________________________

NOVEMBER 26 2020 – THE MACLEAN-DANDO ABUSE COVER-UP [FROM THE BELL SOCIETY ARCHIVES – AUGUST 22 2017]

August 22 2017 – “Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover-Up Found Dead” – News Punch

1 Reply

https://newspunch.com/reporter-bbc-pedophilia-dead/

Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover Up Found Dead

August 20, 2017 Baxter Dmitry NewsUK 68

Liz MacKean, the former British investigative reporter who exposed Jimmy Savile and the culture of pedophile protection at the BBC, has been found dead.

Liz MacKean, the former British investigative reporter who exposed Jimmy Savile and the culture of pedophile protection at the BBC, has been found dead. She was 52.

MacKean worked at the BBC until she quit in 2013 after executives decided to ban her groundbreaking and brave investigation into predatory pedophile Jimmy Savile in order to protect him and other pedophiles.

Dismissed by the establishment as mad and dangerous, MacKean was finally vindicated when the truth about Savile’s pedophilia eventually came out in 2012, a full year after MacKean first tried to bring his notorious crimes to light.

The BBC, who blocked her groundbreaking investigation from airing and spent the next few years attempting to destroy her reputation, are reporting that she died of “complications from a stroke.”

Acknowledging her life was under threat during the time she was investigating Savile and BBC elites, MacKean said her conscience left her no option but to pursue the truth and expose the culture of pedophila. The mother of two children believed it was her duty.

When it became public that BBC News blocked her investigation from airing, she admitted on Panorama: “I was very unhappy the story didn’t run because I felt we’d spoken to people who collectively deserved to be heard. And they weren’t heard.https://www.youtube.com/embed/TaGJCvq-Oec?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

“I thought that that was a failure… I felt we had a responsibility towards them. We got them to talk to us, but above all, we did believe them. And so then, for their stories not to be heard, I felt very bad about that. I felt, very much, that I’d let them down.”

Big name stars

Liz MacKean is the second high profile BBC journalist to die in suspicious circumstances after attempting to expose the truth about the pedophile ring operating in the upper reaches of the establishment. Jill Dando, former Crimewatch host, also tried to alert her bosses to the pedophile ring at the BBC, warning that “big name” stars were implicated.

Jill Dando, who was 37, was shot dead on April 26, 1999 on the doorstep of her West London home in a crime that still remains unsolved.

Before she died, Dando had passed a file to senior management in the mid-1990s, proving that big name BBC stars, including Savile, were involved in a pedophile ring, but senior management chose to cover up the child abuse rather than organize and investigation.

No one wanted to know” when Dando raised concerns about the alleged ring and other sexual abuse claims at the BBC, according to a former colleague and friend.

I don’t recall the names of all the stars now and don’t want to implicate anyone, but Jill said they were surprisingly big names.

 “I think she was quite shocked when told about images of children and that information on how to join this horrible paedophile ring was freely available.

“Jill said others had complained to her about sexual matters and that some female workmates also claimed they had been groped or assaulted.

“Nothing had been done and there seemed to be a policy of turning a blind eye.”

The former colleague said female BBC staff confided in Jill, one of the best-known TV faces of the day after fronting primetime shows including Holiday and the Six O’Clock News as well as Crimewatch.’

The source said: “I think it was in the mid-1990s. She was seen as the face of the BBC and a magnet for women with problems.

Baxter Dmitry

Baxter Dmitry is a writer at News Punch. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.
Email: baxter@newspunch.com
Follow: @baxter_dmitry

FURTHER INFORMATION

Jersey Evening Post

http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/08/21/tributes-paid-to-award-winning-savile-journalist/

NOVEMBER 22 2020 – “NEW DEAN IN OXFORD COLLEGE FEUD ACCUSED OF STROKING WOMAN’S HAIR” – MAIL ON SUNDAY

Christ Church Oxford

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8974033/D

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8974033/Dean-Oxford-college-feud-accused-stroking-young-womans-hair.htmlean-Oxford-college-feud-accused-stroking-young-womans-hair.html

Dean in long-running Oxford college feud is now accused of stroking a young woman’s hair and making an inappropriate remark towards her

  • The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy is being investigated by church authorities
  • He has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated
  • MoS understands the woman claims Prof Percy, 58, approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning’

By MICHAEL POWELL FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 00:18, 22 November 2020 | UPDATED: 00:19, 22 November 2020

10 View comments

The cleric at the centre of a bitter feud at an Oxford University college is being investigated by church authorities following an allegation that he made an inappropriate remark and gesture towards a young woman.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated. 

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning.’

Prof Percy denies the allegation, but the claims have leached into a long-running battle that he has been having with dons at Christ Church – despite a Church of England source last night insisting that it had nothing to do with the dispute at the university.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (above) has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated+3

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (above) has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: 'I couldn't take my eyes off you this morning.' (File image of Prof Percy)+3

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning.’ (File image of Prof Percy)

Friends of Prof Percy, who is a married father-of-two, said he was ‘distraught’ at the claims and the use of them as a ‘weapon’ to renew efforts by his critics to oust him from his job at Christ Church.

One ally said: ‘Martyn is in an impossible position of being unable to defend himself while detailed allegations against him are being leaked all round the place.’

According to a source, the woman was ‘quite shaken up’ by Prof Percy’s alleged conduct on October 4. ‘She says Martyn came in and approached her and started stroking her hair and being inappropriate. She says he told her, ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning’,’ the source said.

After speaking with friends, the woman complained to a cleric at the cathedral who set in motion a Church Disciplinary Measure inquiry to formally investigate the allegations.

RELATED ARTICLES

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation.

Governors at Christ Church have run up an estimated £2 million legal bill trying to remove Prof Percy.

Two years ago, he was suspended amid claims of ‘behaviour of an immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature’ in a dispute relating to his £90,000 salary. 

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation. (File image of Christ Church college)+3

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation. (File image of Christ Church college)

The 58-year-old, who friends say is guilty of nothing more than trying to modernise the 500-year-old institution and improve student safety, refused to resign and a retired High Court judge rejected 27 charges against him after an internal tribunal. Despite being exonerated, Christ Church refused to reimburse his £400,000 legal fees.

The dean is now taking the college to an employment tribunal over claims of disability and religious discrimination. 

Earlier this year, the MoS revealed how a group of Oxford dons opposed to Prof Percy exchanged emails in which they described him as a ‘manipulative little turd’ and as having a ‘personality disorder’.

In one, a don wrote: ‘I’m always ready to think the worst of him. Does anyone know any good poisoners?’

It prompted a colleague to fantasise about ‘the Inspector Morse episode we could make when his wrinkly withered little body’ is found.

Christ Church and the Diocese of Oxford declined to comment

“DEAR ARCHBISHOP, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TAKE A SABBATICAL” – KAREN ARMSTRONG – THE GUARDIAN

Archbishop Justin Welby

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO TAKE SUMMER SABBATICAL FOR ‘SPIRITUAL RENEWAL’ IN 2021

Archbishop of Canterbury to take summer sabbatical for ‘spiritual renewal’ in 2021

Between May and September, the Most Rev Justin Welby will take a break for study, reflection and prayer

By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 21 November 2020 • 9:30pm

The Archbishop of Canterbury will take a sabbatical for “spiritual renewal”, The Telegraph can reveal.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, 64, will take a break from his role from May to September next year.

It is understood he will spend some of the time in his six-bedroom house in a remote hamlet in Normandy, France, which he has previously referred to as his “happy place”, and that he will focus on “study, prayer and reflection”.

While it is not unprecedented for the most senior bishop in the Church of England to take an extended break from the role, many will question the timing given the continuing challenges facing society because of the pandemic. 

In 2007, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, took a three-month sabbatical to write a book: Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and ­Fiction. Furthermore, in 1997, Lord Carey also took a two-month sabbatical.

The Archbishop has been leading the Church during an unprecedented period. In the first lockdown, the Church faced criticism for not challenging the Government’s decision to close places of worship. Ahead of the second lockdown, the Archbishop questioned the Government over why communal worship was being banned.

News of the most senior bishop in the Church of England taking a sabbatical from his role as the 105th Archbishop emerged following the Canterbury Diocesan Synod at the weekend.  Every member of the clergy, even archbishops, are entitled to apply for a sabbatical every seven to 10 years.

It is understood the Archbishop had intended to take his sabbatical after the Lambeth Conference, scheduled for summer 2020. However, this was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

There will not be an interim Archbishop of Canterbury while he is on sabbatical, rather the current Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will step in for national duties. The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, will also assist in her role as Dean of the Southern Province.

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking a sabbatical in 2021 for study, reflection and prayer.”

Dear archbishop, now is not the time to take a sabbatical

Karen Armstrong

As the pandemic rages, Justin Welby says he’s going to take time off. How did religion become so self-centred?

Justin Welby arriving at Canterbury Cathedral, April 2019

Justin Welby arriving at Canterbury Cathedral, April 2019 Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PAWed 25 Nov 2020 08.00 GMT

The archbishop of Canterbury has announced that he will shortly be taking a sabbatical for three months to enjoy a period of “spiritual renewal”.

Though his two predecessors took a break of similar length while they were in office, neither was during a time of acute national crisis. So in choosing summer 2021 for his absence, Justin Welby seems to be saying that his personal wellbeing is paramount and that the anxiety, suffering, fear and grief of a country in the grip of a deadly pandemic and an economic crisis is, at best, a secondary concern.

Perhaps it is not surprising that faith is in decline in the UK – only about 8% of the population attend a Christian service regularly – because this attitude strikes at the heart of the religious dynamic.

Religion is extremely demanding, but in the west it has sometimes become indulgent and self-centred. Hindu sages, for example, originally crafted the exacting disciplines of yoga to extirpate egotism, but in the west yoga has become little more than an aerobic exercise, designed to induce calm.Archbishop of Canterbury to take sabbatical for ‘spiritual renewal’Read more

The Buddha devised mindfulness to teach his monks that the self they prized so highly was illusory and must be discarded, but mindfulness is now used to help people feel more at ease and content with themselves.Advertisement

And, in recent years, the stern, demanding Christ of the gospels has become the “personal saviour” of a significant number of Christians, someone who functions rather like a personal trainer in the gym. I am not suggesting that the archbishop has fallen prey to such crass piety, but in putting his spiritual wellbeing before a country in pain, he comes close to it.

John Locke said that religion was a “private search” that could have nothing to do with public life. But the founders of the world religions would not have agreed with him. Jesus, for example, was preaching in Roman-occupied Palestine – a society traumatised by state violence and excessive taxation. Failure to pay was punished by confiscation of land, so peasants were forced into banditry or destitution. The crowds who thronged around him for healing were hungry, desperate and sick, many afflicted with neurological and psychological disorders that they attributed to demons.

Unlike the archbishop, Jesus could not retire to cultivate his personal spirituality because he was perpetually besieged by desperate people. We read that “the whole town came crowding round the door” of his house; they came in such numbers that “he had to stay outside in places where nobody lived”.

To be a follower of Christ cannot, therefore, mean withdrawal from the world – especially in a time of crisis. Jesus may have preached the kingdom of God, but this was not an otherworldly fantasy; it was rather an implicit but clear critique of imperial power. In God’s kingdom, unlike the Roman empire, the poor would be first and the rich last. The Lord’s Prayer was devised for people terrified of falling into debt, and who could hope only for bare subsistence, one day at a time. “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.” Jesus’s parables were not timeless truths, but reflected the problems of a society split between the very rich and the very poor. People were desperate for loans, heavily indebted, and forced to hire themselves out as day labourers.

And, of course, Jesus was finally put to death by the Roman authorities after staging a provocative procession in Jerusalem at Passover (always a touchy time in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, because it celebrated the ancient Israelites’ liberation from the imperial power of Egypt).Bishop says C of E change of stance on sexuality would spark exodusRead more

The Buddha’s story is especially interesting now. He defined human suffering as “sickness, old age and death”, and historians believe that at this time there may have been a pandemic in the Ganges valley, where the newly founded cities attracted parasites that can flourish only in densely occupied environments.

The Buddha had discovered a method of living creatively with the pain that is endemic in human life, and he is usually depicted sitting in the lotus position, seemingly lost to the world. Indeed, after achieving nirvana, he was tempted for a while – like the archbishop, perhaps – to relish this newfound peace in solitude. But the god Brahma intervened, begging him to “look down at humanity, which is drowning in pain” and “to travel far and wide throughout the world” to help others deal with their suffering.

The Buddha then realised he must “return to the marketplace”, and insisted that his monks do the same. For the next 40 years, the Buddha travelled tirelessly throughout the towns and villages of India, sometimes far from his friends, helping people to deal creatively with the sorrow that is inherent in life.

I sympathise with the archbishop, because I love the solitude and study that is essential to my writing. But if you are engaged with religion, that is part of the job.

• Karen Armstrong is the author of The Lost Art of Scripture

NOVEMBER 21 2020 – CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF ITS DEAN AND HEAD MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES…WITH HELP FROM THE BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT.

Christ Church Oxford

The Dean of Christ Church Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

Dean and Head of Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford

“UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN” – REPORTEDLY [NEW HEADLINE – FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020]

CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES… [ORIGINAL HEADLINE FROM WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18 2020 REINSTATED ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21 2020 – WITH STEVEN CROFT ADDITION]

Troubled Oxford dean Martyn Percy steps aside in fight with dons as he faces Church of England probe into his behaviour

  • Fresh allegations against the Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy have emerged 
  • In ‘private’ message to students Christ Church said Prof Percy stepped down  
  • It’s the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church college

By JOSH WHITE EDUCATION REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17 November 2020

The controversial dean of an Oxford college stood down last night after the emergence of a fresh allegation against him.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour.

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour+3

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour

It is the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church – where he is head of the college and its cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail.

In response, the dean sought changes to the college’s safeguarding protocols. However, his proposals met with resistance from academics.

There followed moves to oust Professor Percy from his position. He was suspended in 2018 amid allegations of improper misconduct. However, these claims were rejected by an employment tribunal which found in the dean’s favour and against Christ Church. Professor Percy then complained that his £90,900 salary was less than the average earned by the heads of Oxford colleges.

But last night senior Oxford University sources said the fresh allegation meant Professor Percy now had no choice but to be ‘stand back or be suspended’.

In a message to students, college officials in charge of discipline said they could not shed much light on the matter for legal reasons.

But they added that ‘appropriate measures have been put in place whilst inquiries are under way’ and urged any students who needed to support to contact their welfare offices.

Their formal full statement went on to say: ‘The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward (pictured) stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail

‘Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.’

A Church of England source confirmed it was actively investigating Professor Percy’s behaviour but would not be drawn on the substance of the allegation or the progress of its probe.

Allies of the dean defended him last night, saying the claims against him were ‘not grave’ and he was the victim of a sustained witch-hunt.

One said the allegations were ‘being ruthlessly exploited by his enemies who, once again, are proving the culture of the college has become toxic’.In a ¿private and confidential¿ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ¿voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities¿+3

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’

The source added: ‘But they don’t seem to care: they will do anything to force him out.’

Another said: ‘There is no chance of him going soon – and he will probably be reinstated in the new year.’

In February, leaked emails revealed that Oxford dons had described Professor Percy as a ‘little Hitler’ who was ‘nasty’ and had a ‘personality disorder’.

The dean declined to comment. Then in May, the majority of Christ Church’s trustees wrote to the Charity Commission urging it to insist that he should accept a settlement and leave – or be removed.

Christ Church and Oxford University were contacted for comment. Professor Percy could not be reached for comment last night.

Christ Church, founded by Henry VIII in 1546, is one of the richest Oxford colleges with an endowment approaching £600million.

Its alumni include 13 British prime ministers.

FURTHER MEDIA REACTION

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church OxfordDaily update ⋅ November 19, 2020
NEWS
Dean of Oxford college steps aside in long-running disputeThe GuardianThe Very Rev Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, voluntarily withdrew from all his duties after a new, unspecified complaint was made against him.Flag as irrelevant
Martyn Percydean of Oxford’s Christ Church college, steps aside after new complaintThe TimesThe “demise” of the dean of one of Oxford’s oldest colleges has been “exaggerated”, friends said yesterday, as they insisted he would return to work …Flag as irrelevant
Dean of Christ Church Very Rev Martyn Percy steps aside following fresh complaint Oxford Mail The head of an Oxford University college has temporarily stepped aside following a fresh complaint against him. The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean …

THINKING ANGLICANS – NOVEMBER 19 2020

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/a-new-complaint-about-the-dean-of-christ-church/

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

This whole matter stinks – and it is critical the source of the stench is rooted out.

The Church of England fully exonerated the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy of all safeguarding charges three months ago.

Now, an anonymous someone has come forward making a further safeguarding allegation against the Dean.

The media have made much of the fact that Martyn Percy has ‘stepped aside’ pending further investigation – something I would imagine he had no choice but to do because of this new allegation. The Daily Mail waded in, and the Guardian, Times and Telegraph followed. The Church Times has as its headline “Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church Oxford steps back”.

This is an almost identical scenario to what happened in the Bishop Bell scandal. Lord Carlile QC, in his Church-commissioned investigation, was excoriating in his legal analysis of how the Church of England handled the abuse allegations against the wartime Bishop. Then, ‘out-of-the-blue’ came a new allegation. This action delayed justice for George Bell. The allegation was later found to be totally unfounded by another Church-commissioned investigation led by Timothy Briden. But the damage had been done – and the Bishop Bell supporters still await justice

Justice delayed is justice denied..

I sense there is something deeply corrupt within certain corridors of power – and if this is not rooted out quickly, it will quickly spread like a cancer.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft – November 19 2020 – criticising the “supporters” of Christ Church Dean Martyn Percy:

“We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position…The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated”

Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner:- October 22 2015 – criticising the “supporters” of Bishop of Chichester George Bell:

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency”

Martin Sewell

The word “reportedly” in this statement is doing a suspiciously large amount of work.

Luke 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Ephesians 5:11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval Reply to  Martin Sewell

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” – reportedly.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Inquattrogatti

How can all supporters of the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy “belittle” complainants?

That’s rather like saying all supporters of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell “belittle” those complainants of abuse.

Palpable, illogical, dangerous nonsense from the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval 

Church Times editor hastily amends article to restore journalistic balance and integrity [Hat-tip: Simon Sarmiento], but the unbalanced headline remains.

Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, steps back – Church Times

byA STAFF REPORTER19 NOVEMBER 2020DAVID HARTLEY/CHURCH TIMES

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The statement concludes that the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, is in close contact with all concerned.

CHURCH TIMES ARTICLE – HASTILY AMENDED ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020 [BUT ORIGINAL HEADLINE AND DATE REMAINS ON NOVEMBER 21 AT 7AM]

 

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese. The supporters, in turn, have asked why members of the college’s Governing Body have not been criticised.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The diocesan statement, in turn, has been criticised by David Lamming, a friend of Dean Percy and a General Synod member, as a “wholly inappropriate public comment while the current allegation is under investigation”. He objects, in particular, to the reference to “severity”, and asks for information about the authorship of the statement.

Other allies of the Dean have pointed out that the diocesan reprimand is one-sided. It is said that at least one member of the college’s Governing Body was known to have briefed journalists anonymously about the case.

A story in the Daily Mail on Friday partially identifies the complainant in the new case, and resurrects a dispute started by the college in the summer against research funding from the United States for the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, which another Canon of Christ Church, Professor Nigel Biggar, directs (News, 19 June). Professor Biggar has been an outspoken supporter of Dean Percy. 

The Daily Mail writes: “The Mail has learnt that inquiries are also being made over money discovered in college accounts originating with an obscure Michigan-based Christian group.” Far from being obscure, the McDonald Agape Foundation has funded several projects at St Mellitus Theological College, including the McDonald Professorship of Christian Theology, currently held by Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

One friend of Dean Percy said that he had no intention of belittling the new complaint, but he questioned why the diocesan statement did not encompass both the Dean’s supporters and his critic

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT

Diocese of Oxford Home/News/The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

19 November 2020
Following media reports, our statement is updated as follows

We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position. The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.

18 November 2020

The Bishop of Oxford has agreed with the Very Revd Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, that Martyn will step back from office, while a complaint is properly considered.

Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean of the Cathedral is also Head of an Oxford College. Christ Church has written to students and staff with the following statement. The statement has also been shared with the Cathedral congregation and those at the Cathedral School.

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Bishop of Oxford is in close contact with all concerned. His prayers, and those of the Diocese, are with everyone at Christ Church.

Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

FROM THE ARCHIVES

“CHURCH CLEARS OXFORD COLLEGE DEAN AFTER BLACK OPS CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT HIM – THE GUARDIAN – SEPTEMBER 8 2020

“VICAR TELLS ABUSE INQUIRY ARCHBISHOPS NOT FIT FOR OFFICE – ITV NEWS – JULY 10 2019

Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

A vicar who says his disclosures about being sexually abused as a teenager were ignored by senior clerics has told an inquiry the archbishops of Canterbury and York are not “fit for office”.

The Rev Matthew Ineson criticised the archbishops as he gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the Anglican Church.

The vicar called for changes to the way the church investigates safeguarding issues and complaints about clerics, describing the current system as “totally unsuitable”.

The witness told the inquiry how he suffered abuse at the hands of priest Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life on the day he was due to appear in court accused of sexual offences against Mr Ineson.

He said he later made disclosures to a number of bishops and archbishops but they were ignored and no further action was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when he made complaints against the clerics.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.Credit: PA

Mr Ineson said bishops abuse their power to protect themselves and force victims of clerical sexual abuse to face further suffering by not acting upon their disclosures.

He told the inquiry: “Bishops sit on thrones.

“They live in fine palaces and houses, they wear the finest robes and garments, they bully people.

“People literally kneel down and kiss the ring on their finger.”

“Enough is enough – I think the victims are far stronger people than the bishops.”

He continued: “I cannot see the face of Jesus in the Archbishop of Canterbury or York. I see hypocrites and I see Pharisees. I see the people that Jesus stood up against.

“I don’t think those people are fit for office.”

Mr Ineson said he met the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at a meeting for survivors of clerical abuse at a General Synod in York.

The witness said: “I’d never seen John Sentamu before and if I ever see him again it will be too soon.

“He came over to me, he came really in my face, too close, he grabbed me by the shoulder and he held me by the shoulder and said, ‘One day me and you will talk’.”

Mr Ineson said he asked the archbishop for an apology for his failure to act on his disclosures but Dr Sentamu replied: “Apologies mean different things to different people.”

He told the inquiry: “He’s arrogant, he’s rude and he’s a bully.”

Mr Ineson, who was ordained in 2000 and practised as a vicar in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, for more than 10 years, said he made his first disclosures between 2012 and 2013 to the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows, the then bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, and the then archdeacon of Rotherham Martyn Snow, but that nothing came of his reports.

He said: “I could not believe it. I could not believe they were doing nothing.”

Mr Ineson went on to make two written disclosures to Mr Croft, now the Bishop of Oxford, and sent copies to the Bishop of Beverley and Dr Sentamu.

He said he wrote in his second letter: “You will never know what it took to tell you but you will also never know of the hurt that you and your suffragan have caused me by doing absolutely nothing about it.”

Mr Ineson told the inquiry that the only person to reply was Dr Sentamu, who wrote: “Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes at this difficult time.”

He said he submitted complaints about the clerics under the clergy discipline measure but was told that the complaints fell outside of the church’s one-year rule.

Mr Ineson appealed but told the inquiry that part of the process was to contact those being complained about to ask for their opinion about whether the one-year rule should be extended in their cases.

He said: “Who in their right mind thinks it’s acceptable to write to a priest who is under investigation by the police for child sexual abuse and give him the opportunity to object to being investigated?”

Mr Ineson described the complaints system as “totally unsuitable”.

He said: “Bishop investigates bishop and they’re all conflicted.”

Mr Ineson said he believed that safeguarding should be taken out of the hands of the church so that complaints are investigated by an independent body and that clerical sexual abuse should be the subject of mandatory reporting.

He said: “I have no desire to damage the church at all or bring the church down. The overriding motive for me is to help prevent abuse from happening again.”

Mr Ineson continued: “The church is not going to change unless they are made to. They can’t be trusted.”

Giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Sentamu said he did not believe he had made personal mistakes in the course of responding to disclosures of clerical abuse.

He said: “Hand on heart, I don’t think so. Where there have been disclosures, I have been willing to apologise to the person, trying to do the best I can to support them.”

When asked about the case of Mr Ineson, Dr Sentamu said he received a copy of the cleric’s letter but assumed the Bishop of Sheffield would deal with it because it was his responsibility.

He said that, if he had behaved at the General Synod in the way described by Mr Ineson, that behaviour would have been “totally inappropriate”.

Dr Sentamu agreed Mr Ineson’s treatment by the Church had been “shabby and shambolic” and said he should have received more support.

He added the police investigation and the complaints issued under the clergy discipline measure meant it took too long to set up an inquiry into his abuse.

“BISHOP OF OXFORD TO FACE POLICE QUESTIONING OVER ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE COVER-UP – DAILY TELEGRAPH – SEPTEMBER 2 2018

Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegations of sex abuse cover-up – Daily Telegraph – September 2 2018

The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation
The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation

2 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 10:00PMFollow 

The Bishop of Oxford will be summoned for questioning by police over claims he failed to pass on allegations of rape against a priest.

The Rt Rev Steven Croft will be interviewed under caution by South Yorkshire Police as part of an investigation over alleged failures to report abuse, sources have told The Telegraph

No arrest is expected and the Diocese of Oxford stressed there was no suggestion of guilt. 

However, a senior lawyer involved in the case said that Bishop Croft is set to be questioned over possible offences of misconduct in public office.

Matt Ineson, who has waived his right to anonymity, says he was raped by a former priest, the Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, in Bradford in the 1980s.I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequateMatt Ineson

Mr Devamanikkam, who later lived in Witney, Oxfordshire, was later charged with child sex offences but committed suicide last year, the day before he was due in court. 

Mr Ineson says he told Mr Croft, then the Bishop of Sheffield, in 2012 and later copied in the Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, in a 2013 letter. 

Neither Bishop Croft, Archbishop Sentamu, nor the three other bishops Mr Ineson says he told reported the matter to the police, it is claimed. 

South Yorkshire Police has now taken a written statement from Mr Ineson and are expected to question Bishop Croft in the coming weeks. If the investigation goes ahead, it is also possible the Archbishop of York could face police questioning.

Bishop Croft is separately facing criticism for reinstating Lord Carey’s permission to preach and lead services amid allegations the former archbishop “colluded” with disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball.

Mr Ineson told The Telegraph: “The failures to deal properly with my disclosures has caused me great pain and anguish.

“I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequate. I must now leave the police and CPS to examine the issues.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, left, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby

Mr Ineson’s lawyer, David Greenwood, the head of the child abuse department at Switalskis Solicitors, said: “I understand Steven Croft is to be investigated for offences of misconduct in a public office. 

“Those in public office are expected to abide by high standards and when their behaviour falls well below a standard to be expected the CPS can prosecute. 

“The type of behaviour to be examined could include ignoring sex crimes against children.”

Mr Greenwood added he was dismayed government ministers had abandoned plans to introduce mandatory reporting which would make it a criminal offence not to pass on suspicions of abuse to the police.

He said if the UK followed the example of some Australian states and introduced mandatory reporting laws then convictions for covering up abuse would be easier. 

The majority of respondents to a government consultation earlier this year urged against new laws on reporting abuse, warning it would put children’s workers at risk of prosecution and divert attention away from important cases. There is currently no legal requirement on those working with children to report either known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford said: “Written records and notes taken at the time give a different picture to the one Mr Ineson is presenting about how his case has been handled. 

“An independent review, commissioned by the National Safeguarding  Team, will investigate the response of the Church of England to matters relating to the late Trevor Devamanikkam. 

“The review will further explore the facts of the case and establish any lessons learned. We look forward to the findings of the review.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said official guidelines meant they could neither confirm nor deny the identity of anyone who may or may not be under investigation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BISHOP STEVEN CROFT

“NOW DEAN IN OXFORD COLLEGE FEUD ACCUSED OF STROKING WOMAN’S HAIR” – MAIL ON SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 22 2020 – PAGE 26

I’m not someone who uses the word ‘evil’ lightly, but after reading the Mail on Sunday [MoS] article, a shiver of that word was felt…….

After calming down and reading the MoS article again – after being in a state of shock, anger and disbelief – I believe a police investigation of all Christ Church Board of Governors should now take place without delay.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

NOVEMBER 13 2020 – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD

Safeguarding Complaint against Archbishop Welby dismissed – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

Today, two documents have appeared in connection with the formal complaint made about the Archbishop of Canterbury by the complainant known as Graham. One is a press release from Lambeth Palace giving notice of the dismissal of the complaint

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/update-safeguarding-complaint-against-archbishop-canterbury

and the other is a press release from the complainant. 

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pressrelease.pdf 

The background to this complaint was described in my last blog post connected with John Smyth. I mentioned the way that the Archbishop of Canterbury had become aware of serious accusations made against the former chairman of the Titus Trustees in 2013. This was a year after one of his victims, Graham, had made a disclosure to a senior clergyman in Cambridge involved with the Titus Trust.

We have already made reference to the fact that Archbishop Welby knew John Smyth personally.  He has admitted visiting his house on one occasion. It has never been claimed that they were close friends, but Welby’s own conversion and background within the Christian faith owed much to the evangelical Christian networks in Cambridge in the 1970s.  Here Smyth also had many links. The network that is now known as ReNew was very strong in Cambridge. Mark Ruston and Jonathan Fletcher both exercised an influential ministry among undergraduates in that city through the Round Church. Many of the officers who worked at the Iwerne camps were undergraduates in Cambridge at that time, including the young Justin Welby and Nicky Gumbel. Networking is something that the REFORM/ReNew network have always done very successfully. The conservative evangelical world which originally nurtured Welby always strongly sustained a sense of camaraderie.  Archbishop Welby, although later broadening out in his churchmanship sympathies, did not appear to lose these connections and friendships with those in the world of conservative Anglicanism.

The 2013 complaint about John Smyth should have been a alarm call for Archbishop Welby. As I indicated in a previous blog on this topic, he certainly knew many people in Smyth’s network to ring up and ask what the story  was all about. I mentioned before an extraordinary lack of curiosity on Welby’s part. Do we perhaps detect an attitude of fear and the desire not to know what was being revealed?  Anyone who lived, as Welby did, on the periphery of the world of Jonathan Fletcher and John Smyth must have had some inkling that they were personalities which were at the very least controversial and possibly dangerous.

While we can take Welby’s claim that he did not know John Smyth well, we would have expected that, as a newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, he would have wanted to investigate how far the scandal might go.  One of the principles of safeguarding, and well established as good practice by 2013, is to establish whether an individual poses any kind of risk. Although Smyth was a long way away in South Africa, he was still a potential risk in safeguarding terms. What did Welby do? He asked the Bishop of Ely to look into the matter.  A letter was written in 2013 by the Bishop of Ely to the Bishop of Table Bay outlining the risks posed by Smyth.    No reply was ever received. No follow-up was made, either by Welby or the Bishop of Ely. Neither was there another letter written, as far as we know.

On a television programme in 2019, Welby claimed to have sent another letter at the same time to the Archbishop of Cape Town. In spite of enquiries, no copy of this later letter has ever been produced to confirm this claim. Smyth was active in legal circles in South Africa to within months of his death in 2018, and there was no attempt by him to hide from either the Church or the civil authorities in South Africa.

The complainant, Graham, has two major issues with the core group who examined his complaint against Archbishop Welby. In the first place he, as the complainant, was never formally interviewed to establish the facts from his perspective.  Both as a survivor and a safeguarding complainant he felt that he should have been properly heard.  It was as though the core group had no interest in establishing facts. In the second place it was stated today in the Lambeth statement that the complaint was simply about safeguarding practice.  From Graham’s perspective, the complaint was much wider than this. Archbishop Welby was in a position to stop John Smyth from having access to young people at any point between first hearing the about his misbehaviour in 2013 right down to the moment when the whole story came fully into the public domain in February 2017.

Graham was also critical of the way that the chief of staff at Lambeth Palace, David Porter, approached him directly in an apparent attempt to interfere with the complaint process. This approach appeared to have the authority of the chairman of the Welby Core Group., Zena Marshall.  She is also the Deputy Director of the National Safeguarding Team. Graham has made this effort to subvert the process the topic of a further complaint.

As an outsider, I write my commentary based on the written documents before me.  I do not have the face to face interviews with the parties concerned.  With the evidence before me, I confess feeling considerable unease about what I see. Even when stripping out all the details of who knew what and when they knew it, something deeply dysfunctional is being revealed in these two documents. In 2013 (or possibly a year earlier) a huge destructive scandal came to the attention of the most senior leaders of the Church of England. This was not just about a vicar at the other end of the country committing some criminal offence. This was a complaint about an individual who was (or had been) influential and widely known to considerable numbers of clergy in the Church of England. Worse than Smyth’s original offences, which have never been contested, was the fact that these crimes were covered up for 30 years. A young man in Zimbabwe died at one of Smyth’s camps and there were some attempted suicides as well as many ruined lives.  It is hard to understand how a person with enormous influence in the Church, as Welby had, did not see this as a matter of extreme priority and deal with it decisively. For a core group later to say that there had been no safeguarding concerns about his actions in 2013 and later seems rather feeble. This weak lack of response suggests that there may have been, as with recent scandals in the Catholic Church, a desire to bury wrongdoing in the hope that it would just go away. I, for one, am deeply disappointed in the way that these documents reveal a lack of transparency, candour and honesty in facing up to the appalling abuse legacies of the past. There are, I believe, at least 22 victims of John Smyth who will all be re-abused by reading these documents and the institutional failures they will see in them.   Graham’s complaint against the processes set up by the NST has not been to all appearances properly answered. For all of these survivors this day, 12 November 2020, will be a day which they will remember forever as a moment when the Church of England has failed them once again.  It did this by not providing anything in the way of justice or a proper path to healing.

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen is a retired Anglican priest living at present in Cumbria. He has taken a special interest in the issues around health and healing in the Church but also when the Church is a place of harm and abuse. He has published books on both these issues and is at present particularly interested in understanding how power works at every level in the Church. He is always interested in making contact with others who are concerned with these issues.

5 thoughts on “Safeguarding Complaint against Archbishop Welby dismissed”

  1. Rowland Wateridge Martin Sewell has contributed relevant information about this today on ‘Thinking Anglicans’. I expect Stephen will provide the link in the usual way.A few days ago I posted on the earlier thread a video of Smyth appearing on South African public television in late 2014, or possibly 2015, on the subject of the then contemporary Pistorius murder trial (which, coincidentally, is back in the public eye as a result of the documentary currently being shown by the BBC). Significant matters are the date: post-2013, Smyth’s cool self-confidence, and the considerable deference shown to him by the television interviewer. As I said last time, anyone who has suffered at Smyth’s hands may prefer not to view this. I believe it provides an insight into Smyth’s character: a consummate double-act, one might say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdek
  2. Pingback: NOVEMBER 13 2020 – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD | The Bell Society
  3. Janet Fife We have, sadly, become inured to the dishonesty and lack of compassion in the Church’s dealing with safeguarding complaints. What I can’t understand is the sheer stupidity of this kind of process and statement. Did they really think anyone would be convinced this was a good, thorough, and fair process? Did they think it would genuinely make either the Church or Abp. Welby look good – or even less bad? Maybe they feel so safe from repercussions that they just don’t care. But that’s dangerous – for them. Because institutions that lose their credibility eventually die; and because the individuals involved will one day have to give account to God.
  4. Stephen Parsons The rhetoric about putting survivors at the heart of safeguarding practice seems not to be followed through, ever. From the moment Lambeth knew about Smyth in 2013 up till today, everything that has been done at the centre has been seemingly about institutional reputation and protecting individuals from the accusations of culpable blame. I wish that there had been a moment when we saw the institution and its leaders moving a little towards survivors with real compassion and a desire for justice. I am not aware of a single occasion when such a thing happened. Individuals in the system may have shown Christ-like humanity but this has never been shared across the board.

FURTHER INFORMATION

WHITEWASH

NOVEMBER 12 2020 – “I HOPE LAMBETH GOT DISCOUNT FOR THE AMOUNT OF WHITEWASH USED!” ~ JOHN WALLACE ON THE ARCHBISHOP-QC SCANDAL –

Update on safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury

on Thursday, 12 November 2020 at 11.11 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

The following statement has been issued by Lambeth Palace this morning.

Update on safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury
12/11/2020

The abuse carried out by the late John Smyth was horrific and support continues to be offered to survivors. The Makin review is currently looking at the Church’s handling of allegations about his abuse, including the response of other organisations involved.

A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.

Archbishop Justin is deeply sorry for the abuse that was carried out by John Smyth. The Archbishop has committed himself to leading the change needed in the Church of England relating to safeguarding and is personally keen to listen to survivors and striving to keep developing and learning in his own ministry.

Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. Support can be offered to victims through the National Safeguarding Team’s survivor engagement worker Emily Denne, who can be contacted at emily.denne@churchofengland.org or do contact Keith Makin, the independent reviewer, direct at keith.makin@independentreviews.live. Subscribe 

guest
Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 

“A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated”

A Church of England Core Group has decided the complaint against Archbishop Welby “has not been substantiated”.

Does the Church hierarchy honestly think anyone – especially a ‘Thinking Anglican’ – takes seriously any decisions by a Church Core Group – especially in the light of the George Bell, George Carey and Martyn Percy moral and legal disgraces?!

As Richard Scorer, a solicitor at the law firm Slater and Gordon who represents abuse survivors, said this week [regarding Roman Catholic Church abuses paralleling that of the Church of England]:

“This is an absolutely damning report. It highlights the shocking scale of abuse, the disgraceful slowness of the church’s response, the abject failures of leadership by Cardinal Nichols, and the Vatican’s appalling refusal to cooperate properly with the inquiry. Cardinal Nichols needs to resign right away – in any other walk of life he would be gone immediately. This is a church that cannot be trusted to protect children. The only way forward now is a mandatory reporting law, so that abuse cannot be covered up, and independent external oversight of church safeguarding. The church cannot be relied on to put its own house in order, and so without these changes, children will continue to be at risk”

John Wallace

John Wallace Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

So agree with this, Richard. I hope Lambeth got discount for the amount of whitewash used! 

Simon Sarmiento

Admin Simon Sarmiento 

The complainant in this matter has issued a press release in reply:
https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pressrelease.pdf

Fr. Dean Henley 

As ever the Church comes out of this looking so grubby. The list of things the Archbishop ought to have resigned over gets ever longer but it’s clear that he’s determined to cling onto his office come hell or high water. He was a dormitory officer at the Iwerne holiday camps he must surely have been aware of the children’s scars.

Martin Sewell to  Fr. Dean Henley

I have been closely involved in this story for some time and am not afraid to make straight criticism where that is justified. I have not heard anyone who knows the facts seriously suggest that ++ Justin knew of the abuse at the time it was happening. I do not believe it. If that were to change I would be content to say so. I do not expect to do so. The problems lie elsewhere. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Martin Sewell

Martin, you say: “I have not heard anyone who knows the facts seriously suggest that ++ Justin knew of the abuse at the time it was happening”

I don’t think it relevant whether Archbishop Welby knew of John Smyth’s abuse “at the time it was happening” or not. Probably not, but that’s not the point.

I don’t like repeating myself [Opinion – 31 October 2020], but in this instance I will because I don’t think “the problems lie elsewhere”.

‘Let me be very specific about Archbishop Welby’s safeguarding failure regarding Smyth – which needs to be addressed now [not by the Makin Review next year]:
It was for the Archbishop of Canterbury to contact the Archbishop of Cape Town, after the Bishop of Ely had brought the matter to Lambeth’s attention.
“The Bishop of Ely wrote to the Archbishop of Cape Town to tell him, in some detail, the issues around Smyth [2013? – Ed]. The letter I have seen made it easy to find him by enclosing his current South African address. The idea that Smyth was uncontactable was patently absurd since he was an active figure in South African legal circles, working for the Justice Alliance of South Africa.  The Bishop of Ely received no replies and in May 2015 the DSA wrote to Graham to say that he ‘had no power to compel agencies in South Africa to respond to my concerns.’ This somewhat feeble response was the best that Ely could come up with in spite of seven letters from Graham between May 2014 and August 2015 to get the Church to take the whole issue seriously. The Titus Trust, although they knew that Smyth was entering Britain regularly on visits, refused to accept that they had any moral or legal obligations over his behaviour. From that point until the Channel 4 programme in Feb 2017, the story was like a ‘pass the parcel’ game. Nobody wanted to accept responsibility for enquiring too deeply into the abusive legacy of this man or the danger that he potentially posed for the church in the future’..

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: I’m not defending the Archbishop or speculating about what he may or may not have known, but just pointing out that although primus inter pares in the Anglican Communion, he has absolutely no jurisdiction outside England. If, as you say, the letter was sent to South Africa and there was no response from that end, then any culpability must rest there. You are absolutely correct that Smyth continued to hold a position of considerable public respect in South Africa after 2013. I have posted a very significant video of him on the ‘Surviving Church’ blog which illustrates this. He was a supreme ‘double-act’.

I think that everyone who has contributed so far on this thread ought to consider Martin Sewell’s post. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

Another whitewashed safeguarding failure which should lie heavy on the conscience of Archbishop Welby is the case of 96-year-old Barbara Whitley – Bishop Bell’s only-surviving niece up until five weeks ago [Oct 9 2020].

In 2017, Mrs Whitley said “I’m determined to clear his name before I die”.

Her dying wish was not granted by the Archbishop who maintained – even after the Church-commissioned Carlile and Briden reports proved the abuse allegations “unfounded” – that a “significant cloud” still hangs over the wartime Bishop of Chichester.

If any “cloud” exists, it now hangs heavy over the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Rowland Wateridge  Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: I have always been with you on the subject of Bishop Bell. My comment, inevitably, is based on what little we know about the present complaints which have been dismissed.

Some of the other comments on this thread have been highly speculative. Everyone should wait for the Makin report which will contain both a chronology and an executive summary. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

RW, I do not agree with you that we should wait for the Church-commissioned Makin Report which, it seems to me, will simply be a “chronology and executive summary” of what we clearly already know.

Also, I have a built-in scepticism of Church-commissioned reports – borne of 5 years bitter experience of Church PR/Propaganda – which can be published/delayed at the whim of whoever is ‘pulling the strings’ at the time.

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: This is not a place for making bets, but I shall be amazed if Mr Makin’s report runs to less than 300 pages! I suspect it could be many more. He has faced a daunting task from the outset, and ‘developments’ on the way have added greatly to it. I don’t understand why you aren’t prepared to grant Mr Makin’s report the same status as Lord Carlile’s and Mr Biden’s. Both of those reports were commissioned by the Church. Can we leave it there? I understand your strength of feeling, particularly about Bishop Bell, which, to repeat, I share. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

RW, of course I will grant the Makin report the same status as that of Carlile’s and Briden’s. It’s just that I don’t think the Makin report will fundamentally change anything within the Church hierarchy, just as the Carlile and Briden reports have not fundamentally changed anything within the Church hierarchy – especially relating to Bishop Bell.

Kate

Kate Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

We do know though that IICSA recommended dioceses needed a DSA instead of a DSO – ie someone independent of the diocesan bishop. The spirit of that recommendation has not been kept here as those who led the handling of this complaint don’t appear to be independent of Lambeth Palace, especially as Lambeth Palace published the outcome. Irrespective of whether there was any underlying wrongdoing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the process seems to flout the IICSA recommendations and IS a whitewash.

There were two options for proper governance
a) ask someone independent to review the complaints – ABC is a member of the House of Lords so maybe the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards could have helped
b) Justin Welby could have been suspended for a few months

So, in summary, we don’t know whether the complaints should have been upheld but I believe we do know that the process by which they were dismissed was inadequate.

The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards normally only considers complaints relating to Parliamentary duties but, almost uniquely, the Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio a member of the House of Lords. I think it is therefore possible to argue that anything connected with the performance of his office by which he became and automatically remains a member of the House of Lords is within scope. Do those here with a legal background feel that is a sufficient nexus to get a complaint reviewed by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards? Indeed, if the Archbishop of Canterbury, or others on his behalf, have argued that communications with Cape Town lie outside his authority as Archbishop of Canterbury, that would strengthen an alternative argument that he had instead been approached in the matter as a Lord Spiritual. It seems to me that if the Dean of Christ Church was supposed to follow Church of England rules when approached with a safeguarding issue even in an academic context, that equally any safeguarding issue (because it involves possible criminality by the alleged perpetrator) which reaches the Lord Spiritual his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury should be handled under the standards of the House of Lords (as well as those of the Church of England) and that therefore a complaint to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards by those who know the facts might be in order?

Kate

Kate 

IICSA tells us that as a generality there have been serious problems relating to the handling of safeguarding complaints within the Church of England. The investigation published all the information it considered.
.

Set against that truly independent background, an investigator (presumably) appointed and paid for by the Church of England concludes in a particular case there is “nothing to see here” but publishes no information to support that conclusion.
.

Can the Church of England really not see that an independent observer might struggle to believe a carefully worded denial without evidence when set against the culture identified by IICSA?

Janet Fife Reply to  Kate

Kate, the complainant has asked me to post this reply to you: “It was not given to an independent investigator, but was looked at by NST themselves, under the Chair of Zena Marshall. It appears that Zena tried to undermine the process by condoning an approach by the Archbishops Chief of Staff direct to the complainant, presumably to persuade him to call off the dogs. There was no independent investigation. In fact, NST were at pains to point out there WAS no investigation”

Kate Reply to  Janet Fife

Janet, that is even worse then. It is impossible to see this as anything other than a whitewash.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife Reply to  Kate

You’re right. Industrial quantities of whitewash. 

Marise Hargreaves

Marise Hargreaves 

This is why the church cannot be allowed to continue investigating and judging its own. This has not been a fair, balanced, independent process given the reply by the complainant who again is sidelined as an inconvenient truth. It is an exercise in face saving and preservation of the hierarchy yet again. The only lessons learned is how to put together yet another statement which has a lot of words but no substance. Reply

Michael O’Sullivan

Michael O’Sullivan

How is it that the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be going about suspending people left right and centre for things they may or may not have done – I’m thinking his illustrious predecessor Lord Carey and, for example, the Bishop of Lincoln- when he’s clearly up to his ears in it himself? Reply

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 

I wonder how Private Eye was able to print this over a week ago. Lambeth Leaks?

David Lamming Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

As an exemplar of a comprehensive chronology, see pages 7-19 of the Pearl Review on Bishop Hubert Whitsey, A Betrayal of Trust (currently “taken down temporarily [from the website] because a legal issue concerning the report has been raised which needs to be considered carefully”: see the note dated 11/11/2020 on the News and Media pages of the C of E website. Rather like shutting the door after the horse has bolted since many people will doubtless have already downloaded the full report.) 

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 hours ago Reply to  David Lamming

I know it sounds blasé, but such detailed chronologies are bread and butter routine for lawyers handling complex child and vulnerable adult abuse cases. This, to my mind, is the principal criticism of the Church’s hopeless bungling of the Bishop Bell case by trying to handle something in-house which was entirely beyond their capabilities. It should have been outsourced, or someone with the necessary experience brought in. There was, and is, no shortage of such expertise. I don’t want to labour the point, but there are comments on this thread about the present complaint which fall as the chronology is… 

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Anthony Archer

Second reply: As late as 2015, possibly later, Smyth was living a publicly ‘respectable’ life in South Africa. He is known to have visited the UK in those years. This video of him appearing on South African public television in late 2014, possibly 2015, is revealing: full of aplomb and self-confident, and the deference of the TV interviewer to Smyth is striking:

htpps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdekLast edited 11 hours ago by Rowland Wateridge Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

The link does not appear to work, so this is a second attempt. I urge people to watch this video – it’s very revealing indeed. Smyth does mention his legal colleagues back in England as though nothing at all had happened as late as 2015. It’s significant that he himself had survived a charge of manslaughter in Zimbabwe years earlier. He left Harare in 2008.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdek 

Matthew Ineson

Matthew Ineson 

Of course Welby was cleared. Why? Because once again the CofE is marking its own homework, the investigation was conducted by the CofE. There is no way they will find him guilty of anything…because reputation is much more important than victims. Always has been, always will be.
Why wasn’t the investigation conducted by someone outside of, and totally independent of, the church? Because the church wouldnt dare allow it in case the truth wer
e exposed.

Rowland Wateridge 

May I, as my final contribution, add here something which I have posted on the corresponding ‘Surviving Church thread:

I’m going to boldly assert that people might have got hold of the wrong end of the stick about this latest ‘investigation’. I may be wrong, but my understanding is that it relates to past events and not current or future safeguarding failures. Smyth’s death in 2017 put an end to the latter, so a complaint made on those grounds in 2020 would not succeed.
 
Past misdemeanours can be misconduct and a matter for a CDM, but I don’t think the complaint was made in that way. There are, unsurprisingly, quite high hurdles (‘a proper interest in making the complaint’) in a CDM brought against an archbishop.
 
Much of the problem for the public at large, clergy and laity alike, is that we are never told any details other than a bald ‘guilty’ or ‘not ‘guilty’ outcome. People can, and I fear do, sometimes make wrong assumptions. If I have done so in this post, I will be happy to be corrected.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 1 hour ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Rowland, the complainant has asked me to reply as follows:

“Part of the complaint did refer to past behaviour, particularly Welby’s failures to investigate or stop Smyth in his tracks, and bring him to justice. I have been told that past behaviour cannot be looked at under the current Practice Guidelines. The “wider issues” relate to the fourteen untruths ( er……lies ?) that Welby said on the Channel 4 interview. Again, I was told, this is not a safeguarding matter. However, I argued that his failures and cover up of Smyth was not a one-off in 2013, but was repeated with cover up and failure to investigate his friend Jonathan Fletcher in 2016. This is a pattern of behaviour. Would he repeat it ? The Core Group was not prepared to address this, boldly asserting he is not currently a safeguarding risk. With regard to his inability to tell the truth, I asked whether he would tell the truth in the future. I was told this was not a safeguarding issue, but would be subject to “learnings” in the future ( and I think the Lambeth statement makes a nod to this with the phrase “striving to keep developing and learning in his own ministry”). Yes, so in one sense you are absolutely right: the Core Group would not look at the past, they just addressed “is the Archbishop currently a safeguarding risk ?” And decided not. However, they were not prepared to address the issue of “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour” and deemed his failure to give a full, frank disclosure of his knowledge and actions over Smyth as of no concern to them. I will add a PS: three NST people asked why I had not taken out a CDM, as that would have been more effective. I have been offered help filling out the forms. I may do so”

‘Gilo’

A telling sign when the CEO of a professional safeguarding organisation (dependent on CofE for much of its work) calls out CofE structure for dishonesty and injustice.

Tweet by CEO thirtyone:eight

In a structure with almost no accountablity (variable and ineffective at best) how does this vital component become part of necessary culture change? As part of my submission to the Interim Support Scheme I am calling for published apologies from a raft of senior figures for their cruelty and dishonesty, and their complicity with the dissembling by the Church’s agents, and for frankly rotten sets of behaviour.

This may be one of the ways forward – a procession of apologies across much of the senior layer published in Church Times. Survivors gradually bringing accountability to a structure – to hopefully shift the chaos, dysfunctionality and quiet corruption which we see yet again in the car crash of the Welby core group. And which so many of us are familiar with. These infamous core groups operate like a kind of Star Chamber with foregone conclusions. But I suspect the latest attempt to shield Archbishop Welby from questions might now be considered a home goal by Lambeth Palace advisors who have made an omnishambles of this cul-de-sac situation.

We have to find a way to hold individuals who consciously hide behind dysfunctional processes to account. Bishops are clearly not going to hold themselves voluntarily to account, and Lead Bishops are not able to tackle the problem. Complaints are a waste of time. The NST, unfit for purpose, protects the hierarchy within a fortress of bewildering confusion, and perhaps hope that bishops will address their own culture. So survivors must take the lead. As burnt out and exhausted as many of us are – we will have to do the necessary work of continuing to fight through the fog and corruption, until the bishops’ house becomes the culture it should already have been.

As example, a letter was signed by 7 of us about one senior figure, and sent to the Lead Bishops, Chair of the NSP, and Director of Safeguarding. Further letters were sent in connection with this complaint by two others. Those supplementary letters were if anything written in stronger tones than the original. Response? A ‘holding’ acknowledgement sent four months ago – and nothing since. This kind of protection enables senior figures to hide behind a cordon sanitaire.

My own view is that change is unlikely until figures across the top of the Church resign. There has been too much lack of integrity, too much investment in reputation management, and too much wilful reliance on bad process – over and above basic decency and honesty.

Richard W. Symonds to  Gilo

The words of ‘Gilo’ remind me of what Revd Graham Sawyer said at the IICSA in July 2018:

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

Richard W. Symonds to  Gilo

“As part of my submission to the Interim Support Scheme, I am calling for published apologies from a raft of senior figures for their cruelty and dishonesty, and their complicity with the dissembling by the Church’s agents, and for frankly rotten sets of behaviour. This may be one of the ways forward – a procession of apologies across much of the senior layer published in Church Times” ~ ‘Gilo’

I call upon all ‘Lords Spiritual’ [active Bishops and Archbishops] to offer their resignations en masse to the Supreme Head of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen – just as the Bishops of Chile offered their resignations en masse to the Pope in 2018:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/may-18-2018-chiles-bishops-offer-to-resign-en-masse-over-sex-abuse-cover-up-los-angeles-times/

FURTHER INFORMATION

PRIVATE EYE

UNDER A CLOUD

Matthew Ineson

NOVEMBER 11 2020 – RICHARD SCORER – SOLICITOR AT SLATER AND GORDON – “THE ONLY WAY FORWARD NOW IS A MANDATORY REPORTING LAW, SO THAT ABUSE CANNOT BE COVERED UP, AND INDEPENDENT EXTERNAL OVERSIGHT OF CHURCH SAFEGUARDING. THE CHURCH CANNOT BE RELIED ON TO PUT ITS OWN HOUSE IN ORDER, AND SO WITHOUT THESE CHANGES, CHILDREN WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT RISK”

Catholic Church ‘turned blind eye’ to child sexual abuse and prioritised reputation, Inquiry finds

Between 1970 and 2015 there were more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse

By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 10 November 2020 • 1:33pm

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales CREDIT: Scavuzzo/AGF/REX/Shutterstock /Copyright (c) 2016 Rex Features. No use without permission. 

The Pope’s representative in England and Wales failed to show “personal responsibility and compassion” for child sex abuse victims and instead focussed on Church reputation, an Inquiry has concluded. 

In its final review of the Catholic Church, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that it “betrayed” its moral purpose by proriotising its reputation above children who had been sexually abused by priests. 

“Child sexual abuse,” the damning 162-page report concluded, “was swept under the carpet”, as authorities “turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators”.

However the IICSA also found Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, to be personally responsible for the damage. 

“There was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility to lead or influence change,” the report said. “Nor did he demonstrate compassion towards victims in the recent cases which we examined.

“His acknowledgement that ‘there is plenty for us to achieve’ applies as much to him as it does to everyone else in the church. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, leaves after giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, as part of the IICSA investigation of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Monday February 13, 2017.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, leaves after giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, as part of the IICSA investigation of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Monday February 13, 2017. CREDIT: Kirsty O’Connor /PA 

“He did not always exercise the leadership expected of a senior member of the church, at times preferring to protect the reputation of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales and in Rome.”

“As the most senior Catholic leader in England and Wales, Cardinal Nichols should be leading by example”, the report added. “However, when he apologised for the Catholic Church’s failings in our 2018 hearing, he did not acknowledge any personal responsibility or show compassion for victims in the recent cases we examined.

“At times, the report finds, Cardinal Nichols has shown he cares more about the impact of child sexual abuse on the Catholic Church’s reputation than on victims and survivors.”

Between 1970 and 2015, the church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals, including priests, monks and volunteers. 

Over that period, there were 177 prosecutions resulting in 133 convictions. Civil claims against dioceses and religious institutes have resulted in millions of pounds being paid in compensation.

Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations each year. 

However the Inquiry said that the true scale of abuse over the last 50 years is likely to have been far higher.

The report also found that the Catholic Church repeatedly failed to support victims and survivors, while taking positive action to protect alleged perpetrators, including moving them to different parishes. 

Victims described the profound and lifelong effects of abuse, including depression, anxiety, self-harming and trust issues.

Furthermore, The Holy See and the Apostolic Nuncio, its ambassador to the UK, did not provide a witness statement to this Inquiry despite repeated requests. 

They had been asked about the Apostolic Nuncio’s involvement in handling child sexual abuse allegations at Ealing Abbey, as well as other issues. The Inquiry said it “could not understand their lack of cooperation”.

The IICSA report made seven recommendations to better protect children in future, focusing on key issues including leadership, training and external auditing.

Professor Alexis Jay OBE, Chair of the Inquiry, said:“For decades, the Catholic Church’s failure to tackle child sexual abuse consigned many more children to the same fate.

“It is clear that the Church’s reputation was valued above the welfare of victims, with allegations ignored and perpetrators protected.

“Even today, the responses of the Holy See appear at odds with the Pope’s promise to take action on this hugely important problem.

“While some progress has been made, there still needs to be lasting change to culture and attitudes to avoid repeating the failures of the past.

One victim who gave evidence, identified by the inquiry only as A711, said the report sheds “light on the abysmal failings of the church in its dealings with victims and survivors of abuse”. 

“This must not be written off as a historic issue. It continues to this day.

“The church needs a seismic shift in culture, especially at the top. If there is any hope at all of real change it will require a relinquishing of power, and a will to treat survivors as human beings.”

She added: “I have experienced an ongoing struggle to retrieve material that the Diocese holds about me. When I asked the Diocese for information I was met with the full force of its legal team. 

“Yet again, the Church has fought to protect its reputation, and silence the voice of victims and survivors. It could not get much worse. 

“In my own case, thousands of pounds have been spent by the Diocese of Westminster in employing lawyers to keep me at arm’s length.” 

Richard Scorer, a solicitor at the law firm Slater and Gordon who represented 32 survivors, said: “This is an absolutely damning report. It highlights the shocking scale of abuse, the disgraceful slowness of the church’s response, the abject failures of leadership by Cardinal Nichols, and the Vatican’s appalling refusal to cooperate properly with the inquiry.

“Cardinal Nichols needs to resign right away – in any other walk of life he would be gone immediately. This is a church that cannot be trusted to protect children. 

“The only way forward now is a mandatory reporting law, so that abuse cannot be covered up, and independent external oversight of church safeguarding. The church cannot be relied on to put its own house in order, and so without these changes, children will continue to be at risk”

Despite facing calls to resign from victims following the publication of the damning report, Cardinal Nichols said he will continue in his role as Archbishop of Westminster.

He said he recently offered his resignation to the Pope because of his age, but that the offer was turned down.

“I was 75 very recently, a few weeks ago as according to the law of the Church, I sent my resignation into Pope Francis and I have received a very unequivocal reply, and that is that he tells me to stay in office here,” he said.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis CREDIT: REMO CASILLI /REUTERS 

“So that is what I will do, that is where my orders come from. I’m staying.”

He said his resignation was offered on the basis of his age and not to do with anything contained within the report “which has already been in the public domain”.

Asked if he was the right person to lead the Catholic Church in England and Wales despite the report, he added: “I do what I’m told. The Holy Father put me here and he tells me to stay here – that’s enough for me.”

He said: “I’m not here to defend myself … I am here to say we accept this report, we are grateful to IICSA for bringing the light and giving public space to those who have been abused, we are deeply sorry this happened.

“Together as a body we are really sorry – really sorry – for all that has happened over these years and I want to assure everyone we are here to learn and improve, and to keep that steady improving response going.

“Today is more about me saying again, on behalf of everybody in the Catholic Church, how deeply, deeply regretful and sorry I am that anybody suffered, and that so many suffered is a terrible shame with which I must live and from which I must learn.”

NOVEMBER 9 2020 – BARBARA WHITLEY (1924-2020) – RIP – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 15 2019 – “DOES ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S PRIDE MATTER MORE THAN AN ELDERLY LADY’S PAIN?”]

BARBARA WHITLEY [1924-2020] – RIP

Dec 15 2019 – “Does Archbishop Welby’s pride matter more than an elderly lady’s pain?” – Peter Hitchens – Denton Daily

George-Bell-niece-Barbara-Whitley-2

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Mrs Barbara Whitley

PETER HITCHENS: Does Archbishop Welby‘s pride matter more than an elderly lady‘s pain? 

https://dentondaily.com/peter-hitchens-does-archbishop-welbys-pride-matter-more-than-an-elderly-ladys-pain/embed/#?secret=tZzpXikvE8

PETER HITCHENS: Does Archbishop Welby‘s pride matter more than an elderly lady‘s pain? 

by Denton Staff Contributor — December 15, 2019

This Christmas I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury 

This I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley. More than three years ago, the Church of England publicly accused her beloved long-dead uncle of the filthy crime of child sex abuse.

The charge was based on the word of a single accuser, more than half a century after the supposed offence. The Church had presumed his guilt and made no serious effort to discover the truth. Key living witnesses were neither sought, found nor interviewed. A senior bishop admitted soon afterwards that they were actually not convinced the claim was true. Yet by some mysterious process, a number of newspapers and stations, all on the same day, felt safe in confidently pronouncing that Barbara’s uncle had been a disgusting paedophile. No ifs or buts. Who told them?

A later inquiry would show that this miserable episode was based on nothing more than a chaotic, sloppy kangaroo court. One of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, Lord Carlile, tore the case against Barbara’s uncle to shreds. He said there would have been no chance of a conviction on the evidence available, and made mincemeat of the shambolic committee that had published the original allegation.

After delaying the release of this inquiry for weeks, Justin Welby’s church eventually published it. But did it admit its mistake and restore the reputation of Barbara Whitley’s wrongly defamed uncle?

Nope. Mr Welby, in defiance of all the rules of British justice, sulkily insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over the name of Barbara’s uncle. Thus, just as she might have been able to rejoice that her relative’s name had at last been cleared, the Head of the Established Church made it his personal business to prevent this.

And then, a few weeks later, another supposed allegation against her uncle was said to have been made. Why then? What was it? Who had made it? Nobody would say, but it served to stifle potential criticism of Mr Welby at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was about to begin. Details of the second allegation remain a secret. After nearly a year, Mr Welby’s church (which has a bad record of sitting on reports that it doesn’t like) still hasn’t come up with its conclusions. Yet Sussex Police, given the same information, dropped their investigations into the matter after a few short weeks.

It all looks a bit as if someone is trying to save someone’s face. But the cruelty to Barbara Whitley, who was 91 when this horrible saga began, is appalling. Who cares about some prelate’s pride (a sin in any case) when Mrs Whitley could be spared any more pain?

Because the cruelty to Mrs Whitley seems to me to be so shocking in a supposedly Christian organisation, I have deliberately left till last that the object of these accusations is the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell. Bell was, as people who knew him have told me, a kind, scrupulously honest, courageous man. He was, most notably, a beloved friend of the German Christians who fought against Hitler and a brave critic of the cruelty of war. I sometimes wonder if modern bishops and archbishops are afraid of being compared with him. They have reason to be. In the meantime, Mr Welby’s church should end Mrs Whitley’s agony.

Does anyone really doubt that, if the archbishop wanted to, he could end the whole business today?

BARBARA WHITLEY CALLS FOR ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S RESIGNATION – 2017

BBC
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42415659

TELEGRAPH
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/21/bishop-bells-niece-determined-clear-name-death/

The Argus – February 3 2016

FEBRUARY 3 2016: “HE TOLD ME IT WAS OUR LITTLE SECRET BECAUSE GOD LOVED ME” – ARGUS FRONT PAGE + PAGE 4 – “MY STRONGEST MEMORY IS SEEING THIS FIGURE ALL IN BLACK STANDING ON A STAIR, WAITING” + PAGE 10 – EDITORIAL COMMENT

“There is no doubt ‘Carol’ was abused as a child in Chichester – but it wasn’t Bishop Bell” ~ Richard W. SymondsThe Bell Society