Author Archives: richardwsymonds37

March 9 2018 – David Virtue – Viewpoints – VirtueOnline

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND is reeling from one crisis to the next, with one never knowing how and where it will all end.

Here is the latest: The Church of England was warned by the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, that sexual abuse crimes would be on the front page of newspapers and television for the next two years. This, after years of institutional neglect and lethargy. This week is perhaps the start of the purging of complacency, said one report.

The opening of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the deficiencies of the Established Church took the headlines, but other stories also arose. The poor handling of Fr Matt Ineson’s complaints against five bishops was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme, and the substance of it appeared on the BBC website. It was also covered by Christian Today.

Further stories are beginning to emerge which have not yet been published but will add to our institutional woes, said another report.

You can read the full story here:

It was learned that Archbishop John Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest — leaving him to abuse again and then commit suicide.
You can read the full story here:

There were attacks on Lord Carey again with one headline that ran:
‘An Attack On Lord Carey Is An Attack On Us All’, Say Church of England Figures.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”.

The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office.

You can read the full story here:

But the week ended on a moderately high note when the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace and discussed a range of issues including religious freedom for Christians in Saudi Arabia and the conflict in the Yemen.

In a statement, a Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said that Archbishop Justin was “encouraged” to hear about Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 roadmap. “The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” the statement said.

“The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK.


Canadian blogger Samizdat wryly noted on seeing Welby bowing to the Saudi prince, “Welby may be pointing out to Mohammed bin Salman that his shoelace is undone; or warning him not to slip on a banana peel; or inviting the prince to inspect his head for lice.

“Or he might have been bowing.

“Welby is meeting with the Crown Prince to discuss Saudi Arabia’s “strong commitment to interfaith dialogue”, an idea so preposterous only an ex oil executive could take it seriously. The country renowned for beating critics of its leaders practically to death, that practices the most barbaric excesses of sharia law, that mutilates women because it is “noble”, has no Christian churches. None. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy, a nasty, brutish, despotism which does not tolerate the public practice of other religions. There is no “interfaith” because there are no other state tolerated faiths.

“In other news, next week Justin Welby will be meeting with Satan to foster reconciliation, begin interfaith dialogue, and persuade him to turn down the temperature in hell.”



March 5 2018 – “‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears” – West Sussex County Times – Michael Drummond

‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is taking place in London

MICHAEL DRUMMOND Email Published: 17:21 Monday 05 March 2018

A damning image of ‘wilful blindness’ in historic cases of sexual abuse of children who were ‘terrified and silenced’ by clergy in Sussex has been set out at a public inquiry. Fiona Scolding QC, lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said abuse that left an ‘indelible scar’ on children was often ignored or forgiven.

In one segment, Miss Scolding described abuse by a Reverend Colin Pritchard: “There have been suggestions about the culture of abuse operated by Reverend Pritchard and that Bishop Peter Ball turned a blind eye to that abuse.” Reverend Pritchard, who was vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill, pleaded guilty in 2008 to seven counts of sexual assault on two boys and was jailed for five years.

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester and Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England, Nigel Giffin QC said the Church’s response to abuse in the last few decades was ‘not nearly good enough’. The IICSA inquiry in London will look into how far institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. It focusses on abuse within the Diocese of Chichester, which covers all of Sussex, as a case study.

Lead counsel for the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC Members of the public heard about dozens of offences in Sussex over the last 50 years. Miss Scolding said: “As a society we have ocer the past 10 years had to examine some uncomfortable truths about our wilful blindness to such abuse.”

She noted the convictions for sex offences of Michael Walsh, Terence Banks and David Bowring, who were associated with Chichester Cathedral and local schooling. Miss Scolding also told the inquiry how Reverend Roy Cotton, who was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a child, was at one point an ‘alleged abuser hiding in plain sight’.

Richard Scorer spoke on behalf of many of the victims

She added: “Despite his conviction the Bishop of Portsmouth considered him suitable for ordination as a man of ‘considerable ability’ free of any trouble for 12 years. “Because of his criminal record the then Bishop of Portsmouth ensured he did not have to undertake the usual recruitment processes.”

The handling by the Church of allegations made against Chichester’s Bishop George Bell will be discussed later in the inquiry, but not the truth of them or otherwise.

Richard Scorer, speaking on behalf of many of the victims, said: “If you want to abuse children there is no more effective way of terrifying and silencing your victims than to claim to have God on your side.

The inquiry will look into how abuse by people associated with Chichester Cathedral was dealt with

“The Church of England claims to offer moral guidance to the country yet clerical sexual abuse cases powerfully undermine the claim. This leads to the cover-up of abuse.

“The question is whether the Church of England can be trusted to put its own house in order.”

In a statement read out this afternoon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “The failures that we have seen are deeply shaming and I personally find them a cause of horror and sadness. “That children have been abused within the communities of the church is indeed shameful.” The inquiry continues.

Read more at:

March 4 2018 – “Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!” – The Conservative Woman – Rev Jules Gomes

Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!


My pianist friend described himself as feeling discombobulated at the end of a day at the school where he taught music. He could smash a keyboard playing Rachmaninoff, but couldn’t face parents who insisted their snotty progenies were child prodigies. I envied my friend the luxury of a six-syllabled experience.

My longing for the LSD-like experience of discombobulation was satiated over the weekend when Justin Welby kept popping out of the newspapers like a Jack-in-the-box on steroids.

When the Archbishop of Canterbury’s media machine goes into overdrive it can mean two things. One, there’s a rodent rotting in a Lambeth suite and Welby’s media bellhops are using air-fresheners to mask the stench. The pong this time is Welby’s denunciation of Bishop George Bell that won’t go away until he apologises. Or, perhaps, it is a pre-emptive media strike before Welby is hauled before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse this month.

Two, Welby is selling something – a second book. His first didn’t soar to the top of Amazon’s charts. It didn’t feature in the London Review of Books. If you type ‘Welby’ in the LRB search engine the first article on Dog-Collared Lucre Brokersmocks the archbishop who ‘has got his crozier stuck in a cowpat’.

My discombobulation erupted like the measles when I read the title of Welby’s tome –Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope. I confess I’m allergic to certain words beginning with ‘Re’. It was a fad among students at my Left-wing university to submit dissertations with titles prefixed with oily words such as reimagining, revisiting, rethinking, re-visioning, rewriting or redefining.

If you’re a Leftie, you bloody well can’t leave things as they are because everything is damned oppressive and the blighter before you (and before him ad infinitum) got it all wrong until St Marx parachuted down from heaven with the solution. Now all you’ve got to do is discombobulate the evils of patriarchy, capitalism and racism and reimagine, rethink, redo society and state and, abracadabra, you will create Utopia with a wave of Comrade Corbyn’s magic wand. Get the idea?

For Welby, the diabolical evil that prevents this reimagination is inequality. ‘As we look around, we see divisions and inequalities that are already damaging our way of life . . . There are inequalities in our healthcare system . . . education is marked by cuts and inequalities,’ he writes. Welby illustrates his rant against inequality by shaming people who buy second or third homes as investments.

‘How do you solve the problem of inequality?’ sings the Archdrone of Canterbury in a flamboyant imitation of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music. ‘How do you solve the problem of poverty?’ is the question he should be asking. Hasn’t he noticed that some of the poorest countries in the world are also the most equal?

In the 19th century, Italian polymath Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20 per cent of people owned 80 per cent of the wealth – this rule was true for every society ever studied, regardless of governmental form. Does Welby know that the only way to dismantle inequality is to take the Ten Commandments and contravene the first, eighth and tenth?

The first commandment states: ‘You shall have no other gods but me.’ To enforce equality, government would have to take the place of God. The state would then have to violate the eighth commandment: ‘You shall not steal.’ It would steal from some and redistribute the loot to others. The tenth commandment states: ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, etc . . . or anything that is your neighbour’s.’ Does Welby not believe in the Ten Commandments or the right to private property, which includes second homes?

Welby bellyaches that second home ownership and Brexit has divided society. But wasn’t it Quantitative Easing (QE) that divided society, since the government went on a money-printing binge, pumping out easy money that favoured Britain’s richest 5 per cent? QE hammered ordinary savers and condemned retirees to low pensions while an asset boom saw stock and property owners get much richer. ‘In Britain the market distortions have been eye-watering. The average house now costs eight times average earnings,’ notes Liam Halligan. The Exodus plague of frogs triggered by Moses in Egypt was hardly solved by Pharaoh’s magicians producing even more frogs!

‘How do you solve the problem of austerity?’ is Welby’s next chorus. But why should austerity be a problem? When bloated government has fattened itself by borrowing beyond its means and spending like there’s no tomorrow, you don’t need Milton Friedman telling you to cut your coat according to your cloth. If Welby trusted Moses more than John Maynard Keynes, he would recognise the burden of debt as a curse.

In the Torah, God promises to bless Israel economically if she remains obedient. ‘You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.’ But if Israel is disobedient, God will curse her with debt. The foreign nation ‘shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him,’ Moses warns Israel.

As Theodore Dalrymple observes, Britain has been living on borrowed money ‘consuming today what it would have to pay for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that; the national debt increased at a rate unmatched in peacetime; and when the music stopped, the state found itself holding unprecedented obligations, with no means of paying them’. But when it decides to tighten its belt and go on an austerity diet, Welby cries foul!

For Welby, austerity ‘almost invariably conceals the crushing of the weak, the unlucky, the ill, and a million others’. Austerity is like putting a heroin addict in rehab. Because Welby feels sorry for the heroin addict suffering withdrawal symptoms, he wants to give him another fix. Shouldn’t he be chastising incontinent government spending and immense waste in the public sector instead of attacking austerity?

‘How do you solve a problem like sharia?’ is another line in the Welby chorus. Sharia should not win official status, he writes, because ‘it comes from a very different background of jurisprudence to the one from which British law has developed over the past 500 years’.

The blogger Archbishop Cranmer (aka Adrian Hilton) is ecstatic. ‘Why aren’t some of those Christians who have long sounded the alarm about cultural relativism and creeping sharia thanking God for the clarity of Justin Welby’s declaration?’ Bishop Ashenden tweets back, ‘For the same reason he would not need congratulating if he observed today was Monday. It’s simply obvious.’

Welby’s declaration on sharia is actually a good example of cultural relativism. Is Welby implying that sharia is fine for other cultures but bad for Britain? If sharia orders the execution of apostates and homosexuals and favours men over women in courtroom and bedroom, why should it be good for any culture, especially in places such as Nigeria and Sudan where Anglicans and other Christians suffer the scourge of sharia and are discriminated against because of a primitive and barbaric form of jurisprudence that is biased towards Muslims?

By now, I’m reeling under a discombobulation of Welbyian proportions. I go to to ferret out the root of the word. It comes from the Italian scombussolato, which means ‘someone who has lost his compass’. Bussola is the word for compass in Italian. ‘How do you solve a problem like Welby?’ I ask myself. Is he so discombobulated that he doesn’t know if he is chief pastor to his flock or pretend economist to the nation? Or, like Little Bo Peep, has the Archbishop lost his sheep and his compass and doesn’t know where to find them?


March 3 2018 – IICSA and Bishop Bell – The Times

“……It also confirmed that it had submitted 25,000 documents and 38 witness statements as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that is investigating historical allegations against the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell”

March 3 2018 – “Poor treatment of moral figure” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Tim Hudson

LETTER: Poor treatment of moral figure TIM HUDSON, HAWTHORN CLOSE, CHICHESTER Published: 20:00 Thursday 01 March 2018

On Monday 5 March the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, will begin its consideration of the Church of England, especially Chichester diocese.

The details so far known about our diocese are lurid and they will become more so; some clergy already are or have been in prison, including a former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball.

The independent inquiry will also look at the case of Bishop George Bell (died 1958), who has not been convicted of any child abuse, but whose reputation has nevertheless been shredded by the Church over the last two years. Notably by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, who, ignoring the findings of Lord Carlile’s report on the accusation against Bell delivered before Christmas, still regards the long-deceased bishop as being ‘under a cloud’.

In this context the Bishop of Chichester’s recent ‘Just a Thought’ (15 February) makes dispiriting reading. Bishop Martin tells us apropos of the grant to Tim Peake of the Freedom of the City that ‘the Christian welcome also wants to say some things about what makes a good citizen: … respect for human dignity, honesty, justice and the common good’.

Can the bishop really claim that the way the Church of England has treated and still treats Bell, a figure of towering moral authority before and during the Second World War, exemplifies those qualities in full, or even at all?

Bell’s surviving family and friends, besides his many younger admirers in the UK, Germany and elsewhere, would certainly not agree.


March 2 2018 – “Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry” – Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
The Guardian
The former bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for sexual abuse in 2015.
The former bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for sexual abuse in 2015. Photograph: David Jones/PA

The Church of England is braced for two years of “deep shame” over its handling of child sex abuse cases, with allegations of cover-ups, collusion and callous treatment of survivors under scrutiny from Monday at the UK’s biggest public inquiry.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be cross-examined in person during three weeks of hearings this month. Two former archbishops, serving bishops and other senior church figures are also to give evidence or submit witness statements to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA). Further hearings will follow in July and next year.

Survivors of sexual abuse are expected to accuse the church of failing to act on disclosures and failing to treat them with compassion. Their lawyers are likely to call for independent oversight of the C of E’s safeguarding processes, claiming that the church has shown itself incapable of dealing properly with allegations and disclosures.

Welby himself has said the church must acknowledge where it went wrong. “[We] failed really badly around the issues of the care of children and vulnerable adults. We have to face the consequences of that and learn … to be transparent and honest – and genuinely repentant,” he recently told reporters.

Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath and Wells and the C of E’s lead bishop on safeguarding, who will also give evidence, told the Guardian he expected to feel “a deep, deep sense of shame” during the hearings.

The church had cooperated fully with the IICSA, but the inquiry would ask “challenging questions and I don’t run from that”, Hancock said. The church needed to learn and that meant “not just new policies, but new courage and resolve” to change.

As well as Welby and Hancock, among those expected to give evidence, either in person or by written statement, are former archbishops of Canterbury Rowan Williams and George Carey, and the current bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner.

In preparation for the hearings, the church has submitted more than 25,000 documents and 36 witness statements.

This month’s hearings will focus on abuse in the diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse, some dating back many years. The church’s handling of a controversial abuse allegation made against George Bell, the former bishop of Chichester who died 60 years ago, will be examined. But the issue is far from historical: in 2016, the C of E was dealing with more than 2,600 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes, with more than 700 relating to church officers.

As well as hearing accounts of abuse from survivors, the inquiry is also expect to be told of the “secondary abuse” experienced by many at the hands of church figures who allegedly ignored, disparaged or covered up their disclosures.

“The church is guilty of two distinct crimes: cover-up and its treatment of survivors,” said the Rev Graham Sawyer, a survivor who gave evidence against Peter Ball, the former bishop of Gloucester jailed in October 2015 for sexual abuse. “The corporate narcissism and hubris of the C of E’s leadership has meant they’ve made horrendous mistakes.

“The [IICSA] hearings are going to be immensely uncomfortable for the church, but the key question is whether they will bring about change.”

Gilo, another survivor, said the C of E hierarchy was “likely to go into meltdown” in the coming weeks and months.

“The damage is self-inflicted and centres around denial and dishonesty across the top of the church. The public imagines that cover-up is a thing of the past; I’m not so sure. I suspect we’ll see senior figures in difficulty. There are likely to be resignations. The C of E will need a reboot at the end of all this.”

He hoped the hearings would “shine a spotlight on a broken culture” and usher in a legal requirement to report abuse disclosures to the police. “I do not expect the C of E will look the same in a year’s time. If it does, then IICSA will not have achieved much.”

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said the hearings were likely to be “highly damaging” for the church.

“They will expose the mistreatment and denigration of victims which happened over many years, and the culture of abuse which was prevalent in the Chichester diocese and the church generally. They will expose the cover-up of abuse allegations, in relation to Peter Ball and many other cases.”

The fundamental problem for the C of E in dealing with abuse was that bishops were not accountable, he said. “A bishop is king in his diocese. If a bishop is resistant to safeguarding there is no real way to overcome this.

“We need external oversight of safeguarding and external handling of complaints, and mandatory reporting of all allegations to police and social services. Until these are put in place the church will continue to have a serious problem. Unfortunately the church is currently unwilling to face up to this reality.”

The church says it has professionalised its safeguarding processes and acknowledges it needs to strengthen its response to survivors. Safeguarding officials see the IICSA hearings as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes with humility and courage.

Alan Wilson, the bishop of Buckingham, who has pressed for cultural change within the church on abuse, said the IICSA hearings would only “examine the tip of a large iceberg”.

He added: “[The inquiry] has promised to go beyond individual failures and the processes by which they were handled and examine habits, attitudes and beliefs that made them so possible and pervasive. An ounce of culture is worth a ton of policy.”


March 2 2018 – “IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, Church of England safeguarding officials say” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, C of E safeguarding officials say

02 MARCH 2018


Professor Alexis Jay and members of the Inquiry panel

THE Church of England must be prepared for new revelations and disclosures of clerical sex abuse during, and in the wake of, a public hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), a spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has said.

Starting on Monday, the public hearing in London will consider the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church.

It will use the diocese of Chichester as a case study to examine the “culture of the Church” and whether its “behaviours, values, and beliefs inhibited or continued to inhibit the investigation, exposure, and prevention of child sexual abuse” (News, 2 February).

An NST spokesperson said on Tuesday: “High-profile cases that we have been involved with before, such as independent reviews, have led to more disclosures. We must assume that people will come forward for the first time: we would not want to rule that out.”

The public hearing is due to conclude on 23 March.

It is one of 13 investigations included in the IICSA — the largest public inquiry ever undertaken in the UK, which is looking into several institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church and local-authority children’s homes.

The Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed last week that he had been called to give evidence at the Chichester hearing. He said that the Church had to acknowledge “where it went wrong” — but that this did not mean that Christian values were wrong.

“It doesn’t mean that our Christian heritage was somehow totally misguided from beginning to end: it means that the Church did awful things (as well as many good things), but that it failed badly around the issues of the care of vulnerable children and adults,” he said.

“We have to face the consequences of that, [learn] to be genuinely transparent and honest, and we have to be repentant. We need to use religious language to repent.”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, and the current Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner — who have both submitted statements — are also expected to be called to give evidence at the hearing, although the final timetable has yet to be confirmed.

The hearing will also examine C of E safeguarding policies, training, leadership, recruitment, and disciplinary processes, how effectively it has worked with statutory organisations, and its treatment of survivors, including the handling of allegations against a former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

Professional support will be made available by the IICSA to those present at the hearing. The NST has arranged for at least one bishop to be there on each day to provide pastoral support, as well as a private room for quiet reflection.

A spokesperson for the NST said that it had been working towards openness and transparency. “Given the history and legacy of poor practice, we have taken the issue of transparency into our approach to the inquiry: we have commissioned independent reviews, built a culture of continuous learning, and independently audited each of the 42 dioceses, all of which are being published.

“The Inquiry will be a difficult experience for survivors, the Church, and society, but we have to approach it as an opportunity to improve, to learn, to build on the work we are doing, and, hopefully, accelerate that work for the future.”

Ongoing safeguarding allegations. It was revealed this week that The General Synod was misinformed last month about the number of safeguarding allegations being handled by the dioceses, it was revealed this week.

There are in fact about 2600 cases ongoing, not 3300, as previously reported by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, in a written question to a Synod member, Kat Alldread, last month (News, 16 February).

More than half of these 2600 cases involved children, and more than a quarter related to church officers — not 18 per cent as previously reported, the clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Philips, confirmed in a letter to Mrs Alldread this week.

A church officer is defined as anyone who is appointed or elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid.