Category Archives: Justice

‘BISHOP BELL – DRESDEN’ LETTER SUBMITTED BY THE REVD DR BARRY A. ORFORD TO THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

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Image copyright GETTY IMAGES The bombing of Dresden created a firestorm that destroyed the centre of the city

‘DRESDEN – BISHOP BELL’ LETTER SUBMITTED BY THE REVD DR BARRY A. ORFORD TO THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

 

The Editor

The Daily Telegraph

London

SW1W 0DT

February 13th, 2020

 

Sir,

The article by Sinclair McKay (February 13th) on the 1945 bombing of Dresden was timely and welcome. What a pity, though, that he did not mention the most prominent wartime challenge to the British policy of Obliteration Bombing, which came from Bishop George Bell of Chichester.

In 1944, when Hamburg had been devastated the previous year and Dresden was still to suffer, Bishop Bell, a fervent anti-Nazi, questioned in the House of Lords the morality of such bombing of targets which were not primarily military. Few of his fellow bishops supported him, and he earned himself both widespread abuse but also agreement. The bravery of his stand is undeniable.

Recently, there have been shameful (and now discredited) attempts in Bell’s diocese to tarnish his reputation. Since an apology for this behaviour is still not forthcoming, it is more than ever necessary that we are reminded of George Bell’s courage and integrity, both in wartime and beyond it.

 

Barry A. Orford

barry_orford
The Revd Dr Barry  A. Orford

June 3 2019 – “Justice for Bishop Bell will prevail as long as there are enough people with enough faith to fight for it” ~ Richard W. Symonds

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester [before the name change in 2015] – Picture: Alamy

“Justice for Bishop Bell will prevail as long as there are enough people with enough faith to fight for it”

~ Richard W. Symonds

https://www.change.org/p/the-dean-chapter-of-chichester-cathedral-justice-for-george-bell-479a626f-47aa-400d-8fc3-61b19fcc5d98/u/24646287?cs_tk=AmUgHT_mLfXlAWb-91wAAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvKGAchlH_bvZzl3QDhjezNk%3D&utm_campaign=d73b877c355e41bfa538ab5d0f2b8372&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_term=cs

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Dear Editor

Amy Sim of Cathedral Enterprises Ltd is right to say of 4 Canon Lane (“Lots on offer in cathedral precinct”, Observer, March 28):
 
“The former archdeaconry is now a centre for vocation, education and reconciliation…”.
 
May I also add that 4 Canon Lane was formerly called George Bell House up until 2015.
 
It is hoped the restoration of that name will happen before the Coburg Conference in October at the Cathedral.
 
This international conference will celebrate the pioneering ecumenical work – especially in Germany – of the late, great wartime Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Richard W. Symonds
 
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex
RH11 0NN

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Dear Editor

 

Poland’s new mayor in Gdansk states [“Decline and fall – A famed priest’s statue is toppled amid a widening clerical abuse crisis”, March 22]:

“While I value the presumption of innocence principle, there can only be one decision given the current level of emotions” 
 
This is a dangerous statement. Why?
 
Because the presumption of innocence – not the presumption of guilt – must be held sacred as a rule of international law and jurisprudence.
 
And because “there can only be one decision given the current level of emotions” is just another way of saying there can only be one rule – ‘the rule of the lynch mob’. 
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
 
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex
RH11 0NN

March 23 2019 – “Poland – Decline and fall – A famed priest’s statue is toppled amid a widening clerical abuse crisis” – Catholic Herald – Jonathan Luxmoore – March 22 2019 – Page 14

 

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March 23 2019 – “Poland – Decline and fall – A famed priest’s statue is toppled amid a widening clerical abuse crisis” – Catholic Herald – Jonathan Luxmoore – March 22 2019 – Page 14

Officials in Gdansk have ordered the removal of a monument to a Catholic priest linked to the Solidarity movement amid accusations that he was a paedophile, as the country’s bishops take new steps to combat clerical abuse.

“We’ll probably never know the truth, since this key figure is no longer alive,” explained Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Gdansk’s newly elected mayor.

“While I value the presumption of innocence principle, there can only be one decision, given the current level of emotions.

The mayor spoke as the city council voted to demolish the statue of Fr Henryk Jankowski (1936-2010), an associate of Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders, who was rector of Gdansk’s St Brygida parish during the 1980’s strikes at the nearby shipyards.

The vote, also stripping the priest of his honorary citizenship, was boycotted by officials from Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS) and criticised by Solidarity members, who said the accusations against Fr Jankowski were unproven.

Besides celebrating shipyard Masses during the Solidarity protests, Fr Jankowski organised aid for families of imprisoned union activists, but provoked complaints from Jewish organisations for controversial sermons after the 1989 collapse of communist rule.

He was finally dismissed as St Brygida’s rector by Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski, who told clergy in a 2004 letter that Fr Jankowski had created “an unChristian climate”, while stoking “alarming media suspicions” by “receiving boys in his presbytery”

However, the priest told supporters he would not give in to “lies, hypocrisy and infamy”, and continued living in his parish house until his diabetes-related death aged 74.

The statue of Fr Jankowski, erected in a square named after him by a civic committee in 2012 [he died in 2010 – Ed], was toppled overnight in late February by a group complaining that it represented “a presence of evil in the public sphere”. This took place two months after abuse accusations were detailed against Fr Jankowski in the Gazeta Wyborcza.

Although the statue was restored to its plinth under Solidarity protection, Gdansk council noted during its meeting that legal investigations into the priest’s alleged crimes would be impossible in the current atmosphere, and ordered its removal and the renaming of the square.

The move came as Poland’s 157-member bishops’ conference launched an abuse report at its plenary assembly, attended by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and bishops from 11 other countries.

The report listed 382 cases of sexual abuse between 1990 and 2018, and said canonical procedures had been followed by the Church in 95% of instances, with three-quarters brought to completion.

However, it conceded that there had been “a certain ignorance” of Church rules on abuse, and there were “differences of reliability” between Polish dioceses and orders, in responding to enquiries.

 

March16 2019 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letter from former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey to present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

 

“…I do so hope that you will find a way to finish off that statement that ‘George Bell cannot be proven guilty’ with the corresponding conclusion, ‘therefore he must be considered entirely innocent'”

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey to the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – at the end of a Letter dated March 13 2019.

March 8 2019 – “To misquote Voltaire: I might suspect you are guilty but I will defend to the death your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty” ~ Richard W. Symonds

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Richard W. Symonds

“To misquote Voltaire: I might suspect you are guilty but I will defend to the death your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty”

~ Richard W. Symonds