Category Archives: Justice

MAY 9 2022 – “THE PARALLELS BETWEEN THE MARTYN PERCY/OXFORD CASE AND THE BISHOP BELL/CHICHESTER CASE ARE BEYOND QUESTION AND BEYOND DISTURBING” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

“THE PARALLELS BETWEEN THE MARTYN PERCY/OXFORD CASE AND THE BISHOP BELL/CHICHESTER CASE ARE BEYOND QUESTION AND BEYOND DISTURBING”

RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

THINKING ANGLICANS – Opinion – 11 May 2022

on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 11.48 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion

Martyn Percy Prospect Why I’m leaving the Church of England
“Mired in allegations of partisanship and incompetence, the Church is now incapable of running its own affairs. After a series of farcical “safeguarding” claims, the former dean of Christ Church, Oxford, no longer feels he belongs”
[This is covered as a news item in The Guardian and Church Times.]

Archbishop Cranmer Bishop of Oxford instructs lawyers to censor Archbishop Cranmer

Diocese of Oxford Dr Martyn Percy has announced he is to leave the Church of England

Felicity Cooke ViaMedia.News Leading, Following, or Forgetting? The Church and the World35 Comments

Former Oxford college dean quits Church of England, calling it an ‘unsafe’ place to workThe TelegraphThe Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church, agreed to step down following a mediation process that concluded in February.Flag as irrelevant
Oxford dean Martyn Percy quits ‘unsafe’ CofE | The TimesThe TimesThe ousted head of an Oxford college has quit the Church of England, saying it was an “unsafe place to work”. Martyn Percy, 59, left Christ Church …Flag as irrelevant
Martyn Percy quits the Church of England after long-running dispute – Christian TodayChristian TodayFormer Christ Church DeanMartyn Percy, has announced his decision to … Percy was dean of both the Oxford University college and cathedral …Flag as irrelevant
Religion news 12 May 2022Religion Media CentreMartyn Percy, former Dean of Christ Church Oxford, quits the Church of England; More money for struggling parishes and front-line services; …

NOVEMBER 17 2021 – “I WAS WRONG…WE ALSO OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO THOSE WHO ARE ACCUSED” – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Source: Wiki Commons

No significant cloud over Bishop George Bell: ‘I was wrong’ says Archbishop Welby – Church Times – 17 November 2021

PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

BBC – “ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY SORRY FOR ABUSE-ACCUSED BISHOP COMMENT” [HARRY FARLEY]

GUARDIAN “JUSTIN WELBY ADMITS HE WAS WRONG TO SAY THERE WAS A CLOUD OVER GEORGE BELL” [HARRIET SHERWOOD]

DAILY TELEGRAPH“ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SORRY FOR SLUR AGAINST BISHOP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE” [GABRIELLA SWERLING]

ANGLICAN INK – “JUSTIN WELBY APOLOGIZES FOR HIS PART IN THE GEORGE BELL AFFAIR”

THE TIMES *

GLASGOW TIMES/PENARTH TIMES – “ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY APOLOGISES FOR COMMENTS ABOUT LATE BISHOP”

PETER HITCHENS – “ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY FINALLY CLIMBS DOWN OVER HIS CLAIM OF A SIGNIFICANT CLOUD OVER GEORGE BELL

YAHOO NEWS – “ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY APOLOGISES FOR COMMENTS ABOUT THE LATE BISHOP BELL”

THINKING ANGLICANS

CHARLES MOORE – TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 18 2021 – “IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN A STATUE FOR CHURCH TO REPENT TERRIBLE SLUR AGAINST BISHOP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE”

It is also brave. Justin Welby is taking personal responsibility for the injustice done to the man he himself describes as “one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the last century”. It is a big admission

Charles Moore

I welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gracious apology.
It will not only restore the reputation of one of our greatest churchmen, but do much to heal unnecessary division in the Church of England.
It sets a much needed example at a time when the presumption of innocence at the heart of English law continues to be undermined.

Dr Gerald Morgan

YOUTUBE – PN

CHRISTIAN TODAY

WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE / CHICHESTER OBSERVER / RYE OBSERVER / LITTLEHAMPTON GAZETTE / WEST SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES

Bell’s name was removed from a key building in Chichester and the Archbishop’s statement could spark requests for its reinstatement…

In response, the current Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner said: “I greatly welcome Archbishop Justin Welby’s statement on Bishop George Bell. It is both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England of our own time

Kelly Brown

THE ARGUS

“IS IT SOMETIMES GOOD TO CHANGE ONE’S MIND? A QUESTION AT GENERAL SYNOD” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

LORD LEXDEN

Virtue Online“ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S STATEMENT SAYS THERE IS NO ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP BELL”

NOVEMBER 11 2021 – “EXPERIENCE OF THE LAST THREE YEARS HAS GIVEN ME A TINY TASTE OF WHAT IT MAY HAVE BEEN LIKE” – REVD DR MARTYN PERCY, DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD [ON PERSECUTION AND NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS]

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10192243/Dean-Christ-Church-College-Oxford-sparks-outrage-likening-plight-Holocaust-victims.html

OCTOBER 31 2021 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” FALSE ACCUSATION AGAINST BISHOP BELL IS BEYOND HYPOCRISY

Archbishop Welby

Daily Telegraph

“THE KREMLIN HAD MORE OF A CONSCIENCE THAN WELBY THE HYPOCRITE” – PETER HITCHENS – MAIL ON SUNDAY – OCTOBER 31 2021

The Kremlin had more of a conscience than Welby the hypocrite

This is Peter Hitchens’ Mail on Sunday column

EVEN the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union eventually admitted that it had wrongly smeared and ruined those it had once accused of terrible crimes.

The victims of screaming one-sided show trials, later murdered or starved to death, and in one terrible case, hanged, cremated and their ashes used to grit the freezing roads, all of them were in the end exonerated.

So why does Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, struggle so to admit he made a terrible mistake about the late Bishop George Bell of Chichester, one of the greatest Englishmen of the 20th Century? He did not, as many do, mix him up with his near-namesake, the revolting molester Peter Ball. Nor should you (I have had some very rude letters accusing me of defending Ball. I would not dream of doing any such thing).

But, to put it at its mildest, Mr Welby was involved in what has since been shown to be a shocking kangaroo trial, in which the long-dead Bell, a courageous opponent of the Nazis and ally of the German resistance to Hitler, was presumed guilty of a terrible charge of child abuse. My own view has long been that the complainant was abused, but by somebody else. Her evidence against Bell, when it was finally made public, did not stand up to serious examination by a leading QC, Lord Carlile.

But would Mr Welby back down? Not a bit of it. First he took seriously a collection of new allegations against George Bell, so ludicrous and feeble that even Dame Cressida Dick and her Olympically gullible Met Police Celebrity Squad would not have believed them. And when these duly collapsed, he continued to insist that a ‘significant cloud’ hung over the reputation of George Bell. Apparently, in his world, if you are accused of a crime you will always remain suspect.

But Mr Welby, so censorious about others, now has troubles of his own. When he was a senior church official in Liverpool, he banned a worshipper from the Cathedral there, for being ‘abusive and threatening’. But the worshipper had his reasons. He was rightly trying to get Mr Welby to act against a priest who, he said, had abused him. In this case (unlike George Bell’s) there was good reason to take the claim seriously. The priest involved, John Roberts, already had a criminal conviction for indecent assault. Later Roberts was jailed for offences against three people – one of them the man Mr Welby had sternly banned from the Cathedral. This fascinating story about England’s premier clergyman has received amazingly little media coverage outside our sister paper, the Daily Mail.

Actually, I can see Mr Welby’s problem here. He made a bad judgment, as many have done in such cases. But lawyers for the victims of Roberts point out that Mr Welby’s failure to act could have delayed police action for many years. So he really is not in a position to set himself up as the Righteous Judge of George Bell.

THAT is why I wrote to the Church of England and asked if, under the circumstances, Mr Welby would withdraw the words ‘significant cloud’ and act to rehabilitate George Bell. For Bishop Bell’s name, like that of a Soviet show-trial victim , has been stripped from a building named after him, from a school named after him and from a house in another school, which was also named after him. A planned statue of him, which should long ago have been completed and unveiled on the front of Canterbury Cathedral, is in some sort of limbo.

I got nothing back except flannel. So here we are. As long as he will not withdraw the claim that there is a ‘significant cloud’ over George Bell, then I say that Justin Welby is a hypocrite, and a significant cloud hangs over him. Even the Kremlin had more of a conscience.

Sir,

Peter Hitchens has written yet another powerful article on the defamation of the character of Bishop George Bell. The Church of England cannot survive when there is such divisiveness at the very top. And little or no respect for the presumption of innocence.
I urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to protect the reputation of the Church of England in this spiritual crisis for us all…We must not allow the Church…to be undermined in England in this way. The Queen deserves better than this.


Kind regards,

Gerald Morgan OM FTCD

(Leader: English Parliamentary Party, founded Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, 2001)
Dr Gerald Morgan, FTCD (1993)
Lydbrook School (1946-1953),Monmouth School (1953-1961),Meyricke Exhibitioner, Jesus College, Oxford (1961-1964),D.Phil. (Oxon.), 1973 Director:The Chaucer Hub.

Tel.: 086 456 56 60

Thank you for forwarding this article to me. As it happens, a worshipper at my church this morning arrived clutching a copy of it, so it is certainly being read. My only regret is that while it quite properly blames Welby, it does not censure the unspeakable and continuing behaviour of Martin Warner and the Dean and Chapter of Chichester. Warner’s adamant refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing is one of the most disgraceful episodes in recent Church of England history. A man of integrity would have apologized and offered his resignation.

The Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

I would happily attack the frightful Chichester prelates, but in this case Welby’s behaviour in Liverpool, newly exposed and too little known, was the trigger for the article and applies only to him.

Peter Hitchens

Seems to me there is the same pattern of behaviour amongst church leaders. Rather than admit they were wrong and ask for forgiveness (ok to ask for forgiveness for what ancestors did long ago), they continue to try and make themselves look good by slandering others, preferably dead others because they can’t speak in their defence.

FW Atkins

“The Church, like the Crown, has to be protected at all costs – even if it means throwing one of its own under a bus”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

NATION.lK

IN ENTERTAINMENT

OCTOBER 15 2021 – THE UNEDITED VERSION OF REVD DR BARRY ORFORD’S LETTER TO THE CHURCH TIMES [AND THE UNPUBLISHED LETTER FROM RICHARD W. SYMONDS]

LETTER [PUBLISHED] – BUT HEAVILY EDITED

From the Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

Sir, — Clearly, something is rotten in the diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. What has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

You report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years, a report like Lord Carlile’s could have led to resignations.

The emerging stories of cover-up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening that will enable us, under God, to become the Church that we are called to be. Will we take it?

BARRY A. ORFORD

Hampstead

THE UNEDITED VERSION OF THE ABOVE

September 3rd, 2021

Sir,

The letters from the Revd Roderick Leece and the Revd Nick Pigott referring to the death of Fr Alan Griffin, plus the article by Bishop Selby (October 8), tell us clearly that something is rotten in the Diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. They prompt a disturbing question – what has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

The London Diocese has intoned the regulation chant that ‘lessons will be learned’ from the Griffin case, yet you report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years a report like Lord Carlile’s on the conduct of those in the Chichester Diocese who rushed to blacken the blameless name of Bishop George Bell could have led to resignations. Today, those responsible have not even felt shamed into an apology. (I am told that they have recently compounded their offence by removing Bell’s name from the house dedicated to his memory.) What does this say about unwillingness to confess shortcomings?

The emerging stories of cover up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening which will enable us, under God, to become the Church we are called to be. Will we take it?

The Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

LETTER [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor
Those libelled by false accusation can exercise their right to justice through the courts [‘The accused have their rights, too’, CT, Oct 8].
Sir Cliff Richard exercised this right, but at a cost – not just financial. 
For most of us living, if falsely accused and libelled, this is not an option – there is simply nothing we can do about it. For those no longer living, such as Bishop George Bell, the same applies – you cannot libel the dead. 
Former Archbishop George Carey has done something about this miscarriage of justice by writing about it in his memoirs – ‘The Truth Will Set You Free‘.
Genuine repentance is key to right these wrongs, but there is little sign of that from those who should know better.
The truth of former Bishop Peter Selby’s concluding four words continues to resonate ‘as clear as a bell’:
“It could be you”

Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

OCTOBER 14 2021 – “THE ACCUSED HAVE THEIR RIGHTS, TOO” – CHURCH TIMES – FORMER BISHOP PETER SELBY [LETTER SUBMISSIONS IN RESPONSE – NOT PUBLISHED AND PUBLISHED]

LETTER [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor
Those libelled by false accusation can exercise their right to justice through the courts [‘The accused have their rights, too’, CT, Oct 8].
Sir Cliff Richard exercised this right, but at a cost – not just financial. 
For most of us living, if falsely accused and libelled, this is not an option – there is simply nothing we can do about it. For those no longer living, such as Bishop George Bell, the same applies – you cannot libel the dead. 
Former Archbishop George Carey has done something about this miscarriage of justice by writing about it in his memoirs – ‘The Truth Will Set You Free‘.
Genuine repentance is key to right these wrongs, but there is little sign of that from those who should know better.
The truth of former Bishop Peter Selby’s concluding four words continues to resonate ‘as clear as a bell’:
“It could be you”

Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

LETTER [PUBLISHED] – BUT HEAVILY EDITED

From the Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

Sir, — Clearly, something is rotten in the diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. What has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

You report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years, a report like Lord Carlile’s could have led to resignations.

The emerging stories of cover-up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening that will enable us, under God, to become the Church that we are called to be. Will we take it?

BARRY A. ORFORD

Hampstead

THE UNEDITED VERSION OF THE ABOVE

September 3rd, 2021

Sir,

The letters from the Revd Roderick Leece and the Revd Nick Pigott referring to the death of Fr Alan Griffin, plus the article by Bishop Selby (October 8), tell us clearly that something is rotten in the Diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. They prompt a disturbing question – what has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

The London Diocese has intoned the regulation chant that ‘lessons will be learned’ from the Griffin case, yet you report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years a report like Lord Carlile’s on the conduct of those in the Chichester Diocese who rushed to blacken the blameless name of Bishop George Bell could have led to resignations. Today, those responsible have not even felt shamed into an apology. (I am told that they have recently compounded their offence by removing Bell’s name from the house dedicated to his memory.) What does this say about unwillingness to confess shortcomings?

The emerging stories of cover up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening which will enable us, under God, to become the Church we are called to be. Will we take it?

The Revd Dr Barry A. Orford


OCTOBER 6 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCT 3 2016] – PETER HITCHENS ON BISHOP BELL

Justice for Bishop George Bell

Latest from Peter Hitchens:

Peter Hitchens

On Sunday evening I provided a short prologue to a dramatised reading of the final part of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ in the Friends’ Meeting House at Chichester, beautifully situated near the lovely old Priory, now the Guildhall, where William Blake was once put on trial. The reading was of very high quality, and I found myself riveted both during the rehearsal and the actual performance, by Eliot’s apposite words, full of power and truth.

There was a good and attentive audience, most of whom stayed for a while afterwards to discuss the case of Bishop Bell, in whose cause the reading was held. I always gain a special pleasure from voluntary, civic occasions such as this, when individuals band together for a good purpose. Chichester itself has been an intensely civilised corner of England since Roman times, every stone and brick, and every tree, lawn and garden evidence of the long and peaceful existence of a prosperous society of free, independent men and women. But none of this will survive forever if we do not resolve to defend it. I regard the George Bell campaign as part of the battle to keep free civilisation alive, because it is entirely about disinterested justice and truth.

I visited Bishop Bell’s memorial in the Cathedral early this morning, and found it surrounded by flowers. This contrasts with the occasion a year ago when I laid a small posy there, which was swiftly snatched away. At that time the memorial was obscured by a large notice about ‘safeguarding’, which has now gone. A few feet away lies the lovely ‘Arundel Tomb’ of which Philip Larkin wrote, moved by the way that the effigies of a knight and his lady are shown holding each other’s hands in death. ‘What will survive of us is love’, he concluded, reluctantly and conditionally. I think he was righter than he knew or wanted to be.

I must now go to the special service (to be held at St Michaels’s Church at Cornhill in the City of London) to remember Bishop Bell, whose life and work are commemorated today (the 58th anniversary of his death) in the Anglican calendar.

‘George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958’ – Christian Calendar – Sunday October 3 2021

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Fr Dexter Bracey

Fr Dexter, you are not alone in thinking the Bishop of London’s remark [“the coroner put that in the public domain, and I am sorry for the hurt that that has caused”] sounds like an attempt to deflect criticism and blame others.

‘Private Eye’ puts it succinctly:

Lexden [Lord Lexden who resigned from the Ecclesiastical Committee – Ed] was particularly angry that the diocese urged the coroner at Griffin’s inquest, Mary Hassell, not to include in her report “any concerns that may be taken as a criticism of clerics or staff for not filtering or verifying allegations”. She ignored the plea.

If the Bishop of London [and her colleagues and superiors] wish to demonstrate real pastoral care and help heal “a sense of rage, indignation, bewilderment, frustration and sorrow”, may I make one suggestion [there are others]:

Offer up formal prayers tomorrow [Sunday Oct 3] for Bishop George Bell – his Day of Commemoration in the Church of England Year Calendar:

‘George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958’.

Yes! Indeed special remembrance next Sunday of our great Bishop who within the communion of saints prays with us and for us. A holy and courageous priest, and we look forward to the erection of the statue on the west wall of Canterbury Cathedral. I wish we could be told a bit more about it, apart from the usual ‘ it will now be delayed probably for five years because of other works’. But on his special day in the Church’s Calendar, let us focus on the glorious life George Bell lives in the Kingdom of Heaven, and give thanks for the great work GOD did in and through him while he was among us

+ Nicholas Reade

I need not remind you of all people of the greatness of Bishop George Bell, a loyal friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer from 1933 onwards and the staunchest of opponents of Nazi Germany.
Nothing marks out his moral and spiritual leadership more than the speech in opposition to area bombing of Germany delivered in the House of Lords on 9 February 1944. We may now read it as a terrible warning about or  premonition of the bombing of Dresden one year later in the four raids of 13-15 February 1945.
We may reflect on the moral courage of this great man speaking out as he did when he did. Our own moral pieties in relation to Dresden in 2021 are easy by comparison. 
Had it not been for these words Bishop George Bell may well himself have become Archbishop of Canterbury.
No English man or woman of any standing deserves to be condemned by the presumption of guilt. It is an attack on the very values for which we were fighting such a war.
In a way we may thank those who have called Bishop Bell’s reputation into question. On the anniversary of his death on 3 October 1958 we may once again give thanks to God that the Church of England is still able to raise such men among us.

Dr Gerald Morgan OM FTCD 

“Thank you for your vigorous defence of the beloved Bishop. He is vindicated and Welby disgraced”

+C

“Would that any decent priest gave a thought to Bishop Bell.  Far too busy virtue signalling instead. As for Welby…..give me strength. Resting somewhere while here churches are still closed when most we need them. He’s beyond useless. A cowardI’ve now read your enclosures sent today and I’m shocked. The obfuscations of the core group contain more holes than a Glaswegian string vest. I’ve not been in church today but I’ll pass this on to our rector who is an admirer of Bishop Bell. (We’re up here near Glasgow) The rector assures me “Welby has no muscle north of the border”

‘L’

WINDOW SPACE

A smattering of dawn challenges the night sky,

severing earth from heaven

in a long line, pale pink and yellow

across my window space.

Then, as if on Nature’s cue,

a gaggle of gossamer clouds,

cream and unruly-edged, float by,

blown by a soft breeze,

soft as a first-love kiss.

I watch all this, wondering

at the unhurried yet inevitable

light, dancing out of darkness.

Now, blinding sunshine adds dazzle to the day’s light…

Clearly reflected in all this drama

is the beginning of my new life,

here is this waiting place.

*** *** *** *** ***

I rise, smiling

to close the curtains on my window space.

At curtain fall, I leave the stage and glide into the wings.

From there, I fly away to search for fresh delights

in my own new day.

© Sandra Saer

Arundel, 2010