Tag Archives: Archbishop of Canterbury

Nov 2016 – “In Defense Of George Bell” – Peter Hitchens – ‘First Things’

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/11/in-defense-of-george-bell

 

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship
by andrew chandler
eerdmans, 224 pages, $35

The best way to get a belly laugh from a Roman Catholic is to mention the words “Anglican” and “principle” in the same breath. It is easy to see why.

The current leaders of the American Episcopalians and their English mother church are wedded firmly to the spirit of the age. And as William Inge, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London warned long ago, “Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.” So it has proved, and so it will continue to prove. The leaders of this rather interesting version of Christianity mistook its breadth and openness for a benevolent, politicized vagueness. They adopted social democratic politics and economics in England, and 1960s liberationism in the U.S. They then waited for the kingdom of heaven to arrive as their churches grew emptier and their voices fainter and shriller.

And yet there were exceptions. The British radical politician Tony Benn was fond of saying that there were two types of public figure: weathervanes that revolved, squeaking, in the prevailing wind, and signposts that grimly continued to point the way, often to an oblivious multitude, which missed the straight and narrow and surged instead on to the winding primrose path. George Bell, bishop of Chichester in the middle part of the twentieth century, was one such signpost. By a single action he asserted the primacy of the Christian conscience above all considerations of power, popularity, and convenience. Yet by this same action he gravely damaged himself. I have a slight suspicion that the merciless attacks being made on his reputation today are part of the reaction to this singular act, an attempt to tear down an example to which we cannot rise.

After much study of his life, I am convinced that I would not have liked George Bell if I had met him, and that he would not have thought much of me. This is surely a good thing. Bishops are not supposed to be likeable. They are supposed to be stern, set apart from the world, and ready to put up with some unpopularity. In the seventeenth-century consecration service which Bell would have undergone, he had to assent to the following question: “Will you deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; that you may show yourself in all things an example of good works unto others, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing to say against you?”

One of several sons of a parson (two of his three brothers died in the last bitter months of the First World War), Bell was academically bright, but not brilliant. He had, it is necessary to say, a poor speaking voice. He had an unlikely early friendship with Oliver St. John Gogarty, a bohemian Irish republican whom he defeated in the battle for an Oxford poetry prize. He had little in the way of social life outside his work. He was identified early in life as one destined for high position, and spent several years as an aide-de-camp to Randall Davidson, the archbishop of Canterbury. He loved poetry, wrote it competently, and was one of the earliest to recognize the genius of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Without his encouragement, T. S. Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral might never have been written, or performed in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral. He showed similar friendship and encouragement to the composer Gustav Holst. He was austere and painfully honest in personal dealings, traveling third-class by train and pursuing the railway company with offers of payment (often for tiny fares) if by any chance he had failed to buy a ticket for some rural journey. But his own trusting nature meant he was sometimes embarrassingly wrong, continuing (for instance) to harbor hopes of peace with Hitler’s Germany after the outbreak of war in 1939, and intervening mistakenly on behalf of some Germans who were later shown beyond doubt to have been war criminals.

state the case against him because I am currently being told (by Bell’s modern accusers) that I refuse to accept that he had faults because of my admiration for his good deeds. On the contrary, I have long believed that there are no great men, only great deeds. And yet it takes exceptional men and women to do such deeds, and Bell was exceptional. What were his great deeds? Many of them are easy to admire. He strove to comfort and rescue those persecuted by Hitler, recognizing the wickedness of the National Socialist state earlier than most. Several owed their lives to his efforts. He was a constant support to that giant, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who sent a last message of gratitude and comradeship to him from his cell. He intervened (this took some courage) to secure the release of undoubted anti-Nazis interned alongside actual Nazis thanks to a Churchillian invasion panic, just when Britain needed their skills and commitment to fight Germany more effectively. He supported the resistance to Hitler, and in 1942 tried to interest the British Foreign Office in early German plans for the overthrow of Hitler, of which he had been told in a meeting in Stockholm. Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, would not get involved. He probably knew that any talk of peace with Germany, even one cleansed of Hitler, was impossible once we were allied with Stalin. Bell, still clinging to ideals of just war and hoping to save Europe from a prolonged fight to the end, could not see this. Was he wrong? Probably. Britain had by then lost control of the war and was a helpless, bankrupt client of Moscow and Washington. And it seemed possible then that he was being used, though in fact this was not so.

But this is just a preliminary to the one thing about which Bell was wholly right, the thing which marks him out from his generation of English Christians, and the thing for which we all owe him a great debt till the end of time. One righteous man can save a city and cancel out the unrighteousness of millions. And this is what he did.

After long preparation and study, Bell publicly condemned the deliberate bombing of German civilians in their homes, which had by then become Britain’s main contribution to the war in Europe. For this purpose he used the House of Lords, in which a small number of senior bishops sit by right. They must always speak there clad in their priestly robes of plain and puritan black and white, to remind everyone that they are not politicians or their placemen. The privilege has never been used better. To this day, few really understand the issue. Many still believe that Britain accidentally killed German civilians while aiming at oil refineries and munitions factories. Or they think that Bishop Bell was protesting against the notorious bombing of the city of Dresden in 1945, so frightful that even supporters of the policy had their doubts about it. In fact, his speech, delivered on February 9, 1944, was a protest against years of deliberate warfare against defenseless women and children. Few now realize that British forces did this, and even to this day, debates about it in Britain can degenerate into fury and abuse, combined with simple refusal to acknowledge recorded fact. Those interested in the full, grisly story should read Richard Overy’s The Bombing War, Max Hastings’s Bomber Command, and A. C. Grayling’s Among the Dead Cities.

These are the facts: In November 1941, Sir Richard Peirse, then commander in chief of RAF Bomber Command, declared in a semi-public speech that his planes had for nearly a year been attacking “the people themselves,” intentionally. He said, “I mention this because for a long time the Government for excellent reasons has preferred the world to think that we still held some scruples and attacked only what the humanitarians are pleased to call Military Targets. . . . I can assure you, gentlemen, that we tolerate no scruples.” Senior government officials knew of the policy but preferred the truth of it not to be widely known in case “false and misleading deductions” were made. An Air Staff memorandum stated that towns should be made “physically uninhabitable” and the people in them must be “conscious of constant personal danger.” The aim was to produce “destruction” and “the fear of death.” This is not chivalry.

Supported by the military historian Basil Liddell Hart and his own long-standing anti-Nazi credentials, Bell challenged this. These words of his speech echo right down to our own time: “It is common experience in the history of warfare that not only wars, but actions taken in war as military necessities, are often supported at the time by a class of arguments which, after the war is over, people find are arguments to which they never should have listened.”

The speech, which infuriated Winston Churchill and his friends, probably ensured that George Bell did not become archbishop of Canterbury. And yet the speech showed that the broad, reasonable church of Cranmer, Hooker, and Andrewes still possessed a backbone of righteousness, such as it had not shown since it defied the despotic King James II in 1688, and so helped save liberty for posterity. It was the culmination of a life of thought, prayer, love, dedication, and Edwardian high seriousness, just as notable in its way as all the other thousands of stories of physical heroism in the same generation. Bell’s example ought not to be forgotten, and Andrew Chandler’s new biography will help ensure that it will not be. This is a very different book from Ronald Jasper’s rather flat earlier biography, which gave the facts but lacked the personal sympathy with Bell’s intense seriousness of purpose and self-discipline, and also lacked the deep knowledge of Bell’s archive that Chandler demonstrates—especially in his account of Bell’s work with the German resistance.

Yet it is a sad story, and its ending—if such stories ever end—is sadder still. Bell himself, writing of a dead colleague, once adapted Richard Hooker’s words to say, “Ministers of good things are like torches, a light to others, waste and destruction to themselves.” Bell’s life did not really end very happily or completely, perhaps because he was kept from the high position he deserved. He was confined to a second-rank bishopric when his mind, distinction, and experience should have taken him to the Archbishoprics of York or Canterbury, or to the almost-as-significant See of London. His great energy had less and less of an outlet. He had been consumed by his work during his life, and so had little to fall back on as retirement approached. Like so many of his generation, he began to be forgotten by a modern age that regards the past as a storehouse of mistakes, best left locked. And then he was remembered, because of a solitary, ancient, uncorroborated anonymous accusation that he had long ago sexually abused a little girl.

What was his church to do about this charge? Reasonably and understandably, it offered sympathy and money to the unnamed accuser. Given the length of time (more than sixty years ago) and the shortage of witnesses—though it failed to look for at least one such witness, who worked closely with George Bell at the time and says the allegation is absurd—this was a kind and decent thing to do. Less reasonably, it publicized the allegation in such a way as to allow several major London newspapers and the BBC to behave as if the charge were proven. Yet it bears, as Chandler says, no relation to anything else in his well-documented life. Indeed, it contradicts the personal testimony of Canon Adrian Carey, a decorated naval veteran now in his nineties but absolutely lucid, who was Bell’s personal chaplain during the years covered by the accusations, and who has said the events described by the accuser are impossible to match with his own close experience of Bell’s daily life. Yet Canon Carey, who actually lived and shared meals with Bell and his wife during this era, was neither contacted nor consulted by the church authorities, who claimed to have “found no reason to doubt” the accusations.

Why were his successors so willing to toss his reputation into this stinking pit of ultimate shame? Was it because they did not value it, and had forgotten who he was, if they had ever known? Or was it because, when they did understand the great thing he had done, they did not much like it, not being men of his sort? As I think I may have said at the beginning, principle and the Church of England do not always mix very well, and it is not only Roman Catholics who think this. And yet, whatever they do, there is still the collect for the twentieth Sunday after Trinity: “O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done.” George Bell would have known those words, said them many times, and, I believe, meant them.

Peter Hitchens is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

December 17 2017 – BBC Radio 4 – Sunday – Edward Stourton [Chichester’s Marilyn Billingham on Bishop Bell]

radio4

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jbrvn

France’s crumbling cathedrals, Bishop George Bell, the Religion of Mike Pence

Sunday morning religious news and current affairs programme presented by Edward Stourton.

 

Podcast

December 7 2017 – “Mud sticks to the innocent too” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Marion Somerville

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Chichester Observer – December 7 2017 – Letter – Marion Somerville

June 9 2017 – “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – ‘Trump’s Meddlesome Priest’ – New York Times

By now many people will have googled the words “meddlesome priest.” The phrase was uttered by James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, during his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. When he was asked if he took President Trump’s “hope” that he would drop the Flynn-Russia investigation “as a directive,” Mr. Comey responded, “Yes, yes. It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ ”

These are the words that King Henry II of England allegedly cried out in 1170, frustrated by the political opposition of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Four royal knights immediately rushed off to Canterbury and murdered the meddlesome priest.

Unlike many contemporary references to medieval history, this one is apt. Mr. Comey’s point was that a desire expressed by a powerful leader is tantamount to an order. When Senator James E. Risch, a Republican, noted that the president had merely “hoped for an outcome,” Mr. Comey replied, “I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this.’ I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.”

King Henry’s contemporaries likewise assumed that a ruler’s wish constituted a command: Although he denied any intention of inciting murder, Henry was widely held responsible for Becket’s death. The pope issued an order prohibiting Henry from attending church services or participating in the sacraments, and the king was eventually forced to do penance for the violence perpetrated in his name.

There are even more instructive parallels. Although the administration offered various reasons for the firing of Mr. Comey, it is clear that Mr. Trump considered his allegiance to F.B.I. protocol over presidential preference to be a form of disloyalty. Likewise, the main issues at stake in 1170 were divided loyalty and institutional independence.

Before Becket had been elected archbishop, he had been a close friend and faithful servant to the king. Henry had engineered Becket’s election in the expectation that, as archbishop, Becket would continue to serve royal interests. This was not an unreasonable assumption; for centuries bishops had performed dual roles, acting as temporal as well as spiritual lords. They commanded armies, enforced royal decrees, and took it for granted that the rulers who appointed them could claim their loyalty.

It was not until the 1070s that secular control over bishops began to be challenged by a series of reformist popes who sought to free clerics from secular influence and insisted that bishops’ first allegiance was to the church. This goal was rarely fully realized — kings were generally closer than the pope and more able to dispense both patronage and punishment. But to Henry’s fury, Becket unexpectedly embraced reform, becoming a vigorous defender of church privileges and critic of royal interference. Henry felt intensely betrayed. Becket died not because he was “meddlesome,” but because, in the king’s view, he was disloyal.

The Becket episode may likewise help explain why Mr. Trump’s advisers did not prevent him from firing Mr. Comey. King Henry expected all his officials to share his fury at Becket and saw any failure to do so as a betrayal as well. The phrase “meddlesome priest” was a later invention, made famous by Hollywood in the 1964 film “Becket.” Henry’s actual exclamation — or at least the cry attributed to him in the medieval sources — was “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a lowborn clerk!’”

No wonder the four knights were so eager to take the hint. Henry’s courtiers may well have feared that if they didn’t make a conspicuous display of loyalty, the king might turn on them next. Treachery was a capital offense.

The aftermath of the Becket episode may, moreover, resonate in one final way. Although Henry had longed to get rid of Becket for years, he presumably came to rue the day his words of rage were heeded. In addition to performing humiliating penance, he had to swear obedience to the pope, make a series of concessions to the church and eventually face rebellion. One suspects that Mr. Trump, too, might come to feel the wisdom of the words “be careful what you wish for.”

September 30 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church” – Christian Today [Ruth Gledhill]

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop.of.canterbury.accuses.bbc.of.failing.to.show.same.integrity.over.child.abuse.as.the.church/114954.htm

Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised the BBC over its response to Jimmy Savile

The BBC has defended itself against criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury that it lacked ‘integrity’ in its response to the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Archbishop Justin Welby said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the corporation had not shown the same integrity the Anglican and Catholic churches had.

Invited to reflect on the programmes 60th anniversary of being on air, he said: ‘I think we are a kinder society more concerned with our own failures, more willing to be honest where we go wrong in most of our institutions.’ But there were still ‘dark areas’. 

He continued: ‘If I’m really honest, I’d say the BBC is one. I haven’t seen the same integrity over the BBC’s failures over Savile as I’ve seen in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church of England, in other public institutions over abuse. We may be proved wrong about that but you know that’s one area.’

The Archbishop also referred to the dispute over the pay gap between men and women at the BBC, and said that in the church, male and female bishops received exactly the same stipends.

Archbishop Welby was speaking just weeks before Lord Carlile publishes his review into how the Church of England handled a claim by ‘Carol’ into allegations of abuse by the late Bishop George Bell of Chichester, who died in 1958.

In Australia, where the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have been under investigation by a royal commission into institutional child sex abuse, and the Catholic Cardinal George Pell is facing multiple historic child sex abuse charges, only yesterday it emerged that one victim was forced to take the Anglican Church to court over failure to pay a $1.5 million settlement.

The BBC, Church of England and Roman Catholic Church will all be examined soon in the UK’s own version of the Australian commission, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay.  This December, the UK inquiry will look at the English Benedectines and next March, at the Church of England’s Chichester diocese.

Meanwhile six church sex abuse survivors silence condemned the Archbishop’s attack on the BBC.

In a statement they said: ‘Speaking from our own bitter experience, we do not recognise Archbishop Welby’s description of the integrity with which the Church of England handles cases of abuse in a church context.

‘Far from the ‘rigorous response and self-examination’ he claims, our experience of the church, and specifically the archbishop, is of long years of silence, denial and evasion. The Church of England needs to confront its own darkness in relation to abuse before confronting the darkness of others.’

Matthew Ineson, who as a teen was raped by a C of E vicar, Trevor Devamanikkam, who killed himself just before he was due to appear in court to answer to the charges, told The Guardian: ‘I know from my own experience, and the experience of others, that safeguarding within the C of E is appalling.

‘The church has colluded with the cover-up of abuse and has obstructed justice for those whose lives have been ruined by the actions of its clergy. I have been fighting for five years for the church to recognise its responsibilities and I’m still being met with attempts to bully me into dropping my case.’

A BBC spokesman defended the corporation. He said: ‘This isn’t a characterisation we recognise. When the Savile allegations became known we established an independent investigation by a High Court judge. In the interests of transparency, this was published in full. We apologised and accepted all the recommendations.

‘And while today’s BBC is a different place, we set out very clear actions to ensure the highest possible standards of child safeguarding.’

Regarding the Archbishop’s comments on the gender pay gap, the BBC added: ‘Gender pay is a challenge for all organisations not just the BBC. The national gender pay gap is 18 percent. The BBC’s is under ten percent and we have committed to closing it in 2020. We know we have to go further and faster. We are not unique in this. The Church of England’s own published pay gap for non-office holders is 41 percent. We all collectively have more work to do, to sort an issue that is a problem across the vast majority of organisations.’

Lambeth Palace said: ‘We fully accept the failures of the Church of England in the area of safeguarding.

‘Since the Archbishop took up his role, he has been very clear that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be the highest priority of all parts of the Church and was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

‘The Church’s National Safeguarding Team was created in 2015 and there are now robust House of Bishops safeguarding policies in place along with independent audits for all dioceses and dedicated training on hearing disclosures for all senior clergy.

‘The Archbishop fully supports the Church’s commitment to develop a stronger national approach to safeguarding to improve its response to protecting the vulnerable.

‘The Archbishop believes this level of rigorous response and self-examination needs to extend to all institutions, including the BBC.’

“Church Protected Paedophile Bishop” – The Argus – Front Page – June 23 2017

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http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15366174.Church_helped_to_cover_up_sexual_abuse/

Church helped to cover up sexual abuse

THE Church of England “colluded” with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one its bishops rather than help his victims, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Most Rev Justin Welby’s statement came as the Church published Abuse Of Faith, an independent review of how it handled the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes who was jailed for 32 months at the Old Bailey in 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

The review, chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, found that “Ball’s conduct has caused serious and enduring damage to the lives of many men”.

It stated: “Peter Ball betrayed his Church and abused individual followers of that Church.

“The Church at its most senior levels and over many years supported him unwisely and displayed little care for his victims.

“Much of what we have described took place in different times and should be viewed from that perspective.

“But such perverse and sustained abuse by a senior figure in the Church and the Church’s failure to safeguard so many boys and young men still casts a long shadow.”

During his time as bishop, Ball hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings, his trial heard.

The Archbishop described the report as “harrowing reading”, adding: “The Church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward.

“This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour and, although Dame Moira notes that most of the events took place many years ago, and does not think that the Church now would conduct itself in the ways described, we can never be complacent; we must learn lessons.”

He restated his “unreserved apology” to the victims who had been brave enough to come forward, adding: “There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over the decades.”

There is criticism in the review of Lord Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, and other senior figures in the Church, saying the Church was “most interested in protecting itself”.

The review states that Lambeth Palace’s actions, especially in failing to pass on six letters of allegations to the police, while giving them one which was of “least concern”… “must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment”.

The review points out that the Church’s management of those seven letters, containing allegations against Ball, was perhaps “its greatest failure in these events”.

The NSPCC spoke of its disgust at the findings.

A spokesperson said: “It is utterly disgraceful to discover that collusion at the heart of the Church of England led to the abuse of so many young men and boys. Abuse can happen in any institution or walk of life and we must ensure it can never be covered up by the powerful. Abuse in our most revered institutions must be exposed and investigated, offenders brought to justice, and victims given confidence to come forward.”

ARCHBISHOP CALLS ON LORD CAREY TO STAND DOWN FOLLOWING RELEASE OF DAMNING REPORT

THE archbishop of Canterbury has asked his predecessor George Carey to step down as an honorary assistant bishop.

Lord Carey was singled out for criticism in yesterday’s report, with it stating he was more concerned with protecting the church rather than the victims.

In particular, it refers to Lambeth Palace’s failure to pass on six letters of allegations to the police.

Instead it forwarded one letter which was described as being of “least concern”.

The report stated this “must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment”. It added that management of the seven letters was perhaps the church’s “greatest failure”.

It stated: “The letters came from a range of families and individuals quite independently of each other. They raised concerns which were all either indirectly or precisely suggestive of sexual impropriety, or worse, by Ball.

“These were not people who were at war with the Church or had any axe to grind. In fact, some of the correspondents go to great lengths to try to avoid rancour and find a constructive way forward.”

The report found that Lord Carey was significantly involved in the way the Church treated victim Neil Todd in 1992/1993. Despite years of abuse in Sussex, Ball was able to leave the diocese in 1992 to take up his post as Bishop of Gloucester.

A year later, the then 16-year-old trainee monk Neil Todd prompted a police investigation which led to Ball’s resignation from the clergy. Ball escaped with a police caution in 1993 for an act of gross indecency against Mr Todd who took his own life in 2012.

Lord Carey described the paedophile bishop as “basically innocent” and said he had a “very high” regard for him in a September 1993 letter to Ball’s brother Michael.

The review, which said Lord Carey had played a leading role in enabling Ball to return to ministry, described this comment as “alarming”. It added: “Ball was basically guilty and had admitted that. Lord Carey was also aware that the Church had received further allegations of potentially criminal actions by Ball.”

Current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the review made for harrowing reading.

Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, said Mr Welby had written to Lord Carey asking him to “carefully consider his position”. Mr Croft and Lord Carey will meet “in the coming days for that conversation. In the meantime he has voluntarily agreed to step back from public ministry”.

FURTHER INFORMATION
The Guardian

February 12 2017 – Archbishop of Westminster says decision to end child refugee scheme ‘shocking’

http://www.aol.co.uk/news/2017/02/12/archbishop-of-westminster-says-decision-to-end-child-refugee-sch/

Archbishop of Westminster says decision to end child refugee scheme ‘shocking’

Updated: Feb 12th 2017 06:00 PM

The decision to end the lone child refugee scheme is “truly shocking” and should be reviewed, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said stopping the scheme would mean unaccompanied youngsters would be more likely to fall prey to human traffickers.

The Home Office said more than 900 minors were transferred to the UK last year, under either the Dublin Regulation because they have family links in this country, or under the Dubs amendment that requires the Government to give refuge to youngsters stranded in Europe.

But the Government sparked controversy when it emerged the Dubs scheme, named after its architect, Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs, will be capped once another 150 unaccompanied children are brought to Britain, on top of the 200 who have already arrived.

Campaigners and politicians had originally called for 3,000 to be resettled.

Cardinal Nichols is the latest high-profile figure to criticise the decision, following charities and the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

The Archbishop of Westminster said: “By repealing Article 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, known as the Dubs amendment, the Government is seen by many as abandoning its statutory and moral duty to take effective action for the protection of vulnerable, unaccompanied child refugees.

“If this is the case, then it is truly shocking.

“The Home Office have stated that during 2016 over 900 unaccompanied children were brought to safety from Europe, including 750 from Calais.

“However, the need is evidently far greater and I am informed that there are a number of Local Authorities willing and resourced to take many more of these children into their care.

“I urge the Government to look again at all available resources and to work with renewed vigour, internationally and at home, to support and enable programmes to assist these vulnerable children.”

He also urged those concerned about the scheme’s closure to volunteer to take in refugees.

Lord Dubs, flanked by a group of children, local politicians and faith leaders, delivered a 50,000-signature petition to Number 10 on Saturday, accusing the Government of a “very shabby cop out”.