Tag Archives: Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden

January 28 2018 – “‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell” – ‘Conservative Woman’


‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell


‘Wobbly’ Welby has unexpectedly firmed up into the Rock of Gibraltar. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is acclaimed for apologising as prolifically as water dripping from a leaking tap, has abruptly turned off the stopcock and is refusing to apologise for the most monumental cock-up of his career.

Welby has donned sackcloth and ashes and publicly flogged himself for the ‘hurt and pain’ the Church of England has (allegedly) inflicted on LGBTI people. Welby has crawled on his knees and cried mea maxima culpa for the ‘scars’ and ‘hurt’ to the campaigners for women’s ordination and ‘for my own part in that hurt’. Welby has walked on broken glass and slept on a bed of spikes as he even apologised for the Reformation. When the steam in the Lambeth pressure cooker threatened to blow off the lid, Welby apologised to a sexual abuse survivor for his office’s failure to respond to 17 letters seeking help and redress.

So why is Archbishop Justin, who like Uriah Heep has been ‘very umble to the present moment’, refusing to apologise for defaming the reputation of Bishop George Bell? Why has ‘Wobbly’ hardened his heart like Pharaoh in the story of the Exodus even after seven senior historians wrote an open letter complaining that the archbishop had shamed his office with ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ claims that Bishop Bell may have been a paedophile?

Welby’s Taliban-like intransigence has alienated even his loyal fans. According to a well-placed source inside the C of E, ‘there is a head of steam in the Church of England that could end up in his resignation over this’. If there is a miracle and the water in Lambeth Palace turns to blood or a plague of boils erupts on the skin of every canon at Canterbury Cathedral, Welby could well apologise by the time this column is published. There will be much rejoicing, and Bishop George Bell’s 93-year-old niece Barbara Whitley, who has called for Welby’s resignation, will pass the rest of her days singing the Nunc Dimittis.

So why doesn’t the spiritual head of 80 million Anglicans say the two most gracious words in the English language? Why is a man who is supposed to model repentance – the core Christian virtue at the very heart of the gospel – refusing to repent? Why has the Archbishop issued a statement that reads like a memo from the Ministry of Circumlocution and Periphrasis?

‘I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case,’ states Welby categorically. Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden has come close to describing the archbishop as psychologically unbalanced: ‘He has at best muddled himself. He is in the grip of what appears to be both a serious sin and a psychological distortion. At some point, he has conflated what he thinks is right with the notion of his integrity.’

I believe Welby is one hundred per cent sincere. His absolute and emphatic claim to occupy the higher moral ground and to be right beyond the faintest glimmer of doubt is not feigned. It is not a publicity stunt. Welby genuinely believes he is right and everyone else (including seven eminent historians, another group of theologians including heavyweights from the World Council of Churches, and Lord Carlile) is wrong.

If Welby sincerely believes he is right, we need to pray for him and to understand him sympathetically using the best spiritual and psychological resources at our disposal. The social psychologist Leon Festinger provides us with precisely such a vehicle of sympathetic insight into the archbishop’s mind and soul.

Rather unexpectedly, I stumbled on Festinger in an academic journal when doing research on the Hebrew prophets. What does psychology have to do with prophecy? Later, when studying apocalyptic cults I became even more interested in Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance. I also found his work invaluable in pastoral ministry when I met people who insisted that Jesus was going to return on a particular date (a house-church in a Mumbai suburb firmly believed that Jesus was coming back on November 20, 1999).

Following their research on a flying saucer cult, Festinger and his co-researchers argued that when a prophecy or strongly held belief is proved wrong, this results in intensification of belief. ‘Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, but he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: What will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervour about convincing and converting other people to his view,’ Festinger observes.

So what happens if a person is forced to do or say something contrary to the opinion he strongly holds? First, a person might change his beliefs. Welby could simply admit he made a mistake. Second, a person might change the way he perceives his actions. This is what Welby is doing by insisting on his ‘integrity’, drawing on a tenuous analogy with the real abuser Bishop Peter Ball (oddly, I wrote a column on the tale of two bishops Bell and Ball and demonstrated how the C of E ‘smears saints and shields scoundrels’) and rationalising by drawing on his personal subjective experience of ‘discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect’ as the benchmark of justice and truth.

He is trying to resolve his cognitive dissonance by standing by his slander that the heroic Bishop of Chichester, who sheltered Jewish children during the Second World War, was a child abuser who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name, despite evidence to the contrary. The sordid saga has demonstrated that it is actually the Archbishop of Canterbury who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name and office. It is the ‘significant cloud’ of self-delusion.

The global Anglican Communion can no longer afford the luxury of a Commander-in-Chief who has succumbed to what Friedrich Nietzsche called the ‘deplorable victory of the sanctified lie’.

  • Not so much a Christian Archbishop. More the wimpish CEO of a struggling charity wedded to the Labour party.


    Careful Jules you will be excommunicated.


    Agree wholeheartedly with your post, but sorry to see you adopting that awful American usage of the word ‘survivor’. Survivors are people who lived through Auschwitz or who are dug out ruins after an earthquake. Those who have suffered abuse are NOT survivors, they are victims


    Que sera, sera, whatever Welby will be.


    He is trying to protect the CofE Brand.

    His Brand has lost market share for a very long time and now only occupies a tiny segment of the market, due to the extreme left wing policies (theologically, socially and morally) that the self selecting hierarchy has embarked upon, regardless of the cost in membership (Or Biblical justification).

    Welby sees the future of the Cof E as being like Corbyn’s Momentum of Christian Britain and he will not condone anything that detracts from that trajectory.

    The lack of any apology is then seen as a rational act. He cannot upset what is his last significant customer base


    Like Donald Trump, Justin Welby ought to undergo a mental examination and make the results public. Only then, we will be convinced that he is mentally fit for the job. But if the issue is moral, more than it is mental, Welby must resign. After all, he has been pointing fingers at the Donald, and the President of the US has graciously apologised for his re-tweets of a certain video. If Welby’s morality cannot match that of Trump’s (whom he has severely criticised), then Welby ought to call in the Removals. Jesus’ words about first removing the beam from your own eye before you can remove the log from your brother’s eye, are more than apt here.


    Jesus’ words? The CofE don’t have faith in a book written by men don’t yah know. You simply behave in whatever way that “feels right”. If you are not sure then group prayer (preferably by a group of sisters, especially if you are male and always if you are female – of course, cannot ever have men having influence over women) can determine God’s will for your life.

    Where the Bible is used it is reinterpreted. Haven’t you heard about the Syrian Feminist who, singlehandedly got Jesus to change the direction of his ministry? It is one of their favourites. They have whole colleges reinterpreting the Bible to condone a Feminist, LGBTI and of course “abortion is a blessing” (actually stated by a female Principal of an Anglican Theological College)

January 24 2018 – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden


About Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden

Gavin Ashenden lives partly in Shropshire and partly in Normandy. He grew up in S.W. London, and then Kent, and was educated at the King’s School in Canterbury. After originally reading Law at Bristol University intent on a career at the bar, he found himself with a vocation to the priesthood. He trained at Oak Hill Theological College studying theology. He was ordained by + Mervyn Stockwood in Southwark Cathedral in 1980, and was appointed to a curacy in Bermondsey.

He spent the next ten years as a parish priest.. His curacy was at St James’, Bermondsey, then a docklands parish along the river Thames by Tower Bridge, and subsequently became Vicar of a Church on the edge of South London.

During the 1980’s when he was also vice-chair of Keston College, he was involved in smuggling bibles and medicine into the former Soviet Union, and samizdat out -for publication in the West. The experiences of being occasionally arrested and interrogated by the KGB and other security services played an important part in the development of his views on totalitarianism.

After postgraduate study in the Psychology of Religion with the Jesuits at Heythrop College in the University of London , he then completed a doctorate on the life and work of the Oxford Inkling, Charles Williams, and subsequently published ‘Alchemy and Integration- A study of the Life of writing of Charles Williams. (Kent State University Press).

He spent 23 years at the University of Sussex as a senior lecturer and senior chaplain, lecturing in the Psychology of Religion, Literature, and convening an MA programme in Monotheist Mysticism.

During this period he was also employed freelance by the BBC to present a weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme for four years.  He also become Presenter of the  the international Faith & Ethics podcast.

He has published on the Oxford Inklings and CS Lewis in particular, writing Op Ed pieces for the London Times, and occasional articles and book reviews in the Church Times.

He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England for 20 years, and was appointed one of the  theological canonries  at Chichester Cathedral. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Cross.

In 2008 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (2008-2017).He spent a number of years as a member of the ecumenical priestly fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld)

He has lectured in the USA as a visiting theologian for the Lutheran Church in Oregon, spoken at a variety of Diocesan Conferences in the UK, and represented the Church of England as a delegate to the World Council of Churches.

In 2017 and he resigned from his chaplaincy to the Queen in order to be free to speak out for the faith in the contested public forum, and subsequently appeared on media outlets across the world, including Fox News in the USA and the Bolt Report in Australia.

Convinced that the consecration of women to the episcopate represented the replacement of apostolic and biblical patterns with the competing culture of the values of Cultural Marxism, and dissenting from the increasing accommodation of the Church of England to  radical secular views on gender, he  resigned from  the Church of England in 2017.

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017, the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr Ashenden had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.

Much of his ministry is found on the Internet. Between 100 and 400 people share in the daily office and the viewing figures of his weekly homilies vaary between 200 and a 1,000 viewers.

He broadcasts weekly for Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and the Rev’d George Conger.
Press Release from the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church.

The Feast of St Michael and All Angels

September 29th 2017 :


Former Queen’s Chaplain Consecrated as Missionary Bishop to Anglicans in

the UK and Europe.



The Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the USA, has announced the consecration in Vancouver, BC, during the course of an Episcopal Synod, of the Rt. Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the Queen, as missionary bishop to the United Kingdom and Europe.


Bishop Ashenden is charged with the responsibility of working as closely and collaboratively as possible with those Anglicans who are committed to remaining faithful to orthodox Christianity. In particular with the Free Church of England and the ‘Unity Forum’ that has been created to achieve that unity of purpose and action in the UK.


The Right Reverend John Fenwick, convenor of the Unity Forum, said: ‘Gavin’s stand for orthodoxy has been an encouragement to Anglicans in the UK and beyond. We look forward to working closely with him as we face the challenges that lie ahead.’


The Christian Episcopal Church is a traditionalist Anglican Denomination which originally emerged from The Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) in the 1980s in response to the capitulation of that Church to secular values and priorities.


Its bishops celebrate the fact that their Orders derive from both Anglican and Roman Catholic successions, and so offer potential for mutual recognition and collaboration in ecumenical relationships.  At the same time their commitment to the Gospel and the Scriptures has created powerful alliances across the evangelical and charismatic spectrum.


As the Church of England is in the process of abandoning Christian teaching on culture, sexuality, marriage and the uniqueness of Christian revelation, the Bishops of the Christian Episcopal Church believed that it was their responsibility to offer a renewed episcopal oversight and encouragement to those Anglicans in the UK and Europe who had become distressed and disillusioned by the changes of direction and the adoption of secular values by the Church of England.


Dr Ashenden trained originally in the law, and was ordained as an Anglican priest in Southwark Cathedral in 1980. He worked in parishes in South London for ten years before becoming a University Chaplain and a lecturer in the Psychology of Religion for 23 years.


He holds degrees in Law, Theology, the Psychology of Religion and a doctorate on the work of the Anglican theologian and poet, Charles Williams. He was a member of the General Synod for 20 years.


He was appointed as one of the Canon theologians at Chichester Cathedral, and in 2008 as a Chaplain to the Queen. He was a presenter for the BBC Radio’s Faith and Ethics programmes for four years and has written as a columnist for the both the Times and Church Times. In 2017 he resigned as Chaplain to the Queen so that he could speak out more freely in the wake of the Quranic readings in Glasgow Cathedral which denied the divinity of Christ.



The Most  Rev’d Theodore Casimes,


Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church in the United States,

Bishop Co-adjutor of the Christian Episcopal Church in Canada, Bishop of the Diocese of Seattle.





Gav photo full.jpg

January 24 2018 – “Welby’s Will-To-Power: Pride & Ego – Sanity & Sanctity – in the Saga of George Bell” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Missionary Bishop for the Christian Episcopal Church – Former Chaplain to the Queen and Holder of a Theological Canonry at Chichester Cathedral

Welby’s Will-To-Power:   Pride & Ego- Sanity & Sanctity, in the Saga of George Bell.

Welby’s Will-To-Power:   Pride & Ego- Sanity & Sanctity, in the Saga of George Bell.

 Welby pic

Written by Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden

The facts are on the whole well known. Lord Carlile, having been forbidden by his terms of reference to judge the innocence or guilt of poor Bishop Bell, did allow himself to tell the world that Bell would never have been found guilty in a court of law.

Peter Hitchens was almost apoplectic with surprise and frustration at Welby’s intransgence.

“Mr Welby, in his very thin responses to the Carlile report, has never really addressed this. He has said that the report didn’t rule on Bell’s guilt or innocence, an almost childishly absurd response, since Mr Welby had told Lord Carlile in his terms of reference that he could not rule on this. In any case, Lord Carlile has repeatedly said since, in response to media questions, that no court would have convicted George Bell on the evidence which has been produced against him. It is clear that had Lord Carlile been asked to rule on George Bell’s guilt or innocence, he would have pronounced him ‘not guilty’.  So what, precisely is the evidence on which the Archbishop of Canterbury, supposedly spiritual leader of millions, guardian of the foundations of truth and justice, maintains that there is still a ‘cloud ‘over George Bell’s name?”

Sane and sensible commentators are astonished that Justin Welby refuses to apologise, but continues to insist that a cloud of suspicion continued to hang over George Bell’s reputation.

People have been taken aback at what seemed so astonishing, irrational and ungracious response.

Perhaps Justin Welby thought that his refusal to change his and therefore the Church’s official position would be an end of the matter. If so, he underestimated the passion and concern for the truth that so many people felt.

Truth has been one of the casualties of the growth of the influence of the post-modern in our culture. It has been knocked down the hierarchy of values by different narratives, particularly those that have to do with a redistribution of power.

The whole safeguarding culture, which began as a sensible and responsible response to decades of irresponsibility, has become inflated into a tool of power itself; but re-distributive power. The power that intends to dethrone the old agents of influence in society (mainly white, Christian, elderly men) and redistribute it to those perceived as their victims.

There is no doubt at all that people who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of predators are indeed victims. But the whole dynamic of safeguarding culture has exploded into something far beyond taking more sensible protective steps to diminish the opportunities for predators. It has become a tool of control in itself. You only have to adduce ‘safeguarding concerns’ in any context within the Church or society to exercise complete power. No one can challenge you.

And this shift of re-empowerment of the victims which began easily enough with the egalitarian insistence of equality of outcomes between the genders in the Church in the face of both Scripture and tradition, got extended to homosexuality too. Once again, still in the face of Scripture and tradition, gay pride (didn’t the pride give just a clue as to the spiritual flavour of the movement?) and gay rights began to take precedence over the virtues of chastity and continence, enjoined on all people, straight, bi- or homosexual, outside Christian marriage.

Justin Welby himself seemed to take some delight in extending this shift, once more flying in the face of the Bible and tradition, as he took up ‘trans rights’, penning the introduction to a new book on gender identity for Church of England schools.

So many people are stunned in quiescence by the gay/trans propaganda, that they give in, almost immediately, since they don’t know, or haven’t found out the facts that tell very different truths about these developments in human sexuality, than the cosmetic superficial narratives.

But with George Bell, suddenly the campaign to strip old Christian white men in general and Bishop George Bell in particular of their public virtue, hit some rocks.

Because for once, the truth of the matter became accessible. It became clear to any fair-minded person that George Bell was innocent.

Now that the Carlile review had put the facts in the public domain people were, free, enabled, empowered even to make up their own minds in pursuit of the truth.

And thank goodness, it was clear that a great number of people were so attached to the truth that they were prepared to read, think and then protest, in the name of justice.

The shibboleth of safeguarding, inviolate in other circumstances, could at last be challenged; but not by the irresponsible rather in the name of the truth and justice.

Eleven eminent scholars of ecumenism wrote to the Times. The objected forcefully that

“The way in which the allegations against him were dealt with has shocked people well beyond both the Anglican communion and Britain. There has been a miscarriage of justice for one who himself fought so earnestly for the victims of injustice.”

Seven prominent historians also wrote;

“In your public statement of 15 December 2017, the authority of your position was used to perpetuate a single allegation made against Bishop Bell, and you did so in face of the independent review which the Church itself commissioned. We believe that your statement offends the most basic values and principles of historical understanding, ones which should be maintained firmly by those in positions of public authority across society. They must never be ignored or abused.”

We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible.

We are prepared, in this letter, to claim that authority. We state our position bluntly. There is no credible evidence at all that Bishop Bell was a paedophile. We state this after reviewing all that is known about his character and behaviour over many years.”

They continued:

“The statement of 15 December 2017 seems to us both irresponsible and dangerous. We therefore urge you, in all sincerity, to repudiate what you have said before more damage is done”

A group of former Chichester Cathedral choristers, (including the doughty fighter for liberal causes on General Synod, Tom Sutcliffe) who had some real experience of sexual abused at that time in that place wrote:

“We choristers had a fair sense of George Bell as a man whose fundamental integrity we saw; and throughout our life have continued to value.”

“We, alas, had some real experience of what a paedophile could be: a master was relieved of this post and replaced without police involvement when one of us went with his parents to tell the dean what was happening,” they said.

“We never accepted that ‘Carol’ identified Bishop Bell rightly as her abuser.”

Welby was stung into a reply.

“I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case.”

The only argument he gave was by comparing the Bell case to that of Peter Ball.

“Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example.”

But this is of course ludicrous. The argument works against him. It’s true that what both bishops had in common was an accusation of sexual abuse. But what distinguished them from one another was that in Ball’s case, the several victims were living; the police took the matter to court; the victims testified in court; Ball was found guilty.

In Bell’s case the ingredients are exactly the opposite; there was one person; she was elderly; her accusation was entirely uncorroborated; the evidence was never tested. And the only point where an expert opinion was brought in was in the form of Professor Tony Maden, a psychiatrist who examined her, said the

“delays in reporting in this case are exceptional…..memory is not reliable over such long periods of time”. He added “false memory” could not be ruled out as an explanation for her claim in the absence of any corroboration.”

So, what does it mean when the Archbishop says “I cannot with integrity rescind my statement”?

He has at best muddled himself. He is in the grip of what appears to be both a serious sin and a psychological distortion.

At some point, he has conflated what he thinks is right with the notion of his integrity. He has convinced himself, having fallen victim to pride, that since what he thinks is right must be right, it is his ‘integrity’ that is at stake when he is challenged.

But what the challenge to his opinion has done in fact is to expose his soul.

One might argue in his defence that all that has been exposed is stupidity, because one would have to be dull in mind not to weigh up the evidence and come to the conclusion along with the choristers and the historians and the ecumenists that Bell was innocent. But Welby is not stupid.  In which case one has to ask if he has become proud and obdurate.

And the trouble with pride and obduracy is that if it bites sufficiently deeply, one’s cognitive reasoning can become impaired.

What might flow from this?

The great danger he is in is that he loses all spiritual and moral authority. He becomes a hollow figure of religion, rather than an authentic spiritual leader and inspiration.

He appears to have set his pride and ego against the truth, and is losing. The forces of truth, integrity and fairness will not give up in the face of such badly graced egocentricity, but will continue to hold him to account for his denial of the truth, repudiation of justice, and his bullying of Bell; a bullying made no less real because the man is dead and has only his reputation left- but rather more real and unkinder.

As Archbishop Cranmer (aka Adrian Hilton) in his blog astutely observed

“How does Lambeth Palace think this will end? The issue isn’t just going to hang around like a bad smell: it’s going to hinder and detract from Archbishop Justin’s entire episcopal ministry; it’s going to bind and frustrate every utterance he makes on the themes of integrity, truth and justice.”

Tragically the ingredients of this story of corruption aren’t restricted to pride and obduracy. There may something more sinister underlying the narrative.

The paradox is that the whole of the safeguarding initiative was born out of a desire to rightly restrain the abuse of power.

The use and abuse of power among Christians within the Church has been the cause of the deepest and worst forms of spiritual septicaemia down the ages. Power and the concomitant pride stand at the opposite axis to love and humility.

But the abuse of power can be found beyond the circles of sexual predators. It can pervert institutions, committees, administrators, and even bishops.

That’s the problem with power. It is addictive. As Jesus Himself observed about the sword, the same is true about power in the spiritual struggle, as in- “those who live by the exercise of power, will die by the exercise of power (pace Matthew 26.52).

It seems that sometimes not only have the proponents of progressive culture adopted the neo-Marxist propensity for worshipping power and then = redistributing it according to the dictates of the new hierarchy of victims, but they have become corrupted themselves by association with power.

It may be that Justin Welby’s evident anger and frustration at being challenged by so many people, flows not only from the pique of personal wounded pride, but appears also to be connected to his own use and in this case abuse of power as CEO of C of E Inc.


When Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus made a pact with the devil, he knew what he was doing. But the disaster that befell him as the devil came to claim his soul in return for the exercise of power that Faustus has enjoyed, undid him.

“The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.
O I’ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down?
See, see where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament!
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ—
Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him—O spare me, Lucifer!”

The tragedy for Faustus was that although he had once served Christ, he had consciously changed masters. He knew what he was doing, which is why having called on Christ as a reflex, his final fruitless beseeching is to Lucifer – his real master.

Faustus knew what he was doing. But perhaps Archbishop Welby genuinely doesn’t?

It seems that his privileging of his pride and his commitment to the exercise of his power, are still wrapped up in in a presenting Christian culture, albeit one steeped in socialism and the preoccupation with secular victimhood. He has convinced himself that he is doing good, even though he is in fact, doing bad.

There is one way out, but he has so far consistently refused to take it.

It is to admit what is so obvious to so many other people:

that he has after all made a mistake; that he is sorry and that he craves forgiveness from the soul of George Bell, his family, and all those whose devotion to truth and justice, along with the ecumenists, historians, judges, choristers and commentators have been so profoundly offended by his intransigence.

Perhaps he might be firstly warned by the words of Jesus,:

“Whoever wants to save his life, will lose it.” (Matt 16.25)

but then encouraged:

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14.11.