Tag Archives: Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

OCTOBER 16 2020 – IPSO RULING AWAITED ON MONSTROUS ‘BISHOP BELL’ ARTICLE IN BRIGHTON ARGUS

IPSO RULING AWAITED ON MONSTROUS ‘BISHOP BELL’ ARTICLE IN BRIGHTON ARGUS

“If Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner had been unequivocal in clearing the name of Bishop George Bell, such articles would never have been written”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

OCTOBER 3 2020 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES TO PUBLICLY CLEAR BISHOP BELL, REFUSES TO RETRACT “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” REMARKS AND REFUSES TO WITHDRAW “GREAT WICKEDNESS” COMMENTS – DAILY TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 24 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

FROM THE ARCHIVES – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES TO PUBLICLY CLEAR BISHOP BELL, REFUSES TO RETRACT “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” REMARKS AND REFUSES TO WITHDRAW “GREAT WICKEDNESS” COMMENTS – DAILY TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 24 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises ‘unreservedly’ for CoE’s ‘mistakes’ in handling Bishop Bell allegations

Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured) apologises 'unreservedly' for CoE's 'mistakes' in handling Bishop Bell allegations
Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured) apologises ‘unreservedly’ for CoE’s ‘mistakes’ in handling Bishop Bell allegations

24 JANUARY 2019 • 2:51PMFollow 

The Archbishop of Canterbury was accused yesterday of persisting with a “malign” attack on Bishop George Bell after he refused to exonerate him following a “copycat” allegation of historic child sex abuse.

An official report published yesterday concluded that a 70-year-old allegation against Bishop Bell was unfounded. It found that the evidence of the complainant – a woman named only as “Alison” – was “unreliable” and “inconsistent”.

Alison had written to the Church of England, claiming she had been sexually assaulted by the bishop in 1949 when she was aged nine.

The letter was sent a week after the Church of England was found to have wrongly besmirched Bishop Bell in its handling of a previous complaint brought by a woman known only as “Carol”.

The latest report suggested that Carol’s allegation had “prompted a false recollection in Alison’s mind”.

Yesterday, the Most Rev Justin Welby “apologised unreservedly for the mistakes” in the handling of the complaint made by Carol. But he declined to publicly clear the former Bishop of Chichester of any wrongdoing or retract a statement that he had a “significant cloud … over his name” and that he had been accused of “great wickedness”.

In a private letter, however, sent to Bishop Bell’s closest surviving relative, his niece Barbara Whitley, he wrote: “Once again I offer my sincerest apologies both personally and on behalf of the Church. We did wrong to you and before God.”

Bishop Bell, one of the towering figures of the Church in the 20th century, has been unable to defend himself, having died in 1958. But his supporters urged the Church to restore his reputation after two reports exonerated him.

Ms Whitley, 94, said yesterday: “I would like to see my uncle’s name cleared before I die.”

Desmond Browne QC, a leading barrister who acted for the bishop’s family and who was christened by him in 1949, said: “What is now clear is that the investigations by two experienced lawyers [have established] George Bell’s innocence. But not once [has] the Archbishop of Canterbury offered Bell the presumption of innocence.”

Alison had alleged that Bell, the former bishop of Chichester, had sat her on his lap and “fondled her”.

But the report by Timothy Briden, an ecclesiastical lawyer and vicar general of Canterbury, concluded that in her oral evidence “her attempts to repeat what had been written in the letter displayed, however, a disturbing degree of inconsistency”.

Alison had alleged in the letter the abuse had taken place indoors in front of her mother but in oral testimony thought she had been assaulted outdoors. He concluded that her claim was “unfounded”.

The existence of Alison’s complaint made in December 2017 was made public by the Church of England at a time when it was facing increasing criticism for its handling of the earlier allegation by Carol. Alison’s claim was passed in January 2018 to police, who then dropped the case.

Bishop George Bell pictured at home in 1943
Bishop George Bell pictured at home in 1943 CREDIT: HULTON ARCHIVE/TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY

Mr Briden also investigated a separate complaint made by an 80-year-old witness – known only as K in the report – that his mother had told him that she had seen Bishop Bell “carrying out a sexual act with a man over his Rolls-Royce” in 1967. 

Bishop Bell died in 1958 and did not have a Rolls-Royce. The report said: “The longer that the statement from K’s mother is analysed, the more implausible it appears.”

Lord Carlile, the QC who carried out the damning inquiry into the handling of Carol’s claim, was scathing of the Church of England’s decision to make public the police inquiry into Alison’s complaint.

Lord Carlile said: “I am astonished that the Church [made] public the further complaint against Bishop Bell and the error has been proved by the conclusion of this latest inquiry.”

Prof Andrew Chandler, Bishop Bell’s biographer and spokesman for the George Bell Group, said “the claim by Alison appeared a copycat of Carol’s complaint”. Carol was paid £15,000 compensation in a legal settlement in October 2015.

In his statement yesterday, Archbishop Welby described Bishop Bell as a “remarkable role model”, adding: “I apologise unreservedly for the mistakes made in the process surrounding the handling of the original allegation against Bishop George Bell.” 

But he went on: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation … and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet.”

The current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, also declined yesterday to exonerate his predecessor. But he accepted that a public statement he made signifying Bishop Bell’s guilt and released in 2015 after Carol’s claim was settled was probably now an error. 

“Knowing what we now do [we] would want to re-examine that and I don’t think we would [make that statement].”

SEPTEMBER 30 2020 – “CHURCH HAS FAILED BISHOP BELL. PUBLIC RETRACTION SOUGHT” – ‘VIRTUE ONLINE’

https://virtueonline.org/church-has-failed-bishop-bell-public-retraction-sought

Home

Home»News»The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

By Richard W. Symonds
September 28, 2020

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York stated last week [“New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors”, Church Times, Sept 25]:
“As we await IICSA’s report…we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed”

The Church has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, and will continue to do so until there is a public retraction of the “significant cloud” remark by Archbishop Justin Welby, and the name of George Bell House is restored by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner.

Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner still appear to believe there is ‘no smoke without fire’ regarding the Bishop Bell abuse allegations, even though the two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – commissioned by the Church – have clearly shown there is ‘no smoke and no fire’.

Both have the power to heal serious divisions within a Cathedral community – and beyond it.

It is also within their power to commission another investigation into ‘mistaken identity’. ‘Carol’ was clearly abused when she was 8 years old — and she should be fully believed and supported — but there is now clear evidence her abuser was not Bishop Bell.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley – Gatwick
West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

Below is the Church Times article.

New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors

By PAUL HANDLEY
The Church Times
26 SEPTEMBER 2020

THE Archbishops’ Council has approved an interim pilot scheme for survivors of abuse in the C of E, as part of what the Archbishops of Canterbury and York describe as “a turning point” in the Church’s treatment of survivors.

The sum available has not been disclosed, but is believed to be in six figures. Survivors campaigning for redress had argued in the past that anything less than £250,000 would not be worth offering.

The announcement of the fund on Friday was accompanied by a commitment by the Archbishops’ Council “to urgently pursue the principle of independent safeguarding recognising the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding”.

The Church’s hierarchy has long accepted the need to address the question of redress for survivors of church-based sexual abuse, but survivors have been frustrated by the time it has taken to come up with a scheme.

The issue has gained fresh impetus with the appointment of the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, as the Church’s lead bishop of safeguarding, and the imminence of the final report on the Church of England from the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), due to be published on 6 October.

Five weeks ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury released emergency funds for “VB”, whose business was in danger of going under because of a severe bout of depression linked with his abuse (News, 21 August). It is understood that VB has been offered further sums from the new pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme is geared to those survivors’ cases which are already known to the Church, “where the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure”, a statement said on Friday.

Lessons learnt from the pilot will inform the creation of a full redress scheme.

A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, joint chairs of the Archbishops’ Council, spoke of “a long, honest, and soberingly frank discussion. . .

“The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. We are glad that the Church is now going to make this happen. Along with providing redress for victims and survivors, this is the next step we must take.

“Today’s meeting and these decisions feel like a turning point. As we await IICSA’s report into the Church of England, we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed. We are profoundly sorry for our failings, but today our words of sorrow are matched by actions that we believe will lead to real change. We hope that this will provide some hope for the future.”

Dr Gibbs described the move as “an endorsement by the Archbishops’ Council of General Synod’s unanimous vote in February for a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress”.

The interim scheme is expected to help between five and ten survivors initially, although any survivor of church-based abuse “who is in dire straits” can request help. This can be at any stage of their case management, even if they have already accepted a settlement with an insurer.

If it is a recent case, the diocese would be expected to support the application, but a survivor unwilling to engage with the diocese can apply direct. The presumption is that the survivor’s present difficulties are wholly or partially a consequence of past abuse “and/or the re-abuse through the Church’s actions in response to their report of abuse”.

The scheme will be able to offer cash sums, but the emphasis will be on funding support such as financial/debt counselling, therapeutic support, seed funding to help with employment. Help with housing is also a possibility, but is expected to be offered rarely.

Andrew Graystone, who has worked as advocate for victims of abuse, said on Friday: “It is good that the Council seems to have acknowledged — I think for the first time — that the Church cannot deal with safeguarding failures in-house.

“Victims have said for a long time that independent scrutiny and management of safeguarding is the only way to make the church safer. I’m glad that the Archbishops are both now committed to this. I fully expect that IICSA will demand nothing less.”

He said that survivors remained sceptical that a full redress system would be in place in 12 to 15 months, a suggestion from the safeguarding bishops. The interim pilot support scheme was therefore welcome.

He warned, though, that it had to be properly funded. “If the fund runs out in three months, victims will be further damaged.”

And he reminded the Church of the severity of the need. “The Church shouldn’t look at this as an act of generosity, but as the very beginnings of paying its debt to survivors of abuse. The lead bishops know that this fund will do nothing more than rescue a few survivors from the cliff edge. It’s not a repair fund, but a suicide-prevention budget.”

In the view of survivors, the Church should restore them to the place they were when they disclosed their abuse. “No one should be worse off because they have disclosed what was done to them,” Mr Graystone said.

“Beyond that, the needs of survivors are very varied and lifelong. They may include housing, counselling, information, and apology, as well as financial support for lost income. It’s never just a matter of writing a cheque to make things better. I’m glad that the Lead Bishops recognise this, and are committed to designing bespoke packages for individual survivors.”

END

AUGUST 29 2020 – “TO ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN” – LETTER SUBMISSION – VIRTUEONLINE

d07cf97b6f12ccb07618466ebc9f2bb6--chichester-art-uk

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

LETTER SUBMISSION – ‘TO AN ARCHBISHOP AND BISHOP: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN’

LETTER SUBMISSION – ‘TO AN ARCHBISHOP AND BISHOP: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN’

August 29, 2020

Dear Editor,

Following this week’s Private Eye article and Church Times letter, we the undersigned again call upon Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner to consider their positions.

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer [Lord Carlile recently judged the 30 Church of England Core Groups as “the most incompetent and unjust form of investigation I have ever seen.”]

It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” hangs over Bishop Bell’s head — it hangs elsewhere. Bishop Bell’s name has now been fully vindicated, so there is no good reason why an apology should not be forthcoming and the name of George Bell House restored.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”.

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” — a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ — especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester.

Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner — especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester].

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, the only surviving relative and in her 90’s, and the Rev Peter Mullen and Andrew Morse have already called for resignations.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, now call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Forrest William
BOYS, Geoffrey
CHARMLEY, Professor John
DONALD, Revd. Steve
GOMES, Dr. Jules
INESON, Revd. Matthew
MARTIN, Terry
MORGAN, Dr. Gerald
MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter
OSBORNE, Noel
RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles
ROBINSON, Dr. Steven
SIMS, Kevin
SYMONDS, Richard W.
VIRTUE, David W. DD
WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Letter and its Signatories, please contact:
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley — Gatwick
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only — Very deaf]
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

IMG_6861

George Bell House, 4 Canon Lane, Chichester

TO ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN

IMG_6864

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral

LETTER SUBMISSION – AUGUST 29 2020

RESIGNATIONS EN-MASSE TO THE SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN ? 

Dear Editor

Following this week’s Private Eye article and Church Times letter, we the undersigned again call upon / renew the call for Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner to consider their positions.

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer . It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” hangs over Bishop Bell’s head – it hangs elsewhere.

Bishop Bell’s name has now been fully vindicated, so there is no good reason why an apology should not be forthcoming and the name of George Bell House restored.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”.

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” – a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ – especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester. Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester].

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, the only surviving relative and in her 90’s, and the Rev Peter Mullen and Andrew Morse have already called for resignation.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, now call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Revd. Forrest William

BOYS, Geoffrey

CHARMLEY, Professor John

DONALD, Revd. Steve

GOMES, Dr. Jules

INESON, Revd. Matthew

LINSLEY, Alice C.

MARTIN, Terry

MORGAN, Dr. Gerald

MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter

OSBORNE, Noel

RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles

ROBINSON, Dr. Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYKES, Rt. Revd. Nicholas J.G. – Suffragan Bishop

SYMONDS, Richard W.

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Letter and its Signatories, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

IMG_6865

St Richard’s Walk – Chichester Cathedral

AUGUST 13 2020 – “CALL FOR SIGNATURES – LETTER ASKING JUSTIN WELBY TO STEP DOWN OVER THE GEORGE BELL AFFAIR” – ANGLICAN INK

d07cf97b6f12ccb07618466ebc9f2bb6--chichester-art-uk

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester. A Painting by William Coldstream – Pallant House Gallery Chichester [in storage]

“CALL FOR SIGNATURES – LETTER ASKING JUSTIN WELBY TO STEP DOWN OVER THE GEORGE BELL AFFAIR” – ANGLICAN INK

By

The Bell Society is asking concerned Christians to endorse their open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking him to step down over his handling of the George Bell affair. Please contact Richard W. Symonds of The Bell Society to add your name to the letter. richardsy5@aol.com

Dear Editor

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer . It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” over Bishop Bell’s head.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”. 

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” – a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ – especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester. Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely
BOYS, Geoffrey
CHARMLEY, Professor John
GOMES, Dr Jules
INESON, Rev Matthew
MARTIN, Terry
MORGAN, Dr Gerald
MULLEN, Rev Dr Peter
OSBORNE, Noel
RAVEN, Rev Canon Charles
SIMS, Kevin
SYMONDS, Richard W
WATKINS, Lindsay

 

 

AUGUST 2 2020 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [“RESIGN BISHOP WARNER! RESIGN ARCHBISHOP WELBY!” – REVD PETER MULLEN]

“RESIGN BISHOP WARNER! RESIGN ARCHBISHOP WELBY!” – REVD PETER MULLEN

Rev-Peter-Mullen

Revd Peter Mullen

Resign, Bishop Warner! Resign Archbishop Welby!

On Thursday 24th January, after an epic of prevarification and sheer evasiveness, the Church of England published the findings of its enquiry into the case of Bishop George Bell who was Bishop of Chichester during the Second World War. The chairman of the Bell Group, made up of the family, friends and supporters of the bishop, has written to ask for my prayers and for my views on how the Group should proceed. Gladly, but first, for those many people who will be unfamiliar with the details of this scandal, I will set out the facts…

Bishop George Bell (1883-1958), Bishop of Chichester, has been judged and condemned without any case brought for his defence. An elderly woman came forward in 1995 and claimed that Bishop Bell had sexually abused her fifty years earlier. The authorities took no action. The woman complained again in 2013, by which time Bishop Bell had been dead for fifty-five years. The police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify their questioning Bishop Bell, had he been still alive. Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, discussed the matter with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and in 2015 the Church of England offered a formal apology to Bishop Bell’s accuser, paid her an undisclosed sum in compensation – later revealed to have been £31,000 – and allowed her to remain anonymous. The Church authorities ordered that memorials to Bishop Bell be removed and institutions – such as the Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne – should change their names. So this highly-regarded wartime bishop was effectually condemned to the status of a non-person.

Unsurprisingly, there was outrage. On 13th November 2015, Judge Alan Pardoe QC described the way the allegations against Bishop Bell had been handled as “slipshod and muddled.” Judge Pardoe’s criticisms were followed by further censure from a group of historians and theologians led by Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Bishop of Chichester replied with insouciance and a volley of jargon to these criticisms: “The Church is seeking to move on from a culture in which manipulation of power meant that victims were too afraid to make allegations, or allegations were easily dismissed. We must provide safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.”

But there were no “safeguards of truth and justice” for Bishop Bell who was condemned without a hearing.

The outrage did not subside and a committee of senior church people, distinguished lawyers and members of both the Lords and the Commons calling itself The George Bell Group was formed.  On 20th March 2016, this group published a review in which they challenged the Church’s evidence against Bishop Bell and attacked it for failing to find or interview a key witness or examine Bell’s own extensive personal archive.

On 30th June 2016, the case formed a large part of a debate in the House of Lords on historical child sex abuse.

On 28th June 2016, the Church of England announced that it would hold an independent review of the procedure used. On 22nd November 2016 it announced that Lord Carlile QC would chair this review

Meanwhile, the George Bell Group declared: “In view of the evidence that we have gathered and examined, we have concluded that the allegation made against Bishop Bell cannot be upheld in terms of actual evidence or historical probability.”

Lord Carlile’s report was eventually handed to the Church authorities and they kicked it into the long grass.

So much for Bishop Martin Warner’s vaunted “…safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.” All along, the only interests being safeguarded here were those of the Bishop of Chichester and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We know very well why these authorities leapt so precipitately to condemn Bishop Bell out of hand: it was because they had previously had to admit to the existence of so many perpetrators of sexual abuse among the senior clergy – especially in the Diocese of Chichester. Warner and Welby, to salvage what remained of their reputations, wanted desperately to appear to be doing something

Thus the name of the safely-dead Bishop George Bell was tarnished because the Church’s highest authorities sought to cover their own backs.

Let us be in no doubt as to the seriousness of the Church’s misconduct so eloquently criticised in Lord Carlile’s report. He said that Bell had been “hung out to dry,” he added that the Church’s procedures were “deficient, inappropriate and impermissible”; “obvious lines of enquiry were not followed” and there was “a rush to judgement.”

In the light of this scandalously incompetent behaviour, the least that might have been expected from the Archbishop of Canterbury was a profuse apology to Bishop Bell’s descendants, family, friends and numerous supporters for the distress his decisions have caused them. Was there such and apology? There was not. Instead Justin Welby persisted in his mood of arrogant vindictiveness, saying, “A significant cloud is left over George Bell’s name. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones…”

This is outrageous. True, Bishop Bell was “accused of great wickedness” – but he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. And there is no “significant cloud” over his name. There is, however, certainly a very dark cloud over Welby’s name after his lamentable performance in this matter.

Lord Carlile didn’t mince his words: “The Church operated a kangaroo court.” He added that the church authorities have “besmirched.” Bishop Bell’s name. Sussex police have repeated their judgement that there is “no evidence” against him.

Welby has described the church’s enquiry as “Very, very painful.” For him yes, as indeed it ought to have been owing to his disgraceful and dishonourable conduct of this issue from the start. So to answer the question put to me this morning by the Bell Group, “How should we proceed?” There is only one answer and it is clear: the Bell Group should call for Warner and Welby to resign – as indeed they ought to have done once Lord Carlile’s report had been published.

For more articles of this kind, please visit: https://revpetermullen.com

Revd Peter Mullen

 

 

Men dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good” – Choruses from the Rock (1934) by T.S. Eliot

All the clergy are obliged to attend safeguarding courses which are designed to help us spot the physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children or adults. Dutiful as ever, I went along to Hailsham Parish Church to do my bit. But of course it was nothing like a parish church. Fifty years ago there would have been pews, copies of The Book of Common Prayer and other unmistakeable signs of traditional country town Anglicanism. Not these days. The pews had been wrenched out, there were no Prayer Books, only copies of some awful modern version of Holy Writ – a sort of Bad News Bible. Colour posters everywhere. Slogans. Pictures of the parish clergy – only you couldn’t tell they were clergy. They wore jeans, t-shirts, polo necks and other emblems of today’s ecclesiastical with-it-ness. Banana-split grins and pasty faces, as if they had spent too long in the crypt coffee bar.

About thirty of us sat in small groups at tables set out where the pews once were. There was a screen and there was about to be a presentation by our safeguarding tutor, a retired schoolmistress of forbidding countenance and stentorian insistence. Think Fairy Hardcastle in C.S Lewis’ That Hideous Strength. When she spoke, she used words – but not as we speak in the street: “Vulnerable…mechanisms…sharing” and others from the whole glossary of politically correct psychobabble. Our tutor was not without religion and she began with a prayer in which she helpfully informed the Almighty that we were meeting to discuss “very serious matters.” When she had finished putting God in the picture, she moved on to tell us things we perhaps had not noticed hitherto: “Children talk to one another.” We might usefully listen to them in order to pick up any suggestions from the subject of their talk which betrayed evidence of abuse.

Cut to the screen and a video of children talking to – and shouting and screaming at – one another. It reminded me of accidental glimpses I occasionally used to catch of such television shows as EastEnders or Grange Hill. The children used phrases such as “You’re doin’ mi ‘ead in!” and, whispered, “This is going to be our secret.” By these signs we might suspect that the children were using the argot they had picked up from abusive adults. Ken Loach would have rejoiced to observe that video’s raw actualite.

When incidents of abuse are suspected and reported, the Social Services might get involved. Our tutor surprised some of us by saying, “Social Services don’t barge in and remove children from the family home.” What then was the substance of the frequent newspaper reports we read of their doing exactly that? I wondered whether, in any particular case, the effects of calling in the Social Services might make a bad situation worse. But the tutor told us that such a decision was not our responsibility. All that was required of us was to report the matter to our safeguarding officer, “Then you’ve done your job.” This is the substance of the quotation from T. S. Eliot with which I began: in the safeguarding “mechanism,” ethics is replaced by process and moral problems are effectually demoralised as the system takes over and I am not deemed capable of formimg my own judgements as to the best way to proceed. Just report it to the safeguarding officer. Job done. The excuse, “I was only obeying orders” comes to mind.

And such a system it is! There is a full-time safeguarding supremo and he supervises many assistants throughout the diocese. And most other institutions and professions – teachers, youth workers, nurses, the Social Services themselves – deploy a similar regime. Even my taxi driver said he was obliged to attend a safeguarding course and asked, particularly regarding his women passengers, to “keep my eyes open for signs of abuse.” The image is of a ubiquitous, paranoid system in which everyone is spying on everyone else and watching his own back at the same time. Indeed, our tutor told us: “Safeguarding includes safeguarding yourself.” As with all bureaucratic systems – especially in what are now called “the caring professions” – there is that uneasy combination of callousness and sentimentality.

Naturally, we were given infantilised exercises: small bits of card with “typical signs of abuse” itemised and we were invited to assess whether a woman’s bruises were caused accidentally or by violence; or a child’s sleeplessness might suggest sexual abuse. “Watch out for changes in eating habits. What would you conclude from observing that a young person was constantly hungry and even scavenging waste bins for food?”

I’m afraid I couldn’t resist: “I would conclude Jeremy Corbyn had become prime minister.”

But in the safeguarding workshop’s pervading atmosphere of political-correctness, jokes are no laughing matter.

Some suspected/reported incidents of abuse give rise to grave concerns. For example, we were told of a teacher who had sent what was alleged to be an ambiguous email message to a pupil. Did it contain sexual references? The recipient didn’t think so, but others did and they called the police. No charges were brought against the teacher but, because an official complaint had been made, he was put on the register of sex offenders. This is scandalously unjust: the teacher was neither convicted nor even charged with any offence, and yet he was punished as if he had been proven guilty.

There are many such abuses of natural justice in the paranoid, surveillance-driven society which safeguarding has created. The worst of these arise from the safeguarding dogma that the “victim” is always to be believed. But the so called “victim” is not a victim until a perpetrator has been identified and the fact proven. Currently in the diocese of Chichester there is being played out one case involving such a spectacular injustice that it is scarcely believable in a free and open society. George Bell, Bishop of Chichester during the Second World War, was recently accused of committing a sexual offence against a woman. This would be particularly difficult to prove since Bishop Bell died in 1958. That presents no problem for the Church of England authorities. In keeping with safeguarding’s article of faith that the “victim” must always be believed, they have removed all memorials to Bishop Bell so that in effect he has become what in the Soviet regime was called a non-person.

There has been no trial. The word of his accuser has been accepted as the truth concerning an incident which, it is alleged, took place at least fifty-nine years ago! She has been allowed to retain her anonymity. And the Church of England has paid her an undisclosed amount of money in compensation.

Palpable injustices such as that visited upon the memory of George Bell are the signature behaviour of totalitarian states.

We don’t do these things in England, do we?

Revd Peter Mullen

 

What can we hope for?

I have been inveigled – I don’t know what else to say – into the Bishop George Bell Society [The Bell Society- Ed]. I have already written vigorously about the scandalous behaviour by the church hierarchy which has so tarnished the reputation of this noble and innocent man. So when the chairman [Not quite – Ed] of the Bell Society invited me to speak at their October meeting in Westminster, I was delighted to accept.

Subsequent communications with the chairman of the Society [Richard W. Symonds – Ed] have been far from encouraging. (Imagine the atmosphere of a Sunday School outing on a very damp day) I suggested that a key aim should be to get rid of the liars and traducers of George Bell – that is Welby of Canterbury and Warner of Chichester. These “men” are clearly guilty and so should be exposed as such and by that means compelled to resign.

I further suggested to the chairman that for this purpose rottweilers and terriers were needed in the form of big name public figures and high powered journalists to take up the cudgels.

Whereupon the gentle chairman backed off and said he would leave the rottweilers and terriers to get on with the job. (But there aren’t any). Moreover he was convinced that Welby and Warner will have been despatched by October

By whom, then?

He wants all the speakers at his October conference to be part of a consensual team to “build bridges” And we are all to agree in advance as to what we shall say [Not quite – Ed]

Those who acknowledge the great injustice that has been done to George Bell have no need to build bridges with anyone. And of course it is unthinkable that we should build bridges with Welby and Warner – who have revealed themselves as two of the most treacherous episcopal specimens of recent times . (And the competition is not negligible)

This dear chairman is no doubt a delightful man and mush-loved by old ladies of both sexes. He is, I suspect, sensationally ineffectual. I don’t say he wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but he would make sure before he did say boo that there was a psychiatrist on hand to treat the goose for post-traumatic stress disorder

What George Bell needs is people who will fight his corner for him – and bugger “building bridges”

I suspect I am wasting my time with this lot: nice as they sound, with their meeting in Church House – what you might call the “away” ground

Advice please

Peter

PS Chap goes into a pub and asks for a Welby

“A Welby, Sir?”

“Yes, a Noilly Prat”

 

Revd Peter Mullen

JULY 28 2020 – “THAT ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ HANGING OVER BISHOP GEORGE BELL HAS FLOATED AWAY FROM HIM AND IS NOW HANGING OVER ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY AND BISHOP MARTIN WARNER”

e99bc-6a00d8341c565553ef022ad38fe8e5200d-pi

Archbishop Justin Welby

“THAT ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ HANGING OVER BISHOP GEORGE BELL HAS FLOATED AWAY FROM HIM AND IS NOW HANGING OVER ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY AND BISHOP MARTIN WARNER” ~ RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

 

NST CONSIDERS SAFEGUARDING COMPLAINT AGAINST WELBY – CHURCH TIMES – JULY 28 2020

 

“CHURCH LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO HOW WELBY DEALT WITH COMPLAINTS ABOUT AN ALLEGED SERIAL ABUSER” – CHANNEL 4 NEWS – CATHY NEWMAN – JULY 27 2020

 

“JUSTIN WELBY – CHURCH OF ENGLAND INVESTIGATING COMPLAINT OVER HOW THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY DEALT WITH CHILD ABUSE CLAIMS” – i NEWS – JANE CLINTON

The man [‘Graham’], who made the complaint to the Church of England spoke to Channel 4 News anonymously calling into question why Archbishop Welby was still allowed to officiate and minister.

He said: “There should be procedures in place when disclosures of abuse are made to the Church of England. There are strict safeguarding procedures…I find it very difficult to understand why he still has permission to officiate and can still minister.”

He added: “I find it depressing and staggering that the Church of England can take so long to find out the truth about what actually happened.”

 

SIGNIFICANT CLOUDS HANG OVER CHURCH OF ENGLAND

photo

Chichester Cathedral – RWS Photography

 

“CHURCH OF ENGLAND INVESTIGATING COMPLAINT OVER HOW ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY DEALT WITH ABUSE CLAIMS” – DAILY TELEGRAPH

COMPLAINT MADE INTO HOW WELBY DEALT WITH A SAFEGUARDING COMPLAINT – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Monday, 27 July 2020 at 11.24 pm by Simon Sarmiento

Channel 4 News reported on Monday evening: Church launches investigation into how Welby dealt with complaints about an alleged serial abuse

This programme can reveal that the Church of England has launched an investigation into how the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, dealt with complaints about a serial abuser of young men.

John Smyth was alleged to have beaten dozens of young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those abused has now written to the Church of England, launching a formal complaint against Mr Welby, saying he failed to act properly when he learnt of the abuse.

More details are in the video (3 minutes).

The Church of England has responded with this statement:

It is in the public domain that when Lambeth was contacted in 2013 about an allegation against Smyth it liaised with the relevant diocese. This was to ensure that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town, where Smyth was then living. However, since a formal complaint has now been received by the National Safeguarding Team, it is reviewing information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.

These issues will all be considered by the Makin Review which the Church commissioned last year into the Smyth case and is expected to publish into 2021.

The Telegraph has also reported on this: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with abuse claims at Christian camps.

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

That “significant cloud” hanging over over Bishop George Bell has floated away from him and is now hanging over Archbishop Justin Welby”

Of course, by implication, this equally applies to the present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner regarding the Bishop Bell debacle.

It is very difficult to understand why he, Bishop Warner, also still has permission to officiate and can still minister.

Richard W. Symonds

 

“A report [on John Smyth] commissioned by the Iwerne Trust and compiled in 1982, prompted by a suicide attempt by a survivor, was written by a C of E priest, the Revd Mark Ruston, when he was Vicar of Holy Sepulchre with All Saints, Cambridge” ~ Church Times
 
https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/18-april/news/uk/smyth-abuse-survivors-dispute-welby-claim
 
The Report – hand-marked ‘strictly confidential’ – was prepared in 1982 by the Rev’d Mark Ruston, vicar of the Round Church in Cambridge. It bears the initials of eight individual addressees – all Anglicans, some clergy – who by ordinary inference are more likely than not to have read and/or known and discussed its contents. It was the reason why John Smyth was removed from his role within the Trust, gave up a glittering career as a leading QC, and quietly left the country in what can only be described as an Establishment cover-up…The Ruston Report resurfaced in or around 2013 within the Titus Trust, the successor organisation to the Iwerne Trust” ~ Martin Sewell
 
https://archbishopcranmer.com/john-smyth-tortured-christian-boys-iwerne-inquiry/
 
“Canon Mark Rushton, a close friend of the Most Rev Justin Welby”
 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/teenage-boy-forced-barrister-join-cult-beating-friends/

 

 

A STATEMENT BY THE COMPLAINANT – JULY 28 2020

A statement by the Archbishop Welby complainant at 1030 on 28 July 2020

This statement is issued on behalf of the complainant in the Archbishop Justin Welby case.

On 28 July Channel 4 News correctly reported that Archbishop Justin Welby is under investigation over alleged safeguarding failures, following a complaint I made on 12 June this year. The Church of England has issued a response today that fails to mention Archbishop Welby by name. Instead, the church states that it “ensure[d] that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the Bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town”.

I dispute entirely all three of these assertions.

First, on the matter of support.
I disclosed in the Diocese of Ely in March 2012. Far from supporting me, they were unable to find a counsellor until January 2014, 22 months later. At that stage I was offered £100 towards counselling. In the end I am not aware that the Diocese of Ely paid anything towards the counselling I received. I was not supported.

Second, on the matter of informing the police.
I never met, and was never formally interviewed by, anyone from the Diocese of Ely. I do not recall being told that that the Police had been contacted. It was never suggested that I speak to the Police and I had no contact with them. To this day, I do not know what, if anything, the Diocese of Ely, told the Police.

Third, on the matter of the Church of England relaying concerns to the Diocese of Cape Town. I have in front of me a copy of the letter the church is referring to. On the simple matter of facts, it was not addressed to the Archbishop of Cape Town but to Bishop Garth Counsell, the Bishop of Table Bay. There is no evidence that this letter was in fact sent or received. What is undisputed is that John Smyth continued in his role as Director of the Justice Alliance of South Africa for a further three years, and that during that time he continued to meet and groom young men in Cape Town.

I emailed the Diocese of Ely on at least six occasions, asking if Smyth had been stopped. These emails were sent on 21 May 2014, 16 June 2014, 4 September 2014, 2 December 2014, 10 February 2015 and 25 August 2015. For example, in May 2014 I wrote “What is his position in Cape Town? Have you heard back? A known abuser continues his ministry?….Has every attempt been made to follow up?” In December 2014 I wrote “Can you give me the slightest reassurance that, to the best of your knowledge he is not continuing now?” and in February 2015 I wrote “Can you categorically state that everything within your power has been done…to ensure that he is unable to have any continuing contact with boys and young adults? Have the appropriate authorities a full understanding of his history and the dangers? Has he been stopped?”

I received multiple replies saying that no one had acknowledged their letter to Bishop Counsell. In May 2014 I was told “The Bishop of Ely wrote to the Bishop of Cape Town (sic). There was no reply, either then or when I chased it up. We think they have no equivalent position to [safeguarding officer] in the South African church”. I was told “The only information I have about Smyth is gleaned from his website…..Unfortunately I have no power to compel agencies in South Africa to respond to my concerns and no professional routes to take this further. I know this will be difficult for you to hear and I am sorry that I am unable to say something more positive”.

I was repeatedly told by the Diocese of Ely that they could not get hold of anyone in Cape Town. My last contact with Ely was in August 2015, when I wrote: “Can [you] do nothing? There are no letters from Cape Town, no further leads? The man…may as we speak have a coterie of young men? Has every length been tried to find out?”

I dispute all three responses to my complaint against Archbishop Welby.

The complainant does not wish his name to be in the public domain.

For further information, please contact Andrew Graystone via andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com or 07772 710090.

 

 

MESSAGE FROM MARTIN SEWELL – GENERAL SYNOD MEMBER

Dear friends and colleagues, 

You may have heard that on Monday night Channel 4 News carried the story that a formal complaint has been issued against Archbishop Justin Welby alleging that the disclosure to him of the actions of the serial abuser John Smyth in early 2013 received an inadequate response by both him and Church House then and in the subsequent years, so that Smyth was able to continue his activities and abuse many further victims.  

Quite patently John Smyth was not stopped and remained as Chairman of the Justice Alliance of South Africa until 2017. By reason of this delay Smyth died before facing justice. 

The Church of England has put a statement on its website 

https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/news-and-views/statement-smyth-case

This response was felt to be so inadequate that the complainant has issued the following further detailed rejoinder.

It is important to stress that the complainant victim, who I have spoken to many times, has made every attempt directly and indirectly  to avoid this matter reaching such an unhappy stage. This problem has existed for eight years, he has been very patient. The formal complaint was formally lodged on 12 June 2020; the complainant waited for news, perhaps for an announcement or even an invitation to sit at the core group table, just like the Oxford dons who arrived with no evidence against Dean Martyn Percy. No news or invitation came. “ Graham” of course had first hand evidence to impart.
At General Synod we were told that the establishment of a core group was the triaging system for complaints. Right now, the complainant does not even know if a core group exists or whether some other process applies here. The CofE announcement is buried deep within its website and you may notice that the announcement does not actually say that the usual core group has been established to progress the complaint; rather it says that the NST is simply “reviewing the information”.  
It is such privileged treatment and lack of transparency that has proved to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’.   Both current Archbishops have had their complaints handled quietly, discretely, and remained in active office; Lord George Carey, the Bishop of Lincoln and  Dean Martyn Percy were named publicly and have had their ministries and duties curtailed. 
This sense of institutional injustice is felt keenly by survivors. It may be counter intuitive for most of us: survivors feel the injustice inflicted on senior Churchmen ostensibly in their name. They are incensed at the recognition that Church House continues to be an organisation operating arbitrarily, protecting some reputations, careless of others, and always prioritising its reputation and self interest over simple fairness for all.
You may notice that the CofE website announcement does not even confirm that the complaint specifically names the Archbishop. He, of course, is entitled to a fair hearing and the presumption of innocence which the Church notably denied to such as Bishop Bell in comparatively recent times, and continues to deny Dean Percy,  by progressing a complaint without primary evidence and through a core group thoroughly corrupted, inter alia, by multiple conflicts of interest. Church House never admits it is wrong. 
In his own case, the Archbishop did however, set a high bar for expectations of active involvement when such complaints arise. 

Giving evidence under oath to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last year, Archbishop Welby said: “Nobody can say it is not my fault. It is so absurd. To say ‘I have heard about a problem but it was someone else’s job to report it’ that is not an acceptable human response, yet alone a leadership response”…..”If you know a child is being abused, not to report it is simply wrong, for every human being”. 

The case “ Graham” advances is that Archbishop Justin neither took sufficient action himself, nor did he ensure that action for justice and prevention had been taken, once Smyth’s cruelty was exposed. Graham” was personally known to the Archbishop as was John Smyth. 

Every attempt to spare the Archbishop and the Church embarrassment has been made but failed. How much of “Graham’s” entreaties have reached the Archbishop personally is less clear. That said, institutionally these wounds are entirely self inflicted. 

I have spoken to the complainant this morning. He says this  ‘I am not driven by a need for revenge or malice. All I want is the truth. We were denied justice by the death of John Smyth. For all to tell the truth, now, that is what we want.’  

Although a number of Church insiders have access to his contact details, nobody from there has communicated with “Graham” since he has reluctantly felt obliged to put the fact of his complaint into the public domain. His support continues to come entirely from the survivor community and their friends. The endurance of returning to remembrances of injustice is what victim survivors call “re-abuse”.
Martin Sewell

JULY 27 2020 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015 – CHURCH OF ENGLAND STATEMENT BY THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER MARTIN WARNER ON THE RT REVD GEORGE BELL – 1883-1958]

field_image_Martin-Warner_3

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

October 22 2015 – Church of England Statement by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958):
 
“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties…The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim”
 
Ponder this if you will, then decide what action to take.
 
In Chichester, action has already taken place by restoring 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House:
 
https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/07/26/july-26-2020-george-bell-house-4-canon-lane-chichester-po19-1px/
 
More action is to follow.

JULY 21 2020 – “WE SEEM TO BE WITNESSING EVIL AND CORRUPTION ON A GRAND SCALE” – STEPHEN PARSONS – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

final-corrupt

THINKING ANGLICANS

“We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale” ~ Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’

Some updates on safeguarding matters

Several developments relating to safeguarding in the Church of England.

The Insurance Post reports that Ecclesiastical Insurance had an apologetically-worded statement in its annual report, published not long after its appearance at the IICSA hearings: Briefing: Ecclesiastical’s child abuse claims shame – CEO Hews’ admission too little too late? Scroll down in the article for the full text of the EIO statement.

The Church Times reports: Two members are removed from core group in Percy case, owing to conflict of interest

TWO members of the core group set up to examine accusations of safeguarding breaches by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy, have been removed after they were deemed to have a conflict of interest in the case, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has confirmed…
…In May, Private Eye reported that the core group established by the NST of the Church of England earlier this year included two members of the college who had supported complaints against Dean Percy, including the Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson (News 29 May). The Dean is not represented on the core group, although one of the two college members was reportedly asked to represent him and declined. It is assumed that these are the two members removed from the core group…

The article goes on to report the question asked by Martin Sewell (and answered by the Bishop of Huddersfield) at the General Synod meeting on 11 July about whether, by including complainants in the core group, the Church had “embraced the concept of ‘unconscious bias’”.

Martin Sewell also had a letter in the Church Times last week Anonymity and representation in safeguarding (scroll down)

Sir, — The inauguration of the ministry of the new Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a great joy to many in the Church who know his writings and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel. It is a shame that, for reasons outside his control, it occurred under the shadow of the suspicion that he enjoyed the privilege of anonymity while a safeguarding complaint was considered against him, whereas Lord Carey found the fact of his investigation in the hands of the press within three hours of his being notified.
This was wholly unnecessary. Had the recommendations of the C­­­arlile report been accepted and implemented in full, everyone under inquiry would have enjoyed anonymity pending investigation and there would have been a level playing field for both men.
Furthermore, Lord Carlile recommended that the respondent be given representation at the core group table: a recommendation that, had it been implemented, would have avoided the current débâcle over Dean Percy. In his report on Bishop Bell, Lord Carlile wrote: “There was no discussion whatsoever of the need to ensure the justice of the case by examining the facts from Bishop Bell’s standpoint. This issue seems to have been totally abandoned.”
One suspects that this is equally true in the Percy case, but we cannot know, as the Dean is refused access to the minutes.
Finally, the House Bishops Guidelines have not been updated over two years after they accepted the Carlile recommendations — except the one about anonymity –though they have applied that one in favour of someone they wish to advance.
I hope and believe that Archbishop Cottrell has the commitment to justice to drive forward the necessary change, by implementing all review recommendations, from the office to which he has now been called.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has a detailed further analysis of the NST’s Core Groups and the Carlisle recommendations in Revisiting the Carlile Review: A Critique of Church Core Groups? This deserves reading in full, but he concludes thus:

…Can we detect in any way that the Core Group was being ‘managed’ to satisfy the needs of the Church communications department and its desire for good PR?  Were the Archbishop and Bishop of Chichester making statements suggested to them by their highly remunerated reputation managers?  If Carlile’s critical Review is pointing us in this direction, then it follows that similar pressures will also be at work in the 2020 Percy Group.  Are Core Groups, in other words, subject to being managed to suit the purposes of the reputation launderers working for the Church? In the comments I made about Bishop Jonathan’s responses to questions at the recent Synod, I suggested that the management of safeguarding issues was being handed over to a team of lawyers.  Such lawyers would be the ones seeking to defend the Church and protect its good name.  Now, after reading the Carlile report again, I am left wondering whether it is in fact the power of reputation managers and communication departments that we see operating behind the scenes and making the decisions for our Church.  If that is the case, then our Church will not be taking too seriously the cause of transparency, justice and truth.  These and other Christian values like honesty and right dealing may only ever be paraded in public when they can serve the purposes of good PR!

This rereading of the Carlile report and the way that it revealed rampant ‘unconscious bias’, to quote from Martin Sewell’s question at last Synod, allows us to point once again to our ongoing concerns over the Percy Core Group. Conflicts of interest still abound there. Quite apart from the inappropriate placing of two complainants in the Group, there are the collusions we have pointed to before between firms of lawyers, reputation managers and those at Christ Church who have manipulated the Church and the NST to operate in their interests. If the incompetence of the Bell Core Group was a scandal, the sheer apparent malevolence at work in this present Percy Group is one which is driving out all pretensions to ethical behaviour and Christian values. We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale. Will the Church at the national level be able to rescue this situation and allow it to come through this appalling crisis?

 

3 COMMENTS
Martin Hislop
More evidence as to why an Independent Ecclesiastical Ombudsman needs to appointed.
Richard W. Symonds

“We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale”

If that is the case, then we all have a responsibility to act. To do nothing – or not enough – is not an option.

Last edited 3 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds
Adrian

 

An apparent conflict of interest on this scale and nature should be a resigning issue for those who allegedly accepted places without declaring it, and for those who asked them to be on the committee.