Tag Archives: Current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

December 17 2017 – “Sorry’s not enough for Church’s betrayal of a hero falsely accused” – Rev Jules Gomes

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Rev Jules Gomes

https://www.julesgomes.com/single-post/Sorry-not-enough-for-Church-betrayal-of-a-hero-falsely-accused

Sorry’s not enough for Church’s betrayal of a hero falsely accused

December 17, 2017

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Jules Gomes

 

Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbour. The Church of England defiled the ninth commandment by shamefully bearing false witness against one of its most saintly and heroic bishops. Over a decade later, it has been forced to swallow its pride and cough up a feeble apology for the way it handled accusations of sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell.

The CofE slandered, smeared and destroyed the impeccable reputation of a cleric who had the courage of his convictions to stand up to Adolf Hitler. This is the conclusion of the Lord Carlile review published this week. It points a damning finger at the CofE for failing ‘to follow a process that was fair and equitable to both sides’.

The CofE condemned Bishop George Bell exclusively on the basis of a single entirely uncorroborated witness decades after the alleged sexual abuse was said to have occurred.

It violated the sanctity of one of the most hallowed tenets of jurisprudence dating back to the sixth century Digest of Justinian and held sacred in Canon law, Islamic law and English common law. This is the presumption of innocence – that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

It refused to recognise the fact that the defendant had been dead for decades and could not defend himself.

It infringed Bishop Bell’s human rights as set out in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution by denying the defendant the right to a fair trial.

It debased the humanity of the alleged victim ‘Carol’ by letting her accuse Bishop Bell under the cloak of anonymity and paying her compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

It made a mockery of centuries of legal precedence by allowing the accuser to remain anonymous. The right of an accused to confront his or her accusers is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the Statute for the International Criminal Court and Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The right to face your accuser has been described as ‘basic to any civilised notion of a fair trial’ and ‘one of the fundamental guarantees of life and liberty’. It dates back to ancient Rome. The Emperor Trajan declared in AD 112: ‘Anonymous accusations must not be admitted in evidence as against any one, as it is introducing a dangerous precedent.’ Geoffrey Robertson QC condemned the use of anonymous witnesses as ‘a fundamental breach of the right to a fair trial’, stating that ‘no trial can be fair if the defendant is not allowed to know his accuser’.

The Church of England played fast and loose with the due process of the criminal justice system by failing to let the accusations and evidence be rigorously tested through cross-examination, a system regarded by the jurist J H Wigmore as ‘the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth’.

It prioritised political expediency and public relations spin-doctoring over a quest for truth and justice. Like the Gadarene swine rushing down the hillside, its Child Protection Gestapo went on a cleansing spree and adopted a scorched earth policy on buildings, schools and other institutions named after Bell.

It turned a deaf ear for quite some time to columns written in the media by honourable journalists such as Peter Hitchens and to the voices of respected historians such as Andrew Chandler and faithful laity such as Richard Symonds, who persevered while working tirelessly to see justice done and the good name of Bishop Bell restored.

It was totally blind to the cognitive dissonance between the towering ministry and godliness of Bishop George Bell and the credibility of those who had borne witness to his sterling character on the one hand, clashing with the cacophonous note of a lone voice making an accusation completely out of sync with the moral fibre exhibited by Bishop Bell throughout his life and ministry.

Last year, I wrote a column on how the Church of England smears saints and shields scoundrels. I followed up with another column on howthe Church of England had mastered the art of the non-apology, after the embarrassing revelation that bishops were instructed only to give partial apologies – if at all – to victims of sexual abuse to avoid being sued. Earlier this year, I pointed out how the Safeguarding industry in the Church of England has become a witch-hunt.

There is one factor that sticks out like a sore gangrenous thumb in all these incidents. It is the unconcealed contempt the CofE has displayed for the fundamental principles of justice and fairness laid down in the canonical texts of the Bible that have been at the heart of much of Western jurisprudence.

If only the CofE had stuck its nose into the yellowed pages of this consecrated collection of jurisprudence [from the Latin iuris (of law, of right) + prudentia (knowledge, wisdom, foresight, discretion)] it would not have egg on its face and ignominy in its chronicles. The Bible is bursting with legal principles that were staring the bishops in the eyeballs.

‘You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,’ says the Book of Exodus. The CofE sided with the ‘many’ by siding with the dominant orthodoxy of the day that rushes to the rescue of every boy who cries ‘Wolf!’ and every girl who cries ‘Abuser!’

‘If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days,’ says the Book of Deuteronomy. Even if Bell’s accuser was not a malicious witness, there was no way both parties could appear in court.

‘A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established,’ states Deuteronomy. ‘Do not admit a charge against a presbyter except on the evidence of two or three witnesses,’ writes the apostle Paul to Timothy. The CofE did not bother to corroborate accusations against Bell.

The right to face your accuser is best illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul is awaiting trial and is brought before King Agrippa II and Porcius Festus, Procurator of Judea. The chief priests and the elders petition the Roman rulers for a sentence of condemnation against Paul. Festus reports to Agrippa his response to the Jewish leaders: ‘I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defence concerning the charge laid against him.’

It is a devastating indictment of the CofE that the judicial process conducted by the pagan administration of ancient Rome against the apostle Paul proved to be more just and fair than the judicial farce and charade conducted by the CofE against Bishop George Bell. An apology will not suffice. The CofE needs to repent.

(Originally published in The Conservative Woman)

December 15 2017 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/publication-bishop-george-bell-independent-review

Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review

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15/12/2017

 

The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST,) has today published the key findings and recommendations, along with the full report, from the independent review into the processes used in the Bishop George Bell case.

The review, commissioned by the NST on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, was carried out by Lord Carlile of Berriew. As he writes in the introduction, his purpose was not to determine the truthfulness of the woman referred to as Carol in the report, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell, but to examine the procedures followed by the Church of England. The objectives of the review included “ensuring that survivors are listened to and taken seriously”, and that recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding in the future.

The report made 15 recommendations and concluded that the Church acted throughout in good faith while highlighting that the process was deficient in a number of respects.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, has responded on behalf of the Church:

“We are enormously grateful to Lord Carlile for this ‘lessons learned’ review which examines how the Church handled the allegations made by Carol in the 1990s, and more recently. Lord Carlile makes a number of considered points as to how to handle such cases in future and we accept the main thrust of his recommendations.

“In responding to the report, we first want to acknowledge and publicly apologise again for the Church’s lamentable failure, as noted by Lord Carlile, to handle the case properly in 1995.

“At the heart of this case was a judgement, on the balance of probabilities, as to whether, in the event that her claim for compensation reached trial, a court would have concluded that Carol was abused by Bishop Bell. The Church decided to compensate Carol, to apologise and to be open about the case.

“Lord Carlile states that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision” but respectfully, we differ from that judgement. The Church is committed to transparency. We would look at each case on its merits but generally would seek to avoid confidentiality clauses.

“It is clear from the report, however, that our processes were deficient in a number of respects, in particular the process for seeking to establish what may have happened. For that we apologise. Lessons can and have been learnt about how we could have managed the process better.

“The Bishop Bell case is a complex one and it is clear from the report and minutes of Core Group meetings that much professional care and discussion were taken over both agreeing the settlement with Carol and the decision to make this public. As Lord Carlile’s report makes clear, we acted in good faith throughout with no calculated intention to damage George Bell’s reputation.

“The Church has always affirmed and treasured Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace remains extraordinary. At same time, we have a duty and commitment to listen to those reporting abuse, to guard their confidentiality, and to protect their interests.

“We recognise that Carol has suffered pain, as have surviving relatives of Bishop Bell. We are sorry that the Church has added to that pain through its handling of this case.”

Statement from Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner

“Lord Carlile’s Independent Review is a demonstration of the Church of England’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency in our safeguarding practice. The diocese of Chichester requested this “lessons learned” Review.

“We welcome Lord Carlile’s assessment of our processes, and apologise for failures in the work of the Core Group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead. We also accept the Report’s recognition that we acted in good faith, and improvements to Core Group protocols are already in place. Further work on them is in hand.

“The Report demands further consideration of the complexities of this case, such as what boundaries can be set to the principle of transparency. Lord Carlile rightly draws our attention to public perception. The emotive principle of innocent until proven guilty is a standard by which our actions are judged and we have to ensure as best we can that justice is seen to be done. Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor, or victim, ‘Carol’ emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity. It is essential that her right to privacy continues to be fully respected.

“The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally. They will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case that Lord Carlile has reviewed.”

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

“Bishop George Bell is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century. The decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance, and all involved recognised the deep tragedy involved. However we have to differ from Lord Carlile’s point that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision”. The C of E is committed to transparency and therefore we would take a different approach.

“Lord Carlile does not seek to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the acts about which the complaint was made. He does make significant comments on our processes, and we accept that improvement is necessary, in all cases including those where the person complained about is dead. We are utterly committed to seeking to ensure just outcomes for all. We apologise for the failures of the process.

“The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievement. We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. Let us therefore remember his defence of Jewish victims of persecution, his moral stand against indiscriminate bombing, his personal risks in the cause of supporting the anti Hitler resistance, and his long service in the Diocese of Chichester. 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, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.”

 

 

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.”

October 18 2017 – “Former Bishop of Chester Hubert Whitsey investigated over abuse allegations” – The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/former-bishop-of-chester-hubert-whitsey-investigated-over-abuse-allegations

Former bishop of Chester investigated over abuse allegations

Victor Whitsey, who died in 1987, would have been interviewed over allegations if he were alive, police say

Chester Cathedral. The allegations date from when Whitsey was bishop of Chester and from when he had retired.
 Chester Cathedral. The allegations date from when Whitsey was bishop of Chester and after his retirement. Photograph: Alamy

The former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, is being investigated 30 years after his death over allegations of sexual abuse in the latest scandal involving high-profile figures in the Church of England.

A lawyer representing four of the alleged victims has claimed the abuse was covered up by the C of E and has called for a independent review.

The allegations date from the late 1970s when Whitsey was bishop of Chester, and in the 1980s after he had retired and was living in the diocese of Blackburn.

The C of E said it had supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults. The police told the church that, had Whitsey still been alive, he would have been interviewed in relation to 10 allegations. Whitsey died in 1987.

In a statement, the archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and the bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, said: “We are deeply sorry and apologise to those individuals who have come forward to share their account of abuse by a bishop in the Church of England who was in a position of power and authority. We appreciate that it is very difficult for individuals to come forward and to give their account.

“Sexual abuse is a heinous crime – and is an absolute and shameful breach of trust. We acknowledge that for survivors the effects of sexual abuse are lifelong. We are offering pastoral support to all those who have come forward and continue to hold them all in our prayers.”

It added: “The church will consider what lessons can be learned from this case and whether any action needs to be taken as a result of what these inquiries have shown.”

Cheshire police said the allegations related to 13 people, five males and eight females. “The abuse is alleged to have taken place whilst the bishop was living and working in Chester and one incident is reported to have taken place outside the county,” a statement said. The police investigation had spanned 13 months, it added.

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represents four of Whitsey’s victims, said: “The abhorrent and disgusting abuse perpetrated by Bishop Whitsey destroyed many lives, driving some to attempt suicide. What is equally abhorrent is that the Church of England knew of his abuse, did nothing to stop it and covered it up. It is crucial that there is now an independent review into Whitsey abuse and who failed to act when they learnt of his heinous behaviour.”

The law firm understands that a complaint was made to the C of E while Whitsey was still serving as bishop of Chester, but it was not passed to police. The church was believed to have been made aware of further allegations following Whitsey’s retirement, but no action was taken.

Slater and Gordon released a statement from one of Whitsey’s alleged victims. It said: “When I met Victor Whitsey I was young, innocent, and naive. I longed for his blessing to achieve my wish of a future as a vicar, serving God and the community. He told me he agreed I had a calling from God. He also told me he had the power to give me everything I wanted in life and the power to take it all away. He then proceeded to abuse me sexually and psychologically. I was powerless to stop him.

“I blamed myself, though I was the only victim and rationalised that it was my fault … I told no one; who would believe a teenage boy’s word against a bishop of the Church of England? I became reclusive and came to the ultimate conclusion. The prospect of ever seeing Victor Whitsey again was so abhorrent to me that I turned my back on my beloved church and my calling to serve God. I self-harmed and have spent a lifetime focusing on resentment and bitterness.

“Twenty years after my abuse, I suffered a complete mental nervous breakdown which included attempted suicide. Because of the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of Victor Whitsey I lost my faith, my chosen life as a vicar, my self-belief, my freedom from worry and my dignity. Child sex abuse is a crime which stays with you for a lifetime. As a child you don’t understand why or what is happening, but as you grow older you realise the enormity of the abuse and it hurts you all over again – you blame yourself for allowing it – you hate yourself for being weak.

“Since my abuse, not a day has gone by that I have not thought about what happened to me.”

The author of the statement said he hoped there would be a public inquiry “to understand not only what Whitsey did to his victims but to also learn who knew what he was doing, to what extent his actions were intentionally covered up, and who else was complicit in the crimes that he committed, and for which, I continue to suffer every day of my life”.

The church has faced a number of high-profile cases of sexual abuse.

Peter Ball, a former bishop of both Gloucester and Lewes, was jailed in October 2015 for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men aged 17-25 who had sought spiritual guidance from him between 1977 and 1992. He was released from prison in February after serving 16 months.

A damning independent report, published in June, found that senior figures in the C of E had colluded over a 20-year period with the disgraced former bishop.

The report made harrowing reading, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said. “The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour,” he said.

George Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury who was criticised in the report, resigned as honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of Oxford.

Two years ago, the church issued a formal apology for alleged sexual abuse committed by one of its most senior figures, George Bell, the late bishop of Chichester, who died 57 years ago. It also settled a civil claim brought against Ball by a survivor.

However, critics accused the church of acting improperly and without sufficient evidence, saying Bell’s “condemnation as a paedophile” had irreparably damaged his reputation.

An independent report into the church’s handling of the case is expected to be published next month.

 

October 3 2017 – “Justin Welby telling off the BBC over sex abuse was the pot calling the kettle black” – i News – Simon Kelner

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

https://inews.co.uk/uncategorized/justin-welby-telling-off-bbc-sex-abuse-pot-calling-kettle-black/

Justin Welby telling off the BBC over sex abuse was the pot calling the kettle black

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. (Photo: Getty)

Simon Kelner Tuesday October 3rd 2017

So there is the pot, as black as night, scorched by the depredations of everyday life, tarnished by hard times and rough usage. And suddenly, without warning or provocation, the pot turns round to the kettle, similarly battered and bruised, and says: “It’s not me that’s black. It’s you!”

This was the essential nature of an implausible exchange on Radio 4’s Today Programme when the Archbishop of Canterbury excoriated the BBC for their lack of integrity over dealing with sex abuse in its organisation. I am sure I heard it right. The head of the Anglican church, which has a long and horrible history of the sexual abuse of vulnerable young people, was complaining that the BBC hadn’t acted responsibly when the scale of Jimmy Savile’s offences became known.

Savile may have been protected by the blithe, blind, egregiously liberal mores of the age, but he was something of a one-off. Sex abuse was not endemic or systemic within the precincts of Broadcasting House, and the BBC’s reaction to his unmasking was swift and authoritative. The corporation launched an independent investigation by a high court judge, and accepted all its recommendations. They apologised to Savile’s victims, and have established new safeguards for children.

So what was the Archbishop on about? Why did he take on the BBC on grounds that he must have realised would be very problematic for the Church?

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He knew, of course, that he would get support from the inveterate Beeb bashers among the national press, but notwithstanding that, it’s hard to credit his intervention. It is true that Archbishop Welby has been on the front foot regarding sex abuse scandals in the Church, insisting there will be no cover-up of historic allegations and saying that “the rule is survivors come first, not our own interests”.

‘I am deeply resistant to a religious leader who uses his pulpit to attack one of our most admirable institutions‘ At this point, it’s too tempting not to resort to scripture. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, according to the Gospel of St John. And an independent review of the Church of England’s handling of a particular sex abuse case in 2016 concluded that Welby’s office failed “to respond meaningfully to repeated efforts by the survivor… to bring his case to the Church leader’s attention”.

It is a shame that Welby took to the airwaves armed with a pocketful of stones, a fact not lost on a welter of Twitter respondents, including a number of victims of abuse. Both the Anglican Church and the BBC, representing two of the four estates of a democracy, are all too prone to introspection and self-absorption, and Welby’s comments were part of a bigger interview, not yet aired, to mark the 60th birthday of the Today programme. Within it, he discussed ways in which society has changed in that period. We have become kinder and more considerate, he said, but the flip side is the cult of individualism, or a “radical autonomy”, in his own words.

I found myself applauding this analysis. But I am deeply resistant to the moralising tones of a religious leader who uses his pulpit to attack one of our most admirable institutions, respected and envied throughout the world. That’s not to say the BBC is without sin either, by the way. But this was an unmerited and unjustified attack, which, taken with the Archbishop of York’s willingness to pocket the Murdoch shilling, might lead conspiracy theorists to think that the Anglican Church was pursuing an agenda against the Beeb.

@Simon_Kelner

October 5 2017 – “Did Church keep abuse secret?” – The Argus

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/local/15577806.Did_Church_keep_abuse_secret_/

Did Church keep abuse secret?

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Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

THE Anglican Church will be probed for potentially harbouring a “culture of secrecy” surrounding sexual abuse which allowed predators to offend unchallenged, an inquiry has heard.

The public inquiry into child sexual abuse is preparing to scrutinise the response of religious institutions to allegations of exploitation by the clergy.

This will include the disgraced former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball.

Ball was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

Attitudes to sexuality will form part of the investigation into the Anglican Church, due to begin next March, a preliminary hearing of the inquiry was told.

It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, provoked debate by accusing the BBC of not handling reports of longstanding abuse with the same “integrity” as the Church.

Speaking at the new headquarters of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in central London, counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said: “Culture is important because it shapes everything about the way that things are done within the organisation and it is both deeply embedded within an organisation and often difficult to change.”

Outlining the aims of the Anglican Church investigation, she said: “This will involve examining how far was there or is there a culture of secrecy within the Church.

“How far the Church’s approach to sex and sexuality contributed or contributes to difficulties with cultural change.

“How far does the hierarchical nature of the Church create a power imbalance which could inhibit the reporting of abuse.”

Ms Scolding said this would not only stretch to attitudes of the past, but also cover the current practices of the Church and any future reforms it has planned.

The preliminary hearing also heard 184,020 pages of evidence had been received for examination.

Around 100,000 have so far been reviewed by inquiry officials with 22,000 of these found to be duplicates and 35,000 deemed irrelevant.

Article of Faith, an independent review of how the Church handled Ball’s case, was published earlier this year.

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

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“Church resignations” – Argus Letters – Richard W. Symonds

 

Dear Editor

If a former Archbishop resigns because of the Ball Inquiry (“Carey quits over sex abuse report”, Argus, June 27), then the current Bishop of Chichester should resign because of the Bell Inquiry – if, and only if, Lord Carlile’s criticism is of the same magnitude as – but of a different order than – Dame Gibb.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society