“COTTRELL AND CAREY: WHY IS SOME SAFEGUARDING SECRET, WHILE OTHERS ARE THROWN TO THE MEDIA?” – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER’
What can I say by way of comment over this conflict? It is quite clear that Martyn has in the past upset the equilibrium and status quo in two powerful institutions. In the first case, at Christ Church Oxford, a group of senior members have complained about him in his role of Head of House or Dean on two separate occasions. We, as outsiders observers, have no detailed understanding of the first allegations made against him. All we do know with some certainty is that a Tribunal was convened under the chairmanship of a retired judge, Sir Andrew Smith. This found him innocent of the accusations made against him – all twenty-seven charges were dismissed. Our sympathy for Martyn’s cause is aroused by the fact that he had to endure two years of pressure and stress. We feel for anyone who, in the course of allegations against them, is suspended from his work and made the object of a campaign of vilification and slander. Moreover, who was denied the opportunity of even having a preliminary investigation before the Tribunal against him was convened.
This Tribunal involved the spending of huge resources of charitable money, thought to be over £2 million. Martyn’s own legal costs have been huge. When the Tribunal verdict was announced, we hoped that the problem would go away. We might also have hoped that the original accusers might express a little remorse for having spent so much charitable money to further their cause. But no, the current situation is that the same accusers among the governing body have re-emerged to continue the campaign against the Dean. This time they are using a quite different set of accusations and a different method of harassing and undermining Martyn. Having exhausted the procedures afforded to them by the college statutes, the complainants have moved on to attack him using the tools of the quasi-legal structures of the Church of England.
Those of us who support Martyn and his principled stand over a variety of topics in current church debates, are aware that he has made enemies. As an avowed progressive, he is not easily going to fit in with the prevailing opinions of a largely conservative bench of bishops. The one particular issue over the past five years that has rattled many cages is the George Bell affair. Martyn has prominently identified himself with those who regard the posthumous trashing of Bishop Bell’s reputation as contrary to the laws of justice and historical truth. Many of us, with Martyn, regarded the alacrity with which Church leaders assigned guilt to Bell as being an attempt to show a decisiveness while many other more recent safeguarding allegations were being mishandled.
The method of assessing and evaluating the Bell evidence was the infamous core group, the same tool that is now being deployed against Martyn himself. It would not be hard to suggest, to use Gilo’s expression, that, in both case, the core group has been ‘weaponised’ against the subject of the investigation. This is especially true when the person at the heart of the enquiry has no representation to speak on their behalf. Again, in both Bell’s case and Martyn’s, similar church establishment mechanisms can be seen at work. The NST have put Martyn “on trial” without conducting even the most minimal inquiry or interview with him. The core group contained people who were prosecuting him for their own ends, and were heavily invested in pre-judging the outcome of any investigation. This is identical to what the Dean had to endure at Christ Church from 2018.
As with Christ Church, so with the NST. The Dean is forced to pay for his own defence to protect his reputation and integrity. It was noticeable that the Anglican hierarchy were largely mute when the original Christ Church accusations were aired. There was a sense that, while support was being expressed by hundreds of individuals across the country and £100,000 raised for legal costs, official support from the Anglican hierarchy was largely absent.
The appeal to the Church of England and its National Safeguarding Team by complaining Christ Church dons to examine accusations against the Dean of Christ Church, has already been explored in Gilo’s piece. The mention by Gilo of the ‘right part’ of the NST hints at private conversations and plotting at the highest levels of the Church of England taking place with the complainants at Christ Church. I understand that as far as the lawyers acting for Martyn are concerned, the NST has absolutely no jurisdiction in Martyn’s case. Martyn is not an employee of the Church of England; he is not being accused of being a danger to children or vulnerable adults. We also note the “vulnerable adult” terminology used by the NST. The correct term is “adults-at-risk”, which is defined and deployed in higher education, local government and the NHS. The NST are out of touch. The safeguarding issues that are the focus of the enquiry had already been dealt with properly by Martyn, according to University and college protocols.
Once again, a core group is being used to achieve a particular end. What we see in the process seems to run counter to natural justice and fairness. It also seems to take no notice of Lord Carlile’s remarks and the recommendations that were made by him in 2017. We refer particularly to those that laid out how all interested parties should be represented. These were accepted in total by the Church of England and now they are ignored in what has become a notorious case, ensuring that the whole world is watching (and judging!) the Church of England as it stumbles ahead with a faulty grasp of proper procedures in this complex case.
If Martyn can stand up to the pressure currently being put on him, it could help expose the evident power abuses and appalling misuses of procedure which seem to be operating in the NST. If the NST were to see sense and pull out of its involvement in the Christ Church debacle, this would have a desirable outcome. it would allow the NST to be regarded as a properly accountable organisation. No longer would the considerable power of this body be used against individuals without clear and consistent protocols in the way that it operates. Someone made the decision to allow the NST to enter the treacherous waters of internal Oxford collegiate politics.
Who was it and what are the systems in place to query and even put a block on such a risky, even impetuous, decision? If, as is likely, the NST comes out of this disastrous intervention with egg on its face, who is going to take responsibility for this financial and ethical car-crash? In many ways this whole episode goes far beyond what Martyn may or may not have done to upset members of his college. The issue has become one of the church using its legal structures in ways that deny compassion, natural justice and the basic qualities of care. Once again the Church of England seems incapable of handling its power without hurting and damaging people. Legalism, the power of money and privilege seem to be prominent. If the general public sees some of this behaviour and is unimpressed, can we really blame them?
Another question that is being asked by many of us is this. If Martyn Percy deserved investigation over safeguarding issues with apparently such flimsy evidence being offered, then why not are other more pressing cases given attention? There are several outstanding CDM claims against serving bishops which lie on file. Presumably these can now be activated by victims and complainants? There is the case of Jonathan Fletcher which seems to be ignored by central church authorities, even though it reached front-page headlines of the Daily Telegraph. If the allegations against Fletcher are even half-true, he still poses a safeguarding threat which should be a priority for the NST. To focus on Martyn, who poses no such threat, and ignore Fletcher can only be described as a deeply political choice.
Unless someone explains the real basis for NST involvement in the Christ Church factional disputes, Martyn’s supporters will conclude that the NST has become a political tool at the service of certain unaccountable factions within the Church of England. If that surmise is correct, one would hope that the General Synod would wake up to this fact and vote the NST out of existence. We cannot afford to have a rogue structure within the Church which operates with so much secrecy, factionalism and sometimes overt bullying. Whoever authorised the unleashing of the NST on Martyn Percy has been responsible for taking an enormous gamble with the Church’s assets and reputation. They have gambled on an outcome which, even if successful at one level, does no credit to the Church. If the anonymous power brokers are, however, unsuccessful in what they are doing in Oxford, this may have the effect of destroying the NST structure altogether and their future ability to exercise power through it.
NEWS: WORLD NEWS
LAMBETH, England (ChurchMilitant.com) – Despite being mocked for “self-flagellation” by a distinguished Indian parliamentarian after he apologized for Britain’s colonial past, the archbishop of Canterbury is now apologizing for his “white privilege” in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots.
“I acknowledge that I come from privilege and a place of power as a white person in this country,” Anglican archbishop Justin Welby announced Tuesday in a video posted on Twitter. “But I feel within me, again today, that great call of Jesus that we are as a Church to be those who set our own house in order and who acknowledge our own historic errors and failings.”
“I come back to the fact that, in the New Testament, Jesus says be angry about injustice, repent of injustice — that means go the other way, take action against injustice,” Welby said, beginning his brief apology by reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“It must never involve the creation of more injustice, by seeking to damage other people,” Welby noted, barely acknowledging the widespread BLM-led violence and iconoclasm against statues of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Edward Colston in London and other British cities.
“Justin Welby seems to have made it his trademark to apologize for everything and anything which the ‘wokeratari’ will applaud,” Anglican cleric Melvin Tinker told Church Militant.
“But the archapologizer of Canterbury is very selective about what he will apologize for. Most ordinary people couldn’t care less for what he has to say anyway,” said Tinker, a well-known critic of cultural Marxism and author of That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost.
“There is no personal apology for the character assassination of Bp. George Bell or the dreadful sexual abuse of Fr. Matthew Ineson — both left lying wounded on the road while the archbishop happily passes by on the other side leaving it to other ‘Good Samaritans’ to take up their causes,” the vicar of St. John Newland Church in Hull remarked.
Welby had tarnished the name of Bp. Bell, who stood against Hitler by insisting that Bell was guilty of pedophilia, even after the Lord Carlile Review exonerated him. Ineson was repeatedly raped by an Anglican vicar when he was 16 years old.
Meanwhile, openly gay Catholic priest Bryan N. Massingale claimed he could equate “systemic racism” with “white supremacy, although I know that white people find that term even more of a stumbling block than white privilege.”
“You realized that, if you wanted, by being white you could make things hard — much harder — for others, especially black folks,” Fr. Massingale, professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University wrote in the leftwing National Catholic Reporter on June 1.
“The only reason for racism’s persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it,” he fulminated. “Demand that your parish and diocese sponsor not just an evening on race, but a whole series,” and “Tell your priests and religious education directors to make anti-racism a staple feature of their homilies and your children’s religious formation.”
Massingale added to his diatribe:
While you’re at it, write your bishop and ask how anti-racism is part of your church leaders’ formation for ministry. Ask how he is actively educating himself to become anti-racist. Let him know that if seminarians and candidates for ministry and religious life are unwilling or unable to be actively anti-racist, then they do not have a vocation for church leadership since they haven’t embraced a fundamental requirement of Christian discipleship.
Speaking to Church Militant, Dave Brennan, director of pro-life Brephos, explained that “real repentance and true courage would entail confronting the greatest, most hidden, most accepted injustice of our day — the industrial-scale slaughter of babies in the womb.” This includes a disproportionate number of black babies, especially in America.
“But sadly, the Church of England has no track record of confronting the accepted evils of the day when it actually matters — only jumping on the bandwagon of retrospective virtue-signaling once it is felt to be politically expedient to do so,” lamented Brennan, an associate of the Center for Bioethical Reform UK.
“So it seems we must wait for the secular media and mob to finally clock that ripping babies to pieces is wrong, and then, like clockwork, we can expect to see Welby appear saying how everyone needs to ‘repent,'” he added.
Former Anglican bishop Gavin Ashenden told Church Militant that “the archbishop of Canterbury’s capacity to betray Jesus” seems “unbounded.”
Dr. Ashenden elaborated: “Jesus demands personal responsibility, the betrayers speak about privilege. Jesus speaks about personal repentance, the betrayers speak about corporate apology. Jesus concentrates on the individual person, the betrayers focus on group guilt by association.”
“Welby’s legacy and his current obsession are all consistent with the great betrayal,” the former Queen’s Chaplain and recent convert to Catholicism commented.
“If you drive Jesus out of the Church and replace him with Marx and Engels, you get not a Church, but a political party. You get not Jesus but Judas. Tragically, Welby appears to have sided with Judas,” he pointed out.
In 2019, on his visit to India, Welby fell prostrate at the Jalianwalla Bagh memorial in Amritsar and apologized for the massacre of 1919, where British soldiers shot dead at least 379 people.
But Indian parliamentarian Swapan Dasgupta, recipient of the Padma Bhushan (India’s third highest civilian award) for literature, derided Welby’s Amritsar apology as “a form of self-flagellation that may appeal to multiculturalism … but doesn’t alter the [positive] way India thinks of contemporary Britain.”
“Indians are not obsessed about the Raj [British colonial rule]. It was a reality but I don’t think it is seen as a national catastrophe,” he observed, not hesitating to mention the “chuckles over the many Indians who actively propped up the Empire.”
“Welby jumps on bandwagons more nimbly than any of his predecessors. Meanwhile, only 870,000 attended C of E [Church of England] services every week, and that will shrink when the churches reopen. Note that so far only 250 people have retweeted the ‘spiritual leader of 80m Anglicans,'” Catholic journalist and presenter of the Holy Smoke religion podcast tweeted.
Originally, it is prose, and for me it remains beautiful, rhythmic prose.
It has been appropriated as a poem, but it is just a paragraph excerpted from one of Donne’s Devotions Upon Divergent Occasions: Meditation XVII .
The paragraph comes as the conclusion of a sequence of thought:
From the quote, it means that when a bell tolls to announce the death of someone, you shouldn’t ask who it tolls for, that it tolls for you.
For details, follow this link: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjuvrzEiJLdAhWkCsAKHc1YBa4QFjAAegQIChAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFor_Whom_the_Bell_Tolls&usg=AOvVaw0RfelvUdwYdmT7BalYPrQS
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN