Tag Archives: Lambeth Palace

AUGUST 22 2020 – DAVID VIRTUE DD, IN HIS EXCORIATING JUDGEMENT OF THE VIOLATIONS OF LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, JOINS GROWING NUMBER CALLING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY JUSTIN WELBY

The Church of England has admitted that there are about 30 separate safeguarding inquiries under way into senior clergy — bishops or cathedral deans and some retired clergy. There are only 104 active bishops in the whole Church of England and 42 deans. This raises serious questions about the depth of spiritual depravity found in the Church that will not soon go away. It is not just an Anglo Catholic like Bishop Ball and two evangelical leaders, John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher, but massive cover ups of sexual abuse that is ringing alarm bells and causing such harm that it is emptying churches.

It is now very apparent that The Archbishop of Canterbury is a sniveling, groveling managerial fop, and the Church of England has become so incredibly embarrassing that GAFCON bishops will have nothing to do with it or him. I have blamed Welby, as I have done on occasion, for being a thin-skinned, theologically lightweight chancer who should never have been given the keys to Lambeth Palace. He now faces a safeguarding inquiry himself; he has publicly endorsed and embraced the most corrupt archbishops and bishops in the Church of South India; he has privately flailed against George Carey and he has betrayed his own evangelical roots. He has caused brilliant evangelical minds like Melvin Tinker, Peter Sanlon and Gavin Ashenden to leave the Church of England. You can read my entire article here: https://virtueonline.org/why-global-south-anglicans-will-have-re-evangelize-west

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The Church of England’s clergy discipline scandal is symptomatic of a deeper problem. A new report which has branded the Church of England’s disciplinary system “toxic” will come as no surprise to everyone who has been following the story.

The paper by Dr. Sarah Horsman, warden of Sheldon — a retreat center and clergy support organization — described the C of E’s Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) as symptomatic of a wider “toxic management culture”. It also called for any replacement system “to be much more distinctively Christian, wiser, more transparent and… simply kinder”.

The report’s findings included the shocking facts that more than a third of clergy undergoing a CDM, considered suicide; only 18 per cent felt they were treated as innocent until proved guilty; and just about half “strongly disagreed” with the statement “I felt supported by the diocese through the process”. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/cofes-clergy-discipline-scandal-symptomatic-deeper-problem

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Abuse by two prominent British evangelicals – Jonathan Fletcher and John Smyth (since deceased) – is raising eyebrows in England, coming as it is from two prominent evangelical priests who were formerly in the CofE but have now left.

A much-anticipated ‘lessons-learnt’ review into the activities of former church minister, Jonathan Fletcher, will be published in September. The independent Christian safeguarding charity, Thirtyone:eight, has been carrying out the review.

Fletcher, an influential evangelical, was last year said to have been involved in physical beatings, massages and other activities which he called ‘light-hearted forfeits’ — a claim dismissed by other evangelicals, including Melvin Tinker and Pete Sanlon, Justin Humphreys, chief executive of Thirtyone:eight, has now withdrawn as a speaker at the Anglican evangelical ReNew Conference on 14 September, saying it would cause victims further distress.

Meanwhile the Church of England is also investigating the Archbishop of Canterbury’s handling of allegations of abuse by the late John Smyth QC, who was well-known to Fletcher. All three were involved in the Iwerne Camps for top public schoolboys.

An “outrageousness of the silence” by senior evangelicals over Fletcher and Smyth are claims made by Melvin Tinker and Peter Sanlon respond to Evangelicals Now’s report on the Jonathan Fletcher affair. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/fletcher-findings-way

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For another eminent piece on Feeding the Flock and Fighting the Wolves, I would point you to a brilliant piece by Melvin Tinker. Here is a sample paragraph: “The solemn task of the pastor to promote the kindness of orthodoxy and counter the cruelty of heresy is an onerous one. It requires diligent study and careful communication. It will draw opprobrium in a culture where ‘it is forbidden to forbid’ and the unholy trinity of pluralism, relativism and subjectivism hold sway so that truth, like beauty, is considered to be in the eye of the beholder. It will almost certainly be a barrier to ‘preferment’ in the established church.” You can read more here:
https://virtueonline.org/genuine-ministry-feeding-flock-and-fighting-wolves

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APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN

 

OPEN LETTER – To Be Released August 2020

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” 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, 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, Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYMONDS, Richard W.

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Open 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

AUGUST 1 2020 – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND INVESTIGATING CLAIM ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY FAILED TO ACT ON ABUSE ALLEGATIONS” – THE INDEPENDENT

“CHURCH OF ENGLAND INVESTIGATING CLAIM ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY FAILED TO ACT ON ABUSE ALLEGATIONS” – THE INDEPENDENT

Justin Welby worked as dormitory officer at summer camps where late John Smyth allegedly met abuse victims

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby ( PA )

 

The Church of England is investigating how the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby handled allegations against the head of a Christian charity accused of carrying out sadomasochistic attacks on young boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

The church launched an independent review last year into claims the late John Smyth QC had stripped young men naked and beat them violently in his garden shed after befriending them at summer holiday camps.

One of those claiming to have been abused has now written to the Church of England, claiming Mr Welby – who worked as a dormitory officer at the camps – had failed to refer the allegations to social services and the police.

Accusing the archbishop of “inaction”, the unnamed man told Channel 4 News: “I find it very difficult to understand why he still has permission to officiate and can still minister.”

A Church of England spokesperson said: “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.”

 

Read more

The statement added: “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 church launched the Makin Review after alleged victims first came forward in the media in 2017 to accuse Smyth of carrying out sadomasochistic attacks after meeting them at summer camps run by the Iwerne Trust – an evangelical Church of England organisation.

At the time Mr Welby issued an “unreserved and unequivocal” apology on behalf of the Anglican church and revealed he had worked at the holiday camps.

The archbishop said he became friends with Smyth in the late 1970s, when Mr Welby was a dormitory officer and Smyth was one of the main leaders at the Iwerne holiday camps. Lambeth Palace said they had since exchanged “the occasional card”.

In April 2020, the Titus Trust, which took over the running of the camps from the disbanded Iwerne Trust, said it had agreed a settlement with three men who had suffered what the Trust described as “appalling abuse” by Smyth – who died in 2018.

The unnamed man who has raised the formal complaint against Mr Welby said: “The Makin Review into John Smyth won’t be out until next year, which will be nine years after I came forward.”

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.”

 

UPDATE 30.07.20 A previous version of this article reported that John Smyth QC was alleged to have abused young men at Christian holiday camps. While Mr Smyth met the men at the camps, the alleged abuse took place at his home. The article has been amended accordingly. 

Dec 22 2019 – “Church Safeguarding – Not a prayer” – Private Eye

download (31)

Church House Westminster

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/update-on-safe-spaces-following-media-report/#comments

Update on Safe Spaces following media report

The Church of England issued the press release below today. It appears to be in response to an article in Private Eye which was tweeted here yesterday.

Update on Safe Spaces following media report
21/12/2019

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team said: “Safe Spaces is planned as a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse across the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

“The delay in progressing the support service, first officially discussed in 2014, is a matter of regret which the Church of England acknowledges and apologises for. But since the appointment of a project manager and the creation of the Safe Spaces Management Board last year eight survivor representatives from across both Churches are involved in ensuring we find the right organisation to deliver the project.

“Their knowledge, skill and personal experience in shaping the model for Safe Spaces alongside their commitment and support for the procurement process is integral to finding the right organisation to deliver the project.

“All grant money from both churches and ATL has been ring fenced for the project and no money from the £592,000 grant has been spent to date, and no new company has been set up. Pre set-up costs, procurement, project management and development are separate to this and the cost is being shared across both Churches.

“Following an initial procurement process, the Board has agreed that it would not be recommending the appointment of a preferred supplier to deliver the project; this decision was taken in partnership with the survivor representatives.

“Over the coming weeks the Board in partnership with survivors will agree the next steps and the best way forward. Survivor voices remain central to any future success of this new service and their welfare and support is an absolute priority for the Church in its continuing safeguarding work.

“Both churches are committed to supporting survivors of church-related abuse and providing an independent national service for survivors of any form of church-related abuse.”

COMMENTS
Janet Fife

‘since the appointment of a project manager and the creation of the Safe Spaces Management Board last year eight survivor representatives from across both Churches are involved in ensuring we find the right organisation to deliver the project.’ I’m glad they are involving survivors in this, although I suspect they aren’t asking some who have been most vocal. I’m sure Matt Ineson would have something to say – and until the Church is ready to hear him, and Gilo, and “Graham’, and others, it won’t get very far. But as the project manager and board were appointed ‘last year’ –… Read more »

Martin Sewell

The Church seems to have lost the plot on this. One cannot hear of the delay and the associated costs without a rising sense of anger. Questions must be asked and more importantly – answered. This is not said in a vindictive sense but simply to seek an answer to the plainest of questions. “ How did the main thing cease to be the main thing?” The need was there, the victims known, the resource was available. It ought to have been possible to scope and deliver something for survivors within a year, by any team of competent managers. If… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley

Presumably when she was the Chief Nurse the Bishop of London must have overseen projects far bigger than this one. Why has everyone involved been so inept, had no sense of urgency given their rhetoric on safeguarding. Old school politicians such as Lord Carrington resigned when there were serious failings such as this; why haven’t senior bishops resigned over this pitiful episode? Thank God for Private Eye and a free press!

This doesn’t look good. Depressing really. Am I a fool to be surprised at the prevarication, the EIG involvement and the procurement story, especially 2buy2. “They talk of vanity every one with his neighbour: they do but flatter with their lips, and dissemble in their double heart.” Why not let the survivors run the project completely? OK, I know why not.

May 3 2019 – “More fallout from the Panorama programme” [‘Scandal in the Church of England’] – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Simon Sarmiento

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More fallout from the Panorama programme

More fallout from the Panorama programme

An open letter has been published by Justin Humphreys, chief executive of the charity now known as thirtyone:eight (formerly Churches Child Protection Advisory Service):
An open letter to the leadership of the Church of England following BBC’s Panorama.

…It has been clear for some time that the past cases review conducted between 2007 and 2010 was flawed in a number of respects. For there to be any confusion or uncertainty about what happened to those cases that were identified, often referred to as the ‘Known Cases Lists’ is also inexcusable. The Panorama program did well to uncover what were clearly points of discomfort for the church hierarchy. For key representatives of the Church to either not be able to respond clearly to questions about the number of cases or be unprepared to do so, calls the management of these cases into serious question and makes one wonder who exactly is in control? The need for transparency and true accountability has never been as needed as it is today.

What is needed within the Church of England (and frankly elsewhere across the wider Church and beyond) is authentic leadership. Leadership that is prepared to lead by example in a proactive exercise of self-reflection that leads to open and honest dialogue (particularly with survivors). Leadership that is not governed, coerced or muzzled by either insurers, lawyers or any other stakeholder that may stand to lose from just exposure and open remorse and repentance. This would be the right thing to do!

We may ask, what (or who) is being served by this ongoing catalogue of failures, missed opportunities and resistance to effective change concerning past, present and future safeguarding matters? It certainly cannot be said that survivors are being well-served. It is also of great concern that the Church itself is being further damaged by a continual denial of the truth and avoidance of any tangible reparation.

If the public at large is ever again to say of the Church that it is a safe place, a haven or even a sanctuary for those who are suffering, the Church must be prepared to be laid bare and be held accountable for those things it has failed to do well. This humility would be the greatest strength of the Church in seeking to deal with this sad catalogue of shame. The time has come for those that stand in the way of what Jesus would so clearly have done to be challenged, held accountable and where needed placed elsewhere – where they have less opportunity to exert their negative influence and to stand in the way of the restoration that is desperately needed…

Do read the whole letter.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has written a second blog, this one is titled: Panorama on C/E. Further reflections. Again it’s worth reading in full, but the concluding paragraph says:

…Panorama indicated to us that control of information is a tactic of power still actively employed by the central Church authorities.  The originators of this tactic do not appear to be the bishops themselves but the highly paid Church House officials at the centre of things.   Unfortunately for them, their control of the levers of power was all too easy to spot in both the recent television interviews.    The interview of Archbishop Welby on Channel 4 was, like that of Bishop Hancock, unconvincing and somewhat contrived.  The bishops themselves both had personal integrity and human warmth but nothing could not disguise the fact that they were speaking for someone other than themselves.  The Church cannot continue to go down a path of fielding individuals to act as spokesmen for the institution.  The public want, as far as possible, to encounter real human beings who can speak for the church.  The people of England relate to real people, people who, like them, are living lives of joy mixed with pain.  They will never want to identify with a group when they suspect that the information put out is being manipulated and managed before it is shared with them.  In short, let bishops be bishops, shepherds of the flock, not puppets being controlled by forces that are invisible and are not necessarily working for the good of all.

The Church Times has published a letter from Andrew Graystone which can be found here (scroll down)

Panorama programme won’t be the last scandal

Sir, — Church leaders, from the Archbishops up, acknowledge that the Church is failing in its care of victims of clergy abuse. But ask them who is responsible for sorting out the mess, and nobody knows. Is it the job of the Archbishops’ Council? or the General Synod? or the National Safeguarding Steering Group? or Lambeth Palace? or the House of Bishops? Or is it, perhaps, a matter for each individual diocese?

Everybody points to someone else. Nobody steps forward. After a decade or more of crisis, which continues to eat away at the Church’s standing in society, there has been a complete failure from those in authority to grasp the issue. One reason that some survivors of church abuse are so painfully vocal is that they are filling a vacuum of leadership on this most crucial of issues for the Church.

Monday’s Panorama, with its focus on the shameful mismanagement of abuse in Lincoln diocese, was entitled Scandal in the Church of England. It could have been made at any point in the past decade, and it could have focused on almost any diocese. Stories will continue to emerge, and the scandal of abuse past and present will continue to undermine the Church’s wider mission, until some individual or body takes responsibility and institutes decisive action.

In the mean time, it is victims of abuse, past and present, who bear the cruelty and pain of the Church’s failure.

COMMENTS

Andrew Graystone says in the Church Times: “Church leaders, from the Archbishops up, acknowledge that the Church is failing in its care of victims of clergy abuse. But ask them who is responsible for sorting out the mess, and nobody knows…”

If that is the case, intervention is required by The Supreme Governor of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen – just as the Pope was required to intervene in the Catholic Church.

April 18 2019 – “Smyth abuse – Survivors dispute Welby claim” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/18-april/news/uk/smyth-abuse-survivors-dispute-welby-claim

 

SURVIVORS of abuse perpetrated by John Smyth have written to Lambeth Palace to correct the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that Smyth was “not actually an Anglican” — a comment made during an interview on Channel 4 News last week.

In total, the letter lists 14 points of dispute about the Archbishop’s comments.

During the interview on Friday, which explored the Church of England’s response to Smyth’s abuse, Archbishop Welby said that Smyth “was not actually an Anglican. The church he went to in South Africa was not Anglican, and Iwerne was not part of the Church of England.”

Smyth was living in South Africa when a disclosure of abuse was made in Ely diocese in 2013, and died there last year. He was a former chairman of the Iwerne Trust, which ran holiday camps for boys at English public schools, and is now part of the Titus Trust. A six-month Channel 4 News investigation, broadcast two years ago, found that both the Iwerne Trust and Winchester College had learned of allegations of abuse by Mr Smyth in the 1980s, but failed to report them to the police (News, 10 February 2017).

One of the survivors who wrote to Lambeth Palace this week, Graham*, described the claim that Smyth was not an Anglican as “farcical”, given that he worshipped in the C of E.. The letter tells the Archbishop that Smyth had in fact been a licensed Reader in the diocese of Winchester.

A spokesperson for the diocese of Winchester said: “When the allegations first came to light we reviewed our records. There was nothing to suggest that John Smyth had had a formal role within the diocese and so no further investigation was undertaken.”

Graham also listed the many links between the Iwerne Trust and the C of E, pointing out that survivors in the United Kingdom and trustees of the Trust — some of whom were ordained — had attended Anglican churches.

In his interview, Archbishop Welby said: “The Church of England was never directly involved, but we take responsibility because there was a Church of England clergyman, though not on the payroll, who was in charge of the Iwerne Trust and there were Anglicans there . . .”

He also emphasised that the allegations did not pertain to the Iwerne Trust’s camps — the abuse had taken place at Smyth’s home.

But Archbishop Welby did not mention that the report 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. It described what it called the “beatings” of 22 young men.

“The scale and severity of the practice was horrific . . . eight received about 14,000 strokes: two of them having some 8000 strokes over three years.”

The contents of the report were disclosed to a number of Anglican clergy. Smyth went on to live in Zimbabwe, where he continued to run holiday camps — Zambezi Ministries — and South Africa.

“Had any one of these men spoken out about what they knew, upwards of 60 African children might not have been viciously beaten, and Smyth might have faced the justice he deserved,” the letter says.

Archbishop Welby told Channel 4 News that he had had “no idea” of Smyth’s abuse until 2013. “I heard a report about an allegation of abuse; it was made in Ely diocese, and the Bishop of Ely had contacted the statutory authorities . . . and I wrote to the Primate in South Africa.”

In fact, it was the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, who wrote to the Church in South Africa.

Asked about a promised review, Archbishop Welby told Channel 4 News that it could not take place until the Church had secured the participation of the other organisations involved: a reference to Scripture Union, Winchester College, and the Titus Trust.

“Unless you can get everyone in you are never going to get anywhere near the truth,” he said. “We’ve written to them; we’ve not had answers from all of them; and I would very much like them to reply promptly and quickly, and let’s get on with it and discover what we need to learn.”

Several survivors of Smyth’s abuse have launched a civil claim against the Titus Trust (News, 24 August 2018), and it is understood that the Titus Trust will consider a review only once these have been concluded (News, 1 March).

Graham suggested that it was “perverse that the decision as to which organisations should have the veto on a review has been taken before the review itself, when all of the facts are not yet known”.

He also disputed the Archbishop’s comment that there had been “very rapid contact” with the survivors, and that the bishop in charge of safeguarding and safeguarding officers had met them.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace declined to clarify the Archbishop’s comments but said that he hoped to meet survivors “as soon as possible”.

*Name changed to protect anonymity

 

OTHER STORIES

Sorry not enough, Archbishops’ letter says after IICSA — and a survivor agrees

26 Mar 2018


‘I am ashamed of the Church’, Archbishop Welby admits to IICSA hearing

21 Mar 2018


John Smyth QC, 77, accused of shed beatings, dies in Cape Town

13 Aug 2018


George Bell: the life matched the legacy

01 Feb 2019


UK news in brief

18 May 2018


Archbishop Welby apologises for ‘mistakes’ in case of George Bell

24 Jan 2019

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

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-deluded-beyond-belief-welby-cant-say-sorry-bishop-bell/

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Careful Jules you will be excommunicated.

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

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    Que sera, sera, whatever Welby will be.

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    He is trying to protect the CofE Brand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

 

 

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

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Chichester Observer – December 7 2017 – Letter – Marion Somerville

December 2 2017 – “Bishop Bell delay…What delay?” says the Church – Letters – The Spectator

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“Bishop Bell delay” [Martin Sewell – General Synod Member] – “What delay?” [Bishop Peter Hancock – Safeguarding] – Letters Page – The Spectator – December 2 2017