Tag Archives: Marilyn Billingham

Nov 24 2019 -“Chichester Cathedral moves to restore Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Martin Sewell

Chichester Cathedral moves to restore Bishop George Bell

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Chichester Cathedral

CRANMER’S ‘CURATE’S EGG’ COMMENTS

  • Well in the case of Bishop Bell daylight should have been allowed into this long ago. I firmly believe if you want to accuse you do so in the light of common day, not in the shadows of anonymity. And nor do I believe that the Church, nor anyone else for that matter, should be sending fat cheques for allegations which have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

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      This was a civil proceeding and claim, not a criminal case. Out of court settlements happen all the time without acceptance of culpability or liability. The error in this instance was not the payment (which was small given the nature of the allegations) but the Church of England accepting the claims were credible and that George Bell was guilty. There was no need for Welby to say he could not, with integrity, clear Bell’s name.

      To be honest, having been in similar situations, Jack has some empathy with Welby’s statement:

      “We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

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        I agree. For many reasons the CoE made a grotesque mess of its handling of this case, but it is worth asking what should have been done that wasn’t. In my view, (1) ‘Carol’ should have been told: “We are not pre-judging anything but we need to cross-examine you, because someone who has genuinely been abused and a golddigger would say the same thing, and cross-examination will give us more information to distinguish. Can you see why we require that?” And (2) That reporter who said others had been abused in a local newspaper should have been followed up by the enquiry, no matter how many phone calls had gone unreturned.

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          What should have been done ? That is patently obvious: ‘Carol’s’ story should have been rigorously examined and she should have been made to make her accusations in the light of common day, not in this hole in corner manner. Bishop Bell deserved far better than this nonsense. I think the lessons of ‘Nick’ should be heeded and those who claim to have been abused in 1892 or whenever should not be believed without their story being tested properly. And the last thing that ought to be done is sending fat cheques. Time to derail the compensation gravy train.

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          Any decent qualified child protection expert assessing this woman’s allegations, would have tested her account. “Cross examination” is an adversarial process intended to discredit and undermine. Truth and justice isn’t always the outcome. For victims of abuse, this can be harmful and traumatic. This matter was settled and didn’t go to court – civil or criminal. If it had gone to a civil court, given that George Bell was dead and the action would have been against the Church of England, it would have been the Church who would have been “cross examining” the claimant and seeking to undermine her testimony. As Jack said, he empathises with Welby in this situation.

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            I mean the same by “cross examination” as you mean by “testing her account”. I agree with the words of Welby you have quoted, but overall I believe he grotesquely mispresided over the matter.

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              In going public with George Bell’s name? He argued that when the details eventually became public at the inquiry, the Church would have been accused of a cover-up. And he was right in this. His error was in stating (or implying) that he believed Bell was guilty when there was no clear evidence for this.

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    At IICSA Justin Welby said “We’ve got to learn to put actions behind the words because ‘sorry’ is pretty cheap.”
    He also said that he had apologised to me in person at lambeth palace in November 2016. He did not. Neither my solicitor or myself remember an apology and the minutes for the meeting, taken by a member of the nst, record no apology. This meeting was 7 months before Devamanikkam was even charged (and nobody knew if he would be). Was Justin Welby so convinced of Devamanikkams guilt that he apologised to me 7 months in advance of charges? This is not likely.
    Further an internal memo (obtained through a subject access request) from the same member of the nst dated April 2018 clearly states that no apology had been issued.
    So was Justin Welby mistaken, badly briefed or deliberately telling an untruth to the inquiry?
    The ‘letter’ Justin Welby produced (a few minutes before the start of the hearing despite there being months to prepare statements and hand in documentary evidence) , which I have never received, was a fudge anyway and the barrister asked Justin Welby if that was an apology or the beginning of one.
    I was sat behind him the whole time but he never turned round once.
    I have still had no formal apology despite being raped by a vicar in a vicarage. I would not want that regurgitated excuse now anyway.
    If apologies are so cheap..then do it along with restorative action that is appropriate.
    The truth is that any apology now would be worthless because it would have had to be dragged out of Mr Welby or Mr Sentamu. It is a cold, cold heart that behaves like this.
    Raped by a vicar in a vicarage as a youngster and the archbishop, nor any of the other bishops who have acted shabbily and shambolicly can even say sorry. I was right in my observations at iicsa….not fit for office.

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    About time too! Any idea when George Bell’s statue will be unveiled at Canterbury cathedral? A great Dean and a great Bishop. Let’s hope that his hymn – “Christ is the king” will have been sung today in many churches and cathedrals on Christ the King/Stir up Sunday.

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    When is Welby resigning?

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    The guide book has been changed. Good.
    Central to justice for George Bell is the fight against those who judge the past, without sufficient evidence or context, by the standards of today, to buy approval and signal virtue.

    If you can see this in the case of George Bell, Martin, why do you still support us repenting for the acts of slave traders, antisemites and persecutors of homosexuals? These things were done in different times by other people. To suggest that we bear guilt is just another form of injustice and stupidity.

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      Absolutely agree, Chef. The biblical, godly principle is that each person is responsible for his (or her) own wrongdoing or sin, and no-one elses’s. The instruction given in Deut.24:16, 2Ki.14:6, and 2Chr.25:4, while expressed within a context where the death penalty was implemented, gives a principle of personal responsibility that applies in contexts where other penalties are implemented.

      The requirement for retrospective grovelling apology for wrongdoings that are not a particular person’s fault or responsibility is a form of guilt manipulation that needs to be resisted with full determination, no matter what the force of social coercion applied to that person to perform an act which is nothing but virtue-signalling. Justice demands that the innocent should not be punished, but the guilt-manipulating coercing social mob cares nothing for justice, but only for vindictive, unjustified punishment.

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June 6 2019 – “Welcome To George Bell House” – 80th Anniversary Midday Event – 4 Canon Lane- Chichester

‘JUSTICE FOR GEORGE BELL’ PETITION

https://www.change.org/p/the-dean-chapter-of-chichester-cathedral-justice-for-george-bell-479a626f-47aa-400d-8fc3-61b19fcc5d98?use_react=false

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Professor Peter Billingham of Chichester and Revd James Grayson of Sheffield hold the banner aloft.

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Professor Peter Billingham and Marilyn Billingham of Chichester and Revd James Grayson and Ruth Grayson  of Sheffield changing the banner’s position.

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Professor Peter Billingham of Chichester and Revd James Grayson of Sheffield re-positioning the banner.

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Picture of George Bell House before 2015 – Alamy

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Leaflet 1 handed out at the ‘Welcome to George Bell House’ 80th Anniversary event – June 6 2019

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Leaflet 2 handed out at the ‘Welcome to George Bell House’ 80th Anniversary event – June 6 2019

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“A Significant Cloud over the Bell Tower at Chichester Cathedral” ~ RWS Photography

CATHEDRAL PROTEST 3 YEARS AGO – SUNDAY APRIL 4 2016

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14401570.group-want-new-look-into-case-of-late-bishop/

 

December 17 2017 – BBC Radio 4 – Sunday – Edward Stourton [Chichester’s Marilyn Billingham on Bishop Bell]

radio4

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jbrvn

France’s crumbling cathedrals, Bishop George Bell, the Religion of Mike Pence

Sunday morning religious news and current affairs programme presented by Edward Stourton.

 

Podcast

“The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – Church Times – Letters – 26 August 2016

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The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock

From the Diocesan Secretary of Chichester

Sir, – Marilyn Billingham (Letters, 19 August)

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2016/19-august/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

asks for an explanation of the basis on which the settlement of the claim made against Bishop George Bell was made public.

As the Bishop of Horsham, the deputy Lead Safeguarding Bishop for the Church of England, explained last year (Letters, 11 December 2015),

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2015/11-december/comment/letters-to-the-editor/church-statement-on-bishop-george-bell

“Had we not published – and others would – we would also rightly have been criticised.”

In addition, the concern that there might be other victims, and the concern that to keep silent would have made us complicit in maintaining in public an image of Bishop Bell on which doubt had now been cast, meant that publication was important.

The diocese of Chichester participated in that decision and supported the national Church’s media release. A fuller explanation of the decision to settle with the survivor, and then to publish, can be found in a blog published last month by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler ( http://cofecomms.tumblr.com/post/147338306887/further-points-on-the-george-bell-case ).

I would add that the Church shares the police’s regret that Bishop Bell’s niece was not informed before publication. The Bishop of Chichester apologised to her in January for the failure of the Church’s efforts to trace family members, shortly after she made herself known.

GABRIELLE HIGGINS

Diocesan Church House, 211 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4ED

The Church Times Letter – Marilyn Billingham – August 19 2016

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Chichester needs to explain itself, publicly

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2016/19-august/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

From Marilyn Billingham
Sir, — The police are to say sorry to the surviving niece of Bishop George Bell because they did not take steps to let her know that the investigation about her uncle’s alleged abuse of a child in the late 1940s was to be made public. This much has been reported accurately in the national press and in the press local to Chichester. The police said far more than this, however.

In a letter to the journalist Peter Hitchens, prompted by his cor­respondence with the Police Crime Commissioner’s Office, the Head of Sussex Police Professional Stand­ards Department stated that the handling of this affair was “com­plicated by the fact that the release was generated by the diocese, with whom (the police acknowledge) they should have been working more closely”.

Further, she continues, “It was never our intention to be pro-active; in other words, there was no intention to release a police state­ment about the alleged criminality of Bishop Bell.” The police, how­­ever, were asked by the diocese to make a statement — a statement which, they now acknowledge, was less than clear, and “could be con­sidered contradictory”.

The people of Chichester diocese and your readers deserve a clear explanation about the basis on which the diocesan office made public this alleged uncorroborated crime that the police were not plan­ning to pursue, and why, despite this, they have continued to bes­mirch the reputation of a man who can no longer defend himself.