Tag Archives: Rev Jules Gomes

March 25 2018 – “Truth is the scapegoat for Pilate Welby” – Rev Jules Gomes


Truth is the scapegoat for Pilate Welby

March 24, 2018


Jules Gomes


It is a week before Good Friday. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are re-enacting the Passion Play. The prelates take the part of Pontius Pilate – the archetypal political opportunist around whom pivots the denouement of the Passion. Pilate’s melodramatic and stunningly symbolic ritual of washing his hands has become a colourful and compelling metaphor for the artful evasion of responsibility at the highest level of authority.

Archbishop John Sentamu is standing in a queue before Pilate’s washbasin. He is waiting his turn. A bevy of bishops are dipping their hands into the shallow pool of sophistry and prevarication. They are chanting the absolution from the Church of England’s liturgy for Safeguarding and Child Protection. ‘It’s not my problem. It’s someone else’s problem.’ Amen.

They are shepherds and guardians of the flock. Fr Matthew Ineson is a member of that flock. Ineson complains that another vicar repeatedly raped him when he was 16 years old. He wants the Pilates in purple to give him justice. He appeals to Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster. ‘That bishop did nothing,’ says Ineson. ‘Nothing.’

Ineson hopes that the other magnificent men in mitres will shield him with their staff and apply the balm of Gilead to his wounded soul. Like Bunyan’s Pilgrim he sets off to meet Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield; Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester; Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverly; Roy Williamson, Bishop of Bradford (retired); and finally the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. But each time he says he is shoved into the Slough of Despond and the bishops ceremoniously wash Fr Matt’s muck off their hands.

‘It’s not my problem. It’s someone else’s problem.’ Amen – Absolution from the New Liturgy of Safeguarding

Ineson is calling on the bishops to resign over their handling of his complaints. This month he has been parading Sentamu before the judiciary of the mainstream media, social media andblogosphere. A Data Protection Act request has unearthed amemo that would make Pilate look like an amateur.

The memo deals with Ineson and the suicide of his alleged abuser. It is headed: ‘For the attention of the Archbishop.’ It ends with THERE IS NO NEED FOR YOU TO TAKE ANY ACTION. THE NATIONAL TEAM ARE MANAGING THE CASE. The last box on the memo is for ‘Archbishop’s Response’. The second highest-ranking cleric in the global Anglican Communion sums up his response to the suicide of one priest and the alleged rape of another in a single word: NOTED.

Earlier in the week, Justin Welby has been dragged before theIndependent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Welby is not so foolish as to stand on the balcony of Lambeth Palace with a washbasin and towel. He has watched Sentamu and other bishops wash their hands using distilled water and carbolic soap. He has observed the media backlash.

At the hearing, Fiona Scolding QC socks it to Welby. ‘The other thing that we have seen a lot of in respect of leadership, or some people would say we have seen a lot of, is shifting the blame,’ she says. ‘Yes,’ replies Welby, carefully picking his monosyllable. Scolding lands an uppercut on the archbishop’s jaw. ‘Everybody admitting that it was partly their responsibility and they’re sorry for that, but actually, “It wasn’t really my responsibility and these are the 15 reasons why somebody else was responsible for it”.’ Welby knows when he’s out for the count. ‘Sure,’ he mumbles his second monosyllable.

A Data Protection Act request has unearthed a memo that would make Pilate look like an amateur.

But soon, with Machiavellian cunning, Welby spins Pilate’s washbasin strategy at dizzying speeds like a schoolboy spinning his top. He spits righteous outrage at Pilate’s washbasin. ‘Nobody can say it is not my fault. It is so absurd,’ says Welby. ‘To say, “I have heard about a problem but it was someone else’s job to report it”, that is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response. If you know a child is being abused, not to report it is simply wrong, for every human being.’ Bravo, bravissimo, Archbishop Justin!

Ineson tweets back to the Arch of Cant: ‘Tell that to @JohnSentamu who ignored my disclosure & 5 years on (5 years my abuser was left to abuse again) now says it wasn’t his job, it was @Steven_croft’s. Problem is neither of them have the decency to apologise & @c_of_e hasn’t got the decency to hold them to account.’

He’s right. Aren’t these just ‘words, words, words’ that sicken Eliza Doolittle? Why isn’t Welby calling for the resignation of his opposite number in York?

Ah! But what if this is precisely what Welby is doing? The mob on the portico of Pilate’s palace is baying for Jesus’s blood. The best way to feed the hungry sharks is to throw them a steak. Pilate gives the mob a choice. He lines up a terrorist named Jesus Barabbas alongside Jesus of Nazareth. Pilate is not too fussed about whom the crowd will choose. After all, they have the same first name, ‘Jesus’!

Why isn’t Welby calling for the resignation of his opposite number in York?

Barabbas is Pilate’s joker in the pack. With Faustian foresight Welby has struck a bargain with Mephistopheles and crucified other bishops at the altar of public relations – the dead Bishop George Bell and former Archbishop George Carey. Now it’s time to throw Sentamu to the sharks. If he has not shredded every fibre of self-respect, though, Sentamu should resign immediately.

Pilate is a postmodernist. He has three principles. Power is absolute. Truth is relative. Survival is non-negotiable. Pilate makes Jesus of Nazareth the scapegoat that allows him to survive in power at the expense of truth.

After scapegoating Bell and Carey, Welby magically produces a number of sacrificial lambs he can lead straight to the slaughter. He pretends the problem is factionalism. ‘A lot of it goes down to tribalism within the Church. Different groups who felt the liberty of defending their own position, right or wrong.’ To claim that tribalism leads to sexual abuse is a high jump of faith only an Olympic athlete would attempt. Welby’s solution is to ‘introduce diversity in training’.

He blames clergy and laity in the parish. The Twitterati erupts with indignation. ‘This is appalling deflection. It’s not PCCs, CWs and Parish Clergy who have routinely undermined safeguarding protocols, passed the buck and allowed space for child abuse to continue is it. No, it’s Bishops and Archdeacons. Blame the small guys. Nothing changes,’ tweets Gareth Jones, Crown Court Chaplain.

Ultimately, the real scapegoat is truth. ‘What is truth?’ asks Welby, in his poshest Roman accent. Pilate survives to this day. Every time we recite the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed we remember that Jesus was ‘crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate’. And at every rock concert when the heavy metal group Megadeth belt out their song Elysian Fields from the Youthanasia album, they are singing the line ‘Pontius Pilate is still washing his hands . . .’

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


Rev Jules Gomes


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

December 17, 2017


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)

Bishop pursues witch-hunt against former Church of England Priest


SODOR AND MAN: Bishop Pursues Witch-hunt against Former CofE Priest
Rt. Rev. Robert Paterson leaves office in ten days

By David Virtue DD
October 18, 2016

A witch-hunt against former Canon Theologian Dr Jules Gomes is being pursued by Bishop Robert Paterson ten days before the bishop’s farewell service in the Diocese of Sodor and Man.

But last month’s Church of England ruling on freemasonry could undermine the tribunal since one of the tribunal members is a freemason and one of the allegations against Dr Gomes is his opposition to freemasonry during his time in the Diocese of Southwark.

The only cleric from the diocese, Rev Clive Burgess, has already withdrawn from the tribunal and no other cleric from the diocese is willing to replace him.

Last month, Dr Gomes and his wife were forced to call the police complaining of harassment after they continued to receive letters at their new home sent by registered post and hand delivery from the Bishop’s Office.

The crisis facing the tribunal when it sits from October 19-21 is the presence of Nigel Cretney, a diocesan Reader, who is a freemason. Last month, Chancellor Geoffrey Tattersall, who is also the judge on the tribunal against Dr Gomes, refused to grant a faculty for the addition of a Masonic symbol to a memorial.

In his ruling he quoted a General Synod report stating that it was ‘clear that some Christians have found the impact of Masonic rituals disturbing and a few perceive them as positively evil.’ Tattersall agreed that General Synod ‘decided that there were a number of very fundamental reasons to question the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity.’

“If this is what he has ruled, how can he permit the presence of a freemason on the tribunal and that too when he would clearly be biased against me because of a charge that I was opposed to freemasonry?” Dr Gomes told VOL.

Dr Gomes argues that since he is no longer a member of the Church of England and since he holds holy orders from the Church of North India, the tribunal has no jurisdiction over him. He has refused to attend the hearing on these grounds.

Sources estimate that over £20,000 has already been spent by the cash-strapped diocese on the dispute which Bishop Paterson and Archdeacon Andie Brown have insisted on continuing 10 months after Dr Gomes resigned from his position as Vicar of Castletown and Arbory.

A number of prominent lawyers have voiced serious concerns about the nature of the Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Gomes. Paul Beckett, the Isle of Man’s leading advocate on human rights, had earlier raised concerns of breaches of human rights, which were dismissed out of hand by the church authorities from the outset.

Christopher Kinley, another leading Manx advocate, said that the public would be surprised to learn that the church had spent many thousands of pounds out of the collection plate pursuing Dr Gomes, even though he had left the Church of England, and the tribunal in practice had no sanction against Dr Gomes in the event it did find against him.

Dr Gomes claims that the bishop and archdeacon filed the CDM against him to scupper Dr Gomes’ own petition of doleance to Tynwald from going ahead. Dr Gomes had petitioned Tynwald in July 2015, calling for an investigation into allegations of racism, bullying and harassment. If Tynwald had proceeded with the petition, Bishop Robert Paterson might have had to face a select committee.

“The timing is carefully calibrated to coincide with the bishop’s departure so there will be no possibility of Tynwald appointing a select committee to investigate charges of bullying and harassment against Bishop Paterson,” said Dr Gomes.

The CDM filed by Archdeacon Andie Brown contain allegations against Dr Gomes of losing his temper with the church cleaner Andrea Quine; doing ministry while a full-time PhD student at Cambridge University without Permission to Officiate; making allegations against the Bishop and Archdeacon in the media, accusing another priest of using ‘racist epithets’ and allowing his wife and others to develop an online petition against the bishop and archdeacon. Two of these allegations have since been dismissed.

“The allegations are so trivial that the entire procedure is Kafkaesque,” said Dr Gomes. “If the church is seen to be doing justice, other people who have committed similar offences need to be brought to book. Why was no action taking against the bishop for losing his temper at Synod? Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, lost his temper with me and shouted at me when I was serving under him at Liverpool Cathedral. We were good friends after that,” Dr Gomes told VOL.

VOL has discovered that the CDM filed against Bishop Paterson by senior Manx priest Fr Robert Ferguson accused the bishop of ‘aggressive gestures, verbal threats and intimidation’ after Bishop Paterson lost his temper at a meeting of the Diocesan Synod on May 11, 2010. The CDM describes how Churchwarden Teresa Wills said she thought the bishop was going to hit her after he ‘slammed his papers down and shouted at us a series of abusive comments.’

A senior lawyer from England who has seen the CDM against Dr Gomes referred to the complaint as ‘a trawl to find things to complain about.’ ‘Almost the entirety of this complaint is hearsay. Almost the entirety of this complaint relates to people who do not think that it is sufficiently important to complain themselves,’ he observed.

Dr Gomes said he wished to express his profound gratitude to all who have supported him through this traumatic time, the Management Team and members of St Augustine’s Church and especially Paul Beckett and Christopher Kinley, “my advocates who have offered much of their time pro bono and are exceptionally talented lawyers.”

When contacted by the local newspaper on the Isle of Man the Bishop’s Office declined to comment.

“The Church of England smears saints and shields scoundrels” by Rev Jules Gomes


Rev Jules Gomes: The C of E smears saints and shields scoundrels

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It produced the best of bishops; it produced the worst of bishops. One was a saint; the other a scoundrel. One was the spring of hope; the other was the winter of despair. One was going direct to heaven; the other was going direct the other way.

How would Dickens end this tale of two bishops? He would glorify the saint and vilify the scoundrel. How does the Church of England end this tale of two bishops? It smears the saint and shields the scoundrel. It requires a miracle to turn a Dickensian narrative into a Kafkaesque nightmare. The hierarchy of the C of E is used to performing such miracles on a smaller scale—its autocracy, bureaucracy and mediocracy regularly turns wine into water. Just type “Church of England” into that omniscient oracle “Google” and read the results.

This is the tale of two bishops: Bishop Bell and Bishop Ball. Bishop George Bell was the Bishop of Chichester and a great friend and supporter of my hero Dietrich Bonhöffer in his resistance to Adolf Hitler. Were it not for his principled opposition to the blanket-bombing of Dresden, Bell would have been elevated to the See of Canterbury. ‘To despair of being able to do anything, or refuse to do anything, is to be guilty of infidelity,’ he wrote. His words have pricked my calloused conscience when I have been tempted to cower before power. I got to know Bell a great deal more when I read Eric Metaxas’ biography of the German pastor who dared to defy the Nazis—Bonhöffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

Bishop Peter Ball? Bishop who? I had never even heard the name until newspaper headlines screamed it out in 2015. Only then I learned that Ball was suffragan Bishop of Lewes and diocesan Bishop of Gloucester.

That’s when the story takes a Kafkaesque twist. In the case of George Bell, an unidentified woman, known only as ‘Carol’ first complained in 1995 that Bell had sexually abused her when she was five. Carol is now 70. But it was only when she wrote to Archbishop Justin Welby in 2013 that the C of E went into safeguarding overdrive and its sainted bishop was pronounced a paedophile overnight. Carol received £15,000 as compensation. The Child Protection Gestapo went on a cleansing spree and adopted a scorched earth policy to buildings, schools and other institutions named after Bell.

In the case of Bishop Ball, an identified individual, Neil Todd, first complained in 1993, about the horrific sexual and sadistic abuse he had suffered at the hands of Peter Ball. The C of E went into cover-up overdrive. Leading establishment figures, including senior clergy, colluded to protect Bishop Ball. A BBC report said that ‘another person in the church who helped one of Ball’s victims tried to raise concerns with 13 different bishops who appeared to take no action.’ It was only through the heroic persistence of priests like the Revd Graham Sawyer, one of Ball’s victims, that Ball was sentenced in October 2015 to 32 months in prison for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men between 1977 and 1992.

If there is one institution that ought to be a beacon of justice it ought to be the church. This is because its foundational text, the Bible, has justice at its very heart. It is the Bible that was instrumental in giving birth to many of the principles of Western jurisprudence.

Most prominent is the principle of equal justice under the law. ‘You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s,’ declares Deuteronomy. Exodus backs this up. ‘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’. Leviticus echoes this. ‘You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour’.

Equally important is the principle of evidence. Rabbinic exegesis on the Tower of Babel story in Genesis points to the verse where ‘the Lord came down to see the city and the tower’ which the citizens of Babel had built. Rashi, the great eleventh-century rabbi, used this as a basis for evidence in a trial: ‘And the Lord came down to see—He really did not need to do this, but Scripture intends to teach the judges that they should not proclaim a defendant guilty before they have seen the case and thoroughly understood the matter in question.’

Other legal texts in the Bible take this further when discussing the role of witnesses. ‘A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense 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.

So why did at least one archbishop and a number of bishops allegedly close ranks and collude in an act of partiality to protect Ball when there were so many witnesses against him? On the other hand, why did the C of E pronounce Bell guilty when a single uncorroborated witness testified against him? Why has the evidence not been made public? Bell could not defend himself from the grave. Has the politics of expediency replaced biblical principles and the ethics of a fair trial in the way the church conducts its legal and disciplinary procedures?

After much pressure from a cadre of eminent lawyers, commentators, writers, and members of the House of Lords, the C of E finally agreed to an independent review of the Bell case at the end of June 2016. A gaggle of incompetent and frightened bishops who have tarnished Bell’s reputation now have to contend with historian Andrew Chandler’s meticulously researched and recently published biographyGeorge Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship. Chandler ends on a note that any historian, judge or journalist would be wise to heed when judging Bishop Bell.

‘The allegation of 2015 is anomalous. Indeed, it seems to exist in its own world, evidently uncorroborated by any other independent source. It also remains unique, for apparently no other such accusation has arisen. In sum, we are asked to invest an entire authority in one testimony and to dismiss all the materials by which we have come to know the historical George Bell as mere figments of reputation. The corollary of such a method may now be witnessed in the hasty removal of his name or image from public institutions and commemorations. It may simply be observed here that such iconoclastic activities are not unknown to historians of other, far darker, times and contexts.’

For the Church of England, it is indeed, the worst of times.


Rev Jules Gomes

The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes is pastor of St Augustine’s Church, Douglas, on the Isle of Man.