Comments: media coverage of the Chichester visitation report

I have yet to read all of this, but, from what I have gleaned thus far there is no sense yet that we have found out all that is yet to be found out. Comments about "tip of the iceberg" are extremely concerning.

My question is: is this diocese so very different from all others that there was a uniquely concerning set of circumstances created in Chichester? Did it become a mecca for paedophile clergy because of its known laxity? And if not, then are there a load more revelations to come about abuse, and, just as worryingly, about diocesan failures in other places? It seems implicitly unlikely that one diocese is so radically the "bad apple" - but I hope I am wrong.

Second area of concern: the ungovernability of the diocese. What on earth has been going on? How can this be? And shouldn't there be resignations? Or did he retire two days ago?

Last of all - even the Sun reported this story. Admittedly, the headline "Diocese perve rap" over one short para was not going to plumb the depths of the fine print - but it is an indication that this sort of story is on the national radar. A robust and serious response was what was needed - thank goodness we are getting one.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 6:16am BST

Jeremy,

I couldn't have put it better!

Posted by David Shepherd at Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 10:00am BST

Jeremy asks

"Did it become a mecca for paedophile clergy because of its known laxity?"

While I don't think we can be complacent about it, it is a known feature of serial child sex offenders that they seek each other out, network and pass around information about accessing children or material about children.

Therefore the information that a particular organisation is lax about child protection will be passed around.

This is what makes objections by Christians 'on principle' to having routine child protection checks so dangerous. Of course any system of checking will have limitations, but the fact that it is in place and imposed across the board is in itself a safeguard against people who are looking for 'soft' organisations to target. It has the same effect as a burglar alarm on a house. Of course if someone is determined to break into the house they will find a way to do it, but it is a big deterrent against opportunist criminals who will look for somewhere easier.

Posted by Pam Smith at Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 12:31pm BST

One of the really sad things about all of this, is that, almost inevitably, paedophilia will be connected in the minds of heterosexuals with the phenomenon of homosexuality. What has to be sorted out is the difference between the two.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 3 September 2012 at 12:18pm BST
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