Comments: House of Bishops meeting reports

"[A] report from FAOC on “Diversity, Difference and Serious Disagreement in the Life of the Church”"? Is anyone holding their breath?

Posted by DBD at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 9:38am BST

Does an official Church of England press release really refer to the Anglican Consultative Council as the Anglican Communion Council?

Posted by Jesse Zink at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 9:52am BST

Jesse, sadly the answer is Yes. But now that you have pointed it out, I expect it will get corrected.

11 am update: Correction has now happened :-)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 10:07am BST

+Bishop Sarah uses the noun "survivor" a number of times. If one of my relatives had not survived the experience but had taken his/her life, I would find very upsetting the exclusive use of "survivor" to refer to those affected with no mention in the press release of the unknown number who did not survive.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 12:53pm BST

Kate, 'survivor' is the generally accepted terminology in the field for referring to those who have lived through abuse. I have quibbles with the term as a survivor myself, but +Sarah is just using standard language.

Posted by Junia at Friday, 27 May 2016 at 9:43am BST

I, too, have 'quibbles', but more than just quibbles (and for a different reason from Kate), with the use of the word 'survivor'. It assumes the truth of the allegation, and in historic cases, where, many years later, evidence properly to assess the allegation may not be available, there is a danger of unjustly naming someone as an abuser.

It is now reasonably clear that this is the position with the allegation of child sex abuse made against the late and much revered Bishop of Chichester, George Bell. Anyone reading the statement put out by the Church of England media centre on 22 October 2015, in which the unnamed complainant (a much better word) is repeatedly referred to as "the survivor", would be forgiven for taking the statement as one that assumed Bishop Bell's guilt (despite subsequent protestations and explanations by and on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester that this has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.)

There is now a cogent case, set out in the 'Review' dated 18 March 2016 conducted by the George Bell Group (http://www.georgebellgroup.org/review/), in particular in the light of the inconsistencies exposed by the interview given by 'Carol' to the Brighton Argus in February 2016, that Bishop Bell's reputation has been unjustly traduced. There is a crying need for the Diocese now to recognise that it may have got it wrong and to accept the need for an independent inquiry into the way it conducted its investigation into 'Carol's' complaint and a re-examination of all the evidence now available. A petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury "(1) To call on the Church of England to allow a fuller investigation before considering the case against Bishop Bell closed. This includes re-examining the evidence against Bishop Bell, and (2) To ensure fair and just procedures are in place for the future", has so far attracted 1,764 signatures:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester.

This case shows how the 'backlash' following the revelations against the late Jimmy Savile and in the light of the past failures of the C of E to investigate allegations of child sex abuse (especially in Chichester Diocese), must not be allowed to usurp the presumption of innocence. It may well be that 'Carol' (now in her 70s) was abused as a child but that George Bell is the victim of mistaken identity. The late Bishop's reputation and memory deserve a proper re-examination of the evidence, which should not await any investigation which may (or may not) be part of the Goddard inquiry.

Posted by David Lamming at Sunday, 29 May 2016 at 5:02pm BST
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