Comments: Archbishop and sexual abuse survivor exchange letters

What an extraordinary man Gilo is, and what a gift to the Church he makes by being willing to engage in this very clever way.
His perspective needs to be brought into the very highest levels of church leadership. Perhaps he should be made Bishop of London (after ordination first, assuming he is a layman).
Clearly that is a somewhat light-hearted suggestion, but it may take some similarly dramatic step to show that the Church is indeed committed to change.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Monday, 4 December 2017 at 8:19pm GMT

The comments below Gilo's latest letter to Justin are very powerful and persuasive.

Real leadership is needed now, from the top. Failing that, ground rules should be insisted upon by General Synod.

I work in a school with 1200 students. If we have any slightest concern, each staff member knows this has to be reported.

It should be a non-negotiable, without any presupposition of guilt or innocence. It's just the right thing to do. Not to necessarily report can shield wrong-doers, and also prevents authorities identifying emerging patterns of behaviour from various sources.

The process should not be kept "in-house". That's where things have sometimes gone wrong in the past. If someone files a complaint of abuse, there should be no ifs or buts. They need to know their problem will be passed on and investigated by an independent third party, outwith the organisation. Where such a process is mandatory, it may give the person more confidence to come forward.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 4 December 2017 at 8:40pm GMT

This is heartbreaking in so many ways: for Gilo of course, for what it says about the institution that I am almost ashamed to work for, and for its apparatchiks, who seem sometimes to have forgotten Micah 6:8 - which should be branded on us all. Daily.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Monday, 4 December 2017 at 9:57pm GMT

I agree that mandatory reporting should be required if there's reasonable cause to suspect abuse, but the mandate can only come from a legislature, backed by the force of law; otherwise, it's toothless. This is a perfect example of why institutions can't be relied on to police themselves.

In other words, this is a matter for the British parliament, not an archbishop.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 4 December 2017 at 11:07pm GMT

Any further news on when the Carlile Report will be published as it is now two months since it was delivered?
Food to hear Bishop Philip North giving Thought for the Day on the wireless this week - give that man a diocese!

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 8:07am GMT

Another Martin Sewell piece:

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 11:29am GMT

Father David,

they tried, some folk said no!

Graeme Buttery

Posted by Graeme Buttery at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 11:41am GMT

What a heartening set of responses - and what a contrast to official responses from the C of E!

About 3 weeks ago I wrote to the Archbishops supporting Gilo's and Jayne Ozanne's letters, and telling a little of my own experiences. The Safeguarding Team at Lambeth are now in touch and looking into matters, and I appreciate that. I await the results. But so far I have had nothing in writing, and no acknowledgement at all from the Archbishops. I know they are busy, but they seem to be making higher priority of the Reform and Renewal programme than of responses to safeguarding disclosures. Which is ironic, because safeguarding and response to survivors is perhaps the area most in urgent need of reform and renewal. What point is there in rearranging the living room furniture when the skeletons are bursting out of the cellar?

I support MR, debate and action by Synod, and a Truth and Reconciliation process. But one simple suggestion to begin with: Why can't the Archbishops draft a short letter of initial response, expressing thanks for the information and concern for the discloser, promising an investigation without prejudice as to the results? Such a letter could be tweaked as to details and signed by the Archbishop/s, or by a senior member of staff in the Archbishop's absence and on his/their behalf. Their reluctance to personally respond is giving the impression they really aren't interested and don't want to know. Which may be the case, of course, but it's neither Christlike nor politic.

Posted by Janet Fife at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 11:48am GMT

As an institution, we just don't get it, do we? After reading this thread, last night, I listened to a report on Radio 4, this morning, of the National Abuse Inquiry, where the Abbot of Ampleforth was being grilled about actions he did - and did not take - over a priest about whom allegation had been made.

Gilo's pain (and impressive tenacity) is striking, and how chastened we must be. The Archbishop's letter really does not convey anything like what it should (he needs to find a more articulate and empathetic person to do his drafting).

Nonetheless (as I put my tin hat on... but also await the publication of the Carlile Report) behind the Archbishops 'complex' plea, we should not forget those people (small in number, I know, but each human life is precious) who have been the subject of allegations, who have committed suicide under the strain of being named, and then it has been subsequently proved that the allegations were baseless. Justice has to work both ways.

Posted by Michael Mulhern at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 12:29pm GMT

RE the Carlile Report, see here

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 12:53pm GMT

This reminds me of words from a Guardian Leader of more than a decade ago, after another revelation about events surrounding the 'weapons dossier' that dogged Tony Blair's government:

"[This] can often mark the point at which the public's understanding of reality definitively parts company with that of government...The really significant thing is when a government loses control of the narrative and can no longer tell the story of what is happening in words of its own choice, because events have ... undercut its version." For 'government' read 'Church of England leadership' - and not only relation to safeguarding.

Posted by Simon R at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 3:03pm GMT

Janet Fife's point in relation to Renewal and Reform hits the nail on the head. Wasn't it C.G. Jung who said something along the lines that 'renewal happens on the yonder side of conformity'? I think that's a good motto for whenever we are presented with another piece of spin from Lambeth.

Posted by Graham Steel at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 5:23pm GMT

Michael, I've long noticed that one injustice begets another. Failed states with corrupt "justice" systems fail victims as dismally as they fail the falsely accused. The rights of victims and accused aren't in conflict: they're inseparable.

As Cranmer's blog has noted, the CoE's willingness to condemn Bell hasn't been accompanied by corporate good practice for survivors of abuse. Just the opposite. Why? Because the overriding concern's not truth and justice, but PR.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 5:33pm GMT
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