Thinking Anglicans

child protection and the CofE

In the Sunday Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones has a report that:

Child abuse has gone unchecked in the Church of England for decades amid a cover up by bishops, secret papers have revealed.

Read C of E child abuse was ignored for decades.

And also, Giles Fraser has an accompanying analysis: The truth must out.

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Cheryl Va. CloughFord ElmsCynthia Recent comment authors
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Cheryl Va. Clough

I totally agree with Giles. Face the real world. Pedophiles exist (as do misogynists and xenophobics). They prefer easy pickings and will go to churches and parishes that make it easy to satisfy their “jollies”. A congregation (such as Giles’) that accepts and manages this has a much reduced likelihood of it happening, and less extensive damage in the few unfortunate incidents that do occur. You won’t stop all abuse, because some souls are incredibly cunning. But at least you won’t have some souls having a smorgasboard of options. Rowan’s comments about there being too much attention focussed on church… Read more »


The Diocese of Virginia requires those who work with children – and all clergy – to participate in a child sexual abuse prevention workshop. Clery applying for positions undergo a thorough background check. This is not a foolproof system – no system is – but it is a step in the right direction. The workshop I recently attended as a refresher course had video of both real victims and real perpetrators talking about thier experiences. The perps were shockingly ‘nice’ and ‘normal’ looking young men. That unnerved some of the workshop attendees.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms

When we in Newfoundland went through this with the RCs over a decade ago, my mother said “We needn’t rest on our laurels, just because our guys picked the boys they thought were less likely to complain.” It seems the British clergy didn’t do that. This isn’t to justify anything, but to acknowledge this goes on everywhere, and no Church is immune. The Canadian AC also went through the ssme thing in the residential schools scandal. Why then did the English Church learn nothing? Is it merely that Newfoundland was below everybody’s radar, so no-one even thought about child abuse… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough

In the meantime, Australia is also trying to grapple with it,23599,22630924-421,00.html

My main concern is “natural justice”, where souls might have been falsely accussed to satisfy political machinations. It’s a great idea, but we also have to be careful of not being too harsh the other way as well. This could be used as a weapon by feral bishops to discredit “unholy” parishioners.

But it is a tightrope that needs to be walked, and it will take leaders of the calibre of Giles Fraser to ensure such initiatives are fairly and compassionately implemented.