Thinking Anglicans

more on child protection and the CofE

Following on from here, this week the Church of England issued a press release, Church confirms principles of protocol to review past child protection cases and the press duly reported:

Guardian Riazat Butt Church pledges to root out decades-old child abuse cases

Church Times Pat Ashworth Child-protection protocol agreed

Religious Intelligence Ed Beavan Child protection review ordered

BBC Church abuse case review outlined

Transcript of last May’s radio interview with the archbishop.


  • I’m puzzled by these reports. They seem to suggest that the person that the C of E has chairing this child protection review is the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis.

    Isn’t he the one who was found to have broken the law in his discrimination against John Reaney, a youth worker?

    I struggle to see how anyone in my own church (ie in Scotland) would be put in charge of child protection if they were known to have recently broken the law and to have done so in a case relating to someone’s employment. Furthermore, Bishop Anthony’s actions deprived the young people of his diocese of someone who was, by all accounts, an exemplary youth worker.

    How come such a person gets put in charge of Child Protection in England?

  • Good to see this happening.

    My only caution is be aware that the more embarassing a case (i.e. the more someone/group expressed a concern and the more the bishops/staff denied or hindered the investigation, the less likely they are to admit to the case). Thus there is still likely to be some nasty cases hit the press.

    Be prepared for that, that’s what happens when you remove skeleton’s from the family closet. But the closet can’t be really clean until you’ve gone through its insides.

    Get the inside clean, get a good regime going to keep things in order and there won’t be another backlog to clear up, nor the recriminations that authorities “should have known or behaved better”.

  • Kelvin

    Bp Priddis was the bishop with particular responsibility for child protection long before the Reaney employment tribunal case arose. So your question should rather be whether the outcome of the latter case is a reason for him not to continue as such.

    I don’t see why, in this context, the particular issue, i.e. child protection, is any more significant than say if he were the national spokesbishop on the Olympics, or on hospitals, or on relationships with the Baptists, or whatever.

    The offence is a civil law matter, not a criminal one, after all.

  • Kelvin says:

    Well, there probably are quite a few people who would see child protection as more significant than the Olympics or relations with the Baptists in any context.

    The tribunal found that +Anthony chose to illegally discriminate rather than taking actions which would have enhanced the wellbeing of young people in his diocese. Did those actions harm young people? Well, perhaps not directly. However the whole case was about the difference between direct and indirect effects of someone’s actions.

    It does seem troubling to me that he should be in charge of a Church-wide process of examining the employment records and files of clergy and others.

    As I type this, he is on the radio talking ahout how his committee is primarily concerned with those employed by the church. Employment is an area that we all know he cannot be trusted to take unbiased decisions in.

  • Weiwen says:

    Simon, one might worry that given Bishop Priddis’ revealed biases, he might be looking to scapegoat gay men for the child abuse scandal, like what the Vatican is now doing by trying to root out gay men from its seminaries. his recent discriminatory actions do raise the question. however, given that employing a gay man as a youth minister and child abuse are in two completely different worlds, I would consider him innocent till proven guilty if it were up to me.

  • Thanks for letting us know about the interview Kelvin. They need to include volunteers too, pedophiles might duck under employment screening and instead use Sunday school and church camps as their opportunities for access.

    Yes, it is possible to use this to scapegoat one area e.g. GLBTs whilst glossing over another area e.g. bishops aiding and abetting predation of females.

    That’s why there will still be a few more scandals.

  • And keep him under observation…

  • Cynthia says:

    “They need to include volunteers too, pedophiles might duck under employment screening and instead use Sunday school and church camps as their opportunities for access.”

    Indeed so. Severla years ago a young man who volunteered to work with kids at Bruton Parish Church was found to have molested both children with whom he had contact at the church and with children whose parents, trusting that someone who worked at the church would be safe, hired him as a babysitter.

    The settlements of lawsuits cost the parish dearly, the clergy who had supervision had to leave, and the parish underwent a long term interim ministry to sort things out and start a healing process.

    This was in the Diocese of Southern Virginia, where I believe now they have instituted screening for all who wokr with kids, paid or volunteer.

    If C of E is looking only at employees, they are being criminally blind.

  • NP says:

    Gorans says “And keep him under observation…”

    Yikes…..are we going to have surveillance of bishops who want to stick agreed Anglican positions now?

    Goran – you really seem to believe your views are widely accepted and those who want to stick to Spirit-inspired scripture and tradition are in a minority…..and Dromantine, TWR, Dar have not jogged you out of this dream…….you will have to keep an eye on a lot of bishops in the CofE and the AC if you are concerned about orthodox views!

    I am smiling, imagining Derek Hatton telling people to keep an eye on that Neil Kinnock to see if he is really “sound” or not…….
    (English example, sorry if you do not get it)

  • Ford Elms says:

    “we going to have surveillance of bishops who want to stick agreed Anglican positions now? “

    NP, a century ago it was “agreed Anglican position” to take, by force if necessary, native children from their families, put them in residential schools, beat them if they dared to use their native languages, and, essentially, steal their culture and identity from them. We are now paying for that. The issue is not whether or not he “sticks to agreed positions” but whether or not he will go on a witch hunt. The RC bishops are sticking to agreed positions when they purge the gays from their seminaries in the mistaken belief that this will cure their pedophile problem. Sticking to agreed positions may well take us in the opposite direction to the Gospel.

  • NP,

    What happened at Dar es Salaam was something that happens in committees when the leadership is incompetent…

    There are no “agreed positions”. That is why you have the present nastiness. There are also 2 distinct Christendoms; one Hierarchic which requires submission to its whims and one which believes all human beings are made by God and equal under God.

    The Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

    “those who want to stick to Spirit-inspired scripture and tradition” are the product of 19th and 20th century Modern (including Colonialism) to late Modern Cultural prejudices and bad schooling; the Alexandrian commandment of Neo Platonist European Academies since the Carolingian court Academia Palatina at Aachen over Fulda-Oxford-Sorbonne.

    They are wrong, but they do not know it. Also their Hierarchic attitudes make them demand (and believe) submission to their whims.

    Apart from some short periods isolated in Time and some happenings in committees (such as Lateran councils II-IV), the Italian city States of the Renaissance, Geneva, Modernity incl. the 20th Dictatorships, nothing of this is “traditional” however, nor is it “natural”, but Social Policies.

    Nastiness elevated to high Art.

    As to “scriptural” – according to Platonist scriptures…

    The claim that it is also Biblical does not make it so, but you will have to learn some Greek and Latin to see it with your own eyes (an no others will do).

    The Bishop in question here has shown himself (in court of law no less) un-able to protect a prospective employee under the British law, which he was due.

    It remains to be seen if he will do otherwise when it comes to children, who being small are so much easier to abuse – and have only ineffectual protection in the law.

    All abuse is the same.

  • “…a century ago it was “agreed Anglican position” to take, by force if necessary, native children from their families…”

    It’s only a few months ago that Australian Aboriginals are again facing unilateral confiscations.

    Not a bad thing where kids are being abused, so can we remove female children from Anglican churches that advocate female slavery and gagging?

    After all, we should be consistent in applying the gospel…

    Jesus’ exhortation to remove planks from one’s own eyes seems to come to mind…

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Anglican churches that advocate female slavery and gagging?”

    Who does this?

  • Sorry Ford,

    Swept away in the moment. There is female slavery and there is gagging, it literally happens in the worst case scenarios but there would not be an official Anglican church anywhere that would publically support such conduct.

    Mind you, there are Anglicans who live amongst communities that don’t have a problem with female children being made as wives when they are as young as 9 or 10, nor being left out for the hyenas if their bodies are mutilated by childbirth at too young an age, or their being beheaded if they misbehave.

    While the words slavery and gagging are extreme. There is the problem of women who are told to remain with abusive husbands, or children are told they have to honor their parents and submit to them (even if that means violence or sexual misadventure – that happened to me when I was 14 – so it can happen to others). And, please, don’t tell me that a terrified 14-year-old child is fully accountable for seeking help “properly” when she had been living with death threats if she told anyone all of her life.

    Gagging, well there are some women in some dioceses that would really relate to that one. Not only being told to submit to their husbands, but also that they are not to be “teachers”, particularly of other Christian males.

    While the words might be emotive, there would be quite a few souls who live in ultraconservative faith movements who would internally agree that is their experience, even if their public voice is stifled.

  • mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) says:

    Ford wondered
    “”Anglican churches that advocate female slavery and gagging?”

    Who does this?”

    Apart from consenting adults behind closed doors, dunno. But it puts a new complexion on singing ‘Bind us together, Lord’

  • Erika Baker says:

    “Apart from consenting adults behind closed doors, dunno. But it puts a new complexion on singing ‘Bind us together, Lord'”

    Thanks for the most wonderful giggle at the end of a very long day!

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