Thinking Anglicans

Child protection in Chichester Diocese

Previous reports on this topic can be found here, and also here.

Last week, these two statements were issued by the Acting Bishop, Mark Sowerby. These relate to recent arrests of clergy.

Pastoral Letter
Media Statement

Also, there were New additions to Safeguarding Review page:

  • Letter from Bishop Mark Sowerby:

I am very glad that we have now published the full text of the Baroness Butler Sloss Report along with its addendum together with the Roger Meekings Report and the baroness’s comments upon it. This is in line with our desire to be open and honest about the cases that have come to light in the Chichester Diocese. I am grateful also to Bishop Paul Butler for the apology he has issued on behalf of the wider Church of England. I should like to underline, once again, the regret we feel in this diocese about past failings and which was expressed in Bishop John and Bishop Wallace’s apology to all the victims. The Chichester Diocese wishes to be transparent about the past and to be rigorous and cooperative in its safeguarding today and into the future.
+Mark Horsham
Acting Bishop of Chichester

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Simon Kershaw
Admin
8 years ago

“Acting Bishop of Chichester”? Since when did we have “Acting Bishops”?

Isn’t a suffragan bishopric and the delegation from the former diocesan bishop enough?

Peter Owen
Admin
8 years ago

What former diocesan bishop? John Hind doesn’t retire until the end of April.

peter kettle
peter kettle
8 years ago

It’s all very well to say (in the media statement) ‘we….make it clear that the priests arrested do not hold licensed posts’, but did they have Permission to Officiate? If so, had they been CRB checked? If so, then the diocese can reasonably disclaim responsibility. If not, there needs to be a debate about clergy with PTO; I hold PTO in two dioceses and have been CRB checked separately in both.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
8 years ago

It’s a bit of a mystery here too!

David Shepherd
8 years ago

The other tragedy here is the paucity of TA comment regarding the plight of the victims, the culture of opacity and the sullied witness to the Christ. Instead, a few chiding remarks on titles and tenure.

It was Jesus who assured such perpetrators of a fate worse than taking a swan dive wearing the latest in pernanent XXXL granite dog-collars!

As measured by comment thread length, the real victims in our midst are those deprived of a groundless claim for matrimonial equivalence.

Simon Sarmiento
8 years ago

The matter of the Acting Bishop is explained in this announcement on the diocesan website.

http://www.diochi.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=about.content&cmid=615

David Shepherd
8 years ago

Sorry, but after a thorough re-read. MAKE THE BISHOP OF LEWES RESIGN WITHOUT PENSION!

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
8 years ago

@David There is a long and honourable tradition of reluctance to say anything about criminal cases in progress, not least because saying too much can, in fact prejudice a conviction. In this instance, I know nothing of the accused, or the situation, or the child protection measures in place, or the CRB check system used by the diocese, or of the presence or absence of cover-up in the diocese. The time for comment is AFTER a criminal case when facts enter the public arena and discussion can be informed and does not harm either the innocent or the chances of… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
8 years ago

I am not sure that there can be any real response to this news and the revelations in the various publications other than an ashamed silence. I can’t think that anything else would be enlightening to other commentators here or helpful to anyone else. What would David Shepherd have us say about these appalling new revelations of further crimes and Diocesan incompetency? The information about the actions or lack of them by Bishop of Lewes has been known for some time. I happen to agree with David but shouting loud isn’t going to change the past or make things better… Read more »

david rowett
8 years ago

I would hope, DS that everyone on TA is appalled by these allegations/charges, the dreadful effect on the victims, on mission etc…. I once had to deal with a CP issue which impinged a little on this parish, and I know how nasty they are from everyone’s point of view. However, one can create a ‘me too’ culture on lists like this, don’t you think, with (justifiable) cries of outrage and sympathy? Do we really need to condemn that which the law of the land, the Churches, civic society and even the Daily Mail have declared abominable? But, I do… Read more »

Iain McLean
Iain McLean
8 years ago

I rarely agree with David Shepherd, but I sympathise with his last post. The key document here is the January 2012 Addendum to the Butler-Sloss report, which I think followed the revelation of the key facts in it (viz., that Roy Cotton continued to take services after 2000) by a local BBC investigating team.

I would hope that several people are examining their consciences here.

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
8 years ago

I think my comments are being swallowed again.

ED: Yes it had been, now published.

David Shepherd
8 years ago

Rosemary,

The comments were in respect of the published report and ‘apology’, not the arrests and on-going investigation.

David Shepherd
8 years ago

Richard,

I appreciate the need to keep a calm head. The disciplinary measures are in place for a purpose.

The complaint is before the Vicar-General’s Court. However, I worry that if this is not handled expeditiously, the bishop may be retired.

Clearly, 28 days has elapsed since the complaint was lodged in late November. No word of extension in order to prepare the registrar’s written report. No suspension, no Vicar-General’s court convened (The Clergy Discipline Rules 2005).

This is a culture of connivance and impunity guaranteed to save reputations and pensions, no less. Only a public outcry will destroy it!

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
8 years ago

David, I fear you might be right. As I say, the revelations of what the Bishop of Lewes knew or did not know have been known for some time, it was on the local BBC Television news at least a year ago. Benn ought to have resigned then but has the hide of a rhinocerous and continues to make a fool of himself (cf his recent endorsement of a book by the odious Stephen Green followed by a lame apology). Can we hear the sound of ranks closing?

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
8 years ago

Yes I agree – the bishop should have resigned over the first set of revelations. The buck has to stop somewhere. For us, all we can do is swear that we will take all possible steps to ensure things never, ever slip by on out watch, if we can possibly help it. I had personal experience of a person whose had in the past escaped prosecution by the narrowest of whiskers, and whose action I had myself seen were inappropriate, and who I had reliable accounts, from the victims, had behaved in sexually explicit ways with under age girls, climbing… Read more »

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