A further exchange of letters between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Gilo, an abuse survivor, has been published today.
We reported earlier on the open letter to the archbishop that Gilo had sent.
The response from the archbishop to the open letter from Gilo is now available.
Gilo’s further response to the archbishop is also available here.
And there is a press release, copied below the fold.
This material is also published on the Ekklesia website.
PRESS RELEASE from Gilo Monday 4th December
Archbishop Welby’s response to abuse survivor condemned by numerous leading Church figures, a Parliamentarian and other experts
I am Gilo, an Anglican abuse survivor. Archbishop Welby’s response on 8 November (attached) to my open letter complaining about the callous way the Church mistreats abuse survivors and of the importance of Mandatory Reporting has been condemned by a bishop and other leading Church figures, lawyers, child protection experts, survivors’ groups and a peer. Most consider it to be evasive and completely inadequate. The Archbishop has already had to apologise publicly for ignoring 17 letters from me.
Those responding include, April Alexander (General Synod & Church Commissioner), Christina Rees CBE (founding member Archbishop’s Council), The Very Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy (Dean of Christ Church), Prof Linda Woodhead (Academic & Theologian) and Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson (Bishop of Buckingham), Peter Saunders (founder NAPAC) and Baroness Walmsley.
Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans website) wrote “The Archbishop’s response sadly ducks answering any of the “quite specific, but very reasonable, questions that Gilo posed. There was a golden opportunity available here to make clear that the stance of EIG does not define policy for the Church of England. Continuing equivocation by the latter, including on mandatory reporting, only increases the depth of the hole out of which the whole Church will eventually have to dig itself.”
A number of respondents were especially scathing about the Archbishop’s attempt to kick Mandatory Reporting of institutional abuse, something the Church used to call for, into the long grass. Baroness Walmsley was adamant that this issue is not complex at all. “If you know or suspect that a child is being abused, or has been abused, you must report the matter to the correct authorities. To fail to do so is to collude with the perpetrator. End of!”
Another major concern is that the Archbishop has delegated this work to Bishop Thornton who will be unlikely to enjoy the support of survivors, due to very considerable difficulties in his involvement in my case.
My own take on the letter is that “Sadly, Archbishop Welby’s response fails to meet the questions. Stating in vaguest of terms the complexity of an issue does not address complexities. There doesn’t seem any ownership of the crisis, nor recognition that questions such as these need facing at ‘archbishop level’ and the clear call of leadership required to shift the church into structural and cultural change and towards authentic justice. Until the church buckles under the weight of these things – the shilly-shallying will continue. I am struck by the irony that the questions now seem in the hands of a bishop who walked away – in 2003, in effect again during the Past Case Review, and again in 2015 with a “no recollection”. This won’t give survivors much confidence.”