Thinking Anglicans

Further analysis of the IICSA hearings

Since the hearings concluded last week, there have been several further reports in addition to the letter from the archbishops and the response from Janet Fife.

The Church Times reported on both of those here: Sorry not enough, Archbishops’ letter says after IICSA, and a survivor agrees.

The BBC radio programme Sunday carried a lengthy report available to listen to here (starts at 28 minutes).

The Independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church concluded three weeks of hearing this week. Phil Johnson, abuse survivor, talks to Emily Buchanan about what the hearings have meant to him. Bishop Alan Wilson, long term critic of the Church on its handling of clerical sex abuse cases, discusses the positives and negatives to have emerged. And Bishop Mark Sowerby, the deputy lead bishop for Safeguarding responds. Martin Bashir BBC Religion Correspondent provides analysis.

Martin Sewell has written at Archbishop Cranmer In Holy Week we should hold our Archbishops’ feet to the fire.

And Martyn Percy has written for Modern Church Church of England ‘no longer competent’ to manage safeguarding, says senior cleric.

The full article is available here.

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David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Martin Sewell writes: ‘But let us not stop with the Episcopacy; let’s go all the way. Let us include all those clergy who looked the other way or would not go on the appropriate training. Will they be apologising to their congregations?’ Yes to this. But ‘all the way’ must include congregations who refused to believe stories about their own church members, or who concealed vital information from their own clergy and obstructed attempts to put proper boundaries in place in their own communities. ‘All the way’ means no selective blaming.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

The whole thing boils down to this: “We didn’t realise that raping children was bad, because the rapists were good people who said sorry and anyway the alleged victims were probably leading them on. But now we’re required to pretend to believe that our mates shouldn’t have done it. So we’ll weep a bit in public, and then it’s business as usual.” Nothing will change. Welby doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong, but perhaps might be convinced to agree that a few unnamed people, mostly dead, perhaps didn’t behave quite as well as him. Sentamu doesn’t believe anyone’s done anything… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

It is pretty obvious that the archbishops’ letter was an attempt to control what people think by controlling what they read. It has been tried and tested approach – use official channels to publicise the desired message. In this case bigging up the effort of bishops while ignoring the survivors’ complaints. Increasingly though, the approach is failing. Martyn Percy has long-demonstrated an ability to get headlines but now Janet Fife managed to get as much attention for her criticism of the archbishops’ as the archbishops themselves got. About the only thing the House of Bishops had left was an ability… Read more »

tbl
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tbl

Disappointed to see Martyn Percy’s cynical exploitation of sexual abuse to push his own theological agenda.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Glad to see Martyn Percy can join up the dots when others are scared to lift the pencil.

And holding feet to fire? Rather unfortunate metaphor to choose….

Cynthia
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Cynthia

I agree with Charles Read on kudos to Martyn Percy, who can “join up the dots.” I.e. link inequality with the machine that protects perpetrators over victims. Also, no organization can reliably investigate itself. Investigations have to be independent. Are CoE bishops and clergy required to be “mandatory reporters” of abuse when they hear of it? That is the case in TEC at this point. If mandatory reporting leads to professional and independent investigation, that frees the church to be pastoral to the victims, and the alleged perpetrators. Giving up control allows the church to be the church, rather than… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

Having read tbl’s comment, I have gone back and re-read Martyn Percy’s article. I am bemused. I cannot see that Professor Percy is either being cynical or pushing a particular theological agenda. I have read all the transcripts from the IICSA hearings and I am much in agreement with his analysis which I think is entirely legitimate. It would be helpful if tbl would be more detailed in his objections and if he would explain in what way he thinks Professor Percy is being cynical.

Daniel Lamont

not flourishing high church woman
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not flourishing high church woman

Well said Daniel Lamont. I found Martyn Percy’s article very good. A very traditional Anglo Catholic priest, non-affriming of women’s priesthood, saw the printed copy and automatically condemned it. I suggested he read it before condemning it – he admitted after reading it that it was very good. Any hint that Martyn Percy was forwarding his own agenda, which this man loathes, would have generated a very negative reaction. He limited his objection to saying he didn’t agree with his conclusion about women priests (hardly a surprise) but it was very well written and made several good points.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

As tbl doesn’t seem to be answering for him/herself, it’s not too difficult to see why a traditionalist would take exception to anything that Dean Percy says. The Dean’s forensic analysis of just how difficult, if not impossible, it would be for a SSWSH bishop to act with integrity as the diocesan bishop in a diocese with women priests, was probably primarily responsible for the withdrawal of +North from Sheffield, and he is unlikely to be forgiven for that. And it seems irrefutable that most reported cases of sexual abuse have emanated from the two extremes of churchmanship, traditionalist (e.g.… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Malcolm, IICSA will hold hearings into the Peter Ball case for a week in July, and hearings into the C of E generally early in 2019. I have read that a report will be published this autumn, but I’m not sure whether that will be just the Chichester Diocese, or Chichester Diocese + Ball. In some ways I think the 2019 hearings will be a greater shock than the ones we’ve just had – and goodness knows they were bad enough. But we knew Chichester was bad, and have been inclined to to think it’s on its own there. It… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

Malcolm and Janet: This is what Professor Alexis Jay said at the end of the three-weeks ‘case study’ hearing into the Diocese of Chichester on Friday 23 March 2018: “We will now review all of the material and evidence and will begin to prepare a single report which will set out our findings on both this case study and that concerning responses to offending by Peter Ball. We will not be in a position to draft those sections of the report that relate to Peter Ball and complete this report until after the further case study hearing which will take… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

Yes, I can understand why Professor Percy is persona non grata in certain circles. The fact is that he applies a sharp scholarly analysis to key issues and this careful analysis doesn’t go down well with those who hold entrenched positions. Unfortunately, such people don’t seem to respond with a comparable scholarly analysis to set beside Professor Percy’s, but maybe I just haven’t seen it. There is a tendency to descend into ad hominem remarks. One would have thought that the Bishops could do this analysis for themselves. After all, Stephen Croft, for example, has a Durham doctorate and is… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

David Lamming, thank you for the clarification. Your suggestions are good ones, which means they won’t be adopted!

Daniel Lamont, the lack of professionalism and straightforward integrity in too many of our leaders was even more evident when watching the hearings. The stark contrast between them and safeguarding professionals made very uncomfortable viewing.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Thank you, Janet and David, for answering my question. It is good to know that the Inquiry intends to publish in stages and not wait until the end. But if changes in our practice are made in response to the earlier findings, they are then liable to further change when the later findings are known. This will continue the process that has been evident for some years, where we have always seemed to be ‘behind the curve’ and always struggling to catch up with current best practice. I think it is this which has so demoralised many faithful volunteers, who… Read more »