Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following personal statement following the publication of the IICSA report:

To fail on safeguarding casts a profound stain across every good thing we do. I have said this before and I continue to stand by it. But I am acutely aware as we come towards the end of this year that while there is a genuine commitment for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to be the highest priority of all parts of the Church, it is evident we still have not got it right.

The report published today is a stark and shocking reminder of how so many times we have failed – and continue to fail – survivors. Apologies are vital, but they are not enough. We have to listen. We have to learn. And we have to act.

In calling for the enquiry, through a letter to the then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014, I was aware that although it would be something that survivors had demanded it would also be a deeply painful process to tell their stories. I am very grateful to them for their courage. We cannot and will not make excuses and I must again offer my sincere apologies to those to have been abused, and to their families, friends and colleagues.

There is clearly much to respond to and an in-depth consideration of today’s report is vital. IICSA has shone a light on the past and present to help us better inform our future safeguarding work. They are owed our thanks which we give wholeheartedly. I pray this report and its recommendations will result in the changes needed to make our Church a safer place for all now and for future generations.

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Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
15 days ago

The Archbishop’s all-too-familiar apologies and platitudes don’t wash with me, I’m afraid. He should consider his position as the one ‘in charge’ of his Bishops who have been stripped of their responsibility for safeguarding. This has been on his ‘watch’.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
15 days ago

The Archbishop should be making an appointment with Her Majesty to offer his resignation.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
15 days ago

I agree with these comments. His words come too glibly – and he has a list of people he has promised to meet and listen to and he has not done anything about it. His own knowledge of John Smythe and Jonathan Fletcher has not been fully explained and he has done all he can to avoid straight answers about the importance Iwerne had for him. There has been a very significant conspiracy of silence around evangelical misdoings, and unless he comes out with much more honesty around all of that I don’t think he is credible any more.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
15 days ago

IICSA – a government-ordered inquiry – concludes that the Church of England “facilitates a culture where abusers can hide”.

The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is Her Majesty The Queen.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby must now do the honourable thing and offer his resignation to Her Majesty.

Helen King
Helen King
15 days ago

Is it true that, as the Archbishop suggests here, he was responsible for ‘calling for this enquiry’?

Nigel LLoyd
Nigel LLoyd
14 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

I am not sure that the ABC did call for the IICSA enquiry to be set up. But I do remember that, when the enquiry was being set up, the ABC asked, as a matter of urgency, that the CofE should be at the front of the queue for investigation.

Helen King
Helen King
14 days ago
Reply to  Nigel LLoyd

Thanks for that clarification. That makes sense.

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
15 days ago

Justin Welby should resign immediately along with all who have ignored abuse, ignored disclosures of abuse, covered up for those who have done the above and treat victims badly. He cannot have all the privilege he has and not take responsibility. He has persistently taken ‘no action’ in complaints in order to protect bishops, refused to personally apologise on behalf of the church to victims who have suffered horrific abuse. This is on his watch. He repeatedly says he has no power, only influence. This is blatantly untrue. He has power to discipline bishops, suspend bishops and impose penalties for… Read more »

Colin Coward
14 days ago

Why does the Church of England have a culture in which abuse is systemic?

Why is no one asking the question: What action has the church taken and is the church now taking to change the abusive institutional elements in Christian teaching and practice that are integral to the culture of abuse?

Kate
Kate
13 days ago
Reply to  Colin Coward

The Church of England appointed an Archbishop of York who (was forced to?) apologise for his safeguarding failings before he was even installed. If Justin Welby did resign, who here truly believes his replacement would be materially different? A single resignation, in my opinion, would make matters worse, not better, because he would become a scapegoat: the remaining bishops and archbishops would point and say, “There, our problem has gone.” Yet nothing would change. Colin is right. This transcends the failure of one individual. Changing the name on the throne, won’t change anything. I don’t believe that the Church of… Read more »

Dave
Dave
14 days ago

If there is a “genuine commitment for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to be the highest priority of all parts of the Church” why are diocesan websites, and twitter feeds silent? Take Manchester, for example, (and there will be many other examples) where a former Dean of the Cathedral was investigated. The website makes no mention whatsoever of the report, no request for prayer, no statement. The Bishop says via Twitter of all things (!) that the report was ‘pretty shameful’ (what an insensitive understatement) and then actually goes on to say as long as abusers exist, nobody… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
14 days ago
Reply to  Dave

The Bishop of Manchester’s statement on Ch 4 news last night was awful: no compassion or concern for survivors; saying how much the Church has improved; praising Justin Welby for the great job he’s doing. Clearly. David Walker has learned absolutely nothing from the IICSA Report, and therefore his diocese can’t look for much improvement. He too should resign.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
14 days ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

The script had probably been written for him, Janet, by EIO, Luther Pendragon and the legal office at Church House, Westminster. Bishops cannot say what they really want to say in case it ends up costing money. And don’t forget Manchester Diocese only collected 40% of parish share last year, so he won’t want to upset the Commissioners and those doling out the Strategic Development Fund money.

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
12 days ago
Reply to  Dave

I agree. Resignations must happen. So far not a single person has been accountable. If you leave things as they are nothing changes. Even now not a single person has been held to account. Welby, Croft etc etc must go and those retired like Sentamu and bishop of chester have pto removed. If not the church still has these people in place, preaching at people etc. That would be an insult to victims. If Welby and co wont go it is because they think their positions far more important than victims. For them to stay shows no accountability and is… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
14 days ago

Less than a root and branch reform will achieve nothing. Accountability, transparency and all things safeguarding out of the hands of the church would be a start. Resignations need to happen from the top down and a recognition the institution as it now exists cannot continue. More words upon words achieve nothing. Actions speak louder and so far the actions are less than impressive.

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
14 days ago

A sad day indeed for the Anglican church. But an opportunity to turn round and face the future in the strength of the forgiveness of Our Lord. But it needs changes at the top of the Church of England, and in particularly the resignation of Archbishop Welby. I would be willing to sign such a petition, calling him to be a man, and resign. his position.

Fr John Emlyn

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
14 days ago

Why ‘be a man, and resign’? ‘Have some integrity, and resign’ would be better. Courage and integrity are not reserved for the male of the species.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
14 days ago

“The whole lot of them should resign, and reapply for their jobs and be asked at interview what they would do to put things right- and have their jobs and stipends back only if they satisfy the interviewing panel. Their expressions of regret and protestations that they will learn lessons might then have some credibility”

Email from FW Atkins to RWS

The Catholic bishops in Chile did exactly that two years ago:
https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/08/29/august-29-2020-resignations-en-masse-to-the-supreme-governor-of-the-church-of-england-her-majesty-the-queen/

Email from RWS back to FW Atkins

Last edited 14 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
14 days ago

All too often it seems Archbishop Justin offers himself as innocent observer. He has had plenty of opportunity to influence the culture of the C of E and the House of Bishops in his time yet has chosen not to do so.

From comments on this site and elsewhere he has, as they say ‘lost the dressing room’. If he has any shred of self worth or conscience he really should go.

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
12 days ago
Reply to  Just Sayin'

He is most definitely NOT an innocent observer. He has deliberately refused to take action over many, many bishops and others. That allows their behaviour to carry on. And that’s not to mention the two complaints there are currently against himself.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
14 days ago

‘Virtue-signalling’ Archbishop refuses to stand down after scathing abuse report:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8813903/Victims-call-Archbishop-Canterbury-quit-shameful-disgraceful-CofE-report.html

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
14 days ago

Quoting from that Mail article, Richard: ‘I didn’t wonder, I knew. I was shocked by the level when I came into this job by the extent to which it was happening but one was aware that we had a history that was not so good, we knew about Peter Ball, I was ordained in 1992 which I think was about the year where he resigned as the Bishop of Gloucester so one knew about that from that moment onward. In office, but not in power? Primate of All England only since 2013. Becket survived eight years as ABC. How long… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
14 days ago

Lord Carrington resigned as Foreign Secretary in 1982 as he accepted responsibility for the Foreign Office’s failings in the lead up to the Falklands War. No doubt embarrassing and uncomfortable for him at the time but he was an honourable man and did the right thing. His principled stance meant that he is remembered positively for his integrity and his political achievements. It’s difficult to see that historians will look charitably upon Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Sentamu’s tenure at the head of the CofE. Their determination to cling on to office come what may, dishonours the survivors of clerical abuse,… Read more »

Canon Dr Michael Blyth
Canon Dr Michael Blyth
14 days ago

I’m beginning to count the almost liturgical repetition of the response “We’re going to do better”. Meanwhile Archbishops Cottrell and Welby have been backing each other up over their former failures to deal with abuse satisfactorily (the cosiness of mutual absolution I assume?). You always know that when a manager insists ‘I’m going to stay in order to sort the mess out” – the mess to which they were party – the wrong person is in the job. The taint enthroned at the top trickles down through the whole institution. The ABC’s recent and repeated failures to engage with survivors… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
13 days ago

Well said Michael. If their failure of leadership were confined solely to safeguarding matters then you might see some wriggle room but the whole church is dying on its a**e. The numbers are haemorrhaging away not least in the area of growth indicators, but like pantomime dames they chorus “oh no they aren’t”. Almost by every criteria we are being failed. The bishops either explicitly or implicitly blame the parish clergy but we need to push back on that and like the audience at the panto shout back “oh yes they are!”.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
13 days ago

Like other Old Etonians prominent in public life, there is a visceral reluctance in Justin Welby to take personal responsibility for anything, superbly illustrated by his extremely poor perfromance on Radio 4 this week. He has spared no energy in riding roughshod over diocesan autonomy in so many things, purging the Church of England of his personal dislikes, promoting a culture of meaningless corporate hot air (to put it politely), investing in ‘the brand’ and starving parishes and dioceses that don’t conform to the new ‘market’ mentality of resources, recruting the wannabee businessman-cum-MBA ‘expert’-cum-cultural-archphilistine as his sidekick in Lambeth, adopting… Read more »

Paul
Paul
13 days ago

In all the 23 comments so far, there is not a single one supportive of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Whether he resigns or not, it seems as if he has lost the respect of practically everyone. You might call him a dead duck.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul

If Archbishop Welby was an honourable man, he would resign – but he refuses to do so. He will do the same as Archbishop Sentamu and retire – probably around Christmas.

Angusian
Angusian
8 days ago

If only !!!!

Dave
Dave
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul

I am very worried at the inability of the bishops to see their failures, and how laity and clergy have lost so much trust and hope in them. the media performances of the Bishop of Manchester on TV and the Archbishop on the radio were dreadful and so self justifying. There has to be change, not only through resignations but also in transparency. Since the publication of the report have bishops arranged to see victims and those affected by abuse? My fear is that in the Church of England there is a system which cannot sack bishops, and in which… Read more »

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
8 days ago

The mood of this conversation is overwhelmingly that Justin should go. Some, I think, feel that the ABY should also go. But can I ask anyone/everyone to tell me, “What happens next?” Particularly given the collective nature of how the HoB works, I don’t really think there is a senior prelate in the C of E without some yolk sticking to their face. I would also say that the roots of this are historical, even though much has been wrong with the present ‘administration’. I’m not impressed by Justin’s statement, and there is still way too much wrong. But I… Read more »

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