Thinking Anglicans

BBC documentary on Peter Ball

The BBC has transmitted a two-part television documentary programme:
Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret.

The Church of England has issued two press releases. The first one was issued last week, the second one yesterday after both episodes had been shown:

BBC2 documentary on Peter Ball

Response to BBC 2 documentary on Peter Ball  from the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Peter Hancock

The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, has also issued a response (includes video).

Media coverage includes:

Guardian Friendship with Prince Charles made paedophile bishop Peter Ball ‘impregnable’

Daily Mail  Sister of a man who took his own life after being abused by bishop Peter Ball claims the paedophile’s ‘friends in high places’ like Prince Charles are ‘to blame’ for her brother’s death in a new documentary

Church Times Bishops shamed by BBC documentary

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Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago

ANGER and TEARS.

Watching the wreckage being suffered by Neil’s family is harrowing and heart-breaking.

Lord have mercy.

🙁

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
10 months ago

The sad thing with Peter Ball is that he was originally, aged 19, rejected by the Church of England for reasons one can suspect might have been prescient. The reasons that decision was overridden are (at risk of reawakening another debate which is absolutely not my intention) an interesting snapshot of the attitudes of the era, and show that the judgement of many was clouded by the evident charisma of Ball: “15. In 1951 Peter Ball was interviewed for the first time by the Church Assembly Central Advisory Council of Training for the Ministry (CACTM), who were responsible for selecting… Read more »

Charles Read
10 months ago

Indeed we are not. And we see people coming for ordination training for shorter and shorter periods, so we (the TEI staff) cannot get to know them and make a realistic recommendation about their suitability for ordination. We are in fact pretty good at that sort of thing. Then there is the pressure for people do one year curacies or be ordained early so they go and plant a church. Have we forgotten the Nine O’Clock service? When I raise questions about the wisdom of all this, I am told I am undermining mission. The mission truck and the safeguarding… Read more »

Mari Howard
10 months ago

So true, ‘Interested Observer’. Charm should be seen for what it is ‘charm’ = magical powers in fairy tales, which are in their true form, traditional warning tales. Charm is sometimes instinctive, but in the upper classes often also learned, and practised, at private (“Public”)school. Class, charm, and confidence take some people a long way. We al need to be wary when we meet charm, especially when someone with less advantage has confided that they have been abused by the powerful and charming person. Tread carefully, but tread towards investigation. The wonderful gardener and his wife perceived what Peter Ball… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
10 months ago

Bishop Treweek’s video clip appears heartfelt and sincere. Archbishop Carey’s withholding of evidence seems to have led indirectly to Neil Todd’s death and to greater suffering for the other survivors of Ball’s sadistic sexual depravity. Why was Lord Carey not charged with perverting the course of justice? Why has he not been subject to the CDM? Why has he faced only trifling sanctions from the Church of England? Mr & Mrs Moss, a working class couple were given the bums rush by Bishop Yates and Bishop Walsh, and yet they seem to me to be in persona Christi in this… Read more »

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
10 months ago

And why has nothing been done about the re-granting of PTO to George Carey by Steven Croft only months after Justin Welby asked for Careys resignation? An inquiry /review into Careys PTO was promised a year last July. What happened? Nothing.
Steven Croft himself, of course, ignored four disclosures of abuse from me of course and thereby allowed Trevor Devamanikkam 5 years to potentially abuse again. What happened about this? The church used a one year rule for bringing complaints excuse to avoid an investigation into Croft.
Nothing has changed.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
10 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Ineson

Exactly the point I was trying to make Matthew. By withholding evidence from the Police Lord Carey allowed Ball to carry on offending, the safeguarding experts said as much in the BBC programmes. In Theresa May’s last few days as PM there was a news clip of Mrs. May and her husband leaving church in her Oxfordshire constituency. Who was stood inside the church door saying goodbye? A gentleman in a cope and mitre looking very much like the erstwhile Archbishop. The Establishment is very powerful and all credit to you and the other survivors for being so tenacious in… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
10 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Ineson

The ‘Hidden Hands’ of Establishment power – which clearly exist and have names – need scapegoats when that power is threatened. To my mind, former Archbishop George Carey is one such scapegoat. The real culprits in the Peter Ball scandal who should be made accountable – but won’t be – are those high-level ‘advisers’ who, for example, ‘advised’ George Carey not to pass on those letters to the police.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Richard, did Jesus follow the ‘advice’ of Annas and Caiaphas, which would have been to be quiet and stop rocking the boat? I think we are responsible for our own actions. I don’t single out George in saying that. All my adult life I have been chastised by God, again and again, for wrong things I have done. That chastisement and judgment can be (and has been) very painful, but that way as we all know leads to repentance and new beginnings. If an Archbishop of Canterbury chose to appease powerful overseers by hushing up the actions of a sex… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
10 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I am going to copy here a comment I have just posted on Surviving Church: For what it’s worth, I think it would be in Lord Carey’s own best interests to give up his PTO, resign from the House of Lords, and make amends to survivors of Peter Ball’s abuse and the Church’s re-abuse. I hope he will do so. Perhaps Bp. Jeremy Walsh would also be well advised to give up his PTO (Bps. John Yates and Eric Kemp are no longer with us.). However, I’m concerned that in rushing to condemn those who so badly mishandled the Peter… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

“If Lord Carey, Prince Charles, and several thousand very astute and distinguished people could be genuinely deceived by Peter Ball” I think your general point is correct, that only a fool would say they would never be taken in by a skilled deceiver. Deceivers are good at deceit, and have honed that skill: the people who want to deceive but aren’t very good at it either get caught or give up, so the people who have done it for a lifetime have got the most highly developed skills. A skillful liar is a formidable opponent, and it is arrogant and… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
10 months ago

I think you have missed my point, which is that you can be deceived by someone you know very well – or think you do. In the cases of Rideout and Howard I did know them well. Howard fooled everyone, including his closest friend of 25 years, who was unaware of Howard’s sex addiction and risky practices. In fact Geoff had a reputation for being cringingly honest. He said to me after the News of the World expose: ‘If there’s one thing in your life you want to hide, be embarrassingly honest about everything else.’ It was his strategy. The… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Personally I regard the holding back of evidence as a misjudgement – a serious misjudgement – and not necessarily evil in intent. I agree with a forensic approach to things. I think the fact that George sat on evidence that should not have been withheld is true and factual? We are all capable of misjudgement. I have no idea what George’s real and underlying reasons were for this very serious error in judgment. There are various possible reasons, some of them disturbing, but that’s between George and God, because nobody else knows. However, to dismiss that factual misjudgement as ‘scapegoating’… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

“But we don’t know what was going on in Carey’s head or his heart; we don’t know if he truly believed Ball to be innocent or not.”

Let’s hope that he did believe him to be innocent. Because that would be foolish, or naive, or misguided. If Carey did not believe him to be innocent, and yet still went on to defend him, then that would be far worse.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
10 months ago

True. The footage on the programme of a bishop, after the police were investigating and the truth was out, saying to the press look at the good Ball has done and it’s all a shame and saying absolutely nothing about the survivors, summed it all up. It was all taken as a bit of an inconvenience to be got through and then business as usual. A bit like now really. Disgusting then, disgusting now.

Marian Birch
Marian Birch
10 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I am no great fan of George Carey who was my husband’s and my bishop when we lived and worked in Canterbury Diocese while he was Archbishop. He certainly felt as though he was only interested in you if you were rich or influential. I absolutely buy into the view that his own background gave him a sort of inferiority complex which meant that he was only too able to be ‘conned’ by the church’s traditional elite such as the Peter Balls of this world. I also am aware that he treated some of his staff at Lam Palace really… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
10 months ago

The reason no one who colluded to cover this up, harassed survivors and vilified them, used church money to get ‘dirt’ to use against those who dared challenge the cover up and get justice, is because they are part of the establishment – the House of Bishops, House of Lords etc. The police, safe guarding officers, housekeepers etc all got it – Peter Ball was a devious, corrupt paedophile hiding behind a cloak of religion. I wish I shared the views expressed at the end about changes etc. Until safeguarding is taken from the church, survivors are given the support… Read more »

John
John
10 months ago

From what I can see, no one outside the UK can access these two programs. Panorama makes things available after a month on You Tube.
Given the evident grave implications for the Church hierarchy, past and current, is there any way that Thinking Anglicans can offer a way to watch?

Michael O’Sullivan
Michael O’Sullivan
10 months ago
Reply to  John

Watch on your phone on 4G so iPlayer doesn’t know where you are

Dave
Dave
10 months ago

This is all heart breaking and, absolutely outrageous. Yet bishops maintain privilege and power. A system to make them answerable must be put in place. Who is surprised that church attendances are plummeting! Bishops – look at the role of the insurers – Ecclesiastical. Their near monopoly and hand in glove relationship with bishops needs enquiry, and competition. One suspects their concerns receive a higher priority than that of victims. Speak out bishops! How sad it takes TV programmes, victims taking civil actions etc. before minimal things are done. Today the Church Times reports on another case in which the… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
10 months ago

In the light of all that was in the public domain, Steve Croft’s decision to grant George Carey PTO in 2018 was staggeringly ill-judged, and his defence of it comes across as misleading and disingenuous, as others have observed. The failure as yet to review the decision (and remove the PTO, which could be done immediately by Steve Croft and without any course of appeal) makes one doubt the fine words from the bishops of Gloucester and of Bath and Wells. It is not that this was a shameful episode from the recent past that has now been dealt with,… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
10 months ago

Stephen Croft is not in a position to take very decisive action, since he also is implicated in ignoring and mistreating a rape victim – the Rev. Matthew Ineson. A number of our bishops and archbishops are so compromised. The Bishop of Gloucester, thankfully, does not appear to be so hobbled.

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Indeed – but my question would be whether the Bishops of Gloucester or Bath and Wells (or any of those others who have expressed sympathy or horror at what has happened) are prepared to break ranks with other bishops, to challenge and criticise their actions publicly. Why is it that Matt Ineson has to be the one calling for action, rather than one of the (apparently) shocked and distressed bishops? It has been the failure within the hierarchy to speak or act publicly against fellow bishops, for fear of causing upset or rocking the boat, that has caused the problems… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
10 months ago

Yes, it’s easy to issue statements criticising bishops and archbishops who are no longer in power. The real test is whether they are prepared to issue a statement calling for Ecclesiastical Insurance to act with more integrity; or for our current archbishops to apologise and make restitution to Matt Ineson; or for Welby to tell all he knows about Smyth and Fletcher. And they have been silent on those matters.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

It’s not ‘either…or’. The argument that Justin or other bishops have themselves fallen short does not change the fact that the intervention over George Carey was surely appropriate. In the case of Peter Ball, the spotlight is on George Carey himself, because it was George who withheld important evidence. It’s not a question of the intervention being ‘easy’… it was necessary. For anyone here to start alleging George has been ‘scapegoated’ in my view is de-railing the facts in order to pursue a different agenda (one which is relevant, but not the case in question). In the past I have… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Also Janet, and trying to be just and forensic and impartial, when you say that the ‘real test’ involves Justin “telling all he knows about Smyth and Fletcher” that almost operates like a slur, as if he is withholding information he knows about them. Justin has made statements of what he did and did not know about John Smyth, including not knowing that beatings were being carried out. You’re setting out your “real test” as if he has to ‘fess up’ and admit he was lying, and actually knew what was going on. Do you have facts to bear that… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
10 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I agree, and said above, that George Carey badly mishandled the Peter Ball case. He has admitted to it and apologised. I don’t know if has apologised personally to the victims, but I think he should. As I also said above, in my view he should attempt to make reparation for the harm done though he isn’t a wealthy man so I don’t know how he could do that. Please note that it was not I who said he was being scapegoated, though I do think people are assuming he did it deliberately when we don’t know that. He came… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Thank you Janet. I hope everyone who has information about these terrible cases will indeed come forward, because they owe that to everyone who suffered, or continues to suffer, harm.

Gilo
Gilo
10 months ago

I have raised unsuccessfully the question of senior figures on the NSSG (National Safeguarding Steering Group) – Bishop Tim Thornton in my case and Bishop Martyn Snow in Matt Ineson’s case – with the Bishop of London who also sits on the NSSG. I have asked the question at least half a dozen times. It has been blanked and ignored. The questions around senior disclosure denial and ‘no recollection’ were blanked before the Elliott Review, and now again since. It seems it’s fine in the Church of England to have denial present in such boards of governance. But I know… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
10 months ago

This takes on a new perspective when one reads the latest piece on Stephen Parsons’ “Surviving Church” blog : “Have attitudes to sex changed in the Church over the past 30 years?”. This quotes from the Osborne Report, significantly dated 1989, but not made public until 2012. It demonstrates an entirely different mindset on the part of the church at the very times 1977-1992 when Peter Ball was abusing.

Perhaps the Editors would repeat it on TA.

Jane Chevous
9 months ago

And the additional information about the Gloucester Report. Demonstrating that there was a conscious policy to cover up abuse even when known that the law had been broken; a shocking minimisation of any harm to young people. It was all about dealing with gay clergy and victims of abuse were collateral damage.
I met the same issues of silence and denial when I reported in 2001.
It has been reassuring that this time round my report has been taken seriously and is being investigated. You can read about it here http://barefoot-tales.uk/2020/01/23/cracking-the-shell-of-secrecy-metoo-churchtoo-pt-2/

Linda woodhead
Linda woodhead
10 months ago

Fr Henley, thank you for saying everything I was thinking so I don’t have to. The utter decency of the Mosses, and of Matthew Ineson and other survivors, throws all the shilly-shallying and collusion into sharp relief.

Jane Chevous
10 months ago

I don’t think my other reply posted, for some reason.
Ah well, silence is nothing new.
Actually that is the thing that gets me most. #thechurchsdarkedtsecret trends on Twitter but I have only seen a handful of bishops responding and no archbishops. Its this silence that we survivors find so hard.

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