Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Lincoln suspended from office for alleged safeguarding failure

Updated again Friday evening

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement:

Archbishop of Canterbury statement on Bishop of Lincoln

“Following information provided by the police, I have suspended the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson from office, having obtained the consent of the Bishops of Birmingham and Worcester (the two longest serving bishops in the Province of Canterbury). If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people. I would like to make it absolutely clear that there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. The Bishop of Grimsby, David Court, will take on episcopal leadership of the diocese. It should be noted that suspension is a neutral act and nothing further can be said at this stage while matters are investigated. I ask for prayers for all affected by this matter.”

Commenting today the Bishop of Lincoln said: “I am bewildered by the suspension and will fully cooperate in this matter. For the sake of the diocese and the wider Church I would like this to be investigated as quickly as possible to bring the matter to a swift conclusion.”

The Lincolnshire Police have issued this statement, as reported in local newspapers:

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the decision today of the Archbishop of Canterbury to suspend the Bishop of Lincoln from office and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on that decision.

“The first phase of the Lincolnshire Police Operation Redstone investigation into historic sex abuse cases involving contact resulted in three men being convicted.

“Phase 2 of the investigation is continuing into wider safeguarding issues and management decisions within the diocese. Because it is a live investigation and we do not want to jeopardise the outcome, we do not intend to make any further comment.

“We are committed to ensuring the safeguarding of victims and continue to work with the full co-operation of the Lincoln Diocese.

“There is an absolute multi-agency commitment to a transparent, survivor-focused and diligent investigation of every matter raised with the team. Anyone wanting to make contact in complete confidence can do so to the Diocese Safeguarding Adviser, Debbie Johnson who can be contacted on 01522 504081.”

The Diocese of Lincoln has published the text of an Ad Clerum about this. I recommend reading this in full.

Media coverage:

BBC Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson suspended from office

Church Times Bishop of Lincoln ‘bewildered’ by his safeguarding suspension

The Lincolnite Bishop of Lincoln suspended

Lincolnshire Live Bishop of Lincoln suspended by Archbishop of Canterbury

Telegraph Bishop of Lincoln suspended over alleged abuse failures as Archbishop warns of ‘significant risk to children’

Guardian Bishop of Lincoln suspended over safeguarding issues

Times (£) Bishop suspended in abuse ‘cover-up’

Daily Mail Bishop of Lincoln is suspended from office by Archbishop of Canterbury over child safeguarding inquiry

UPDATE

The Lincolnite reports that an additional fourth person is implicated in the cathedral matter: The four senior figures embroiled in the safeguarding scandal at Lincoln Cathedral

Anglican Communion News Service has a full report: Bishop of Lincoln suspended after information received by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

“If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people.” i really do hope, for everyone’s sake, that this is not Justin Welby doing a ‘George Bell’ on it. Again. My sense is that this sentence could be seized upon by the Bishop of Lincoln’s lawyers. I’ve no doubt that John Rees and William Nye have been all over this statement before it was issued (or I hope they have!). Nonetheless, I think the CDM would give the Bishop of Lincoln considerable… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Archbishop Welby is indeed doing a ‘George Bell’ on the Bishop of Lincoln – but at least this Bishop can mount a defence against this near-criminal libel by the Archbishop. The long-deceased Bishop Bell could not mount a defence – nor was there anyone to act in his defence.

This injustice is yet another moral obscenity which is being perpetuated by an incompetent Church hierarchy in denial.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I am not at all sure that you have correctly summarised the position about Chester. In any event the CDM there falls to be dealt with by the Archbishop of York and/or the Vicar General’s Court. It is not appropriate for other people to pre-judge the outcome of the CDM or to say that suspension is an appropriate penalty (if, indeed, there is to be any penalty).

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I think I ought to add that the pending CDM in Chester and the Archbishop’s announcement about Lincoln involve entirely separate provisions. Maintaining my stance that one should not comment, nevertheless it may help an understanding of some of the background to factually quote parts of the CDM as applying to Lincoln: Section 37 Suspension of bishop or archbishop (1) Where – (a) a complaint in writing is made under section 10(1) above against a bishop or archbishop, or (b) a bishop or archbishop is arrested (whether in England or elsewhere) on suspicion of committing a criminal offence, or (c)… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Just looking at the texts of the reports and comments above, and without knowing any further facts, I’m not convinced that what the Archbishop is doing can be squared with the text under which he says he is acting. I do not think the definition of “present a significant risk of harm” can include what the Archbishop is saying–“not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people.” He seems to be saying it generally. I don’t think subsection (c) can be read that way. It says “put _a_ child . . . at risk”–in other words, a particular child or vulnerable adult.… Read more »

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

A sin of omission?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Perhaps–perhaps the idea is that if someone omitted or failed to do something in the past, then he presents a “significant risk of harm” in the future as to the generality of all children and vulnerable adults in the diocese.
But to me, that construction is more than subsection (c) can support.
That construction also leads to headlines like the Telegraph’s above, in which the subtlety we are discussing is entirely lost, and the public is inaccurately led to believe that what is at issue is something more along the lines of (a), (b), (d), or (e).

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

The regulations refer to where the archbishop is satisfied that the bishop presents a significant risk. The archbishop himself says only that if certain allegations were found to be proven, then he would present a risk. By his own words then, the archbishop is not yet satisfied, and is therefore exceeding his authority. Indeed it could be said that, if allegations were proved against any other bishop, he or she would also present a significant risk Since nobody knows what allegations may be made, and even if never made could be true, all bishops should be suspended. But what is… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

The guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/741314/Keeping_Children_Safe_in_Education__3_September_2018_14.09.18.pdf) para 223ff contextualises suspension in a rather different manner from Church procedures. The essence of the test is whether there is a risk to children, young people (or vulnerable adults in the broader context), not whether there is a risk to the reputation of the institution.

Since the live charge against the CofE at IICSA is essentially that reputation has been more important than people, I hope that this is a risk-based decision and not a reputation-based one, but I am not confident that it is so.

Kate
Guest
Kate

It is truly hard to comment but one can observe that there is a lack of transparency in the circumstances where suspension will be invoked

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Archbishop Welby on the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson: https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/latest-news/archbishop-canterbury-statement-bishop-lincoln “If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people. I would like to make it absolutely clear that there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult” Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner on the Bishop of Chichester George Bell: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/safeguarding/safeguarding-news-and-statements/statement-rt-revd-george-bell-1883-1958 https://www.chichester.anglican.org/news/2015/10/22/statement-rt-revd-george-bell-1883-1958/ Bishop of Durham Paul Butler on the Bishop of Chichester George Bell https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/160128-0003.htm#16012842000962 “I refer to what I said earlier: this is… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
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Bill Broadhead

Interestingly, the House of Bishops is meeting at the moment. Was the Bishop of Lincoln told to pack his suitcase and go? And is this statement just another case of a bad-tempered and over-stressed Welby having a bad day and lashing out? After all, Professor Coakley’s letter about episcopal appointments in yesterday’s Times will have upset his early morning run. It is unprecedented that an individual bishop should have his reputation tarnished *prior* to any investigative process being concluded (although, I agree, they came pretty close to it with Michael Perham). I think it is a legitimate question to ask… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I am reluctant to speak about this case, but in response to your point about suspension happening before investigation, let’s assume a similar hypothetical situation. Section 37 of the CDM (inapplicable material omitted) states: “Where – (e) The archbishop of the province in which a bishop holds office … is satisfied, on the basis of information provided by a local authority or the police, that the bishop … presents a significant risk of harm, the archbishop of the province in which the bishop holds office … may with the consent of the two most senior diocesan bishops in that province… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

Rowland is right to draw attention to the wording of section 37(1)(e) of the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) (inserted by section 1(5) of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016). The exercise of the power to suspend conferred on the archbishop by this new subsection requires the archbishop to be ‘satisfied’ (on the basis of the information provided, in this case by the police) that the bishop “presents a significant risk of harm” [as defined in section 36(2A)]. These are strong words. It is not ‘may present’ but ‘presents’: i.e. currently, or now. On the basis of the information provided… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I recall it being said that the suspension of Dean Percy at Oxford was “a neutral act”, I forget whether by the Archbishop or the Bishop of Oxford. Now the same phrase has surfaced here.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

The phrase which is constantly re-surfaciing in my mind is that of Orwell’s:

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

Martyn Percy has been suspended by the Governing Body of Christchurch College. Neither the Archbishop nor the Bishop of Oxford was involved in the decision. The phrase ‘neutral act’ is commonly used. I have, for example, seen it used of University staff.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I didn’t dream this. See Thinking Anglicans 17th November 2018 “Christ Church suspends Dean”. It was, in fact, the Bishop of Oxford: Bishop Steven said; “As always in such circumstances, suspension is a neutral act and does not imply that the complaint will be upheld.” This subject was debated at enormous length last year on TA. It was another example of much muddled thinking based on ignorance of the Christ Church Statutes – much the same point as I have tried to make below in response to Dean Henley. David Lamming has explained why “neutral act” is an inappropriate term… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

And, as an afterthought, something of a coincidence? The same speech-writer, perhaps? My final word on this thread.

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

My apologies. I misread Rowland’s original post as saying that Martyn Percy had been suspended by either the ABC or the Bishop of Oxford rather than what he was sayng which was they had used the term ‘neutral act’. I agree that it isn’t neutral at all.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Thank you. I’m glad there is now no misunderstanding. How sad this all is for the C of E.

Dean Henley
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Dean Henley

As a former union rep I’m aware that clergy are regularly suspended as part of the CDM process. I’m not sure that all this speculation as to the veracity of the allegations and the circumstances of the suspension are helpful. Presumably the Bishop of Lincoln will have access to the very best lawyers who are better placed to argue his case than contributors here.

Parish clergy in these circumstances often feel entirely alone and have to take out bank loans to fund their legal defence if they do not have private means. This deserves far more attention to my mind.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Sorry, you have missed the point. No one here has speculated “the veracity of the allegations”. We don’t know what they are. David Lamming and I have set out the relevant CDM texts to help TA readers and, perhaps, thus avoid misunderstandings and wrong assumptions being made as sometimes happens when people express views without knowing what the legal provisions are.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“[T]he very best lawyers” will be “better placed,” of course. That’s as to process outcome.
But the public appearance of fairness, even at the beginning of a process, is also valuable.
I think David Lamming is correct when he says, above, that “in view of the terms of the subsection[,] it is surely not consistent for the archbishop to say (as he has in his formal statement) that ‘suspension is a neutral act.'”

Kate
Guest
Kate

I am not reading any speculation as to the veracity of any allegations. There is, however, considerable concern, and therefore debate, as to whether the process, and this incarnation of the process, is fit for purpose and uniformly applied. While, in the absence of specifics, such debate is obviously incapable of reaching any conclusions, that doesn’t mean that the debate itself is out of place.

Ailsa
Guest
Ailsa

I think the statement from the Archbishop is staggering in its disregard for the likely impact on somebody who has not been shown to have committed any offence at this point. To categorise an individual as posing “a significant risk” while in the same statement making it clear there is no suggestion that Bishop Christopher is personally guilty of abuse is at least ill-considered and at worse a reckless disregard for his reputation. That sentence is the one seized on by the media (unsurprisingly) and it’s hard to believe that such a gleeful savaging as this wasn’t foreseen. Do we… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Is anyone else getting deja vu?

Today’s Bishop Lowson scenario is almost exactly the same as that of Bishop Bell in 2015; the only difference being that the now-silent Bell was ‘thrown under the bus’ with no one to speak in his defence.

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

The Archbishop is suffering from Corporal Jones syndrome, running round in circles, brandishing his crook, shouting ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic!’ Shall we hear the cry ‘They don’t like it up ‘em’ next?

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

I am not Richard. The ‘only difference’ is not that one bishop is deceased actually. The very significant difference is that this suspension is based upon ‘no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult’.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

I hope the matter is resolved swiftly and recognise it must be hard for the bishop, his family and friends. If safeguarding were handled independently at a national level, concerns by police or social services about a bishop’s handling of past cases could potentially be set aside until an investigation were completed. However in the current scenario, surely if professionals experienced in child and/or adult protection express concern about someone who might potentially fail to protect those at risk, how can the situation be responsibly handled without removing that person’s authority for the time being, even if ultimately cleared? And… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Savi Hensman, as a matter of policy your first question is a good one.
My point is that subsection (c) may not be fit for the purpose you describe.

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Balanced and reasonable comment. Suspension may be the responsible course of action, if professionals with the expertise believe there is a risk of a failure to further people. Whether the language used to describe and justify this was commensurate or overblown may be a slightly different matter. These are not easy or comfortable situations. Clearly, if independent and expert advice is taken, it may simply be appropriate action not to keep a person in situ pending investigation, if there has been a possible failure of process (not saying there has). There will of course be suspicions of political shenanigans, or… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Susannah, I have to seriously question your last paragraph: “None of which is to assert anything: it is simply to suggest that once again, as in the case of Bishop Bell, we run the risk in the clamour to defend a powerful (and hopefully decent) man of subordinating the needs of complainants and people who have suffered, or at risk of, harm” There is a “clamour to defend” the deceased Bishop Bell because there was NO-ONE to act in his defence when the ‘ecclesiastical kangaroo court’ set about destroying his good name. Yes, there was a “clamour to defend a… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Susannah: With great respect, please read David Lamming’s post above for a better understanding of the law involved here and his explanation, accepted by others on this thread, why suspension cannot be a “neutral act” in the context of the legislation under which it is imposed.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Rowland, with equal respect and good will, I disagree with David’s analysis, and I believe concern over significant ‘risk’ (and interim suspension because of that) is a neutral act, and simply a precautionary safeguarding procedure (and where abuse issues are involved we should indeed prioritise precaution). The pivotal word is ‘risk’ which invokes the need to act, to ring-fence situations, to safeguard good practice and reliability when people complain. ‘Risk’ in safeguarding contexts should trigger response, and suspension of individuals where there is concern is basic responsibility, and not a condemnation at all, but simply a neutral safeguarding procedure while… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Sorry, I hadn’t seen this reply before my latest one to you, which should appear at the bottom of the page. I’m afraid we have reached the stage where I can’t offer any more to the discussion.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Personally I am unsure why the Bishop of Lincoln has been suspended rather than simply have his safeguarding responsibilities re-assigned.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

This a seismic wake up call for the Church of England in general and the House of Bishops in particular. Of course one would not wish it on any bishop, but it shows where power and authority lies. The buck stops on safeguarding with each and every diocesan bishop and I fail to understand why dioceses made such a complete mess of the Past Cases Review. I fear it was a culture of defending (what little is left of) the reputation of the Church and instinctively thinking the best of priests and others. I sense, as suggested above, that we… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Mr Archer: you write “The buck stops on safeguarding with each and every diocesan bishop”. But now incumbents have been asked to check all parochial records, to examine all parsonage office files, to dredge all memories, in order to assure the diocesan that there is nothing crawling about under the stone. Setting aside questions of what parochial records – and where are they? what parsonage files – and where are they? and the vagaries of human memory, the diocesan has thus passed the buck to the parishes – to an understaffed incumbent and, if we’re lucky, a few volunteers. As… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Ive noticed a good number of my friends have or are intending to retire early if they can.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

I’m off in October 2019, 8 months before my 70th bday.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

This ‘zero tolerance’ policy, advocated by Mr Archer, was implemented by the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference years ago. It was a ‘knee-jerk’ response to the Church child abuse scandal exposed by the Boston Globe and highlighted in the ‘Spotlight’ film.

That ‘zero-tolerance’ policy was an unmitigated disaster, resulting in hundreds of priests being falsely accused – many losing their vocation, with lives broken and lives lost.

Don’t take my word for it – read the books on the subject.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

No one has rushed to judgement. Merely a wish to see the law (that is what it is) stated correctly and personal opinions not super-imposed on it to give a distorted impression to others. The Archbishop has initiated the suspension under section 37 of the Clergy Disciplinary Measure 2003 (as amended). David Lamming and I have taken the trouble to copy the complete text in our threads above. This is unarguable. The Archbishop quotes the exact words from section 37(1) “a significant risk of harm” and has obtained the consent of the two senior diocesans, as he is required to… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I agree with you, Anthony. Some people here seem horrified that the bishop has been suspended. Isn’t that normal procedure in education, in the police, in healthcare, in other fields, if there is a possibility that people are at risk, either of direct abuse, or of negligence when their complaints are raised? Added to this, I fear the climate of reputation defence, and arguably deference to those in high positions in the organisation, creates a hostile environment for others who may face the incredibly brave and fearful challenge of coming forward with a complaint. Although others have disagreed with me… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

It seems a hopeless task (certainly a thankless one) trying to explain the law – these are not personal whims – to some TA contributors. This is not an education, police, healthcare or a ‘business’ scenario (all civilian and lay occupations and subject to different considerations). The Church has its own specific disciplinary procedures – they are statutory and not optional. I really can’t say any more.

Also, it’s not a case of people disagreeing with you. You have an authoritative explanation above from David Lamming. If you don’t know his background, Google will tell you.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

However, it may be useful to compare the law of the Church of England with the law of the land as it applies elsewhere, and with recognised good practice in other occupations. After all, clergy discipline has been under reform since the mid-1990s and the Lincoln Cathedra episode; and the Clergy Discipline Measure is currently under review. We still have much to learn about the way these matters should be handled, and discussions on forums such as this can inform the process.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Thank you. But that not is the same thing as claiming (as two correspondents here have) that the suspension has not been made under section 37(1). It’s important for the Bishop of Lincoln to know whether his suspension is lawful under existing and, I stress, binding legislation, but I accept, of course, that this is a matter for him and his advisers, not for us. As a layman with no prior involvement with the CDM 2003, but having studied its terms very carefully, I can see a strong case for some re-drafting, and I’m interested to learn that it is… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Susannah, you state: “However, we have seen in some other recent cases in the Church, how complainants are disbelieved, or regarded as disturbed, and how they can be marginalised in the uproar to defend the great and good”. It is important – critical -to be specific. If you are talking about the Bishop Ball case, I agree with you. If you are talking about the Bishop Bell case, I do not agree with you. Are you referring to ‘Carol’ when you say “We have seen …how complainants are disbelieved, or regarded as disturbed…”. If so, may I respectfully point out… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

If it is a “seismic wake up call,” then one must wonder whether that is its purpose. Eagerness to use an individual case to virtue-signal has led in the past to error in that case. You say that “Failure to act on current information concerning an alleged abuser, for example, may clearly put children and vulnerable adults at risk.” Again, as with Savi, I do not dispute that point as a policy matter. I just wonder whether subsection (c) can do this work, as an interpretive matter. To justify suspension, a failure-to-act theory has to have some basis in law.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

You make a very powerful point with your factual question which I confess hadn’t occurred to me. Yes, it does indeed add to the existing – and very considerable – bewilderment.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

I do not know what lines of inquiry the police are currently pursuing. However if there is a risk that current or potential complainants or whistleblowers might be afraid of negative consequences as a result of speaking up, even if the diocesan bishop is not currently in charge of safeguarding, it might seem most prudent to remove his authority for the time being. This is of course hard for him but hopefully, if he is cleared of any suspicion that he has failed to pursue justice vigorously for survivors, there will be fewer people who think this is just another… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“it might seem most prudent to remove his authority for the time being“
It might be, yes. But whether we like it or not, prudence is _not_ the legal standard for when an archbishop may suspend a bishop.
That is a very serious legal matter.
And I really must now echo the frustration that Rowland Wateridge expressed above.
These are issues of law, not of personal preference, and not even of individual assessments of prudence.
Lawlessness (alleged sexual abuse or misconduct) cannot and must not justify further lawlessness (potential abuse of archiepiscopal power).

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Yes, that is the issue. I know nothing of the factual background at Lincoln and was not/ am not taking sides. I have been surprised that my initial post, intended to be helpful, has led to so much vigorous dissension! Janet Fife has pointed out that the CDM is under review, and that may be a good thing, but the law has to be applied in its current form, and in such a serious matter as suspension of a bishop must be followed strictly. But in response to Dean Henley’s post, that must be equally true for parish and other… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

“Lawlessness (alleged sexual abuse or misconduct) cannot and must not justify further lawlessness (potential abuse of archiepiscopal power)”

I read that as the Archbishop being in likely breach of Canon Law – that is, breaking the law.

As Her Majesty is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is the Archbishop protected by Royal Prerogative – as Prime Minister Blair was protected in the Iraq war – that is, immune from prosecution?

My question is a serious one.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I don’t think he is in breach of canon law, but most of the steam of the (unnecessary) argument on this thread has now gone, thanks to the article from Anglican Communion News Service linked above. There will have to be a definitive outcome, for which we can only now wait.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I rather think the ACNS article underlines the point that T Pott made above. If the Archbishop is only willing to say that the allegations, “if proven,” “would” show that someone presents a risk, then surely his suspension of a bishop is based on contingency that has yet to come to fruition? Either the Archbishop is satisfied now, as to the proof of someone presenting a risk; or he is not.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I think we can only add this to the list of other outstanding conundrums. In the fullness of time all will have to be revealed concerning the suspension of Dean Percy, the CDM of Bishop Forster and this one. Setting aside any personal feelings “the law must take its course”. I checked the Canons of the C of E and there is, indeed Canon C 30 “Of Safeguarding” but that deals with setting up safeguarding procedures and it includes a provision for imposing risk assessments applying to all ranks of clergy where considered necessary. The five criteria for risk assessment… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

That’s a good point, Savi.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Yes, it might be if done lawfully. Why aren’t people accepting the reality of section 37(1) of the CDM?

NJW’s post below puts a new slant on things.

T Pott
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T Pott

Mr Archer, you ask: “Why has not every diocesan bishop in recent time, immediately upon appointment, dug up every single drain they can find, commissioned a forensic review of all files, assumed the worst in every case, assumed every complaint however old was/is very serious until judged otherwise, and employed the very best DSA and team they could find to lead the work?” Either God is simply not calling that type of person to be a bishop, or if He is, the CNC and Mrs May are failing to discern it. In Chester the drains go back to Roman times.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I felt that I was in deep enough water with Mr Archer (and others) already to respond to that part of his post. I can empathise with Stanley Monkhouse. In a different scenario (non-church abuse-related) I did that kind of work for about two decades. It is enormously time-consuming and exhausting: I remember clocking-up 100 hours on one exceptional case. I can’t speak about the Church, but files had to be tracked down in County record offices, local authority offices (sometimes literally in the loft) schools, children’s homes, etc., etc., and in one famous case in the offices of a… Read more »

NJW
Guest
NJW

However, this is a bishop who, within a short time of his appointment, did initiate a review of files and subsequently put in place a completely new safeguarding team (under an independent safeguarding panel, which still seems to have the confidence of the police – given that any victims/survivors are referred to contact the diocesan team) who then did the review that resulted in the joint Operation Redstone with Lincolnshire Police and subsequent prosecutions.

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

…and if gold rusts…. I’m a rural dean and non-residentiary canon in the diocese – and know no more than anyone who’s read the Ad Clerum and what’s on the BBC website (disclaimer). Whatever it is that +C is accused of, I’m no wiser than anyone else, which is as it should be. However, I do know just how tight safeguarding is here. My colleague has been seconded to the next door parish, but before she could be licensed a fresh DBS was required; safeguarding training’s compulsory – no excuses, including lay volunteers; the safeguarding team contains folk with professional… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

I sometimes wonder why the previous Bishops of Grimsby and Grantham suddenly disappeared from the diocese on the appointment of the current diocesan – a mystery yet to be told?