Thinking Anglicans

Complaint made into how Welby dealt with a safeguarding complaint

Updated again Thursday morning

Channel 4 News reported on Monday evening: Church launches investigation into how Welby dealt with complaints about an alleged serial abuse

This programme can reveal that the Church of England has launched an investigation into how the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, dealt with complaints about a serial abuser of young men.

John Smyth was alleged to have beaten dozens of young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those abused has now written to the Church of England, launching a formal complaint against Mr Welby, saying he failed to act properly when he learnt of the abuse.

More details are in the video (3 minutes).

The Church of England has responded with this statement:

It is in the public domain that when Lambeth was contacted in 2013 about an allegation against Smyth it liaised with the relevant diocese. This was to ensure that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town, where Smyth was then living. However, since a formal complaint has now been received by the National Safeguarding Team, it is reviewing information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.

These issues will all be considered by the Makin Review which the Church commissioned last year into the Smyth case and is expected to publish into 2021.

The Telegraph has also reported on this: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with abuse claims at Christian camps.

The i has this: Justin Welby: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with child abuse claims

Updates

The Church Times reports: NST considers safeguarding complaint against Welby. This contains a lot of background detail and also mentions that

…The NST has avoided using the term “investigation” in its statement about the allegation against Archbishop Welby. The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, complained recently to the NST that it had caused confusion by using the same word for the both initial consideration of whether there is a case to be answered and the subsequent formal investigation instigated by a core group.

The NST talks instead of “reviewing information”…

It concludes thus:

…On Tuesday, Graham took issue with the C of E statement, saying that he had not been supported, beyond the offer of £100 for counselling; nor had the police ever been in touch with him.

On the matter of correspondence with Cape Town, he writes: “I have in front of me a copy of the letter the Church is referring to. On the simple matter of facts, it was not addressed to the Archbishop of Cape Town but to Bishop Garth Counsell, the Bishop of Table Bay. There is no evidence that this letter was in fact sent or received.

“What is undisputed is that John Smyth continued in his role as Director of the Justice Alliance of South Africa for a further three years, and that during that time he continued to meet and groom young men in Cape Town.”

A further detailed statement from the complainant can be found in two of the comments below.

On 2 February 2017, LBC’s Nick Ferrari interviewed Justin Welby about physical abuse at holiday camps: Archbishop Of Canterbury Responds To Child Abuse Reports

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told LBC he was “completely unaware” of physical abuse at a Christian holiday camp he worked at in the 1970s.

The Church of England has apologised after it emerged police hadn’t been informed of allegations about John Smyth until 2013.

Archbishop Justin Welby says he wasn’t aware of any claims of wrongdoing at the time they were colleagues…

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Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Since when do we refer to the Archbishop of Canterbury as “Welby” or even “Mr Welby”. Can we please have, as a minimum, Justin Welby or Archbishop Welby? What has happened to basic courtesy?

Peter Hitchens
Peter Hitchens
1 month ago

I do not think that Mr Welby showed much courtesy to the surviving family of George Bell or to those who strove in good faith and amid smears directed against them by the hierarchy,,to clear his name after the extraordinary besmirching of a great and good man without any attempt even to hear the defence.Nor has he shown in my hearing any sign of penitence or apology. Instead we got the ‘significant cloud’and the ridiculous second accusation, pursued for long months as if it were serious. I am guided in such matters by by Luke XVII vv 3-4.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Hitchens
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Hitchens

Well, two wrongs never make a right. I have to say that I am somewhat surprised that my post has been chosen for reply. There are other posts below which refer specifically, and critically, to what you have written. I have done neither. I entirely share your view of the Church’s handling of the Bishop Bell matter, and have said so here repeatedly for the last two years or more.   But Bishop Bell is not the subject of this thread. It’s about an allegation of a safeguarding failure in relation to John Smyth’s abuse, apparently involving initial disclosure in… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

No, RW, this thread is not just about “John Smyth’s abuse”. It is about how an Archbishop handles safeguarding complaints [which includes Bishop Bell and others]

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

That “significant cloud” hanging over Bishop George Bell has floated away from him and is now hanging over Archbishop Justin Welby.
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

“Significant clouds” now hang over the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury must, at the very least, make an immediate public apology and make amends:
 
https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/july-28-2020-significant-clouds-hang-over-church-of-england/
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago

Laundering of news by the Church’s internal reputation launderers. The Ch4 story is about a complaint brought by a survivor against Archbishop Welby and a formal investigation ensuing as result of the complaint. But CofE comms swiftly gets out the detergent to remove any mention of Justin Welby in an attempt to manage the story.   This does not match the ‘new transparency’ called for by the new Archbishop of York who said: “In my new position as Archbishop of York, it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our Church… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gilo
Alan Davies
Alan Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

You can be sure Luther Pendragon got a call from the Bishop at Lambeth’s office on their out-of-hours number when the journalists came knocking at the door about this one!

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
1 month ago

Perhaps the appropriate action would be to suspend the Archbishop of Canterbury while the investigation is underway. That is what was done to the Bishop of Lincoln.

Though I suspect Orwell was right in that ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’.

Paul Waddington
Paul Waddington
1 month ago

Such suspensions tend to go on for a long time.

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
1 month ago

Indeed they do! Perhaps it would be better for him simply to step aside.

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

People in public office have to earn the respect of their fellow peers. The Office is respected, but not necessary the person that has to be earned. For many of us we respect the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, but not the present holder of the office..
 
Fr John Emlyn

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago

[Posted with permission of complainant in last night’s Ch4 story]   A statement by the Archbishop Welby complainant at 1030 on 28 July 2020 This statement is issued on behalf of the complainant in the Archbishop Justin Welby case.   On 28 July Channel 4 News correctly reported that Archbishop Justin Welby is under investigation over alleged safeguarding failures, following a complaint I made on 12 June this year. The Church of England has issued a response today that fails to mention Archbishop Welby by name. Instead, the church states that it “ensure[d] that the survivor was being supported, police… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

……continued from previous posting   I received multiple replies saying that no one had acknowledged their letter to Bishop Counsell. In May 2014 I was told “The Bishop of Ely wrote to the Bishop of Cape Town (sic). There was no reply, either then or when I chased it up. We think they have no equivalent position to [safeguarding officer] in the South African church”. I was told “The only information I have about Smyth is gleaned from his website…..Unfortunately I have no power to compel agencies in South Africa to respond to my concerns and no professional routes to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gilo
Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

I have read the statement Gilo kindly uploaded but I don’t understand in what way it implicates Justin Welby? All mention is of Ely?

Peter Ould
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

I agree Kate – I am very sympathetic to Graham, but I can’t see how Justin Welby is involved here. The only complaints of substance are that Ely Diocese (i) did not pass on the allegation of a serious sexual crime to the Police (safeguarding) and (ii) did not provide appropriate pastoral support to the victim (pastoral, not safeguarding).

Tony Bellows
Tony Bellows
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

CambridgeShire Live has a link made clearer as clearly the above statement relates just to a rebuttal of statements made by the Diocese of Ely, but the C4 report covered more, and that explains the Justin Welby link, but it appears he was only shown a letter during the making of the C4 programme, unless it is assumed he was part of the “appropriate authorities” which are unspecified.   The Bishop of Ely Stephen Conway warned the Anglican church more than three years ago about alleged abuse in its ranks, it has been claimed. The Right Rev Stephen Conway’s correspondence… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/nick-ferrari/archbishop-of-canterbury-live-on-lbc-watch/
 
12:43 forward
 
Archbishop Welby speaking with Nick Ferrari about his and Bishop Stephen Conway’s handling of the 2013 disclosure.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Bellows

I still see nothing new here linking the allegations to Justin Welby. I am not a fan of the present Archbishop of Canterbury but like everyone else he deserves fair treatment and at the moment I simply don’t see facts linking new allegations to him which justify the criticism he is getting in the comments.

Peter Ould
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

I agree Kate – it was the Bishop of Ely’s responsibility

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate: I agree. I’m shocked that people are prepared to condemn without knowing the facts. Also the discourtesy of referring to him by surname only which I mentioned above. If there is other information, it hasn’t yet been revealed to us.

Andrew Graystone
Andrew Graystone
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

My understanding is that Archbishop Welby had a responsibility to ensure that the disclosure was being handled appropriately. There is no evidence that he took any steps to do so. Ensuring that the disclosure was being handled appropriately, at a minimum, would mean ascertaining that the Bishop of Ely had fulfilled his legal requirements, ie reporting the matter to the police, the social services et cetera. We might wish that in the case of a bishop he would go further, offering some sort of pastoral support. But we can only hold Ely accountable for the legal minimum. But this is… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Fortunately, Keith Makin is required to prepare a chronology and an Executive Summary in his report, now expected to be published in 2021. Assuming that he is in receipt of all information and contemporary documents, one hopes that we will know what happened and when. Meanwhile, one equally hopes that the NST can conclude their current investigation on the same basis.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rowland Wateridge
Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago

I was reminded today of this NY Times article from October 2017 which is worth reading.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/14/world/europe/justin-welby-archbishop-of-canterbury-iwerne-abuse.html#click=https://t.co/44Cjm27fVl

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

Thank you, Gilo. I think I may have seen the NYT article at the time. I have a friend in the US who sends me the ones which he considers relevant.   I am not commenting – not in a position to do so – but assisting, I hope, with a few factual dates. It was quite a shock to me today to discover that the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time of John Smyth’s English abusing activities was Donald Coggan. That puts a perspective on the over-all timescale of this matter. However, it is sub judice and people ought… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

The New York Times article twice alleges that Justin Welby was an officer of Iwerne Trust, whereas elsewhere I had not read that he was a trustee, let alone one with a senior position. I thought he had been involved as a young man for a bit in a junior role, one step up from a prefect. Please may I check, if anyone knows, whether he really had a role in the governance of the Trust? While there is much to be critical of in the Church of England’s institutional mishandling of abuse, obviously it is important to be accurate… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
1 month ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

I think ‘officer’ is being used in two different senses. The young men, current and recent undergraduates, who actually had day-to-day dealings with the boys, the assistant leaders if you like, were probably known as officers. There was a vaguely military flavour to the camps. They were not of course officers of the trust in any legal sense.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
1 month ago
Reply to  David Exham

David, the New York Times article states, after mentioning ‘several victims and former Iwerne members’, that ‘As an officer of the trust, they say, Mr. Welby was close to other senior members of the group and almost certainly would have been briefed on Mr. Smyth’s absence and the reason behind it when he came back to visit Iwerne after he graduated… he came back to give a talk at the trust’s library in 1979.’ This indicates that the journalist believes he was a senior figure, not a young volunteer who visited again when he was about 23.   As for… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

Savi, it’s not just the NYT is it? Here’s an Open Letter in the Daily Telegraph [“Dear Archbishop of Canterbury: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?” – February 6 2017]
 
And this from the Daily Telegraph [February 2 2017]
 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/02/archbishop-canterburys-delightful-friend-accused-killing-teenager/
 
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

Savi, you say: “it is important to be accurate (and not sidestep systemic failings by expecting young volunteers [Justin Welby] to take the blame”   Nobody, as I understand it, is asking Archbishop Welby to “take the blame” for Smyth’s abuse.   All that is being asked is whether or not the Archbishop was aware of Smyth’s abuse before 2013, and whether or not he handled his safeguarding responsibilities properly in 2013 and thereafter.   He says categorically he was unaware of that abuse before 2013, and he did all that he could in 2013 and thereafter.   For many… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

One rule for Welby and another for the Bishop of Lincoln, the Archbishop of York and Lord Carey. All named and shamed.   ‘If the allegations against him are proved… he represents a danger…’ quoth Welby about the Bishop of Lincoln as he was suspended – and that was 12 months before the formal CDM proceedings began. How are the allegations against Welby any less serious than those against Lowson, Cottrell and Carey – especially as the withdrawing of Carey’s PTO is directly related to John Smyth, whom Carey says he never met, whereas Welby was ‘a friend’?   Luther… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
1 month ago

I think it important to note that the complainant has been incredibly patient with all concerned. He has waited since 2013. He has made private entreaties to have those matters addressed, both directly and indirectly, and to everyone and anyone who would listen.
 
He is not the first survivor to have said to me that if only somebody In the Church had picked up the phone with real pastoral concern, none of this needed to have happened. These wounds are entirely self inflicted by our Church leadership.

John Wallace
John Wallace
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Sewell

How right you are Martin, especially your last sentence.. Why our ‘leaders’ cannot offer a simple apology, I just do not understand – unless they are in fear of ‘reputational damage.’ But the ongoing obfuscation and dissimulation is worse and leads to unnecessary reputational and financial damage! We all make mistakes in our working (and personal) lives. Most of us have the courage to admit them and apologise and move on. But strangely not the hierarchy of the C of E. They are badly advised by risk adverse advisers which is damaging to our witness to the love of God… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wallace

Strikingly similar points were made to Archbishop Welby at a 2018 Synod fringe meeting. And later published in Letters to a Broken Church.   The complainant from the Ch4 news story helped write the speech, but was not present when I gave it calmly in front of about 50 Synod members – including both Archbishops and other bishops, and the NST and comms and others. A bishop who had denied my own disclosure, and played out considerable denial and gaslighting games was sat next to the Archbishop. I gather the Bishop at Lambeth is almost glued to the Archbishop as… Read more »

Welby speech 1.jpg
Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

Speech continues below..
 
The speech is in our book..
 
You can buy Letters to a Broken Church from following sites:
 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letters-Broken-Church-Janet-Fife/dp/099329426X
 
https://www.waterstones.com/book/letters-to-a-broken-church/janet-fife/gilo/9780993294266
 
https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/letters-to-a-broken-church/janet-fife/paperback/9780993294266.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwvIT5BRCqARIsAAwwD-QyvugdFh0uYTZEKffkg9oZu0FzX7Vc5WNdZuiiZra9IL4X0u0igGAaAhhZEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
or you can enquire at Church House as 50 copies were ordered by Archbishops Council and I think they’re still being held at Church House ?

Welby speech 2.jpg
Peter Ould
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

I have every sympathy here, but I cannot see a case against Welby. The matter was being managed by the Diocese of Ely and not Lambeth Palace. They are two entirely different legal entities and Welby is not Stephen Conway’s boss. By all accounts Welby did what he was meant to do – ensured that the relevant CofE body (Ely Diocese) had referred the matter to the appropriate statutory body (The Police).
 
What else is he meant to have failed to do?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Ould

You’re missing the point, Peter O.

Was Archbishop Welby aware of the risk posed by John Smyth before 2013?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

“A report [on John Smyth] commissioned by the Iwerne Trust and compiled in 1982, prompted by a suicide attempt by a survivor, was written by a C of E priest, the Revd Mark Ruston, when he was Vicar of Holy Sepulchre with All Saints, Cambridge” ~ Church Times   https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/18-april/news/uk/smyth-abuse-survivors-dispute-welby-claim   “The Report – hand-marked ‘strictly confidential’ – was prepared in 1982 by the Rev’d Mark Ruston, vicar of the Round Church in Cambridge. It bears the initials of eight individual addressees – all Anglicans, some clergy – who by ordinary inference are more likely than not to have read and/or… Read more »

Peter Ould
1 month ago

“Canon Mark Ruston, a close friend of the Most Rev Justin Welby”
 
So what? I keep certain things confidential from close friends. I have been party to particular pieces of information that I haven’t even shared with my wife.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

May I make a correction so as not to add further confusion and misunderstanding…
 
I am given to understand Mark Ruston was not “a close friend of” Justin Welby.
 
Apparently, at the time of the report [1982}, the former was in his 60’s while the latter was in his 20’s. So, it would seem unlikely they were “close friends”.
 
Maybe they knew each other either as mentor-mentee or landlord-tenant?
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Some purely factual dates for Justin Welby:
Ordained deacon 1992
Ordained priest 1993
Parish ministry in Diocese of Coventry 1992-2002
Residentiary Canon and Sub-Dean, Coventry Cathedral 2002-2007
Dean of Liverpool 2007
Bishop of Durham 2011
Archbishop of Canterbury 2013, 4th February
 
John Smyth left this country, I believe in 1984.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago

In 2013 Justin Welby said this of Mark Ruston: “Mark was someone whose personal holiness shone out in every aspect of his life. We prayed together regularly, talked together a great deal, and I was continually inspired by him to seek to follow Christ more closely”.

Peter Ould
1 month ago

“Was Archbishop Welby aware of the risk posed by John Smyth before 2013?”
 
He says he wasn’t. You would need to provide evidence to the contrary to counter that claim.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Ould

Peter O, this ‘Thinking Anglicans’ website is an opportunity for Christians – and others – to think…….for themselves and clearly. I would like to think I am thinking for myself and as clearly as possible – not easy when surrounded by obfuscation, propaganda and ‘Sir Humphrey’ claptrap. And I think Archbishop Welby is….has a case to answer.
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

I think Richard it might well explain not just due to Covid 19, but perhaps this matter too why the Archbishop has postponed the Lambeth Conference until 2022, for he perhaps knows that events might catch up with him re-John Smyth and that he might have to exit the See of Canterbury early and there fore not be there to preside over this Conference. It would not surprise me if Justin Welby made his exit in the next year, and if he sees the noose tightening around him, he will jump before he is pushed and under some other pretext.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal

I think comments like this are totally out of place, whatever the facts might eventually prove to be. I am not defending the Archbishop (and I am aware, for example, of his treatment of Archbishop Carey) but I strongly question the actions of those who are condemning him here without, so far as I can see, any evidence whatsoever. Please read Martin Sewell’s post below. People are assuming for themselves the roles of judge and jury on this thread – they are not, and should not! I won’t say any more.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

“I think comments like this are totally out of place…”
 
I totally disagree with you, RW.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Andrew Graystone:

“Did Archbishop Welby do everything that he was legally required to? We will find out.

“Did Archbishop Welby do everything that he could have done? Almost certainly not.

“Did John Smyth continue to pose a danger to young men between 2013 and 2017? Yes he did“

Peter Ould
1 month ago

“I would like to think I am thinking for myself and as clearly as possible”
 
And I would like to think I’m asking for you to put some flesh on the bones of your thinking. You haven’t provided any evidence to support your contention that Welby knows more than he’s saying and that he should have done more.
 
You need to lay out your case fairly and squarely – asking questions (especially questions that Lambeth Palace has already given an answer to) isn’t that. If you believe the facts are contrary to what person X has said, evidence it.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Ould

Peter, Can i confirm that I have seen no evidence or heard serious suggestion that ++Justin knew anything before the letter arrived in 2013. To be strictly accurate, I have heard third hand rumour that someone might know different but it is so remote as not to be worth further consideration.   i have respect for ++ Justin in many regards and under his leadership we are able to ask tough questions and he has always treated me with respect and grace. On his watch (belatedly) we have the Makin Review looking into the Iwerne/ Titus story though how much… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Sewell

Martin, is the New York Times [‘Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account Of When He Knew Of Abuse, Oct 14 2017] “so remote as not to be worth further consideration”?
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

It would also “not have reached this point” if Archbishop Welby – and certain others – had made a genuine apology for their mistakes and wrongdoing.   In the Bishop Bell debacle, it’s not just a matter of repentance. There is a moral responsibility, and legal obligation, to do what is right.   As Revd Peter Mullen says, “It is about evidence and judgement The evidence has been gathered and the judgement made [eg by Lord Alex Carlile QC]. On the basis of that evidence Bishop George Bell has been cleared. Archbishop Justin Welby [and Bishop Martin Warner] should acknowledge… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Richard: I have always been with you about the statements from the Archbishop and Bishop Warner, but they have no connection to the case of John Smyth which is the present subject.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

RW, the present subject is “Complaint made into how Welby dealt with a safeguarding complaint”, so there is a very clear connection with the Statements from Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner [who appears to be ‘joined at the hip’ to his Archbishop]. 

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
1 month ago

Richard, this article you have cited twice alleges that Justin Welby was an officer of the Iwerne Trust and also claims that he was a senior member. If this is true, what was his role in the governance (rather than just being a young volunteer)?   Also I do not remember it being that common in the 1970s and 80s for people in their teens or twenties volunteering for Christian youth groups or the like to ask too many questions of those much older and more powerful than themselves, especially about abuse, or to be taken into their confidence on… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

Savi, you say: “it would seem important to be clear about who has done what and when”   I am in complete agreement with you, and as the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby so rightly said in the Church Times [Feb 6 2018] and the Daily Telegraph [Jan 24 2019]   “the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked; they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly [Church Times]…….It is still the case that there is ### who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
1 month ago

Richard, it is indeed important that the complaint be taken seriously. However I assume you cited the New York Times article for a purpose, in which case does it not matter whether it contains inaccuracies?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

Savi, I grant you the NYT article is somewhat of a ‘Curate’s Egg’, but with that said there are details within it which can’t be ignored or covered up.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

May I just add this…   After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year – “It is still the case that there is a woman [‘Carol’] who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” – a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet the allegations of ‘Carol’ against Bishop Bell.   We investigated the strong likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ by ‘Carol’ after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester.   Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Says ‘Graham’ on Channel 4 regarding Archbishop Welby: “There should be procedures in place when disclosures of abuse are made to the Church of England. There are strict safeguarding procedures…I find it very difficult to understand why he still has permission to officiate and can still minister…I find it depressing and staggering that the Church of England can take so long to find out the truth about what actually happened” [‘Justin Welby – Church of England investigating complaint over how the Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with child abuse claims’ – iNews, July 29 2020].   Of course, by implication, this… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

So, the Establishment cover-up was so successful that not even the Archbishop of Canterbury knew what was going on!?

Methinks ‘hidden hands’ at work.

Goodness knows who that might be.

Any guesses ?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

No guesses. Guesses are inappropriate, and it’s worth remembering that the present Archbishop is the fifth Archbishop of Canterbury in office since the time now understood to be when John Smyth was actively abusing.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago

Not quite. John Smyth carried on abusing after he moved to Africa, and died only very recently. How many more lads were abused and brutalised during those decades? We know that one lost his life. And those in England who knew of Smyth’s abuse and did nothing – or not enough – share in the responsibility. Given the ubiquity of Iwerne men in the upper echelons of the church, Smyth’s place within the Iwerne network, and the support he continued to receive from the UK, that raises serious questions.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Janet: This is a late reply, but if you will kindly look at my response to the comment from Peter Hitchens above (my comment was the first on this thread, and his is the second), you will understand that the terrible things in Africa are unconnected with the present NST investigation which is the subject here.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

No, RW, the subject of this thread is not just about “the present NST investigation”. It is about how an Archbishop handled safeguarding complaints [which is connected with John Smyth’s continued abuse in Zimbabwe and South Africa]

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Is it worth remembering RW ? What are you trying to prove?
 

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Peter Hitchens, writing in the Mail on Sunday today [02/08/2020], neatly sums up the Welby-Smyth-Bell disgrace in his own inimitable style:   Welby is such a pathetic prelate    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is, in my view, prissy, pathetic and political. He has utterly failed to stand up for his church against its first compulsory shutdown since the days of Bad King John eight centuries back.    Not long ago Welby supported the disgraceful smearing of a man whose mitre he would not have been fit to carry, the courageous and selfless Bishop George Bell of Chichester (please,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

In a nutshell, Peter Hitchens is saying Archbishop Welby has acted wrongly in the case of Bishop Bell (and possibly John Smyth) and will not, or cannot, admit it.

There is absolutely no supporting evidence for the Archbishop’s claim there is a “significant cloud” hanging over the long-dead George Bell Bishop of Chichester.

if any such cloud ever existed, it is now hanging over the present Archbishop of Canterbury and his living sycophants.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

“Welby is such a pathetic prelate …. prissy, pathetic and political.” Are these the words of a journalist with at least some claim to objectivity?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

I think Peter Hitchens ruins his own case by using language such as this and descending to personal insult in this manner.

Peter Hitchens
Peter Hitchens
1 month ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

I think my language is remarkably restrained. The treatment of George Bell under Welby’s leadership, and the continuing failure fully to rehabilitate him, especially Welby’s ‘significant cloud’ remarks, make me seethe.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Hitchens

I’m no fan of Welby’s and he’s been party to a number of injustices, but on the whole I don’t like personal attacks. Maybe I’ve been in the Church of England too long, and you’re writing for a very different readership.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Peter Hitchens is one of the leading authorities of the injustice done to Bishop George Bell by the cruel and incompetent Church hierarchs. Be assured, he knows what he’s talking about. It was he who, five years ago, courageously first brought this injustice to wider public attention – The Spectator [Nov 7 2015] – a month after the shocking Church of England Statement on Bishop Bell [Oct 22 2015].
 
So, Mr Hitchens has every claim to both objectivity and subjectivity on this issue.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Peter Hitchens
Peter Hitchens
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

I am objective with facts, as the Church was not when it condemned the late George Bell without attempting to hear the case for his defence. I hope that my factual reporting helped to overturn that condemnation. I am subjective with opinions, and I believe that there is room in Christianity for anger, especially against the impenitent.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Hitchens

Of course there is room in Christianity for anger, not least as a corrective to C of E niceness. But
“prissy, pathetic and political”? I won’t comment on the first two, but when bishops are accused of being political I detect a strong smell of sulphur.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

If the names of candidates suitable for an Archbishop appointment are submitted, vetted and cleared by a Prime Minister, how can the Archbishop’s role not be “political”?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

My understanding is that prime ministers since Gordon Brown exercise a self-denying ordinance in accepting the church’s preferred candidate.

In the wider context, it would be a
shocking abdication of responsibility if affairs of state were no longer transacted at pulpit and altar.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Revd Graham Sawyer was featured in the video [above]. Remember it was he who said at the IICSA in July 2018: “The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel… Read more »

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