Thinking Anglicans

General Synod Questions

The booklet of Questions and Answers  to be taken at the Church of England’s General Synod this weekend is now available for download. It includes both the general questions to be taken on Friday, and those regarding safeguarding to be taken on Sunday. Since the answers are published in advance neither they nor the questions will not be read out, but members will have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions.

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Mark BennetRichard W. SymondsJohn SwansonKateKate Recent comment authors
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Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Q95 – David Lamming: “In his written answer to my question (Q.93) in February 2019, asking whether the House of Bishops had considered encouraging the Archbishop of Canterbury to revisit the judgment he expressed on 15 December 2015 (on publication of the Carlile Review) that “a significant cloud is left over [Bishop Bell’s] name”, particularly in view of the Briden Report and statement by Lord Carlile that “The Church should now accept that… after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him”, the Bishop at Lambeth replied… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

““the legitimate quest for certainty in connection with the allegations made against the late Bishop George Bell has been defeated by the nature of the case and the passage of time. Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty, nor can it be safely claimed that the original complainant ‘Carol’ has been discredited. There is an uncertainty which cannot be resolved.” That’s the simple facts of the matter. I’m afraid I think you’re going to have to live with that. Citing the completely different case of another person’s complaint is, I fear, a bit exploitative and this use of Alison’s challenged claims… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“…you’re going to have to live with that”

Thank God for people like Sir Cliff Richard who are not prepared “to live with that”.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/247912

Kate
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Kate

Scotland also has the “not proven” secondary acquittal verdict and I think it is worth quoting from the Wikipedia entry for it. Scottish rape crisis centres have expressed concern that scrapping “not proven”, a disproportionately common verdict in rape trials, would discourage rape complainants who may be stigmatised if their alleged rapist is found “not guilty”, more so than if the case is found “not proven” So rather than see the outcome of the George Bell inbroglio as “not guilty”, I think a more accurate rendition would be “not proven”. And, just as in rape cases, I suspect “not proven”… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Do you think Sister Frances Dominica would be “most honoured” with ‘not proven’ – in other words “insufficient evidence” (Crown Prosecution Service)?

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/02/i-want-to-be-a-voice-for-the-voiceless-says-helen-house-nun-left-in-limbo-over-sex-abuse-allegations

Sister Dominica concluded “If you don’t go to trial you are never proved innocent”

In the Bishop Bell case, two senior lawyers (Carlile & Briden) have judged the allegation against the deceased Bishop of Chichester “unproven and unfounded”.

The fight for justice will continue for Bishop Bell.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“There are actually two crises – one is a sex abuse crisis and the other is a false allegation crisis” ~ Paul Gambaccini

If one crisis is at the expense of the other, then there is a dangerous imbalance with serious consequences – especially for the Church of England and ALL its victims of abuse.

Kate
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Kate

More widely I agree that there is a problem with the CPS bringing cases which shouldn’t be pursued but that is really beyond the scope of the present discussion.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

How can these cases be “beyond the scope of the present discussion”?

The Church of England has been trying to solve these ‘Abuse’ problems themselves ‘in-house’, acting as ‘judge, jury and executioner’ and ‘marking their own homework’ – resulting in systemic cover-ups, injustices and a myriad of other serious problems.

That’s the primary reason why the IICSA has had to be set up to investigate the Church.

John Swanson
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John Swanson

Richard: you have put your view many times on various threads, and I and several others have challenged it, so that the respective positions are well established and well understood and, at one level, little is served by challenging your view yet again. But the risk is that a survivor of abuse may read one of the threads on this site, and see your view that the crisis of false allegations is of an equal standing to the crisis of abuse, and get the impression that this view is still representative of the church as a whole, and that nothing… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

John: may I echo what Paul Gambaccini said a few days ago:

https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2019/07/01/paul-gambaccini-warns-of-a-false-allegation-crisisa-ahead-of/

“This is not a competition, who has been hurt the most…There are actually two crises – one is a sex abuse crisis and the other is a false allegation crisis. And anyone who has been wronged, no matter what way, empathise with other people who have been wronged”

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Dear Richard A couple of points come to mind. In any system of judgement there will be false positives and false negatives – the wrongly accused and the wrongly acquitted. It is a fact of life with human systems that if we want to reduce the number of false negatives (protect victims more) we will run the risk of more false positives, or have to spend a shedload more money to improve the systems, or both. In England we are used to “innocent until proven guilty” – we have a cultural aversion to false accusations, and high standards of proof.… Read more »