Thinking Anglicans

Lord Carey PTO : statement from the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

As we reported here, it emerged earlier this month that the Bishop of Oxford had given Lord Carey permission to officiate (PTO) back in February. The Bishop of Oxford issued the following statement today.

Lord Carey PTO : statement from the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

“Along with many others, I am sorry and ashamed to hear again this week of the abuse perpetrated by Peter Ball, and the way in which the Church of England failed to respond to the survivors over such a long period of time and at the most senior level. The whole Church needs to respond to what has been revealed with repentance, improved practice and a continued change of culture.

“We recognise that there will be renewed questions concerning Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate following the IICSA hearings this week and I am sorry that my response to Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year caused additional distress to some survivors of abuse.

“When Lord Carey stepped down from his role as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford following the publication of the Gibb report in 2017 it also meant that he was no longer able to preside over services at his local church. There were no legal grounds for me to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year as he was not subject to a disciplinary process, and there has never been any suggestion that he is himself a risk to children, young people or vulnerable adults.

“Lord Carey’s PTO remains in place at this time, providing him with a safe space to exercise his ministry. However, as part of the Church of England’s ongoing response to IICSA, there will now be a process of review and support offered to Lord Carey by the Diocese of Oxford together with the National Safeguarding Team.”

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Nigel LLoyd
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Nigel LLoyd

Whatever the rights or wrongs of this, the statement that ‘there were no legal grounds’ to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO looks strange when set against the recently published policy on PTO, which states that ‘PTO is held entirely at the bishop’s discretion and may be withdrawn by the bishop at any time, and without any right of appeal’. I received PTO at Easter. I did not think I had any legal right to this. It is the Bishop’s decision to grant this, so obviously the Bishop of Oxford decided that this was the right moment to restore Lord… Read more »

JayKay8
Guest
JayKay8

Surely the “legal grounds to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO” were that the Bishop had the choice. Surely Steven Croft was legally empowered to exercise the choice to accept or reject the request and he knew this.

For a while now, whenever I see something said by a C of E bishop my own response is to consider what is not true, or what is misleading, about what has been said. I’d like to suggest everyone gets into this habit!

JayKay8
Guest
JayKay8

“Legal grounds” or lawful grounds? Are there any readers with appropriate knowledge (particularly any diocesan registrars reading this) who could comment on Steven Croft’s claim that “There were no legal grounds for me to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO…”?
To me the claim looks disingenuous so a proper response would be helpful.

JayKay8
Guest
JayKay8

By trying to give the impression that he was powerless to stop Carey from having PTO, Steven Croft seems to be failing to take responsibility for his own actions. After all we have heard at the Inquiry this week who will challenge him about this?

JayKay8
Guest
JayKay8

Thanks to Harry Farley and the Telegraph for stating “However, a senior canon lawyer told The Telegraph a bishop didn’t need any legal grounds to reject a PTO and suggested Bishop Croft was trying to excuse a bad decision.”
To me it seems from the statement that Steven Croft is actively trying to mislead those reading it, and therefore his fitness to officiate or represent the church in any capacity should be scrutinised even more closely than George Carey given the position of power and responsibility he has.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

I would have thought a tendency to deal inadequately with safeguarding disclosures made to you would be ample grounds to consider someone unsuitable to work with vulnerable people.

Janet Henderson
Guest

If the gist of what we heard during the Iicsa proceedings was that senior figures tend to lend each other support in the face of much evidence that others have well-founded questions about their behaviour, how does this represent a change of culture? Did most of the bishops listen to the proceedings, I wonder? I did and was appalled by what I heard. How does this contribute to meeting Neil Todd’s final dignified request that the church take responsibility for what it collectively did?

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

PTO is in the gift of the diocesan bishop with no right of appeal. I believe that the bishop may have asked that question of his registrar (‘Are there any legal grounds for withholding PTO in this instance?’, yet if he had asked ‘Am I obliged to grant him PTO?’ the answer given would have been different. Perhaps this illustrates the limitations of diocesan registrars, or perhaps I am being unfair and this was decided without reference to the registrar. A third question might be ‘On what grounds can PTO be removed, once granted?’ and a fourth ‘When does this… Read more »

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

Archbishop Carey acted arrogantly (a not uncommon trait among bishops) but without malice and is not the only eminence to fall for Ball’s undoubted charisma. He is not a danger to children or the vulnerable, but the Church of England under Welby is on a mission to show off its whiter than white safeguarding credentials and to that end, scapegoats it must have. Welby is not finished with his predecessor and we have not seen the end of the humiliation of an old man, to the eternal discredit of the Church of England.

JayKay8
Guest
JayKay8

Has George Carey demonstrated an understanding of the harm his (in)actions have caused and what attempts is he making to make amends, to the extent that is possible, such as engaging with the victims? Does he show an understanding of the issues arising from abuse of power? Surely these are the minimum standards we should expect from anyone with PTO, not simply a clean DBS/safeguarding form.

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

While I totally get the point that George Carey is not, himself, an abuser, the use of the phrase ‘safe space’ in this press release seems entirely misplaced. He failed to create safe space for those who were victims of Peter Ball.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Bishop Steven Croft is compounding the problem for the Church by his ‘knee-jerk’, scapegoating Statement about Lord Carey. There are now bigger issues to deal with, not least how to deal with the post-IICSA front pages (July 29), and how the Church of England – and the present Archbishop – are to survive after the IICSA revelations. Independent Front Page – “Future king ‘misled’ by paedophile bishop” Sun Front Page – “Charles: My shame over perv bishop” Daily Telegraph Front Page – “Prince’s regret over support for abuser bishop” The Tines – “Charles: Monstrous wrongs were done to sex abuse… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Much has been said about Prince Charles’s ignorance of the law regarding the admission of guilt in Ball accepting a ‘caution’. Was Lord Carey equally ignorant? For a bishop to admit to gross indecency, and then to receive pastoral care from an archbishop (as opposed to the victims who were ignored), taints the archbishop by association. Dr Carey may not have been wilfully malicious. But ignorance of the law is no excuse. As an old man, he should gracefully stand down and not cause further controversy by trying to appear totally blameless.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Please reflect FrDavidH that your last sentence could well equally apply to the present Archbishop – especially relating to the Bishop George Bell debacle.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

Without wanting to comment on the specific case (for reasons that will be obvious), it’s clear that there is no right to a PTO; that there are bishops who have been denied PTO (I have refused PTO to one); that the new HoB policy is absolutely firm on the necessity for safeguarding training before granting PTO; and that when renewing PTO previous history (including safeguarding history) should be reviewed.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Accepting there is no right to a PTO, just as there is no right to a job at ASDA (UK supermarket), yet applicants for a post at ASDA do have the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of age, sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion etc. and to be treated fairly generally. While obviously discrimination on the grounds of religion must be allowed to bishops in granting PTO, are you saying, for example, that if a bishop deliberately and openly decides to refuse PTO to any one of Manx ancestry then a) this cannot be challenged and b),… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Is there a right to be accepted into an organisation as a volunteer (which is basically what a PTO is?) I don’t know: it’s not employment, so it doesn’t engage employment law, it isn’t a service, so it doesn’t engage consumer law. If you apply to, say, volunteer at Oxfam and are rejected for reasons you perceive as discriminatory, what forum would you go to for remedy, and what remedy would you seek?

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

I don’t think there is any thing an unfairly rejected volunteer can do to seek redress, and not having lost out financially would have no direct claim. But then PTO is different, as its refusal denies the applicant the opportunity to take up both paid and unpaid work, as we saw with the SSM would-be hospital chaplain. Also, retired clergy taking services are often remunerated, though whether Archbishop Carey accepts a fee I don’t know, but, technically at least, there is potential financial impact. Doubtless, though, there are many cases in which a victim of illegal discrimination, or anything else,… Read more »

Mother Hubbard
Guest
Mother Hubbard

You could argue that someone who does not pass knowledge of (at the time unproven) criminal behaviour against minors to statutory agencies is very much a danger. I also do not think there were “legal grounds” for asking him to step down in the first place. As usual, it was a self-serving action worthy of the “purple circle”. Here we have another appalling piece of evidence that the hierarchy has learnt absolutely nothing in spite of their public breast-beating and claims of repentance, sorrow, and other protestations of “changed culture”. As someone with the “indelible character of a priest” is… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Lord Carey? That’s a temporal office and should not be mentioned in the announcement of a PTO for a cleric to minister in a parish church. That might seem a petty quibble, but I don’t think it is. The whole point of this week was an inability to separate a man from his status when considering his worthiness to minister and Steven Croft demonstrates that he failed to hear that. And, with that mistake, he has presented the Archbishop of Canterbury with a dilemma. Does he allow Bishop Steven’s statement to stand unchallenged portraying the message that the church still… Read more »

Marian Birch
Guest
Marian Birch

I am surprised that in all this no one has commented on Steven Croft’s own ambivalent situation – in relation to another safeguarding issue.

Kate
Guest
Kate

And, lest my previous comment leaves doubt, the question Steven Croft should be asking (as, I suggest should we all here) is whether George Carey should be granted a PTO.

(And might I, in this context, commend Pete Broadbent for commenting here in that unadorned name. Under the circumstances, that is particularly appropriate.)

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Although I have my own views about bishops and the recent ‘problems’, and whether PTO should be granted I am content to have a system in which diocesan bishops make decisions within their diocese, even if that means they make decisions that I dislike. What I really don’t like though is when an excuse is given justifying a decision that is within the bishop’s gift. I recall a comment reportedly from a former bishop of Liverpool: “At the end of the day, you may be right, but I am the bishop and you are not”. I particularly dislike the decision… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

It’s becoming hard to see how the episcopal system can survive. The lay Church has no way to hold bishops and archbishops accountable. That is massively out of step with modern ideas of democracy and even corporate governance. And as the lay church’s sense of disenfranchisement grows, people drift away. It is the problem that the Church of England seems culturally unable to accept but I am increasingly convinced that it is *the* problem facing the Church of England.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

“The lay Church has no way to hold bishops and archbishops accountable”

In some circles – purple or otherwise – that’s simply called either fascism or totalitarianism…ecclesiastical and paternalistic perhaps, but still either of these terms.

So the episcopal system may well survive, but at a cost – not just financial.

CRS
Guest
CRS

I do wonder if there is a kind of ‘pastoral’ response that simply does not accept the depth of evil and self-deception, and thinks time will heal things, maybe things will improve, let’s hope for the best. I am not sure this attitude belongs to one age more than another, much less one school or another (evangelical or a-c). Reading the transcript and trying to follow the need to distinguish different kinds of sexual misconduct, I also think there was a level of embarrassment about having to know any of this lurid stuff, and so a kind of ‘maybe this… Read more »

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

Having mulled over the transcripts, I wonder whether there’s another factor at work. I have an acquaintance whose treatment at the hands of George Carey fell well short of ‘pastoral’ – the person concerned had done nothing about which any complaint could be made – and consequently these ‘pastoral’ protestations cut less ice with me than perhaps with some. Another colleague said how wounded he was by being told, ‘Your parish is the only one in the diocese which isn’t flourishing’ – and how angry he was when he found it to have been an untruth. His notorious comparison of… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Makes sense to me. But many non-English note this conduct and wonder on what it is based and why it is allowed to flourish.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Yes, I think it is difficult for most of us to comprehend “the depth of evil and self-deception”. I am definitely no saint – nor do I wish to be to be honest – but I find myself having to take a shower (metaphorically-speaking) to ‘clean the mind’. There is a ‘dark side’ which can corrupt and damage the mind – especially if ‘over-researched’.

Jimmy Savile’s evil and deception is bad enough, but when this is focused on Sussex (eg Diocese of Chichester, Berwick, Peter Ball, Roy Cotton, Vickery House, Colin Pritchard, Gordon Rideout etc), things can get too much.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

July 28 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Final Day – July 27 2018 Mr William Chapman, counsel for complainants, victims and survivors represented by Switalskis and also who represents MACSAS: Page 135-136: “He [George Carey], in the words of Andrew Nunn, did try to sweep it under the carpet. If George Carey thought by doing so he served the reputation of the church, it was a gross misjudgment. The tactics deployed by the church were at the very edge of lawfulness. We heard how Bishop Kemp attempted to compromise Mr Murdock. We heard how several bishops telephoned Ros Hunt to… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Neil Todd’s Email to Mrs Kate Wood/Jeremy Pryor So the difficulty of the black-and-white events of Peter Ball’s behaviour are not in the acts themselves — but the fact that he corrupted my genuine search for something good with acts which were obviously intentional for his own sexual gratification in the guise of a wise teacher nurturing and caring of a young seeker, aspiring to good intentions. When he denied his behaviour, this struck at my deepest conscience — it was then that the reality of what I allowed him to do — was not moral. The reality that his… Read more »

Michael Ardern Mason
Guest
Michael Ardern Mason

These are certainly not the words of a “frightful, terrifying man” or a “horrid man”, but rather they are the words of a man who is speaking the truth.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Closing remarks of Fiona Scolding QC yesterday: “Last, but by no means least, we want to hold and remember Neil Todd and his family and hope that they are able to find peace and solace after what must have been a painful reawakening of their memories” One of the last emails from Neil: “I only wish for an acknowledgement that my experience was a reality and that all Church of England hierarchical parties take a share in the responsibility of their inaction” If we are to fulfil his wish, and honour Matt 7 : 4, then pointing a finger at… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

If we are all to blame, Mr Symonds, what is the point of an enquiry? It would save a lot of time and money simply to pronounce everyone guilty.

RichardWSymonds
Guest
RichardWSymonds

Yes, FrDavidH, in a very general sense we are all to blame, but an Inquiry – such as the IICSA – deals with specifics – and there are specific people to blame…not just Lord Carey.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

The specifics of this thread relate to Lord Carey’s PTO and whether it should be granted. Are you saying it should? Your assertion that “we are all to blame” doesn’t ring true. I feel no personal responsibility for the actions of Peter Ball.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

I think that scapegoating, witch-hunting, ginger-pointing and ‘throwing people under buses’ are deceptive forms of wickedness to which none of us are immune.

Victoriana
Guest
Victoriana

I’m sorry, but ‘throwing people under buses’ is exactly what Carey did to Neil Todd. I think the BCP ordinal has something to say about this behaviour, and that his behaviour falls well short of at least one paragraph of the exhortation at the ordination of priests: “Have always therefore printed in your remembrance, how great a treasure is committed to your charge. For they are the sheep of Christ, which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood. The Church and Congregation whom you must serve, is his spouse and his body. And if it… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

And “throwing people under buses” is exactly what Archbishop Justin Welby has done to George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester.

So, Victoriana, by the standards you have clearly set out, Archbishop Welby should feel very lucky indeed to be still at Lambeth Palace.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Archbishop Welby’s apparent inexplicable behaviour can be explained in terms of a power system protecting itself.

Victoriana
Guest
Victoriana

Well, quite. Concerns have already surfaced about how the present tenant of Lambeth Palace manages the Community of St Anselm. This too falls short of the standard in the paragraph quoted above. The handling of the business about Bishop Bell is very disturbing, and my feeling of scandal about this probably shouldn’t be left written down in an open forum.

On all of this you’re quite right, but we may be waiting 20 years for the testimony that vindicates your argument.

John N Wall
Guest
John N Wall

A view from the USA, where I have just concluded watching A Very British Scandal. In that show, the Oxbridge political and legal classes are prepared to subvert justice through the courts to protect their own, assuming, apparently, that the public humiliation of Thorpe through the publicity of the trial is punishment enough. I wonder if something similar has been playing out in the saga of Peter Ball and George Carey.

Father David
Guest
Father David

In the light of the revelations of this past week it is interesting to note in passing that Archbishop Carey named his autobiography “KNOW THE TRUTH”

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
Richard W. Symonds
Guest

I sense Neil Todd did not want an ‘ecclesiastical scapegoating’ of an individual (eg a former Archbishop). Neil wanted the Church “hierarchies’ to collectively acknowledge, and take collective responsibility, for what happened to him. Apologies, and promises to do better in the future, are simply not enough. Personally, I think ALL Bishops (and Archbishops) should be prepared to offer their resignations to the Supreme Governor of the Church of England – Her Majesty the Queen. Something almost identical happened with the Roman Catholic Bishops in Chile. They offered their resignations en-masse to the Pope after their collective collusion and cover-ups… Read more »

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

Richard, Do you know what happened in Chile after the Roman Catholic Bishops offered their resignation? Was it accepted? If you, or anyone else knows what happened, it would be very interesting to be told.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

All I have is this Anne:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/18/chilean-bishops-offer-their-resignation-over-sexual-abuse-cover-up

You will need to confirm this, but I think I read somewhere that the Pope only accepted the resignations of 4 Chilean bishops who were most to blame.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Here is more detail – after all the Chilean bishops offered their resignations end masse to the Pope:

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/9236/vatican-team-returns-to-chile-to-ask-forgiveness-for-clerical-sex-abuse

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

Thanks so much Richard for posting the two articles, which are very helpful. Perhaps we in the C of E can learn something from this.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Well Anne, we may learn from the Chilean Bishops, but if Charles Moore’s piece in the Telegraph this morning (Monday) is anything to go by, the Church of England hierarchies are not learning from it.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/07/30/politicians-seem-have-lost-art-actually-telling-people-believe/ [scroll down ED.]

CRS
Guest
CRS

Here the polity difference between a single (Established) church and the Roman Catholic Church is relevant. No one can read chapter and verse of these verbatims and not come away thinking how fraught the english context is — Crown, crown committees, friends of Prince Charles, the PM, PM’s secretaries, secret ballots — didn’t +GC know he also wasn’t #1 on the list, oo, ah? — purple circles, lobbying groups. Whatever one might make of the sell-by date on a system like this, the idea that the ABC is supposed to represent an anglican communion *whose entire polity in each and… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

“Twenty-five years ago, the Church was too inclined to believe the denials of clergy in abuse cases [Peter Ball – Ed] because it feared for its reputation. Today, it is too inclined to believe any criticism thrown against clergy now retired [George Carey – Ed] or – as in the wrongs done to the name of George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester – dead. Such self-protective behaviour was wrong then. Today, it takes the opposite form, but it is still self-protective and still wrong. “To the justified anger of all abused people who have not received justice must now… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

I think that the suggestion that suspension would be inevitable in an education setting is not right – the Statutory Guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education requires that an employer consider every other option with a view to keeping pupils safe without compromising the position of an employee who may be under investigation or suspicion. If suspension is necessary to keep children safe, then it should be used. I think it is a stretch to say that children are currently at risk. There is more to say in a general comment on the final day of IICSA, but the… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Admin

There was a lengthy discussion of all this on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning. It included an interview with Bishop Peter Hancock in which, if I heard him right, he said that restoring PTO is not something he would have recommended.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bcddll 33.35 minutes in.

Michael Ardern Mason
Guest
Michael Ardern Mason

Let us hope that the decision to restore the PTO is reversed as soon as possible.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Solomon’s wisdom is required here, not a Bishop’s knee-jerk reactions which only serve those prone to over-reaction, rushes to judgement and hysteria.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

We’re talking about PTO here, not someone’s livelihood or sending them to prison. It’s reasonable to apply the precautionary principle and say that Bishop George is welcome in the pews but that for the sake of the mental wellbeing of those he failed while in office and the reassurance of the wider church he should not exercise any position of authority within the church. That will be upsetting for him, no doubt, but I would hope the church would always place the comfort and healing of the downtrodden ahead of the desires of a bishop.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin

Latest from the Guardian though not sure how accurate the headline is:
Church of England to review George Carey’s official role
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/29/church-of-england-review-official-role-george-carey

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

Apparently +Steven is going to meet with former ++Carey in the next few weeks to discuss things further. Having listened to the interview with +Peter Hancock this morning I am left with two questions: First, who exactly are bishops accountable to once installed. + Peter (who is responsible for safeguarding made it clear all that he could have done – if consulted – was advise, it also seems clear that the ABC has no real authority, whilst the diocese has no ability to hold a bishop to account). Secondly, given that correspondence was apparently not given to the police, on… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

As I read it – and please correct me if I am wrong – the Roman Catholic Bishops are accountable to the Pope at the Vatican in Rome. The Church of England is State-controlled, thus the Bishops (& Archbishops) are accountable to the State – with Her Majesty the Queen being the Supreme Governor of the State-controlled Church.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Re fit and proper: George Carey has been given permission to preach and lead worship, not to act as a bishop. There are of course still questions to ask about all this, but it is important to bear this distinction in mind.

Bernard
Guest
Bernard

Nearly all the activity of a bishop is to preach and lead worship. If a member of the general public sees a retired bishop preaching or leading worship they would reasonably suppose the person in question was completely in good standing with the Church of England. If it’s important to keep the distinction in mind, I’m not myself quite sure which way to take it.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Except that the key Liturgical activities specific to bishops are ordaining and confirming along with blessing things like churches and inducting new ministers. Since he is not an honorary assistant bishop he is not doing these things but functioning as a priest. That is the distinction, which I grant may not be what people may see.

Kate
Guest
Kate

The whole episcopal structure was specifically designed to protect power from the top and to resist any gross roots objections. In a changed world, it is no longer fit for purpose.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin

And now the Telegraph:
Church of England bishops turn on each other over Lord Carey abuse scandal
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/29/church-england-bishops-turn-lord-carey-abuse-scandal/

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

It needs to be remembered that 9 bishops (according to Richard Scorer) fully and openly supported Peter Ball- not just the Archbishop George Carey. So,, if Carey’s PTO is withdrawn, what about the 9 Bishops?

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

It seems that to better understand what is going on (eg how the Peter Ball Abuse scandal has somehow turned into “Lord Carey Abuse scandal”), it is important to understand Royal Prerogatives and their application to the State-controlled Church of England in a constitutional monarchy:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_prerogative

But don’t be surprised if greater understanding leads to greater confusion – Royal Prerogatives are ‘masonic’ in terms of power and secrecy.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

It’s such a complex story, and only Ball’s victims seem to have been completely innocent. But rather than struggle with the complexities and their implications for the Church we’re part of – and for ourselves – it’s easier just to heap all the blame on one elderly man. Much more convenient.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It is, I understand it, quite permissible for a diocesan bishop to restrict PTO… ‘permission to officiate liturgically in the parish of St N.’ That allows for more careful monitoring and makes a statement.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin

But in this case, either that tight restriction has not been imposed, or it is not being followed. I have today been shown documentary evidence of his preaching at Waltham St Lawrence, near Twyford, whereas his home parish, if I am not mistaken, is St George’s Wash Common, outside Newbury.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Do you need PTO to preach? I thought it is largely to celebrate the Eucharist and that anyone can preach anywhere at the invitation of the incumbent.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thank you Simon.
My question remains, I think. Would he not have been able to preach at Waltham St Lawrence without PTO? If so, then the fact of his preaching there does not indicate whether his PTO is restricted or not.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

You can’t minister as a deacon/priest/bishop without licence or freehold or PTO. It’s proscribed by canon law.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The link Simon posted refers to George Carey “preaching”. Does that count as ministering as a deacon/priest/bishop? I thought anyone, ordained or lay, could preach at the invitation of an incumbent.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

To preach regularly you need a licence or PTO. What counts as regular? Well an ordained person might well think that anything more than a one off is regular. We would be rightly concerned if a former archbishop was preaching without licence or PTO.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

It is probably worth quoting the relevant Canon in full. Ecumenical Partners are further covered by Canon B43, which is too long to quote in full. B 18 Of sermons in parish churches 1. In every parish church a sermon shall be preached at least once each Sunday, except for some reasonable cause approved by the bishop of the diocese. 2. The sermon shall be preached by a minister, deaconess, reader or lay worker duly authorized in accordance with Canon Law. At the invitation of the minister having the cure of souls another person may preach with the permission of… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

The issuance of PTOs has an interesting parallel with the differing rules for issuing concealed carry permits for handguns in the USA. There are no federal laws on concealed carry. In states which are more inclined towards controlling guns, they are “may issue”: you can ask for a permit, but it’s at the discretion of the state as to whether you get one. That discretion ranges from “you won’t, but we can’t be bothered to actually bar concealed carry” to a genuine decision on the merits of the application. In states which are more, er, gung-ho, but not as gung-ho… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

To clarify the facts: Carey did not offer ‘support, succour, and comfort’ to a convicted abuser, but to one who had received a caution. Moreover, the caution was issued without the usual admission of guilt, and then not recorded so it didn’t appear on the records. This left Ball able to claim that he was actually not guilty, but had resigned in order to spare the Church negative publicity. All this wangled by Ball with support from a serving Law Lord and others, including vehement support from Prince Charles.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

To one who was subsequently convicted, of offences which should have been properly investigated had Carey had the slightest concern for victims rather than his mates.

The claim that the caution was made without an admission of guilt is contentious, I believe. By definition cautions _are_ an admission of guilt.

Gordo
Guest
Gordo

Yes, they are – but you would be surprised (or perhaps not) that many (perhaps most?) don’t understand this fine legal point – including the Prince of Wales. Because a police caution carries no fine or imprisonment and isn’t part of a trial, most people are not aware that they are equivalent to a conviction. And the term ‘caution’ doesn’t help comprehension, since we use that word neutrally all the time with no sense of blame attached. It would be better if it was called a ‘police reprimand’. I have a clergy friend who received a caution after a domestic… Read more »

John Roch
Guest
John Roch

I am aware of a case where even the local police apparently did not realise the consequences of a caution.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Carey didn’t just make the mistake once. That Ball had received a police caution was a matter of record, and he can surely be neither the first nor the last serving minister to receive one. There then followed a long string of decisions by Carey personally, his office more widely and the Church corporately to reject the notion that the acceptance of a caution is an acceptance of guilt. Did no-one in Lambeth Palace either know this or have access to people who did? Apparently not. That Ball himself claims the caution was some special sui generis caution issued without… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I’m not sure if you watched all the police evidence, but Ball’s caution was irregular. As I said above, it was given without an admission of guilt being recorded, and then the caution itself was not recorded in the usual way. There was enormous pressure brought to bear on everyone involved, including from a serving Law Lord who phoned the investigating detective, the Chief Constable, and (I think) the CPS to intervene. Obviously Carey made the wrong decision, but the case was not quite as clearcut as some are making out.

Kate
Guest
Kate

At least part of the issue though is that episcopal ranks closed to protect Bishop Ball and the same seems to be happening with former Archbishop Carey. Now, while the misdeeds of Ball and Carey are poles apart, the fact that people apparently still are handled more gently by their peers if they have / have had, episcopal status is, in the context, offensive and damaging. As several have remarked, the elephant in the room is that the only mechanism to hold a bishop to account seems to be the CDM and we know that is flawed and ineffective. I… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Except that the ranks did not quite close if you look at the numerous documents of the enquiry. George Carey himself was reluctant to grant Ball any form of PTO but was pressured, not least by Michael Ball. I am not saying he made the right decisions and his initial letters of support etc. were ill advised.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“George Carey himself was reluctant to grant Ball any form of PTO but was pressured, not least by Michael Ball.” There is an apocryphal story which has it that after some act of oppression directed against Russia’s brave Catholics, Stalin was warned that the Pope might be unhappy. “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Is George Carey’s defence really that he was unable to exercise the power of his position as Archbishop of Canterbury for fear of bringing down the mighty wrath of the Bishop of Truro? The correct response would have been “The Bishop of Truro? How… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I’m also left with a general comment about Peter Ball. One of the things that parents are told now is to trust their instincts: if they feel that someone is a potential abuser, don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t, in particular, use their position or reputation to override your spidey-sense. Now I think, overall, that isn’t a great idea: instinct is often wrong, in both directions, and the chances of both traducing the innocent or mis-trusting the guilty on the basis of nothing more than blind prejudice are high. But there’s a limit. There’s a degree of… Read more »

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

I like the idea of applying a ‘Weird AF’ test but I’m not sure that standards within the Church of England are the same as those applied outside. I met Michael Ball briefly (I assume it was him rather than Peter, but who knows, as they admitted they could use the twin thing to pretend to be the other) and the monastic garb made me more likely to see him as ‘holy’. Maybe that applied outside church circles too? For those outside the church, I know that the reaction to a bishop in full regalia can be ‘Weird AF’, and… Read more »

Gordo
Guest
Gordo

Gavin Ashenden explains this on one of the most recent ‘Anglican Unscripted’ videos on youtube: a supposed version of “Franciscan spirituality”. The alleged basis for it is shown in the film from the early 70s, ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ which may be referred to in Andrew’s comment below. The film shows Francis stripping off his clothes in front of others, giving them back to his father, then going and standing over Assisi in the buff. Perhaps this was the film that Ball showed the boys who stripped off in the chapel?

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

Because looking weird is what gets you hauled through the press accused of murder:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Joanna_Yeates#Arrests_and_reconstruction_of_crime
One of the things we’re told as professionals working with children is that if anything gives you the slightest suspicion, pass it on. What looks innocuous in isolation may be a pattern of behaviour that’s anything but.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

I, along with many others, heard rumours about the ‘weird’ Ball brothers long before any scandal broke. Peter Ball’s naked shenanigans were gossiped about but largely ignored. Andrew Brown once wrote “Everyone kept silent: some people knew; more should have known; many more half knew and preferred to keep it that way”. I heard of a legal advisor to the General Synod who once privately asked “What are we going to do about the Ball brothers?” The answer was “nothing”.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/child-abuse-church-of-england-peter-ball-archbishop

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Peter Ball’s naked shenanigans were gossiped about but largely ignored.”

That’s a strategy that has worked well for the church, has it not?

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

IO wrote, ‘why did no-one look at the cut of his jib and say “no, I don’t like it?”‘. This struck a chord with me. At our safeguarding training sessions there is much made of “the moment when you get that ‘uh-oh’ feeling”. We are told that if/when that moment comes we must take action; i.e. report it up the chain. No matter how insignificant it may seem, if it gives me that ‘uh-oh’ feeling I am bound to report it to the parish safeguarding lead or the incumbent or, if I’m not confident about reporting it to either of… Read more »

Victoriana
Guest
Victoriana

Much as I want to agree with you, IO, I’m not sure that’s how things worked even in the 1980s, and certainly not in earlier decades. Deference to clergy was still entrenched in the social fabric, so it would have been quite easy for the Balls to sell themselves as holy fools, clowns, and so forth, and to be taken at their word. I think Peter Ball in particular had a capacity to charm people and gain their confidence, such that the weirdness could be excused and overlooked. I also think his willingness to drop names and assert his authority… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I think you’re absolutely right, Victoriana. I am sad to say that, but there it is.

Gordo
Guest
Gordo

Join the discussion…Well, I thought he was somewhere on the weird spectrum but that’s because I’m a bigoted evangelical, and I can recall how in the 1980s George Carey, then principal of Trinity College, and other evangelical leaders “bigged up” the Ball twins because (1) here were non-evangelical Anglican leaders who seemed to have a big following among youth (a very unusual thing in those days) and indeed a couple of students at Trinity had come from the Balls’ movement; (2) open evangelicals were strongly encouraged by Carey and his successor David Gillett to “broaden” and “learn from the Church… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

That’s really interesting (I had forgotten about the 9 o’clock service, too). Charismatic (I mean in the sense of “people with charisma”, absolutely not in the sense of “charismatic evangelical”) charlatans are difficult to deal with, because the charisma blinds people to the charlatanism. There’s been a similar problem in schools, with the rise of the “super heads” amidst whom there have been a disproportionate number of scandals. They are convincing leaders, in environments where such leadership is a novelty, and therefore manage to lead people to bad places while doing bad things.

Helen King
Guest
Helen King

Ah yes, the 9 o’clock service. I reminded myself of that for a blog post I wrote when I was part of the Shared Conversations process and had just seen the movie ‘Spotlight’. Anyone who doesn’t know about it may find the links at the end of the post useful: https://sharedconversations.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/sex-and-power-in-the-spotlight/

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

It’s an interesting feature of the case that while Ball himself was Anglo-Catholic, many of his protectors and enablers were Evangelical (George Carey, Robin Catford .. even Donald Coggan, as appears from Carey’s evidence). One reason for this, as Gordo suggests in his comment above, may be that Ball seemed to fit the part of an evangelically-minded Anglo-Catholic with an appeal to ‘the youth’. Another reason, I suspect, is that Carey’s profound ignorance of church history allowed him to be taken in by Ball’s nonsensical claims about reviving a medieval tradition of ‘naked prayer’ and all that. (By contrast, Anglo-Catholics… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Ball’s nonsensical claims about reviving a medieval tradition of ‘naked prayer’” Revealing my ignorance of the details of the case, was Ball making that claim (ie, “I’m doing this thing that sounds weird AF but trust me, I have sound theological grounds for it”) at the time complaints were being made to Carey as active archbishop, or as part of his defence at a criminal trail, or when? Because at face value, if a bishop is known to be engaged in naked prayer with teenage boys, then surely any theological basis, sound, invented or carved on tablets of stone, is… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Ball made these claims after his arrest. His explanation was as follows: ‘He showed a film of St Francis to the young men, and some went into the chapel and flung off their clothes and said they wanted to dedicate their lives to God .. He agrees that this was perhaps unwise, but it was a free and easy household and nakedness among those living there was nothing unusual.’ (When this was read out at the Inquiry, Fiona Scolding commented, with some understatement, that one might have thought ‘a naturist bishop in and of itself would have been a cause… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Dear oh dear. “He’s not weird AF, look, I can find this example from twelfth century who thought similarly” is hardly a strong argument, is it? Couldn’t the same argument be made, mutatis mutandis, if a bishop of the Church of England set himself up as the extirpator of heresy and commended putting his parishioners to the sword? “They did it in medieval France, so it’s OK in Basingstoke today?”

The obvious interpretation of this line is that either Carey is stupid, or he is dishonest, or he too is Weird AF.

Gordo
Guest
Gordo

I knew Carey a bit in the 1980s and there was certainly a sense that he had discovered “the catholic world” and he zealously wanted to share his impressions with evangelical ordinands. Despite his time at Oak Hill, he was never a hard-line or hard-nosed evangelical but had aligned himself with charismatics, strongly supported WO and enjoyed ruffling the fur of conservative evangelicals with catholic ‘sacramentals’ like crossing himself, candles and icons. I think he even had a rosary. Students from a catholic background began coming to Trinity College, where Carey was principal, and the chapel life took on a… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Andrew ‘Carey’s profound ignorance of church history’. Your basis for this claim?

Grumpy High Churchwoman
Guest
Grumpy High Churchwoman

I had forgotten about the Nine O’clock Service. I’m not aware that there was ever an enquiry into it, although the stories I heard were of abusive behaviour. Does anyone know?

adarynefoedd
Guest
adarynefoedd

Have little time for Lord Carey but feel he is a bit of a scapegoat. Having written numerous reviews of ‘hard cases’ myself, everybody feels a lot better if the health visitor/GP/social worker had not been so naive. Putting aside the complex issues of the Church, class and reputation management, I feel this is classic tale of an institution turned inside out by a narcissistic and manipulative individual who probably believed his own rhetoric, indeed must have done to shore up his self esteem. Even if you are trained and experienced in dealing with such people, they can still con… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

In the debate over Lord Carey’s culpability, it may be worth highlighting one document that hasn’t, so far, received much attention. This is an internal email from Andrew Nunn to Kate Wood, dated 19 Sept 2012, in which he expresses the suspicion that Carey either removed or destroyed papers relating to the Ball case when he left Lambeth in 2002. (See, from Day 5, the document numbered ACE006861_2.) The idea that documents were removed from Lambeth is by no means an implausible one. William Chapman, counsel for the victims, pointed out in his closing statement that two crucial documents are… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I’ve now read Carey’s evidence from end to end. He shouldn’t be accepted into the company of decent people, and should live out his life in refection and penance, not in writing self-pitying Round Robin letters to his Christmas Card list. He is not the victim here. He read multiple letters from people who gave detailed, credible accounts of abuse and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing about them other than a vague, unminuted claim of a meeting with Ball. It’s a shocking litany of culpable incompetence verging on collusion with abuse, and that is only taking Carey’s own words… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Yes. I think there is a tendency to let Carey off lightly here: ‘naive .. well-meaning .. easily deceived’ etc. He was all of those things. But what is also obvious here is a deep stubbornness and a wilful refusal to listen to advice. Repeatedly, in the written evidence, one sees his staff at Lambeth Palace warning him that he is making an awful mistake. Repeatedly one sees him ignoring their advice and ploughing on regardless. One also has the impression, I’m sorry to say, of an insecure and thin-skinned man who couldn’t take criticism. Take, for example, Andrew Nunn’s… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Agreed.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Oh, and could people please stop claiming Lambeth Palace corporately, and Carey personally, didn’t know that Ball had admitted guilt. He knew, and wrote so, at the time. Day 2, page 92, but more specifically, this letter. https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/6007/view/ACE000590.pdf That the caution was an admission of guilt was used as an argument to not take further action.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

For just an “interested observer”, it is intriguing you take such a hard-line against the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey. You even accuse him of personally burning documents – for which there is no evidence.

You are participating in a character assassination – a smear campaign – of George Carey under the guise of anonymity. Personally, I find that pretty disgraceful and cowardly.

Why stop at a former Archbishop as a target of criticism? Why not attack the future King Prince Charles as well?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“You even accuse him of personally burning documents”

I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I know nothing about, and have written nothing about, anyone burning anything. I have no memory of the burning of anything being mentioned by anyone at any point in this discussion until your strange outburst.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Richard, I think you may have meant to address your remarks to me, as I alluded to the burning of documents in an earlier comment. If you read my comment carefully, you will see that I did not ‘accuse’ Carey of anything. I have no idea whether he destroyed documents or not. But the allegation has been made by a senior member of the Archbishop’s own staff, and it is there in the written evidence for all to see. If Carey wants to keep his PTO he will have to address this.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Apologies Andrew – and to IO.

What you wrote was “This is an internal email from Andrew Nunn to Kate Wood, dated 19 Sept 2012, in which he expresses the suspicion that Carey either removed or destroyed papers relating to the Ball case”

This is not an “allegation” by Nunn…”he expresses the suspicion that…”

To my mind, that is ‘ecclesiastical gossip’. Not worth in a jot in any legal setting.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Not worth in a jot in any legal setting.” Of itself, it is not probative. In a civil court, on balance of probabilities, it would need some corroboration. But in a public enquiry, where the rules of evidence are “whatever the enquiry deems acceptable” it is a fragment of information which can be used to build up an overall picture. It is the spurious claim that all investigations have to operate to criminal standards of proof which clever abusers use to their advantage: you do not have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that you should not continue to employ someone,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

The wisdom of hindsight, and Matthew Ch. 7 vs 1-5, comes very powerfully to mind this morning

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Mr Symonds has given a proof-text that none of us should pass judgement on Peter Ball. He must, therefore regard the official Inquiry as being sinful.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Or pass judgement on anyone, apparently.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

IO & FDH, quite how you draw such absurd conclusions about my ideas is a mystery – at least to me.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Why have you quoted a text which forbids people from judging one another?

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

FrDavidH, I am aware of some of the interpretations regarding Matt 7 1-5, but your interpretation is a new one on me.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Perhaps you’ll enlighten me to the other ones.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

As I read Matt 7 1-5, it forms part of the Golden Rule of ‘Do unto others…’

“This section is largely paralleled in Lk. 6:31, 37-42; 11:9-13. It deals first with a right estimation of the character of others (vv.1-6), then with a right estimation of the character of God (vv.7-11), and ends with the golden rule (v, 12)…”

[Source: New Bible Commentary – IVP – Third Editon – Page 825]

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

In the context of this discussion, it means – I think – we should treat people (eg Lord Carey & Bishop Bell) as we would like to be treated – that is, fairly and justly.

Simon Bravery
Guest
Simon Bravery

I am grateful to Gordo and Interested Observer for their comments. The parallel with the 9 o’clock Service is instructive. The church was (and is now to a greater extent) having difficulty in attracting those in their late teens and early twenties ( and now under 40). Any one who seemed to have a rapport with those in this age group and succeeded in encouraging them to take part in church activities was therefore accorded a high degree of respect and admiration. Those who expressed concern were reminded of the numbers of young people they had encouraged and told to… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“He could hide in plain sight because his provenance was attested by a wide cross section of the great and the good.” Indeed, although I suspect it’s actually more subtle than that. Your invocation of Blunt, et al, as well, is an interesting parallel. In the case of the “Cambridge Spies”, there were extensive suspicions against them at the time. Philby had been repeatedly questioned by people in the security services, to the point that – and here we have a massive parallel with Carey and Charles Windsor’s behaviour – Macmillan (then Foreign Secretary) was inveighed into giving a statement… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

(Part 2) With hindsight, the Cambridge Ring is laughably amateur. But at the time, they were in an invincible position. I thank you for your drawing of the parallel, and I think it is one that is very interesting to reflect on: the ways in which paedophile groups form and operate have parallels with espionage (encryption, covert meetings, etc) but I had not thought to see that the ways in which they suppress suspicion and explain away lapses in their operational security might be similar too. Perhaps in another era the Balls would have sought validation in spying instead. One… Read more »

linda woodhead
Guest
linda woodhead

In response to two points and queries made in the course of this long thread: 1.The Nine O’Clock Service is the focus of renewed interest. Two separate journalists have contacted me about it this year (I wrote about it at the time of its demise – 1995). It is interesting to revisit it, as it makes clear there is a pattern in the way the senior levels of the CofE deal with abuse scandals: discourage survivors from talking; send perpetrator(s) abroad (as with Brain, Smyth and Ball – except Ball reneged); put out a media line; commission a report that… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

“He [George Carey] seems to have held both (incompatible) beliefs and used one or tother when it suited him. This seems to me a typical of much CofE ‘thinking’”

A classic example of Orwellian ‘doublethink’ – not just typical of ”CofE thinking”….politicians make it a fine art.

‘Doublethink’ is not a crime in itself – we are all guilty of it to a greater or lesser extent (like hypocrisy) – but it can lead the self-deceived into criminal acts if there is no ‘reality check’.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Yes, the parallels with NOS are worth investigating. I taught Chris Brain when he was an ordinand and he was the model student. However the C of E did not send any of these folk abroad-they went off their own bat.

In TEIs we are very concerned about people still being ordained early but we are rarely listened to.

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

The Nine O’clock Service: there is a television documentary from the 1990s on YouTube.
Some very interesting parallels, especially about those in authority bending/breaking the rules for a ‘charismatic’ and ‘successful’ ministry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxwdyF3qZj8

Gordo
Guest
Gordo

Yes – along with bizarre beliefs – Buddhism and Gaia and the idiocies of Matthew Fox – smuggling itself into Christian theology (‘the Planetary Mass’) and people like Stephen Lowe unable to tell the difference. As a vicar from Sheffield told me, the NOS didn’t actually reach any young people who weren’t already connected with church. As for Brain, I knew a clergywoman who studied with Chris Brain in the Northern Ordination Course and she said he was treated deferentially on that course – as well as being fast-tracked to ordination and fast-tracked to effective incumbency. She said his “sermons”… Read more »

Helen King
Guest
Helen King

It’s bizarre how keen a diocese can be to fast-track someone … (I’m assuming it’s decided at diocesan level?) Another example would be Derek Pattinson, ordained deacon without any specific training, if I recall correctly. In his case, not because he was ‘down with the kids’ so much as because he was at that point considered a ‘good servant to the church’?? https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/the-rev-sir-derek-pattinson-6230732.html

Nigel LLoyd
Guest
Nigel LLoyd

Or Thomas Becket, ordained priest on 2nd June 1162 and consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury the following day.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Well one reason there is such a high age profile in the CofE with a high percentage of clergy all retiring at once – is that for many years there was a ‘slow track’ policy actually – young folk with potential vocations were routinely sent away to get ‘real experience in the world’. I am a ddo. i not against fast tracking. But it does require very careful discernment. For a church in a hurry there are no short cuts on offer.