Bishop George Bell 2
Church of England

Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania

 

Horrible, totalitarian things are happening. George Bell House in Chichester has been renamed 4 Canon Lane, and a black bin-liner has been taped over the brass plaque to hide the fact of what it used to be called. The Bishop Luffa School in Chichester has decided to rename its own Bell House, and Eastbourne’s Bishop Bell School looks set to follow suit. George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester, is being unpersoned and expunged from all memory. For those who knew him, it is disquieting. For everyone who cares about justice and due process, it is time to stand up for the presumption of innocence, for without it, we’ve all had it.

The facts are these: George Bell was Bishop of Chichester 1929-1958, and Dean of Canterbury Cathedral before that, during which time he inaugurated the Canterbury Festival and commissioned TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. He was an eminent theologian and an acknowledged pioneer of the ecumenical movement, so much so that he has his own commemorative feast day on the Church’s calendar: October 3rd. George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958. The ‘peacemaker’ epithet was awarded for his principled objection to Churchill’s decision to carpet bomb German civilians, for which, it is averred, the Bishop failed to rise to the See of Canterbury, for which, it is also averred, he was eminently suited and qualified.

But the Wikipedia page which tells of his accolades and achievements now carries this at the bottom:

Child abuse allegations
In 1995, thirty-seven years after Bell’s death, a complaint was made to the then Bishop of Chichester Eric Kemp alleging that Bell had abused a child during the 1940s and 1950s. The complaint was not passed on to police until a second complaint was made to the office of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 2013, eighteen years after the first complaint had been made, and fifty-five years after Bell’s death. An investigation by the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive. The Church paid compensation in September 2015 and Martin Warner, the bishop of Chichester, issued a formal apology to the alleged victim the following month.

That formal apology was fulsome, if a little short on facts. We are told that the allegations (for that is what they are) date from the late 1940s and early 1950s, and that they are concerned with “sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child”. An investigation was apparently carried out, and Bishop George Bell was found guilty. Being long dead, he was unable to cross examine his accuser or to defend his good name and Christian reputation as an ecumenist and peacemaker.

In settling the claim, the current Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev’d Dr Martin Warner, expressed his “deep sorrow”, acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church”. The Bishop praised “the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse” and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency”.

Except that it hasn’t been.

If the child safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester were operating with honesty and transparency, why don’t we know even so much as the sex of the accuser, let alone his/her identity? There is no imposed confidentiality clause: it is perfectly possible to be more honest and transparent about the facts of this case. It is bad enough that Bishop George Bell is now to be forever branded a paedophile, without leaving his sexuality in the smeary realm of the love that once dare not used to speak its name but now insists on trumpeting itself to the four corners of the earth.

In his letter to “the survivor” (what.. oh, never mind), Bishop Martin acknowledged that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the alleged victim first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then”.

Well, hindsight is a marvellous thing, but hind-judgment is a worrying delusion. Convicting yesteryear’s dead by the standards of today’s expectations would necessitate such a trawl and overhaul of Wikipedia that the pages dedicated to every long-dead saint would have to be suffixed with the conviction-biases of the latest applied psychology and zeitgeist sociology. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and predatory priests especially, for the whiff of ecclesial paedophilia has become as unforgivable as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

We read in the Church’s statement:

Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.

What, like they did to Jim Davidson? Paul Gambaccini? Leon Brittan? Alistair McAlpine? Ted Heath? Like they are still doing to Cliff Richard? The police are obliged to act on the strength of credible allegations, but, pace the BBC, helping the police with their enquiries is not a judgment of guilt. Further:

A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.

Any reason to doubt? May a living person be found guilty of child abuse on the strength of a jury simply not doubting the testimony of an accuser? Must a jury not be directed to be sure that the defendant is actually guilty? If these ‘expert independent reports’ are judiciously (not to say judicially) corroborative, why have they not been published? If ‘reasonable doubt’ is inadequate as a measure to convict the living of serious criminality, why should the dead be afforded a lesser threshold? How can the testimony of one anonymous accuser outweigh the testimonies of dozens of choirboys who knew George Bell well? Consider this letter to the The Times:

Call for facts about sex-abuse bishop
Sir, As former choristers at Chichester cathedral between 1949 and 1958, we wonder if Bishop George Bell’s status as a sexual abuser is now established as historical fact (“Eminent bishop was paedophile, admits Church”, News, Oct 23). All of us recall him as a loved, respected and saintly figure, a bishop whom we perhaps knew better than choristers would today because back then we spent so many more weeks of the year singing services than cathedral boys do now.

The revelation that Bishop Bell’s successor Martin Warner has paid compensation and accepted that his predecessor was a paedophile, 57 years after Bell’s death, is not only shocking but incredible to us — especially since so little information has been provided about the offence. The news stories talked of what would have happened had the matter come to court. However, in that case details would have been publicly provided, even if the victim had a degree of anonymity.

For the accused to speak in their own defence is fundamental justice. We are among the very few who actually remember him when alive. George Bell was a shy person who stammered — an upright, entirely moral and devout figure who meant a great deal to us as children.

We fear he has been smeared to suit a public relations need. Unless basic facts about the accusation are made public, its truth will remain cloudy. But for us, unless the business is properly aired, he will remain a saintly if controversial church leader and teacher, on whom we look back with affection.

Tom Sutcliffe, Grevile Bridge, Stewart Kershaw, Peter Watts, Andrew Bastow, Roger Davis, Peter Hamel-Cooke, Roger Manser, Richard Codd, Roger Gooding, Tony Plumridge

Perhaps George Bell didn’t fancy any of these choirboys. Indeed, perhaps the fact that so many men bother to bear witness to the Bishop’s good character points to the anonymous accuser being female. But it’s all conjecture: we can never know. We are left with known smeary innuendos of unknown sexual indiscretions. Bishop George Bell has been judged to be a paedophile in the Anglican Court of Star Chamber on the strength of the testimony of one anonymous accuser who has now been awarded undisclosed £1000s (£10,000s? £100,000?), and that is all we may know.

Peter Hitchens isn’t happy about this. Writing in the Spectator, he decries ‘The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell‘:

The church’s document on the affair was available online and quickly found its way to the desks of several newspaper correspondents. Unqualified headlines resulted, and stories which proclaimed without reservation that the late bishop ‘was’ a paedophile, and ‘committed’ sexual abuse. ‘Eminent bishop was paedophile, admits church,’ said one. ‘Church’s “deep sorrow” over abuse by bishop,’ said another. ‘C of E admits “saintly” bishop abused child,’ said a third. There were plenty of inverted commas on display but none were placed around the accusation. No doubt this did not distress the Church of England, which has suffered several undoubted (and poorly handled) cases of proven abuse and which is anxious to show that it is now sound and rigorous on this subject.

Of course, the Bishop may indeed have been a child abuser. He may indeed have engaged in the 1940s equivalent of lurking in Facebook chatrooms waiting to groom young boys or girls, and then luring them to his study for a bit of Christian rape therapy. Children should not have to suffer such physical, emotional and mental torture, and if George Bell did indeed do what he is alleged to have done, the victim must be listened to, loved, counselled, and compensated.

But we must be wary of judging a man’s unequivocal guilt 70 years after the alleged event, not least because paedophile claims are fast becoming a paedomania industry: Roman Catholic dioceses in the USA are paying out $millions in compensation just to make the allegations (for that is what they are) go away, irrespective of any need to establish corporate culpability or individual guilt. And we must be very wary indeed of subjecting the dead to reputation-destroying secret trials on the strength of a single anonymous accuser. Hitchens pleads George Bell’s case eloquently:

Such a person may conceivably have been a secret abuser of children. But didn’t this fair, just, brave man (these things are proven) deserve the simple justice of the presumption of innocence, and those protections so majestically summed up in the sixth amendment to the US constitution — to be given speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with witnesses against him, to have compulsory process to obtain witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of counsel in his defence?

The first impulse now is to give every suspected paedophile a good kicking – no smoke without fire, and all that: the mere allegation becomes media (and ecclesial) conviction. George Bell has lost the houses and schools named in his honour. Perhaps in a Soviet-style prelude to the imminent expunging of Bishop George Bell from the Church’s calendar, parishes have been given leave to decide for themselves how they mark his feast day on October 3rd: George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958. Or George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, Paedophile, Persona non grata.

If the names of saints and heroes of the Faith are to be erased from all liturgical commemoration on the strength of modern morality or postmodern ethical sensitivities, perhaps we might look again at the case of Thomas More, whose feast day we celebrate on 6th July. Or is torturing alleged heretics in your basement a more forgivable pursuit than allegedly torturing children in your bed?

    • William Lewis

      That’s easy for you to say.

      • chiefofsinners

        He’s Welsh. I believe it is the next door town to Llareggub.

        • William Lewis

          Mmm. Doesn’t sound like the kind of place you’d want to brag about but at least it’s not Port Talbot.

          • chiefofsinners

            Or Poor Talbot as the locals pronounce it, with some justification.

  • B flat

    Is it not the case that no charge of libel can be brought in defence of a dead person’s reputation according to English Law? That would possibly be a remedy against the injustice which is exposed here.
    Your Grace does a principled stand very well. A very pleasing article, thank you. I don’t understand why the CofE, which is hardly awash with spare cash, does not call such a belated “victim’s” bid for cash, to a court for examination of the facts available. This was discovered as an option in the case of Greville Janner’s disability preventing his standing trial, even though he is alive.
    However, a striking apostolic solidarity was shown by ten of the original twelve, in abandoning their Teacher and Lord on the night He submitted to being betrayed by Judas. We human beings really are in a sorry mess, and being Christians doesn’t seem to put us right as if by magic. We must try harder.

  • DanJ0

    It’s hard to see what evidence could be produced, decades after events, which would be sufficient to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt in some of these cases unless there are letters or other hard evidence, or multiple independent allegations with a similar theme, or credible witnesses to the incidents. Whilst one has to be sensitive to the impact of the incidents on the lives of alleged victims, I’m inclined now to think there needs to be a statute of limitations for some of these crimes.

    • IanCad

      Much easier to just go ahead and let you to comment for me DanJ0.

    • Ivan M

      What? A statute of limits? And spare the 90 and 100 year old Nazis still hiding in basements in Chicago or Toronto?

      • Are you for removing all statutes of limitations, including murder and complicity in genocide, or only those affecting SS geezers in hiding?

        • CliveM

          I think he was saying the opposite.

          • Hmmm. It is possible….

          • CliveM

            Time will tell.

        • carl jacobs

          I tend to agree with you. It seems to be a sarcastic assertion that the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes should have expired by now.

          • CliveM

            I’m feeling less sure myself.

        • Phil R

          We still need a limitation. In your particular scenario, it seems to me that the war ended a long time ago and we need to move on.

          Every week it seems, someone who made a bratwurst once for the SS or similar seems to be trundled out of the old people’s home and given a prison sentence.

          Despite the fact that the incident happened say 70 + years ago, he was say 17 at the time etc. etc.

          • That’s a rather flippant way of putting it. The reality is that thousands of truly guilty murderers escaped detection or punishment in the post-War years, either because of Cold War “requirements” by both the East or the West, or because some wanted to “move on” …right after the war and while the ashes were cooling. But I don’t make the laws and choose targets; there is no statute on limitations for murder in most jurisdictions, an approach I favour for all murder.

          • Phil R

            Years ago I watched a confrontation between a German tank gunner and Russian soldier. I thought the Russian was an actor, but that is not the issue. Apparently the German had machine gunned a trench killing many Russians west of Moscow. The interviewer kept asking the German why he had tried to kill them all even though they were clearly beaten. Incredibly the German seemed to recall the incident well and just looked upset and said ” it was war, you don’t understand” time and time again.

            When he was asked if he would kill them all again he said “it was war.”

          • This is an example of an unclear “in the heat of the battle” or “fog of war” situation with potentially extenuating and mitigating circumstances. Hardly applicable to people involved in a planned, organized and meticulously executed genocide involving complex collection and transport of civilian victims or prisoners of war to dedicated killing centres.

          • Phil R

            Sorry just got back in from work

            I think that this is too important to simply leave as it stands.

            My 17 year old bratwurst seller gets employed as a Kapo. He does his job willingly as he knows no different because he has been told that what he is doing is right. He is not breaking any laws. 70 years on he is has a different view and feels considerable remorse for what he did. Nevertheless, that does not stop the relentless pursuit of “justice” for doing what he was repeatedly told by the state and so thought was right. He broke no laws, but is punished for failing to abide by laws and standards of another nation.

          • No problem, Phil, me too just an hour ago…through a rainstorm and floods because the leave have clogged the storm sewers!

            First of all kapos were selected prisoner guards and I don’t think they were prosecuted, but assume he was a Wehrmacht camp guard. Without getting into legal arguments, there is no exemption for murder and no statute of limitatiion for a good reason: the fictional case could apply to half of the civilian murderers as well. Kids grow up in criminal families, pressute from gangs and so on, whatever they can come up with.

            If you are looking for extenuating circumstances, such as living a crime-free life and claims of remorse, courts are perfectly capable of working with those and they have. Thousands of killers got off scott-free or minor sentences to enjoy a good life.

          • Anton

            Yes. And a lot got away down the ratlines.

        • Anton

          I am for removing them. There is no statue of limitation in the written Law of Moses, which I take to be divine precedent.

          • chiefofsinners

            No statute of limitation? The man accused of murder could leave a city of refuge when the high priest died. Numbers 35: 25-28.

          • Anton

            Why think only of murder when discussing statutes of limitation?

          • chiefofsinners

            I merely point out that it is inaccurate to say there was no statute of limitations.

          • Anton

            OK, I was talking about limitations in time rather than space.

          • chiefofsinners

            I would think the death of the high priest happened in time rather than space, but I didn’t watch every episode of Star Trek, so can’t be sure of the difference.

          • Numbers, B’midbar, pertains to laws binding only to Israelites under a priesthood, in specific cities in the Yarden/Trans-Jordan and Canaan. Outside of these cities and without a priesthood, there is no statute of limitations.

          • chiefofsinners

            Nevertheless, it is inaccurate to say there was no statute of limitation.

          • I’d say, you’re both right because you pointed out a bonafide statute of limitations, but then, Anton could argue that the unqualified prohibition of murder is the default condition even in Noahide Laws, whereas the statute of limitations in the form of the six specific sanctuary cities was a specific exception which doesn’t apply today.

          • chiefofsinners

            Well, blessed are the peacemakers.

        • Ivan M

          All of your arguments earlier about recovered memory and herd mentality when it came to satanists and child abusers apply here too. Yes I am in favour of limitations. In fact I will go so far as to say that the prime reason why the presumption of innocence in the UK has been eroded is the allowance made for the putative victims of the Nazis. It is the reason why there can no longer be a defense for those accused of pedophilia based on first principles.

          • Thank you for yet another astounding hypothesis, Ivan. They never fail to fascinate me, in a detatched, forensic sort of way. Is there any way you can establish, just as a thought experiment, even a theoretically plausible connection between 1) the laughably small number of prosecutions of WW II war criminals, 2) the pedophilia panic which demonstrably spread in the 80s from a California daycare centre and 3) the, um, putative (I like that word) changes in British jurisprudence? And why stop there? Maybe all the world’s ills can be blamed on the dearly departed Mr Simon Wiesenthal?

          • carl jacobs

            Maybe all the world’s ills can be blamed on the dearly departed Mr Simon Wiesenthal?

            Presumably he was a bigwig in the IJCtRtW, so it’s at least believable.

          • IJCtRtW has Google stumped, which means it’s under really deep cover. I presume it has something to do with the International Jewish Conspiracy, but has been renamed. Possibly by a French Canadian, Stephane Dion, who just removed the portrait of Her Majesty from our foreign affairs office, installed two cheesy French Canadian paintings and renamed the foreign affairs department as “Global Affairs.” Much more inclusive. You think you have troubles. At least you have a chance of relief a year from now, whereas we’re facing at least 4 years of silliness and economic freefall.

          • carl jacobs

            … to Rule the World. That would be YOUR organization which still owes me 36 month’s back pay. Feigning ignorance will not get you off the hook.

          • Nothing to do with me…didn’t I introduce the principle of institutional liability in a post above?

          • PS I met Mr Wiesenthal either in 80 or 81 as a student. He chewed me out, with good cause, for screwing up his scheduled ride after a campus function. Very scary; I have no doubt that he could have controlled the World.

          • carl jacobs

            btw. On a completely different subject …

            [Here, to be exact.]

            http://blogs.new.spectator.co.uk/2015/11/haggis-tipped-to-return-to-the-menu-across-the-pond/

            … I read the following comment on the subject of America’s (very wise and prudent) ban on the importation of haggis.

            The first time I’d ever eaten haggis, though, was in Canada. So clearly they don’t share this ludicrous ban.

            Now, why doesn’t it surprise me that Canada imports haggis? Are you trying to sneak it across the border so as to poison our water supply?

          • Odd, it’s fairly easy to make, if you don’t mind mincing organ meat with a grinder. I once tried to send for kosher haggis made in Glasgow for Robbie Burns Night, but Customs wouldn’t allow it. It’s really only a kind of peppery sausage distinguished by its shape and use of oatmeal. If you’ve ever eaten a hot dog, you’ve eaten worse than haggis.

          • carl jacobs

            I thought it was sheep guts wrapped in pig intestines.

          • No, finely ground lamb organ meat with a mix of oatmeal cooked in a large sheep intestine. Served hot with neeps and tatties; turnips and potatoes, part of the Highlands cuisina poverta. Surprisingly tasty.

          • carl jacobs

            Surprisingly tasty.

            Uh huh. Sounds like it. The use of the sheep intestine changes everything. You do realize your previous history leaves you with absolutely no culinary credibility, right? Or is this one of those “Do you think those Americans are dumb enough to fall for this?” moments?

          • CliveM

            Sheeps ‘pluck’ ie heart, liver, lungs.

            Have to admit the bit I have a problem with is the neeps, blurgh.

          • So does my wife, so I wind up with a double portion, which is fine with me.

          • CliveM

            It was school dinners that killed off neeps for me.

          • Ivan M

            Laugh it off Avi. These principles of “infinite justice” as Anton celebrates are being established even in your country. The Nazis will all die out soon enough. The precedents remain to catch out for all I know say, Israeli war criminals

          • carl jacobs

            Israeli war criminals?

          • Any Israeli who’s been in uniform.

          • carl jacobs

            I thought he might have been referring to the Turkish Flotilla thing that is floating around in the backwaters of the International Criminal Court*.

            *We’ve gone 1215 Days without a conviction

          • You can never be sure with Ivan.

          • You’re talking rubbish, Ivan. There is no statute of limitation for murder in any civilized country. Your position that only Nazis should be exempt is curious, especially since it contradicts the rule of uniform justice which you pretend to care for.

            Intil I decide if I can handle a fourth emigration, Canada is my country. War crimes acts legislation has always been in Israeli law and is being applied currently against four servicemen.

          • CliveM

            Ok I was wrong.

    • This is a good argument for not prosecuting cases where indictable evidence is impossible to obtain. It doesn’t require the application of a statute of limitations in criminal law. If you are arguing for limits in civil law, where the standard is much lower, that’s another matter.

  • RobinHMasters

    Hear, hear.

  • David

    Shocking – quite shocking !
    Without evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence must continue.

    • Jon Sorensen

      Police concluded their investigation “Without evidence “? Really?

      “An investigation by the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.”

      • Pubcrawler

        That’s not what David said.

        Unless any evidence is tested and found to be valid beyond reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence must hold.

        • Jon Sorensen

          The reality was “police concluded that there was sufficient evidence”

          • …to arrest and interview, not declare guilt.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Bell is dead so no arrest or interview. Police did not declare him guilty.

  • CliveM

    Isn’t this to do with fear? It is appalling that a dead persons reputation (if he is indeed innocent) hasn’t been defended properly, but isn’t the problem here the same for both the RCC and the CofE? Both have been caught out hiding the guilty in the past, so any defence of the innocent is met with a “well they would say that”, sadly with the further consequent damage to the Churches reputation.

    It’s appalling and cowardly and immoral but it maybe felt to be the least bad option by some.

    When a CofE vicar was murdered a couple of years back, the near universal reaction in the office, was that he must have been kiddie fiddler, who had been the victim of a revenge killing. Such is the Churches reputation for many today.

    • Ivan M

      Which is why anyone with a concern for elementary justice should not play this game. Those who target the churches are less concerned about justice than putting them in a weak spot. The blackmail will never end.

    • Royinsouthwest

      There are councils and police forces around the country that deliberately ignored the abuse of white British girls by men of foreign origin. What action has been taken against the council officials and police officers?

      • CliveM

        It has to be admitted that society has let down victims of sexual abuse for to long. A better approach is needed and those responsible for the failings of the past need to be named and shamed as it were.

        However that does not mean that basic legal processes and fairness can be ignored. As HG points out because of the secrecy surrounding the case there maybe incriminating evidence that hasn’t been disclosed. However at the moment the whole thing seems unsatisfactory.

  • sarky

    Seems to be chickens coming home to roost. If the church didn’t have such a diabolical record of covering up such abuse, then these allegations may not of been taken so seriously.

    • carl jacobs

      Stereotype much?

      • sarky

        Maybe, but sadly true.

        • carl jacobs

          I’ll remember that the next time you object to the Inspector associating black people with crime. I’ll expect you to consistently support the stereotype instead.

          • sarky

            So are you saying the church didn’t cover up abuse?

          • carl jacobs

            “Are you saying black people don’t commit crime?”

            I can play this game all day.

          • There must be an app for this.

          • sarky

            No im not, but the difference is nobody tries to cover it up!!!!!

          • carl jacobs

            “What?!!! You aren’t aware if the politically correct effort to willfully cover up the obvious connection between being black and being a criminal?!!!! Just ask the Inspector!!!!! Oh. Wait …”

            Do you really want me to keep stapling you to the wall like this? After a while, it will hurt.

            You can’t reason from class backwards to individual guilt, sarky.

          • sarky

            Sorry Carl but why are you trying to defend the indefensible? The church has been complicit in covering up abuse. Fact. My point was that had it taken allegations seriously and passed them to the police, then they wouldn’t be in a position where everyone accused is seen as guilty until proven innocent.

          • carl jacobs

            What you are saying, sarky, is that his being a Bishop is probative in the matter of guilt. It is analogous -exactly analogous in every way – to saying a man’s race is probative in the matter of guilt. Whatever the CoE did, that has no bearing on the determination of this man’s guilt in his individual case.

            You are saying “He’s a Bishop. Therefore he is more likely to be guilty.” Guilt is nota matter of probability. His position has no more bearing on his guilt or innocence than his race. It’s just that stereotyping about clergy is currently socially acceptable. Which is why you can say these things without feeling shame.

          • sarky

            What I’m saying is that people will see him as guilty by association to an institution that has regularly covered up abuse. Had this abuse not been covered up then I’m sure he would be more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt.

          • carl jacobs

            You’re right. People will infer guilt. We agree on that. We disagree about the justice of that inference. When you attach a name and a face to a charge, you can no longer make inferences about the individual based on his membership in a group. You are acting as if this is reasonable behavior, and presenting it in a “serves them right” attitude. It is not reasonable behavior. If is fundamentally unjust. It is however an excellent way to turn an individual into a surrogate for a group. And when that group is unpopular, people at large generally let the injustice slide for the sake of the apologetic benefit. That is what you are doing.

            The last time I was called in for Jury duty ( I never make it through voir dire BTW) was for a federal case. The defendant was as facing five felonies on drugs charges, and commission of a felony with a firearm. Serious time. I won’t tell you anything about the defendant. Make any inference you like. Some will be true and some false. I could easily have made inferences about him/her. None of that mattered. He/she was now an individual charged with a crime. He/she wasn’t an sample drawn from a set in a statistical experiment. He/she is an individual whose guilt must be determined by evidence and not by stereotypical associations with a group. That’s how you should treat this Bishop. He isn’t an object with which to confirm your biases or beat your opponents. He’s a man.

            Treat him like one.

          • sarky

            I hope you extend the same courtesy to the victim.

          • carl jacobs

            If there is some evidence that a victim actually exists, then I certainly will. I am not apologist for the CoE, sarky. If it did something wrong, then it deserves a severe beating. But perhaps you could go though the trouble of first establishing the truth of the case instead of just assuming it is true on the basis of an accusation and your obvious biases.

          • Tutanekai

            In the court of public opinion the Church is seen as guilty until proven innocent because the sheer number of abuse cases has created an association between the words “priest” and “paedophile”.

            In a court of law however, the presumption of innocence can’t be so easily laid aside.

            I’m not aware of this particular case and I’m certainly in no position to judge whether the bishop was guilty of the crimes he’s accused of. But the fact that he was a priest makes the accusation plausible, quite simply because there have been so many paedophile priests.

            Plausibility does not equate to guilt however.

            Guilt can only be established by providing proof that specific acts were committed.

            When someone makes a specific accusation, and if the accused’s own former employer acknowledges the validity of the accusation by compensating the accuser, then whether or not the details of the case are made public, there is good reason to believe that guilt has been established.

            To dispute this is to dispute the integrity of the Church. Why would it compensate an accuser if it didn’t believe that a crime had been committed?

            Casting doubt on the Church’s role in this is part of the smear campaign against what conservatives consider to be a liberal Church hierarchy.

            All politicised groups are guilty of spreading rumours and bearing false witness, but it’s particularly dishonest and hypocritical when it comes from a group that so loudly praises itself for its adherence to biblical values.

            The Church is smearing Bishop Bell’s reputation? Then why are you retaliating by smearing the Church’s reputation? Have you considered that perhaps they’ve seen damning evidence that persuaded them of his guilt, but that to reveal the nature of the evidence may not be possible due to any number of factors? Why do you assume underhanded and dishonourable actions on the part of your liberal co-religionists?

            You assume them because you’ve decided they’re guilty. But what happened to the presumption of innocence you demand for Bishop Bell? Is he worthy of it because he was on your side, whereas your liberal opponents can all be declared guilty without trial?

            The level of utterly miserable hypocrisy evident in all of this is quite mind-boggling. For all your professions of faith in Jesus Christ, you’re no better than those you accuse, and may be a good deal worse.

            So much for fruits of the Spirit, eh? It’s one more reason (if any were needed) to scoff at the claims of your faith. How come a group of supposedly right-thinking and orthodox Christians can get things so spectacularly wrong if the perfection of their faith is supposed to make them better people?

          • carl jacobs

            Go away, Linus.

          • Tutanekai

            The uninvited guest suddenly claims the privileges of the host and demands that another univited guest leaves?

            I doubt this Linus chap, whoever he may be, will pay much attention to your petulant demand for him to go away. I know I wouldn’t.

          • William Lewis

            You fool no one, Linus. Still a deceitful child full of wind and bile, I see.

          • CliveM

            I wonder why he’s trying to deny?

          • William Lewis

            Why not deny? He has admitted that he is not bound by any honesty or honour. It’s just a game of fake persona that he is free to play. He has carte blanche.

          • CliveM

            Maybe, but for someone with an overblown sense of his own dignity, it all seems a bit silly.

          • Tutanekai

            If you’re referring to me, I will admit to having been full of wind and bile at one stage of my life.

            Then I stopped being a vegan.

            Oh the relief! Now I fart and barf no more than the average person, and considerably less than many Christians of my acquaintance. The liberal variety who want to save the planet by eating Quorn and vast quantities of hay. The local Anglican church is full of them. Good thing they’ve replaced the altar candles with ecologically correct LED lighting. All that methane near a naked flame was just asking for trouble…

          • sarky

            Having trouble getting the staples out Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            No, sarky, I’m content to leave you hanging right where you are. When you come up with a meaningful response, then we can talk. And by “meaningful” I mean something besides saying the same thing over and over as if it constituted a new point. At least try to do better than Sorensen’s laughibly bad collective guilt argument.

          • Ivan M

            You want the churches to as it were own the insult. That makes sense coming from you. To a different degree I find all this concern for the reputation of the great and good somewhat belated. The Proddies were lapping it up when the smear machine was directed against Catholics. A devil’s advocate like you, both intelligent and cynical has a role to sift the Christians as fine wheat. Stick around my friend.

          • William Lewis

            Will you be collecting the bags of wheat and chaff while your friend does the sifting, Ivan? Careful not to mix them up, there’s a good fellow. I hope you can tell the difference.

          • Ivan M

            Nothing like that William, I had to scan through the comments and I find a lot of arguments for one side. It is good to have people with different opinions around as it makes for an interesting blog. Notwithstanding my own spats with Linus, I think he is an intelligent fellow with interesting ideas. I am a middle-aged man, whose opinions have gelled for some years now; as almost all posting here, nothing has changed as a result of reading the comments here.

          • William Lewis

            I’m all for different opinions on this blog but if you think that Linus’ fact free flatulence is going to help you form more considered conclusions then all I can say is good luck to you.

          • Jon Sorensen

            But it is a false analogy fallacy. The Church[ofE] is one organisation. Black people are many individuals. Not all black people have commited a crime, but all “The Church[ofE]” have been cought covering up abuse.

            Even in this case. From the article:

            “a complaint was made to the then Bishop of Chichester Eric Kemp alleging that Bell had abused a child during the 1940s and 1950s. The complaint was not passed on to police…”

          • CliveM

            ” but all “The Church[ofE]” have been cought covering up abuse.”

            Usual bulls”@t comment, however it does illustrate the applicability of Carls analogy.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You just don’t understand what a fallacy is…..

          • CliveM

            ” but all “The Church[ofE]” have been cought covering up abuse.”

            As an example and just so you properly understand;

            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/fallacy

          • Jon Sorensen

            You still don’t seem to understand it.

          • CliveM

            If you had a clue what it meant, I might take your comment seriously.

            But you don’t, so I can’t.

          • Jon Sorensen
          • CliveM

            If you don’t mind me saying, this is classic Jon, what you said was

            “You just don’t understand what a fallacy is…..”

            So why are you giving me a link to the definition of analogy?we know why, you’ve lost the argument, so now want to pretend you meant something else.

            And so we spin into your kafkaesque world of black being white and analogy now be fallacy. Well I’m not taking part in your silly games. You got it wrong, own up.

            Btw I don’t believe that you have shown that Carls analogy doesn’t work. What you don’t seem to understand is what his analogy was attempting to highlight and in that it is successful.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “So why are you giving me a link to the definition of analogy?”
            No. the link is to false analogy not analogy.

            You didn’t ever understand the link so you claim victory. LOL.

            Sorry that you don’t understand why Carl’s analogy is false analogy. Christians apologist in general are masters of false analogy and Christians don’t even know that.

          • CliveM

            “Argument from analogy”

            Cut and pasted heading of the link you sent. It opens into a full discussion of analogy, which also includes a discussion of false analogy.

            LOL You don’t even know what the link you sent me says.

            However I note you are choosing to ignore the fact you made the claim that I didn’t understand fallacy:

            “”You just don’t understand what a fallacy is…..”

            Cut and pasted from your own post. So again you try your usual tactic of completely changing the basis of your argument, whilst pretending it’s what you said all along.

            LOL you don’t even know what you post.

            LOL you don’t even know what the accusation is you made.

          • Jon Sorensen

            If you browser works link will open at
            “False analogy
            A false analogy is a faulty instance of the argument from analogy”
            because #False_analogy tag in the end of the link.

            Read that an try to understand why Carl’s analogy is false analogy.

          • CliveM

            LOL so it has to be a browser problem now!

            I already said the article included a discussion of false analogy.

            So FYI I have read the whole article.

            You still haven’t addressed why you are trying to ignore that your original accusation was I didn’t understand fallacy.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “LOL so it has to be a browser problem now!”
            I was trying to be nice… let’s just say it was not a browser problem. It was you who couldn’t click a link and read.

            “You still haven’t addressed why you are trying to ignore that your original accusation was I didn’t understand fallacy.”
            I did but you didn’t understand. One more time.
            “blacks” are multiple people. If all of them haven’t done X we should not claim blacks have done X
            “the Church[ofE]” is one organisation. If the Church has done X was can claim that the Church[ofE] has done X

            Because “black” and “the Church[ofE]” are different in above way comparing them like Carl did is a fallacy; false analogy.

            It’s simple.

          • CliveM

            “I was trying to be nice”

            You really are an unutterable prat.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah, collective guilt. It’s ever so much more efficient. What need have we of trials and evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt. Let’s just criminalize the organization instead.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Not a collective guilt. Members are not guilty, only the decision making management.

            “What need have we of trials and evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt.”
            Bell is dead, so investigation was enough.

            “Let’s just criminalize the organization instead.”

            They should just be treated like any other organisation. We should remove the extra privileges they have.

          • carl jacobs

            So first you said …

            Not all black people have commited a crime, but all “The Church[ofE]” have been cought covering up abuse.

            Here you said my argument didn’t apply because while only some black people have committed crimes “all The Church[ofE] have been cought covering up abuse.”

            That use of the word all would indicate collective guilt since in makes no distinction between individuals in the group. Now you say …

            Not a collective guilt. Members are not guilty, only the decision making management.

            Well, OK, let’s go with that.

            In the first place, narrowing the set of members in the group does not remove the charge of collective guilt. You have simply reduced the number of people that you consider collectively guilty.

            In the second place, you need actual evidence that every single member in that group was both knowledgeable and complicit in the activity. You have not a hope in hell of meeting that legal burden.

            Nice slander, though.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            He’ll just keep shifting the goal posts. Or better still claim the goal posts were never where you said they were in the first place.

          • carl jacobs

            Just getting it on the record…

          • CliveM

            Fair enough, although I suspect he’ll deny the record………….

          • carl jacobs

            What was it you said? Kafka?

          • CliveM

            You can’t say you weren’t warned! :0)

          • carl jacobs

            Ar some point you say “I just don’t want to do this anymore.”

          • CliveM

            He is very trying!

          • carl jacobs

            That’s a word for it. I could think of others.

          • CliveM

            Remember it’s an open forum.

          • Jon Sorensen

            All does not mean collective guilt. It only means that in the set of “the Church” there is only one item. All = one item.

            “In the first place, narrowing the set of members in the group does not remove the charge of collective guilt. You have simply reduced the number of people that you consider collectively guilty.”
            I agree. Upper management = final decision makers in the Church (maybe one, maybe many) are all collectively responsible and guilty. Members are not guilty. Just like in a corporate world.

            “you need actual evidence that every single member in that group was both knowledgeable and complicit in the activity.”
            No I don’t. It just like in corporate world. The members of highest deciding body (~ board of directors incl chairman) are assumed to know and support major decision the body makes, unless they make it known that they did not support. “not knowing” or “not being a part” is no excuse if the are part of the body. Read about Enron case or any other major corporate/organisational disaster. Pay attention who got charged.

            “Nice slander, though.”
            Truth often sounds like slander, but I think I would could do better if I would try actually to slander

          • carl jacobs

            OK, Jon. Whatever you say. Suddenly everything is turning into a rhinoceros so it’s time for me to get out of this French novel.

            Enjoy your stay.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I know. Christians always leave when the fact come out 😉

          • Inspector General

            Wiki article “Incarceration in the United States”

            Read and weep…

  • When I went to a well known boy’s grammar school back in the late ’40s-early ’50s, after sports and PE we had to strip naked and run through a row of showers. One of the masters used to hit us on our backsides, ostensibly to hurry us up. Would this be considered “abuse” or assault in these modern days? I suspect it would, although I can’t remember anyone complaining at the time. To whom should I complain to claim my compensation?

    • IanCad

      Boys’ schools truly were the root of buggery.

      • I’m not sure; as far as I’m aware, things never went any further. This was a day school, so I assume the opportunities were far less.

      • dannybhoy

        Not denying things happened in boarding schools for boys only, but many kids (like myself) came though unscathed, innocence intact.

    • I’m game, for 50 percent of the virtually guaranteed settlement (minus court and admin costs and documents copies). We’ll present that you have been unable to run or take showers for over half a century.

      • That’s the problem these days, blackmail seems so simple, particularly when you can indirectly blackmail a dead person.

        • The odd thing here, though, is the damage was done and the Church still knuckled under. Of course, when the authorities go with the flow and side with the claimant, limiting the damage and liabilities may be the only option.

      • dannybhoy

        “We’ll present that you have been unable to run or take showers for over half a century.”

        Hmmm.

        A case not to be sniffed at…

    • alfredo

      The answer to your question as to whether this would be considered abuse today is an emphatic ‘yes’. Bishop Peter Ball has recently been sent to prison (having been pressed, as the method is, to plead guilty) to 32 months on the basis of accusations which, as far as one can gather, amount to little more than getting young men (not children) to take their clothes off and smacking, or suggesting that he should smack, their bottoms. Reprehensible perhaps, especially in a bishop and a monastic, but hardly likely to occasion, in a normal person, lifelong trauma.
      And the ‘victims’ in this case, including a clergyman who has magnanimously ‘forgiven’ Ball to the extent of wishing that he will rot in prison for the rest of his life (he is 83 and in poor health), are intent upon suing, aided by high-minded lawyers, this same diocese of Chichester for all that it has and hasn’t got. You ain’t heard nothing yet.
      Lose no sympathy over the CoE over the difficulty they are in over such cases. It was they who insisted, in the face of the well-founded reluctance of the secular authorities, in demanding over a period of six years (during which they assiduously gathered evidence against him) that he should be prosecuted. And so trivial were the things he was accused of (though probably guilty) that a new offence – ‘misconduct in public office’ (bishops, not members of the House of Lords, do not hold public office – fact, as they say) had to be rephrased and manipulated in order to ‘get him’.
      So it isn’t only the departed who are to be sacrificed to the virtue signalling, intellectual feebleness, moral cowardice, and obsession with PR of the CoE – and here I don’t mean the long-suffering people in the pews, who have to pay for all this, but the dim-witted, politically correct appointees who currently preside over our national church.

      • Ivan M

        Lets not forget that it was also considered acceptable to spank one’s wife or girlfriend until comparatively recently. There is an Arnez/Lucy Ball video on the YouTube for those inclined to check.

  • carl jacobs

    People love to find intrinsic evil in their ideological opponents. In fact, they’ll find it whether it’s there or not.

  • Reespect, Your Grace! Top-notch post.

    Alas, you, Peter Hitchens and a handful of other brave souls have surely stuck your heads in a bloody buzz-saw this time. Knowingly, too. You’ll not only be accused as “enablers,” blamed for disturbing a protected industry and its routines, but worse, the inevitable opportunists and their trial lawyers feverishly preparing to cash in on the tailcoats of this travesty as we speak, will now be very, very upset with you. Perhaps they’ll need to change the tactical and bring out the big guns; satanic rituals in yet-to-found underground torture chambers and international Masonic conspiracies.

  • Inspector General

    It would be interesting to know the precise reason behind the payout. In ‘awkward’ circumstances, such an award may be given without prejudice, without implying an acknowledgement of guilt, on a take it or leave it basis.

    As for the renaming of church buildings. It does happen from time to time. We make of this as we will, and suppose that the edifices wouldn’t have been named in his honour in the first place had the slur on his character been generally known.

    Anyway, case dismissed. Insufficient evidence, not helped by the passing of many decades and the probable unavailability of witnesses and the most certain unavailability of the accused.

    Next!

    What? No more? Then all stand. The Inspector will take his leave of you…

  • Manfarang

    Oh dear! The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson used to stay at a house at 7 Lushington Road in Eastbourne on his holidays.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    It seems it is an easy way to earn a few bob; make an accusation of child abuse against someone who died several decades ago. That way there can be no defence, and if the organisation the alleged abuser works for happens to be one of the many useful idiots of the PC brigade, then you’re likely to get money and an apology. Watch out though. This practice may not stay confined to the Church. Once all religious leaders have been successfully branded as paedos, the cash-strapped will turn to others in public life, like newspaper editors. I guess a few of those have some small skeletons in the cupboard.

  • preacher

    I always thought that the law was “Innocent until proven guilty” Surely the evidence of the other choir members of the time should have been submitted & taken into consideration?.
    Is it possible that the complainant is suffering from memory problems ? After all the alleged offence was a long time ago & the aggrieved person must now be quite elderly.
    Indeed, the sex of the person is not mentioned so who can be sure if there was an element of flirtation involved on the complainants part?.
    Without a full investigation, no compensation should have been paid. The CofE has panicked & knee jerk reactions from others have added to the smearing of this man’s character.
    If the allegations are true, then there should be no cover up. But seventy years is a long time to hesitate before demanding justice & financial compensation from a long dead alleged abuser.

  • Sigfridiii

    Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury signed a number of death warrants for alleged heretics, who were then brutally executed. Must we now burn all copies of the Book of Common Prayer?

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Strange isn’t it that with almost any other area of life, if you make an assertion that is not supported by evidence you are ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist. But that does not apply to child abuse allegations. The mere fact someone has made the allegation makes it true; makes it a fact. Evidence seems to have nothing to do with it. The accusation itself is the evidence. We will never know if these allegations have any foundation in reality. Nevertheless, the damage is done, the mud has been thrown and will probably stick.

    • Strange and not so strange. This an echo of the child abuse hysteria of the 1990s and three sources combined to create that one; the pseudo-psychology of repressed memories, the feminist doctrine of always believing the victim of rape, which was eventually transferred onto children, and the satanic ritual allegations which re-emerged in the US.

    • Jon Sorensen

      Did you read the article? It actually said:
      “An investigation by the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.”

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Yes, but an arrest still isn’t a conviction. The Police don’t decide who is guilty or not guilty. They just decide when that evidence needs to be examined in Court.

        • CliveM

          Isn’t that the role of the Crown Prosecution Service?

        • Jon Sorensen

          First you claim that “Evidence seems to have nothing to do with it”. Now you change the story. Christians are so keen to defend their leaders no matter what. Shows the danger of religion….

          • Politically__Incorrect

            The whole point of this article is that the man has been found guilty without any of the evidence being tested in court. That is what is dangerous. You seem to be saying that the courts and the legal system have no purpose and a person should be convicted on allegations alone.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “found guilty” by who?

          • Politically__Incorrect

            By those who want to find him guilty, like the media. That’s the same media that says that those held in Guantanamo should have been given a proper trial (something I agree with). So if due process is good enough for alleged terrorists, then it’s good enough for alleged paedophiles too.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So tabloid media needed headlines. What else is new. Christian media and blogs seem to support him, so Christians have not found him guilty neither has court system. Well those held in Guantanamo never got due process either.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Nobody on this site has categorically said he is innocent. What many have said is that since the truth will never be known, it should be treated as inconclusive. Our legal system is based on the premise we are innocent until proven guilty. If we change it to “guilty until proven innocent” then we are heading towards totalitarianism.

          • Jon Sorensen

            But people like you keep on claiming that “Evidence seems to have nothing to do with it” in his defense…

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Yes I do, because that evidence has not been scrutinised. There is therefore no certainty that it is even reliable. As in many cases of rape, there are plenty of allegations, but the evidence just doesn’t seem to convince the jury in the majority of cases.

          • Jon Sorensen

            you claim “Evidence seems to have nothing to do with it”.
            “police concluded that there was sufficient evidence”

          • Pubcrawler

            Sufficient for what, though?

            “Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.”

            Not a conviction and so, until tested, not sufficient for a damnatio memoriae.

          • CliveM

            “, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.”

            Interesting. So without speaking to the Bishop, based simply on a meeting with the accuser, the Police decided that there was already enough evidence to arrest and for a report to be submitted to the CPS.

            The Police seem to be jumping to all sort of conclusions these days. Especially when the accused are safely dead and can’t respond. Thinking Met and it’s Westminster Paedophile Ring investigation here.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Bell is dead, so no conviction. The Church was satisfied that there was enough evidence that Bell did what he was accused of. The Church could have disagreed with it or asked victims to go to court system.

            Christians are just upset because Bell was a Christian. Had he been a non-Christians there would not have been an article here and Christians would have assumed his guilt, because “the have not base on morality” etc.

          • Beckmassa

            What absolute nonsense you write Mr Sorensen. Of course an accuser must give their witness publicly – especially when so long has passed and the accused has been dead for decades. They are not a child any more. Who can tell what is a “false memory”? Justice requires a jury to be convinced or a panel of judges. In this case we are talking about history. I don’t think that history is of great interest to mafia bosses, any more than truth is – though truth seems to be of very little interest to you. You seem not to grasp the fact that without justice being seen to be done, it does not exist. Very occasionally and exceptionally a trial might need to be in camera – but after so many years certainly not.

            Obviously, there could have been no investigation by the police in this case. The so-called perpetrator was long dead. What we are given to understand is that the police – when asked a hypothetical question about a presumed act – declared that they would have investigated it further and possibly arrested the person guilty of the act. That does not mean the Bishop Bell would have been arrested. If the police had thought there was a case to answer they would have taken the matter further. The evidence in this case is nothing more than an accusation based on a long-past memory whose reliability would have had to be tested in court. Get your facts straight, please.

            Defending Bell is nothing to do with his religion or his role in that religion as a bishop of the church of England: it is to do with knowledge of him as a living human being of whom (I assume) you know absolutely nothing. Truth is not about whether or not he had particular beliefs. It is a question of what he would have been likely to do – taking into account what his life as a whole was about. This is something that has been ignored by Bishop Warner and Archbishop Welby.

            Witch-hunts were not the Christian system, as you call them. They were the law of the land. Perhaps you should read up a bit about King James I’s concern with the veracity of witnesses in witchcraft trials during his reign: I recommend James Shapiro’s just published “1606: the year of Lear”, where you will find a good deal about this.

            If you have nothing more relevant to this case to add, please do not respond.

          • Gitmo is due process; foreign non-citizen, fighters out of uniform don’t get the same rights as citizens or legitimate prisoners of war, until laws are changed.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Gitmo is due process”
            You have no idea. After 13 years for over 100 detainees the process/trial has not even started.

            “foreign non-citizen, fighters out of uniform don’t get the same rights as citizens or legitimate prisoners of war, until laws are changed.”

            So which law allows the US to keep these people 13 years in Gitmo without a trial?

          • carl jacobs

            The US could have legally shot them without trial as the unlawful combatants. There was no legal requirement to treat them as POWs. They have no legal status.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I didn’t know in Afghanistan you can legally shoot Afghanistani “unlawful” combatants without a trial. Which law is this? Who agree that they are “unlawful”? Were they also “anlawful” when they fought Russians? Who agreed to the law that they can be shot without a trial?

            So first you say “Gitmo is due process”. Now you say there is no legal requirements to do anything so no process. Make up your mind already.

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t say “Gitmo is due process.” Avi did.

            The fact that you would put ‘unlawful combatant’ in scare quotes (and therefore prove that you have no idea what it means) would lead me to ask you why you are even trying to argue about this subject.

            If we had been arguing about the fundamental theorem of calculus, and you said “What is this thing you call a limit? Are numbers suddenly finite?” you will some understanding of how you just presented yourself.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You are right. It was Avi not you. Sorry.

            “unlawful combatant” depends on your point of view. Some of the Gitmo inmates are Afghans. I’m sure they feel they have the right to carry gun and defend their own home and land against foreign troops. Just like 1770s in the US or French and Norwegian resistance during WW2.

            BTW your analogies fail miserably. Please improve those.

          • carl jacobs

            “unlawful combatant” depends on your point of view.

            No, it doesn’t. It is a legal definition in International Law. It has defined content, and that content governs the behavior of the US military. You don’t know what you are talking about. All you are doing is displaying your ignorance of the subject matter.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Can you point me to the definition of “unlawful combatant” in the International Law.

            From wiki:”unlike the terms “combatant”, “prisoner of war”, and “civilian”, the term “unlawful combatant” is not mentioned in either the Hague or the Geneva Conventions. So while the former terms are well understood and clear under international law, the term “unlawful combatant” is not.”

            I’m pretty sure those Afghans think themselves as members of a militias/members of a volunteer corps or a member of organized resistance movements not “unlawful”.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s fine, Jon. I’m sure you can do just fine without me in the future. Enjoy the music. Take in the sights of Cranmer’s. Stay awhile.

            Because me and the rhinoceros are departing Stage Right.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Christians tend to leave when you ask for them to provide evidence for the claim. I’s more comfortable to believe without fact checking…

          • carl jacobs

            Jon, you went from not knowing the phrase “unlawful combatant” existed to telling me it was a point of view to telling me it had no content based upon a sentence fragment in a Wiki Page in the space of about three hours. Since you had also just told me the CoE was like the Enron Corporation, I decided the absurdity of the argument ( you see? … French literature? … rhinoceros? .. absurdity?) had reached a tipping point, and so I chose not to follow your endless rabbit trails anymore.

            Have a nice day.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I wrote: “unlawful” combatants
            then you misquoted me: ‘unlawful combatant’
            then I said: “unlawful combatant” depends on your point of view.
            My point was to challenge unlawfulness
            Now you go on about the phrase “unlawful combatant”
            Whatever.

            I didn’t say “Since you had also just told me the CoE was like the Enron Corporation”
            Is said the responsibility of decision fall to management only in both cases. Clearly you want to misinterpret me
            Whatever.

            Like I said Christians tend to leave when you ask for them to provide evidence for the claim.

          • I don’t know which law, and you can look it up, but the reason for detaining them on a military base outside of the US is to comply with certain laws. Now, you may dislike those laws and treatment, but others think them appropriate for terrorists. And as Carl below said, they could have been shot…legally.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you don’t know which law they comply but you are sure they comply with it. Great thinking! Do you think there is a reason they are not on the US soil? Could it be that it is because Gitmo does not comply with the US laws?

            Which law tells us that “could have been shot…legally”? Who agree to that? The guys with bigger guns? So prisoned and tortured for life without trial comply with some “law”? You just made it all up, didn’t you?

          • Same as my initial post above. No need to reiterate all and hyperventilate. Learn to read and comprehend, and for an idiot, you’re pretty rude.

          • CliveM

            He’s an idiot of the first order. He couldn’t comprehend the time of day.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You nicely ignored my questions. How telling…

  • Inspector General

    News from the Inspectorate. This night, in Gloucester, the Inspector attended a UKIP rally with the principle speaker, Nigel Farage. Against all the odds, the man Farage appeared at the main entrance to the room. He was busying himself with the stewards and police that make these events possible. Now, your man here was manning the TFA stall, yet had had the call to achieve urination, and the washing of hands thereafter. So, on return, he was the wrong side of the table. Yet, with Farage himself there, and partially obscured by a column, the Inspector asked out in the best of Irish brogue “can I say that I’ve shaken the hand of Nigel Farage”. To be answered by a grudging ‘all right’ . Eye contact was not made.

    Also met this night was a delightful young thing, one of Farage’s press secretaries, daughter of Leslie. Good show, that gal!

    • chiefofsinners

      No doubt Nigel will be honoured to have shaken the very hand which had so recently shaken the inspectorial todger.

      • Inspector General

        You may wish to delete your shoddy comment, sir

        • chiefofsinners

          I wash my hands of it.

          • Inspector General

            Your standing on this site is thus so diminished. So be it…

          • chiefofsinners

            Sorry, Inspector. Just popping out to the boys’ room. I’ll be back in a couple of shakes.

          • sarky

            Me thinks the inspector felt inadequate whilst hanging out with the big nobs 🙂

          • Inspector General

            You continue to be the wretch you are….

          • chiefofsinners

            I am sure that the ‘member for Cheltenham’ is a big nob in his own right.

      • Andre´Kristian

        If a stranger may be so bold and inveterate as to interpose a notion, I must avow to the fact I detect a slight enviousness! Well, quite understandable, no doubt. How could any one presenting himself as the “chief of sinners” reasonably eclipse our estimable Inspector?! The mere attempt is doomed to fail, methinks!
        His steadfast and completely unsparing witty elegance and provoking political pluck, is too damned genius to ignore. I would assert that this strong-principled man is one of our foremost writers. Enchantingly acrimonious, with a titillating touch of playfullness and zest. He has fearlessly converted condescension into a veritable piece of art. This fortitude and firmness of mind, along with his political proficiency, could only dwell within a most dignified Briton. One cannot forsake such a brilliant pencraft!
        He shall never show the white feather before any man, least of all an opponent.
        With a premeditated sincerity and candour, Andre´- a merry amateur 🙂

        • chiefofsinners

          Yep. He’s a good bloke. Doesn’t really mind the odd tickle under the ribs either.

    • Pubcrawler

      He might have warmed to you better had you offered to buy him a pint.

    • dannybhoy

      ” Yet, with Farage himself there, and partially obscured by a column, the Inspector asked out in the best of Irish brogue “can I say that I’ve shaken the hand of Nigel Farage”To be answered by a grudging ‘all right’ . Eye contact was not made…”
      All sounds a bit seedy Inspector.
      Whilst extremities were duly shaken, I hope to Goodness you didn’t mention your predilection for the Pink News….

  • chiefofsinners

    The problem here is that the alleged victim would only have to prove guilt on a balance of probability in a civil action in order to extract a fat cheque for compensation, plus costs, from the CoE. If the alleged perpetrator was still alive there could be a criminal case, requiring proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, but that isn’t possible.
    The Church is left to choose whether to risk the 50-50 gamble in court or cut its losses. As much as it would like to defend the reputation of George Bell, it can’t afford to.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Sorry but how could the CofE be sued in a civil action? The complaint is about Bishop Bell and he is dead and can no longer be sued.

      • Institutional liability.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          “Institutional liability” what is that? Are you talking about vicarious liability? What about the Statue of Limitations?

          • Not sure about the technical basis, but in almost all cases compensation was paid by the institution responsible for the individual.

          • Nicolas Bellord

            I do not think this was the case. In the case of employees an employer is not liable for the acts of an employee outside his employment. Thus if in his free time he caused an accident then that is his own liability and not that of his employer. Clerics are generally not employees but holders of office and there the relation between the institution and the cleric is even more remote. The Charity Commission was always opposed to charities using money provided for charitable purposes to be used for compensating for the criminal acts of charity employees – quite rightly as donors expect their money to be used for the purposes of the charity. The situation has changed somewhat in that the concept of vicarious liability has been extended and I am not sure of the current position. Even if a civil action was possible against the Church then the plaintiff would have to prove his case and it would very much depend upon his credibility. Memory plays tricks on people after many years and a court would not necessarily be satisfied just on an individual’s say-so after such a time. I suspect the Church acted to defend its reputation rather than on legal grounds and may be was misguided in doing so.

          • Well yes, I think that’s it; regardless of the legalities, current approach and practice, the bottom line here was defending reputation by knuckling under. In this case, it seemed safe enough to toss a long-dead bishop under the bus.

            Unless supporters unite, hire big-guns lawyers and initiate action on his behalf, post-mortem, and go after the police and the Church admin…

          • Nicolas Bellord

            Well it is very sad as Bishop Bell was and is still known as somebody who took a principled stand against the carpet bombing of civilians in WWII. A point of view that is still very relevant when one thinks about the nuclear deterrent.

          • chiefofsinners

            Statute of limitations does not apply where there has been concealment. I’m no lawyer, but that’s what I understand.

          • Not a lawyer either, but I think you’re right. In any case, institutions can not be held criminally liable, of course, as that would constitute vicarious criminal liablity which was struck from English law sometime back in the Middle Ages. In civil law it’s a different case apparently, and concealment…which obviously occurred in all cases…played no role. I imagine that an institution’s failure to provide a safe environment was the key. Where are all the lawyers here?

          • Manfarang

            Corporations can have a criminal liability but such liabilities do not extend to a corporation sole which is what a Church of England Bishop is.

          • True, but members of an institution and presumably a corporation as well, cannot face prosecution for acts they did not individually commit; that, I understand is what the rejection of vicarious criminal liability established in Common Law means. A corporation can be liable for criminal negligence, and can suffer monetary penalties or imposed dissolition, but members other than those personally liable, cannot be penalized.

          • Manfarang

            In any event criminal prosecutions are not brought against dead people.A civil case may have been launched, a court may have accepted it even though it was beyond the normal statutory limitation period on equitable grounds. The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilties in civil cases thus the plaintiff may have succeeded in claiming damages hence the willingness of the Church to settle out of court.

          • Yes, but what is upsetting to many here is that a man’s reputation was trashed in camera. It reflects a well-justified lack of trust in the police, Church administrators and the mediation process itself.

          • Manfarang

            Unfortunately defamation cases cannot be brought on behalf of dead people either but the truth may well emerge as in the case of the Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson where similar allegations have been strongly denied.

          • True, but there are always other avenues within legal systems; that’s where competent law firms come in. Misuse of Church funds, police misconduct…just off the top of my head.

          • alfredo

            And precisely because of that, the dead should not be defamed. as they have no recourse in English law.

          • Here’s a good source from a Christian journal article. The way they have it is that there are at least ten risks institutions face, most of them related to negligence:

            http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200401/200401_78_legalrisks.cfm

          • chiefofsinners

            I know for sure that many schools have been instructed by their insurance companies to keep all paperwork relating to child abuse for a minimum of 50 years, including every update to child protection policies. This is because companies are now having to defend historic cases.

          • That would make sense, since child sexual abuse statute limits have been removed. I have no problem with that; if abuse can be established through normal and uniform rules of evidence, by all means. The looser standard of proof in the civil courts are a problem, but they are problem with all cases.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Only 50 years? Why not 500 years?

          • Nicolas Bellord

            I think that article is talking about the situation in the USA where the law is different. There is no Charity Commission to vet whether compensation should be paid out of charitable funds as there is in England and Wales.

          • Yes, I was unable to find British or Commonwealth references, but US law intersects with ours in many respects. What the article shows is that you can’t rely on deceivingly simple principles and that organizations need to recognize that there are many fluid components to the issue of organizational protection and set up effective routines under legal advice not only for their own protection, but for the security of people under their authority and responsibility.

          • William Lewis

            Is that the Statue of Liberty’s less accomplished sister?

          • carl jacobs

            There’s a vicious rumor going around that the Statue of Liberty is from France. This is a lie. It is from the Planet Remulak.

          • William Lewis

            They’ll be claiming credit for entrepreneurship next.

  • Jon Sorensen

    Church decided to rename their own building and church members think this is “horrible, totalitarian” thing. Really?

    Transparency in paedophilia does not mean we should know the victims’ names. They have suffered already. They don’t need people judging them and Christians to rally for the paedophile against the victim.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/missouri-townspeople-shun-sex-abuse-victim-as-a-liar-even-after-good-man-admits-to-raping-her/
    People would put victims names in blog posts an challenging them; the nonsense like Peter Hitchens…

    The article also claim that “Roman Catholic dioceses in the USA are paying out $millions in compensation just to make the allegations”. In reality Catholic dioceses seem to rather declare themselves bankrupt to protect their assets than pay abuse victims.
    https://www.revealnews.org/article/catholic-dioceses-declare-bankruptcy-on-eve-of-sexual-abuse-trials/

    If you really think that Roman Catholic dioceses in the USA are paying out $millions in compensation just to make the allegations, just go make an allegations and see if you get them to pay $millions. Good luck with that.

    And let’s remember “The complaint was not passed on to police” Why was paedophilia complaint not passed to police by Church?
    and
    “the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive”
    Sounds like Church was happy with the investigation and now doing the appropriate action.

    • William Lewis

      Why was paedophilia complaint not passed to police by Church?

      Probably because the police can’t prosecute dead people. Unless there’s a running news story, of course.

      • Jon Sorensen

        So why did they go to police after the second complain?

        • William Lewis

          Probably because the police were investigating dead people for these sorts of crimes by then.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Sound like you are rationalising to defend your view.

            The church must be keeping close eye when and how dead people are being investigated. Of course they don’t care about the victims…

          • William Lewis

            What view am I defending? I don’t believe I have presented one.

            Why do you think that the first victim made the complaint to the Church and not to the police? Can you rationalise that?

          • Jon Sorensen

            “What view am I defending?”
            first:
            [paedophilia complaint were not passed to police by Church] probably because the police can’t prosecute dead people.
            then:
            [paedophilia complaint were not passed to police by Church] probably because the police were investigating dead people for these sorts of crimes by then.
            = rationalising without evidence

            “Why do you think that the first victim made the complaint to the Church and not to the police?”
            I don’t know. I wouldn’t trust Church to handle it properly.

          • William Lewis

            Those weren’t rationalisations of a view but suppositions as to why the Church did and did not report to the police. What’s more interesting is why the first victim did not report to the police but did report to the Church.

          • Jon Sorensen

            People in cults often can’t get themselves to find help outside their cult…

          • William Lewis

            How interesting. Do you think that is what happened here?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Surely you are immune to that. Anyways the brainwashed people usually don’t realize they are brainwashed (I’m I brainwashed?)

          • William Lewis

            Yes indeed. You have been brainwashed into believing there is no evidence for God.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Evidence has brainwashed me. Lack of *any* evidence has brainwashed me not to believe in your God.

          • sarky

            Thats what happens when you go to a non existent church, to hear a sermon about a non existent god from a non existent priest.

          • William Lewis

            Too many negatives for me to follow there, Sarky. Can you unpack that for me?

          • There must be an app for that.

          • Anton

            No, no, no.

          • William Lewis

            I have just googled iSarky-translate. No joy. 🙁

          • dannybhoy

            Churches/Synagogues/Mosques etc. should accept that the State has a right to know when the law has been broken, and that the guilty are dealt with accordingly.

          • alfredo

            You have clearly been brainwashed by victimology, which, interestingly enough, is an offshoot of cultural Marxism.

          • William Lewis

            Was that aimed at me? If so, how have you arrived at that conclusion?

          • Must be your unusual first name.

          • William Lewis

            That’s just as good as any explanation I can think of, Avi.

          • michaelsavell

            Surely hoping for a cash injective.

          • William Lewis

            It’s certainly a possibility.

          • William Lewis

            The church must be keeping close eye when and how dead people are being investigated.

            What? It’s been all over the news for several years now! Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with UK current affairs before commenting on local issues, lest you end up looking a bit silly.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So why don’t they try to look after the victims? Should the victims be taken care of regardless if dead people are investigated?

          • William Lewis

            They should certainly do what they can to look after the victims. Assuming they are victims.

    • Beckmassa

      Transparency in justice requires that the accuser stand up in public and put their case. You are assuming the accusation is correct when you say “they have suffered already”. That is precisely what is wrong with the process that the Diocese and the Church have adopted. Time now to be careful about jjustice – whether historic or current. What has happened with this Bell case is utterly unacceptable, and those who have carried it through will have to answer for their misjudgment. Justice must be seen to be done. That is not the case here. Anonymous accusations are taking us back to the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries – and of the post-war communist regimes in eastern Europe. Justice has to be a seamless garment.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Transparency in justice requires that the accuser stand up in public and put their case.”
        You sound like a mafia boss. In cases of sex crime, underage victims, organised crimes and cases involving national/trade secrets it not in best interest of the victim to make all things public.

        “You are assuming the accusation is correct when you say”
        because the article said: “An investigation by the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.”

        “What has happened with this Bell case is utterly unacceptable”
        And if he had been a non-Christians, nobody here would defend him….

        “Anonymous accusations are taking us back to the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries”
        It was the Christian justice system…

        • Beckmassa

          What absolute nonsense you write Mr Sorensen. Of course an accuser must give their witness publicly – especially when so long has passed and the accused has been dead for decades. They are not a child any more. Who can tell what is a “false memory”? Justice requires a jury to be convinced or a panel of judges. In this case we are talking about history. I don’t think that history is of great interest to mafia bosses, any more than truth is – though truth seems to be of very little interest to you. You seem not to grasp the fact that without justice being seen to be done, it does not exist. Very occasionally and exceptionally a trial might need to be in camera – but after so many years certainly not.
          Obviously there could have been no investigation by the police in this case. The so-called perpetrator was long dead. What we are given to understand is that the police when asked a hypothetical question about a presumed act declared that they would have investigated and possibly arrested the person guilty of the act. That does not mean the Bishop Bell would have been arrested. If the police had thought there was a case to answer they would have taken the matter further. The evidence in this case is nothing more than an accusation based on a long-past memory whose reliability would have had to be tested in court. Get your facts straight, please.
          Defending Bell is nothing to do with his religion or his role in that religion: it is to do with knowledge of him as a living human being of whom (I assume) you know absolutely nothing. Truth is not about whether or not he had particular beliefs. It is a question of what he would have been likely to do – taking into account what his life as a whole was about. This is something that has been ignored by Bishop Warner and Archbishop Welby.
          Witch-hunts were not the Christian system. They were the law of the land. Perhaps you should read up a bit about King James I’s concern with veracity in witchcraft trials during his rein: I recommend James Shapiro’s just published 1606: the year of Lear, where you will find a good deal about this.
          If you have nothing more relevant to this case to add, please do not respond.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Of course an accuser must give their witness publicly – especially when so long has passed and the accused has been dead for decades.”
            Just like Mafia wanted to know the accuser and where they lived. Victim of this crime need to be protected from the Christians mob.

            “Justice requires a jury to be convinced or a panel of judges. In this case we are talking about history.”
            Justice can’t be served. Bell is dead and got away with it.

            “Obviously there could have been no investigation by the police in this case.”
            Read the article: “An investigation by the police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.”

            “If the police had thought there was a case to answer they would have taken the matter further.”
            To do what? Bell is dead.

            “The evidence in this case is nothing more than an accusation based on a long-past memory whose reliability would have had to be tested in court.”
            You just made this up. Do you have any evidence of this?

            “Get your facts straight, please.”
            You contradict the facts of the article. You might need to read the article first before you know who got the facts right.

            “Defending Bell is nothing to do with his religion or his role in that religion: it is to do with knowledge of him as a living human being of whom (I assume) you know absolutely nothing.”
            Right. I believe you once you or this blog published this kind of article about non-Christians.

            “Witch-hunts were not the Christian system. They were the law of the land.”
            Was England a non-Christian nation? Where witches a non-Christian idea in England? Have you even read the Bible of witch hunt history in England?

            “Perhaps you should read up a bit about King James I’s concern with veracity in witchcraft trials during his rein:”
            Who organised these witchcraft trials? Would it be the Church or the local Mosque?

            “If you have nothing more relevant to this case to add, please do not respond.”
            because the truth is uncomfortable for you?

  • Malcolm Smith

    In 1995, thirty-seven years after Bell’s death, a complaint was made to the then Bishop of Chichester Eric Kemp alleging that Bell had abused a child during the 1940s and 1950s. The complaint was not passed on to police until a second complaint was made to the office of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 2013 …
    Could somebody please enlighten me about the current British law? Is it a requirement that a crime be reported to police 37 years after the alleged perpetrator has passed away, and thus passed beyond all human tribunals? Is it a requirement for a third party to report a crime to the police when the adult victim doesn’t make the report?
    Does common sense still exist in the UK as it once did in the past?

    • IanCad

      I have always believed that we are born with a greater or lesser degree of common sense.
      Most of that amount is wrung out after twelve years of state schooling. Any residual good sense is completely annihilated if a few more years are wasted at university.

  • michaelkx

    having read this and the comments below, do you thing I have a clam for six of the best I got at school?? (50 years ago) booking holiday in anticipation.

  • The Explorer

    Bell supposedly abused one child. For a start, that puts him in a different category from that other bloke who molested ten. And this happened in the 1940’s and the 1950’s.

    That seems a long timescale. When in the 40’s and when in the 50’s? How old was the child when this started? (Assuming it actually did?)

    I mean, if the child was four in 1948, and eight in 1952, then yes, problem. But suppose the child was ten in 1944. In 1954, the child would be twenty, and a consenting adult. The vagueness of it all makes it very difficult to quantify what is supposed to have happened. Did he have the kid locked up during all this time, like that Austrian guy, so it couldn’t get away? Or am I missing something?

    • sarky

      Puts him in a different category???
      If you kill you’re a murderer whether you kill one or ten. Scum is scum. Stupid comment.

      • The Explorer

        I disagree. Some scum is superficial. Other scum needs a lot of elbow grease. Likewise, I don’t think that someone who murders in, say, a family quarrel is necessarily in the same category as the Yorkshire Ripper. The guy who molested ten was a clear sexual predator. We don’t even know that this actually happened.

  • BFS

    This is interesting actually – there’s a lot in here I agree with. But it’s written unnecessarily provocatively (and also anonymously (which is ironic considering the content)): for instance what does this ACTUALLY mean? “….without leaving his sexuality in the smeary realm of the love that once dare not used to speak its name but now insists on trumpeting itself to the four corners of the earth.”

    • carl jacobs

      Our host is not anonymous. He has created a persona for the weblog, but it would take you about twenty seconds with Google to learn his name.

      • BFS

        Pseudonymous or anonymous; he is, mutatis mutandis, not himself. It matters in this context when his criticism is levelled at a lack of transparency in others.

        • carl jacobs

          If I write under a pen name, but my real name is public knowledge, then I have not concealed myself, and there is no lack of transparency. Anyone who cares to discover my identity can do so

        • William Lewis

          Except that the author of this piece has been declaring and expounding on various topics, theories and opinions, more or less on a daily basis, for many years now. He is publicly a lot more transparent then you, or I, will ever be! Who are you to say that he is not himself?

      • Anton

        Come come Carl, play up and play the game! (Google that…) He’s Cranmer!

        • carl jacobs

          “Play the man” I assume?

          • Anton

            “Play up and play the game” is the key refrain – referring to cricket – in a patriotic and eminantly parodiable 19th century poem called Vitai Lampada by Henry Newbolt.

          • carl jacobs

            A poem.

            While Watching a Cricket Match

            But wait. Did something happen?
            Did I see someone move?
            It might have been the Bowler …
            But not that you could proove.

          • Anton

            Better than most modern poetry, albeit about as truthful.

          • carl jacobs

            Poetic genius, I’d say.

            And it captured the essense of Cricket quite well, I thought.

          • Anton

            I agree – I’m sure you thought that.

          • Phil R

            Better than Rounders!

          • carl jacobs

            Americans don’t know from Rounders.

    • I’m guessing you’re a visitor.

      The blog is written under the pen name of Archbishop Cranmer. It says so at the top.

      “Unnecessarily provocatively” … huh?

      “The love that once dare not used to speak its name but now isists on trumpeting itself to the four corners of the earth” … homosexuality.

      No need to thank me.

  • Albert

    Setting aside the abuse issue, George Bell’s behaviour in WWII is enough to secure the greatest respect for him. He has not been convicted of anything and therefore, must be regarded as innocent.

    I suspect the Diocese paid simply because it looks so bad to create a situation in which an institution is dragged kicking and screaming to pay. The trouble is that, whether these allegations are true or not, a grave injustice has been committed again Bishop Bell, because he has not been able to defend himself. Sadly, although understandably, it would appear that the diocese has colluded in that injustice. They have sacrificed justice for him, to save their own reputation.

    Thankfully, he is now in the hands of a greater justice and a greater mercy.

    • carl jacobs

      George Bell’s behaviour in WWII is enough to secure the greatest respect for him

      You just had to go there, didn’t you. You thought “Let’s just wave a big red flag. That’ll be fun.”

      • Albert

        I can’t win can I? Even I say something nice about Anglicans, I upset Protestants. 🙂

        • carl jacobs

          Ah, yes. The old “Who? Me? I’m innocent!” routine.

          • Albert

            I know you won’t believe this, but on this occasion, it really didn’t occur to me that I was waving a red flag. I thought I was just saying something nice about a man I greatly respect.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I would add that a grave injustice has been done to his living descendants too. These unproven allegations will no doubt impact on them too.

      • CliveM

        According to Peter Hitchens in the Spectator he had none. Maybe that’s partly why the Church is so happy to throw his reputation to the wolves.

      • Albert

        It must be terrible: one minute Uncle George is a greatly respected figure in the family and outside of it. The next he is castigated as a pervert and there is no way of knowing the truth, but the fact that the Diocese has given in will make people think it is true (no one of course, will actually see the evidence before judging this).

      • Anton

        I have reservations about talk of a “grave injustice”. One may only call it that if one knows that he is innocent. I have not the faintest idea and I suggest that you aren’t any better informed than me.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          … and neither were the media any better informed, but it didn’t stop them

        • Roger Sponge

          “One may only call it that if one knows that he is innocent.”

          But we know he’s innocent because a court has not found him guilty.

          • Pubcrawler

            Nor has a court acquitted him. He is presumed innocent, not known to be.

          • Roger Sponge

            Fair comment.

          • DanJ0

            The presumption of innocence is even tighter than Pubcrawler has indicated. Its context is in a court of law which means that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. In this case, the allegations as charges have never been tested so they remain as allegations. It seems that the CPS think he would have a case to answer if he were alive today. As such, I don’t think the public are obliged to presume him innocent outside of court. This is why things are unsatisfactory for everyone.

          • Ivan M

            The court of public opinion and rumour mongers will see to it that the Bishop is held in limbo between heaven and hell till those of us who recall this die.

        • Stu Peewee

          I think it’s important to differentiate between the ‘grave injustice’ of a potentially innocent man being convicted – as opposed the ‘grave injustice’ of a potentially innocent man being convicted of a 70yo crime, secretly and without recourse, long after his death, sullying all legacy which he has left behind.

          The former is worrying, the latter is ludicrous and shameful.

          • Anton

            In the absence of certainty anybody is “potentially innocent” – or the opposite. Positions here are becoming entrenched, and I simply hope that nobody would make any comment that would give them cause for regret if decisive evidence were to surface appear either way.

  • Albert

    Will this result in open season on dead bishops?

    • Not if concerned citizens push back against the police and Church administration with good lawyers and legal action.

      • Albert

        Mmmm…that’s not very likely!

  • carl jacobs

    The real scandal in this story is the way the CoE rolled over for its own self-interest. It’s just one more reason the entire edifice should be disestablished. No more sinecures. The leadership needs to be purged. And there is no better purgatory for this situation than forced unemployment.

    • CliveM

      In fairness we don’t know what evidence they were given. It maybe there was sufficient evidence (maybe letters) but this is what is so unsatisfactory, if there is good evidence we should be given it. At least then the guilt (if there is any) would be clear.

      • sarky

        All very well, but if true, the victim needs protection from anything that may identify them. From the cofe statement it would seem that investigations were made and the reports found nothing to doubt the victim. Obviously there is more to this than we will ever know, but some of the attitudes on here, placing a potential abuser above a victim, is why the church has got itself such a bad reputation in dealing with these cases.

        • CliveM

          It seems to me that by saying they had no reason to doubt, they are inadvertently saying they found no evidence to confirm. I agree the victim in these circumstances needs to be protected, however, to give the example I suggested, if there were letters available it would simply be necessary to acknowledge their existence, you wouldn’t need to publish.
          I’m not saying he is innocent. I don’t know. I haven’t been given enough information to assess his guilt either way but frankly recent history suggests that the police may not be entirely reliable in their assessment of this type of evidence. Certainly neither reliable or honest enough to be deserving of a blanket acceptance of their every utterance.
          Truth is, in the absence of any evidence like a letter, or other witnesses (both of which seem unlikely as they would have been mentioned) or a large number of other complainant’s (which despite the CofE splashing its cash, none have yet to come forward), it is hard to see how this would go to trial, never mind secure a conviction.
          As I say, he may not be innocent, but actually both the victim and the Bishop deserve greater transparency on the evidence.

          • sarky

            Their investigations weren’t done by the police. Independent investigators found enough to not doubt the victim. What more do you want?

          • CliveM

            Evidence

          • carl jacobs

            “Not doubt the victim.”

            In the first place, the reference to “victim” prejudges the case. There may be an alleged victim. There is certainly an accuser. In the second place, what kind of legal standard is it where a determination of guilt is made simply on “not doubting” the accuser? What does that phrase even mean legally speaking? If guilt or innocence may be determined in such a way, then let’s dispense with the trial and simply convict on our perception of the accuser’s veracity. This whole exercise is a travesty. Who spoke for the accused?

            I said above and I maintain still. The CoE threw the reputation of a dead bishop under the bus because it was the easiest way to make this go away. The dead after all cannot defend themselves.

      • carl jacobs

        I can’t believe that evidence obtained would not already be in the public domain. There is absolutely no reason to keep it secret. In the absence of any public evidence, I would discount the existence of such evidence completely. I would not hang the credibility of this charge on the alleged existence of unknown public evidence. The accused is already dead and so cannot confront the charges against him. And now you want me to accept the accusation on face value because there might be withheld evidence? That is not reasonable.

        • CliveM

          “. And now you want me to accept the accusation on face value because there might be withheld evidence? That is not reasonable”

          I don’t believe that what I’m saying. At least it’s not what I meant to say! I am NOT saying he is guilty, simply that the bad way this has been handled doesn’t exclude the possibility. If you read my response to Sarky, I think you will see that like you, I believe the existence of hidden evidence as unlikely, (although not impossible).

          • carl jacobs

            I was responding to this statement, Clive.

            In fairness we don’t know what evidence they were given.

            My attitude would be “Unless they present evidence that can be examined, I will assume there is no evidence.”

          • CliveM

            The lack of any mention of evidence or allusion to it means I would agree with you.

            However considering the cack handed way this has been handled by the CofE, you can be sure.

            I should of added “if any” to the sentence.

    • Phil R

      The leadership still has a lot of deadmen’s money to live off.

      I don’t think it needs or even wants in some cases, the laity at all.

      • carl jacobs

        That’s what TEC thought. But I thought the CoE was rich in assets but poor in cash. Certainly it is always going hat in hand to the Americans for funding. Confer with Lambeth 2008.

    • sarky

      Having read the statement from the cofe (attached) it doesn’t seem they rolled over at all. Looks like, for once, they did the right thing.

      https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/10/statement-on-the-rt-revd-george-bell-(1883-1958).aspx

      • alfredo

        What on earth leads you to that conclusion?

        • sarky

          The fact that they didn’t just pay. They had investigations conducted on their behalf, which didn’t find anything to doubt the victim.
          We don’t know the facts, they do.
          What it boils down to is do you trust their judgement based on the evidence they have seen?

          • alfredo

            The answer to your last question is a resounding ‘no’. I would maintain that there is not and cannot be corroborative evidence about something which happened so long ago sufficient to convict someone.
            And I hope you’ll never serve on a jury. Not finding anything to make you doubt the ‘victim’ isn’t good enough. You must be positively convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty by the presence of evidence, not its absence.

          • sarky

            Its sounds like there is evidence, it’s just we’re not aware of it.

          • alfredo

            Then we should be made aware of it. They are rewriting our national history without giving any grounds for doing so – apart from giving away other people’s money.

          • IanCad

            Well Said!!
            If “evidence” is not sufficient to be presented before a court of law there can be no assumption of guilt.
            Take the bin liner off the plaque.

  • David

    Can we insist that everyone called Muhammad be renamed because he had sex with a 9 year old girl?

    • sarky

      Shall we rename your god because he impregnated a 12 year old girl?

      • CliveM

        Who said she was 12?

      • carl jacobs

        I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

        • sarky

          And?????

          • carl jacobs

            There is no “and.” You don’t realize the gravity of the charge you just made, or against whom you made it. Only know that it won’t be forgotten.

          • sarky

            Carl, you remind me of a parent telling a child that the bogeyman will get them if they’re naughty. Except, most children grow up and realise there isnt a bogeyman!

          • carl jacobs

            Then live out your life in blissful tranquility, sarky. Secure in the knowledge that the Mountain will fall upon you and the Earth will cover you up.

          • sarky

            Will do 🙂

          • Kepha Hor

            Carl’s echoing the New Testament. Hence, he is echoing the Father from whom the whole concept of fatherhood comes, and can’t help sounding like a parent. Good for him.

      • Ivan M

        Actually, She was more like 15 to 18 years of age. Too old, and Her parents would have found it difficult to marry Her off. Being an old maid in that kind of society would have been seen as a great disgrace, as can be verified against similar societies, or watching Indian movies from the sixties. When Her cousin Elizabeth was with child She went to look after her around the time She was Herself pregnant. This is hardly the action of a 12-year old.

        When St Joseph found that She was with child, he was much inclined to divorce Her secretly, to spare Her embarrassment, rather than say have Her stoned by the tribals in Monty Python. This bespeaks of the action of a mature gentleman. Correspondingly such a man would not be going around cradle-snatching 12-year olds, unlike Mahomet who by legend had no such scruples.

        The whole business is handled in the Gospels with great delicacy and consistency as befits the majesty of The Mother of God. You should spend some time reading it.

      • So you do believe in the virgin birth? I’d be interested to know how you’ve determined Mary’s age.

        [Of course, I realise you’re just trying to make some oh-so-clever witty comment, that is neither witty or clever … like a child saying poo, willy, fart in the presence of adults].

        • sarky

          Of course I don’t believe in the virgin birth??? As for the age, most scholars agree on an age of about 12 due to the underlying culture of the time. As for trying to make a witty comment, I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of the preceeding comment.

          • William Lewis

            Except that you haven’t pointed out any hypocrisy because your analogy doesn’t work.

          • sarky

            Impreganating children in islam bad, impregnating children in christianity good.
            Like most unbelievers I find both disturbing.

          • William Lewis

            Whatever age Mary was, she was old enough to carry, bare and raise the Son of God made flesh. At least God thought so. And if God (the creator of Mary) thought so, then you probably don’t need to be quite so disturbed. Hope that helps.

          • sarky

            At least god thought so???
            Hardly a good moral example is it?
            And for the record, I’m still disturbed.

          • William Lewis

            “Hardly a good moral example is it?”

            How did you establish that? Do you know more about Mary than God does? And anyway, how can you define a better morality than your creator’s?

            “And for he record, I’m still disturbed”

            Yes. I can see that. 🙂

          • sarky

            I dont have a creator. I evolved 😉

          • William Lewis

            Well then you can abide with your disturbing morality of an incarnation, that you don’t believe happened, to your hearts content.

          • CliveM

            Really, I thought you would have been born to a pair of parents? What have you evolved from? We know what you have evolved to.

            You are proof, if required, that evolution isn’t necessarily one way :0)

          • Kepha Hor

            sarky, in Christianity, Mary’s bearing Christ was a once in eternity matter and a supernatural work of God. God does not demand of us Christian men that we impregnate children.

            Sounds to me as if you’ve fallen for the modern fallacy that my God has to be a reflection of me.

          • dannybhoy

            In other words you are a disturbed individual?

          • So your “proof” of “Christian hypocrisy” is something you don’t believe happened, but that was completely normal, as evidenced by…. er…. absolutely no serious scholar. (Well, except those bandied around on atheist on web forums). So, yeh, nah, nah, nah, nah … poo, willy, fart (tee hee, snigger snigger).

            Let me try and help you. That way, in future, you won’t look like a supercilious, smug atheist trying to be smart & witty … the real serious scholars say we have absolutely no way of determining Mary’s age, and that while culturally betrothal (i.e. not necessarily marriage & consummation) could happen as young as 12, Mary’s knowledge & application of Old Testament scripture, the stoicism of her response and her undertaking of a cross country journey would indicate someone of advanced maturity.

          • Kepha Hor

            Look, guys. 20 years from now we’ll all accept the sensuality of children and when the pedophile priests emerge from the slammer with lachrymose tales about how a “Puritan culture” wrecked the “beautiful thing” they had with a bunch of questing youngsters, the major media will cluck in sympathetic unison.

            @rebel saint. Forgive my cynicism in the paragraph above. I, for one, accept the virgin birth and call Mary blessed for being the vehicle through which God became incarnate as man to work salvation for us.

          • sarky

            Luke 2:1-3 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
            A woman 9-months pregnant traveled a great distance on the back of a donkey? Why does the book of Matthew mention no census? And If ever there was a decree there was none that all lineage of David should go to Bethlehem to be counted, Mary would have been excluded because she was not a “lineage of David.”

          • Where does it say she travelled on a donkey? Why can’t women travel in the final stages of pregnancy? Why should the book of Matthew mention the census? Why wouldn’t a women travel with her husband? How do you know Mary wasn’t of David’s lineage? Seems like you make a lot of unevidenced assumptions and draw conclusions from silence.

            More importantly, what has any of this got to do with your original, childish comment?

          • dannybhoy
  • Arden Forester

    When it comes to these matters I take comfort in “Let all grow until the Harvest”. George Bell’s goodness may well outweigh his bad parts. And the “renamers” will have to account for their judgements on earth.