Church of England

Child abuse in the Church of England: hypocrisy, inconsistency and ongoing cover-up

Child abuse is a seriously distressing matter. The violation, confusion, fear, self-loathing, guilt, depression… suicidal thoughts. It can take years and decades to come to terms with the misery and emotional agony, and the scars never really heal. They may fade in time, but are easily inflamed when scratched or picked at by tormented forefingers. And then you try to hide them all over again, ashamed of the sores and blemishes of a sin which wasn’t even yours. Or was it?

Child abuse in the Church is not only seriously distressing, it is eternally consequential: “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble,” said Jesus, “it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

The Church of England has already thrown Bishop George Bell into a very deep pond. It has also just hurled former Archbishop George (Lord) Carey into a reservoir of excrement. In the case of Bell, the solitary, uncorroborated testimony of ‘Carol’ was deemed sufficient to trash his reputation – some 70 years after the alleged abuse took place. In the case of Carey, the report of Dame Moira Gibb was sufficient for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to demand Lord Carey’s resignation as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Oxford, for apparently ‘colluding’ in child abuse some 20 years ago. There is more than a whiff of scape-goating.

Contrast the swiftness and severity of these judgments with the harrowing account below. This story has been circulating in the media for a number of years, not least because the alleged abuser – a priest by the name of Trevor Devamanikkam – committed suicide before the case against him could be heard. His victim has hitherto remained anonymous – often named ‘Michael’ in the media. He has lodged complaints of misconduct against the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and four other serving bishops, claiming they had failed to act on his disclosures of rape. Nothing happened: apparently, a CDM (Clergy Discipline Measure) has to be issued within 12 months of the alleged misconduct. This might be appropriate if your vicar is filching hymn books, but it is woefully inadequate for dealing with the cover-up of chronic child abuse, the effects of which may take the victim many, many years to process.

Funny, isn’t it, how long-dead and retired bishops can be summarily and expediently thrown to the wolves some 20-70 years after their alleged moral shortcomings or professional failings, but those who are still in active ministry and in senior positions are shielded by a non-statutory 12-month limitation, within which narrow window proceedings for ‘cover-up’ or ‘collusion’ must be initiated, or they fall.

Michael’s real name is Matt Ineson – or Fr Matthew Ineson, to give him his formal style, for (amazingly) this molested, raped and tortured boy went on to be ordained into the ministry of the Church of England. The abuse he endured around the age of 16 has naturally affected his whole life, but that suffering has been compounded by the sheer delinquency of the Church of England in its competence and ability to let justice be done and be seen to be done. Matt Ineson remembers everything, but all the church seems to want to do is forget that he even exists. They have put the phone down on him numerous times. A few have written with assurances of ‘prayer’ and ‘concern’. He asserts his case with abundant evidence, but they sit in judgment upon themselves. Read his own words, and weep:

Matt Ineson’s testimony is damning: he doesn’t want money; he simply cries out for justice. And it is a cry of manifest desperation compounded by years of episcopal frustration and ecclesial obfuscation. You may reasonably demur from his insistence that these bishops must resign (they all, of course, have a right to reply and the presumption of innocence). But then you must address the legal hypocrisy which permits George Bell to be smeared as a paedophile 70 years after his death; and the regulatory inconsistency which demands the resignation of Lord Carey after more than 20 years, while these bishops remain in office, shielded by an arbitrary, non-statutory, 12-month CDM limitation.

  • Maalaistollo

    ‘The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Good heavens! This is appalling.

  • Anton

    And in Ireland every diocese in which abuse by a priest was reported to the bishop hushed it up.

    The conclusion is obvious (and nothing to do with the Reformation): the episcopal system is unfit for purpose in governing the church of Christ.

    • Not to mention having no NT mandate.

      • Anton

        That’s what I meant!

      • Little Black Censored

        How much is really known about “the simplicity of the NT model”? It is bit like saying “if only we all obeyed the Sermon on the Mount, all would be well”.

        • Anton

          This has been done here many times so I’ll offer a summary rather than an exegesis, but the NT model is that a congregation is led by an internal council of episkopoi/presbyteroi. There are more than one of them and they are family men. The Greek words apply to the same set of men; one word, episkopos, denotes function (overseer) and the other word, presbyteros, denotes seniority (elder). They are set apart by the laying-on of hands, but all believers are priests of God. They are assisted in their ministry by deacons (diakonoi, servants). The first set of leaders is appointed by the congregation’s founding apostolos, but after he has passed on to heaven or to start churches elsewhere, and verified that the congregation is working as it should, then it is autonomous under Christ.

          This model is described rather than commanded in the New Testament, but any deviation from it raises the question: By what authority?

          • The model was not adequate to maintain unity in the body of Christ which is why it developed quickly into episcopacy even before the close of the 1st century, as seen in the Didache. Church ordering was determined in the early Church of England to be adiaphora. After an experiment in ‘comprehension’ the Church settled on episcopacy after the Restoration to maintain order and restrain revolutionary tendencies, excluding Puritan Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Episcopacy has still today shown itself best at maintaining order and unity. But it obviously isn’t perfect.

          • Anton

            The Didache reads like everything St Paul called Law rather than Grace in his letter to the Romans. He explinaed in his letter to the Ephesians that genuine unity consists in the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t that, all the hierarchical unity in the world is worth nothing.

          • “The hierarchical one has for more than 1000 years been staffed largely by bureaucrats and timeservers (both Catholic and protestant).”

            What a silly, unsubstantiated comment overlooking all the great saints and spiritual leaders of the Eastern and Western churches.

            “The Didache reads like everything St Paul called Law rather than Grace in his letter to the Romans.”

            Another silly comment.

          • Maalaistollo

            ‘Largely’ not ‘entirely’. Still leaves room for a few ‘great saints and spiritual leaders.’

          • Anton

            Some people resort to insults when they run out of arguments.

          • Give your evidence then against the Didache. It’s no good just making such an assertion.

          • Anton

            Evidence? The idea that you can decide by logical analysis whether a given document is legalistic or grace-filled is, well… legalistic. Read the Didache and see if you don’t think its tone is “Do this, do that”. But really you need open eyes to see the point.

          • Jack has read it. He disagrees and thinks your comment is silly.

          • Anton

            For readers who wish to decide for themselves, here is an English translation of the Didache:

            http://www.catholicplanet.com/ebooks/didache.htm

          • So no attempt to justify your silly assertion.

          • Anton

            To the blind it is impossible, and I explained why: The idea that you can decide by logical analysis whether a given document is legalistic or grace-filled is itself legalistic.

            Perhaps you might in turn consider explaining why you believe the Didache is Grace not Law?

          • Grace doesn’t rule out the need for order in worship and consistency in the administration and reception of the sacraments.

          • Albert

            Anton misses the key point: there was no episcopal structure because there were still apostles. When they disappeared, there was a gap, because every NT congregation had the over-arching authority of the apostle above it.

          • Anton

            I do not miss the key point; I simply disagree with you. Episkopos is a word already used in the NT so there demonstrably was an episcopal structure in place.

            Apostles moved on, often hundreds of miles; their gifting was to preach and start a congregation in a place. They would not possibly exercise meaningful oversight over all of the congregations they had founded in those days. Even now the congregations founded by Paul are in different dioceses!

          • Albert

            I can’t for life of me see why you think any of that in any way counts as evidence against the episcopal structure we have now.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Seems to me that the corruption of the ‘episcopal structures’ is sufficient evidence against. But there again, the NT is clear on what the structure should be.

          • Albert

            So because something can be corrupted, it is bad? What kind of theology is that? And as for the NT structure being clear, even if that is true, it doesn’t alter the fact that we no longer live in an apostolic age.

          • Anton

            Indeed we don’t. The apostles were unique in having known Jesus in the flesh. That uniqueness throws the apostolic succession into severe question.

          • Albert

            The apostles served two functions, one was unique, one was not, otherwise, what was the purpose of Paul laying on hands for ministry?

          • Anton

            It certainly didn’t impart a magic right to demand that everybody do as you say or else.

          • Albert

            Well as usual, you resort to misrepresentation to prevent you having to provide a decent argument. But your point is moot, since you said:

            The apostles were unique in having known Jesus in the flesh. That uniqueness throws the apostolic succession into severe question.

            And I simply pointed out that they were not unique in every respect. Your most recent comment does nothing to undermine my point. Indeed, what answer do you give to the question I asked in my previous comment?

          • Anton

            I await your response to JT’s response to that.

          • Albert

            Which was not of course an argument.

          • Proof.

          • Albert

            I find your doubt about it bizarre. Our Lord tells them to proclaim the Gospel – does that stop with the apostles? They clearly commission others to do various roles in the Church which they did through the laying on of hands. If you want to deny they were handing anything on, the burden of proof rests on you to show the gesture was empty.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, because the structure invites corruption.

            Strange, I thought you were all for apostolic succession.

          • Albert

            You think that there are some human things that do no invite corruption? What are you, a pelagian?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The episcopalian structure invites corruption because it gives power. The Bible’s structure reduces the scope of power by preventing it being invested in one man and preventing it extending beyond the local church.

          • Albert

            Do not groups sometimes abuse power? Powerful groups are often harder to defend oneself from than powerful individuals. Thus your understanding of the biblical structure invites corruption. But your understanding is simply wrong. Firstly, it ignores the role of the apostle, who is an individual with power. Secondly, it’s just factually false. Timothy is clearer given individual power. So, as usual, you must take your complain against Catholicism to scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Actually the biblical structure restricts power and shares it among a group. It thus means that the whole group must be corrupted.

            The episcopal structure, on the other hand, gives local autonomy to one and thus up the chain. It is easier for one to be corrupted than many. And the higher one rises in that structure the more temptation to corruption there is.

          • Albert

            No that’s what would you do. The Bible clearly shows a collegiate style ministry and an individual minister – the apostle – above that. And yes, God set it up that way, knowing full well that even apostles could be corrupted. This your argument is factually wrong, but also a kind of rationalism, based as it is on what you think God should have done rather than on what he actually did do.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Apostles died and left no successors or even the means to appoint them. But then, we no longer require the Apostles since we have God’s word.

          • Albert

            And yet, clearly we need to interpret God’s word – otherwise how could you make the claim in the first sentence?

          • Martin

            Albert

            We need to interpret anything we read, or hear. In the case of the Bible, God promises that His Spirit, indwelling the believer, will aid in our understanding.

          • Albert

            Certainly, but what you have said here does not, of itself, guarantee the correct interpretation. Moreover, you had said:

            we no longer require the Apostles since we have God’s word.

            But now you’ve admitted that scripture, by itself is not sufficient. So how do we know who’s interpretation is of the Holy Spirit? It cannot be by looking at the Bible, since it is the interpretation of the Bible that is at stake. It cannot be by just trusting every Christian who claims he is speaking by the Holy Spirit, for (among other things) there is great diversity amongst interpretations, and some exclude others.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since every Christian has the Holy Spirit, therefore the Bible is sufficient. The Holy Spirit doesn’t do a special interpretation job for us, He is guiding us every moment of every day.

          • Albert

            It’s true that all Christians have the Holy Spirit but it doesn’t follow from that, that therefore every Christian has the gift of interpretation. As scripture says:

            Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

            So from the fact that all have the Holy Spirit, nothing at all follows about which gifts of the Holy Spirit any particular person has.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That quote refers to the special gifts that were present during the Apostolic Age. They ceased, as 1 Cor 13 predicted they would, when the Bible was complete.

            All Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, teaching them so that they understand the things of God. If you were a Christian you would know that.

          • Albert

            That quote refers to the special gifts that were present during the Apostolic Age.

            My point was to say that you cannot move from “all Christians have the Holy Spirit” to “all Christians are accurate interpreters of scripture.”

            They ceased, as 1 Cor 13 predicted they would, when the Bible was complete.

            Really? Do you make these interpretations up, or do you get them from someone else?

            Firstly, it says nothing at all about these gifts ending with the completion of the Bible. That’s just your human tradition speaking again. And what do you define as completion? The last text to be written or agreement about the canon?

            Secondly, your reading is implausible, for Paul says

            For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

            Now this is clearly talking about heaven or eschatology. How can you possibly claim that the apostles saw less clearly than we do? And while we’re about it, is it your claim that you understand fully now, that you see the Lord face to face? I know that you are self confident about theology (no one could accuse you of being put off by Psalm 131), but I had no idea you had quite such an exalted idea of yourself. Presumably, when you read 1 Cor. 4, you don’t notice the irony, and assume it is actually describing you:

            Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute.

          • Martin

            Albert

            All Christians have the ability to understand the Bible. 1Cor 13 is quite a different matter. It speaks of the perfect, and there is only one earthly perfect thing mentioned in Scripture, God’s word. God’s word is also described as a mirror, in which we see ourselves. With the completion of the canon at the death of the last Apostle the Christian had a perfect mirror, in which he could see himself perfectly reflected, as if face to face. The Old Testament was incomplete, like a first century mirror of polished metal, giving a usable but blurred image. The passage says nothing about seeing the Lord face to face.

          • Albert

            All Christians have the ability to understand the Bible.

            You have given no evidence for this, and it is contrary to evidence contained in scripture, and the actual experience of Christians. Besides which, your knowledge of the Bible is so superficial that even if this claim were true, it wouldn’t help you.

            It speaks of the perfect, and there is only one earthly perfect thing mentioned in Scripture, God’s word.

            Speaking of superficial knowledge, this is just demonstrably false. In the Song of Songs, the lovers say the other is perfect. Scripture says the law is perfect – so if 1 Cor.13 is speaking of the scripture, the perfect had already come with the law and passage does not make sense, since the law, though perfect itself made nothing perfect (Heb.7.18) and so cannot possible perfect our knowledge. People’s health can be described as perfect, once healed. Oddly, I can think of no passage that says scripture is perfect – although perhaps that is a limit of translation. Doubtless, you will provide the passage that makes this claim, but even if you do, scripture is not the only earthly thing scripture describes as perfect and so it is arbitrary for you to say that the perfect here refers to scripture.

            It doesn’t matter how you twist this. 1 Cor.13 is talking about heaven. It clearly isn’t saying “Martin will know better than Paul about Christianity, once the scripture is complete.”

            With the completion of the canon at the death of the last Apostle the Christian had a perfect mirror, in which he could see himself perfectly reflected, as if face to face.

            And this is just historically false. The process of canonisation is not completed with the death of the last apostle. Do you know when the first list was written that has the same list of NT books that we have now?

            The passage says nothing about seeing the Lord face to face.

            Where in scripture does the expression “face to face” refer to scripture and how do you know that is the meaning here? There are two ways the expression is used. Firstly, the human way, as when scripture says:

            shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face

            But when it is speaking theologically (as here), it speaks of seeing God face to face. And it is surely the sight of the Lord that life is aiming at.

            Now pretty obviously, face to face is not talking about scripture being completed, because when we see face to face, we will know fully, as we are fully known, but our perfection is not attained in this life.

            Consider this from James 1:

            And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

            Notice that James’ readers are not yet perfect, but that perfection is not to come from the completion of scripture, as if somehow the revelation of Christ was inadequate (as you seem to think):

            for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you John 15

            and

            the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints Jude 1.3.

            (Thus you rage against scripture when you try to pretend that you know better than the apostles, and so 1 Cor.13 cannot refer to the completion of scripture.)

            Rather perfection of wisdom will come from prayer: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God. So having scripture is not enough. James is clear that his believers may not yet have sufficient wisdom. They are like those mentioned in 2 Pet.:

            So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            Thus 1 Cor.13 is speaking of heaven/eschatology and cannot be wheeled out to say that the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor.12 will be removed when scripture is complete. And that means, as all these passages say, that there are different gifts of the Spirit, and not everyone will have them all.

            All this evidence, as usual, tells against your position, and as usual, all your position has in its favour is the fact that you assert it. You say The passage says nothing about seeing the Lord face to face. Well neither does it say anything at all about scripture being complete.

            You just made that up.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. (I Corinthians 2:12 [ESV])

            But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (I John 2:20 [ESV])

            And if the believer does not have the Holy Spirit’s aid, why would this be true:

            All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
            (II Timothy 3:16-17 [ESV])

            I see you don’t realise that in speaking of the law the psalmist is speaking of Scripture, but of course, the law is only a part of Scripture and Scripture is perfected in it’s completion.

            Of course 1 Corinthians isn’t talking of Heaven, Heaven is never referred to as perfect, indeed it is not perfection for the believer because it is the abode of spirits, a very imperfect place for us.

            For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
            (I Corinthians 13:12 [ESV])

            You will see that here we have a man, looking at himself in a 1st century mirror. That is Paul’s ‘now’, he then gives us a ‘then’, a later date. In that later date he tells us we shall see as face to face. Now if in the ‘now’ we see ourselves why do you imagine that in the ‘then’ we see another. The second half speaks of knowing, in the ‘now’ in part, in the ‘then’ fully. This entirely matches the vision of ourselves given in the Old Testament where, by means of our failure to keep God’s Law, we have a vague, undefined view of our nature compared with the New Testament where we see our utter helplessness and need of a Saviour.

            I’ve never spoken of our perfection, for the Bible tells us that the Christian has two natures, that of the redeemed soul, righteous, and that of the remaining flesh, sinful.

            Remember, it is through Scripture that God imparts wisdom to us. Asking for God’s aid in gaining wisdom without reading Scripture is like asking your earthly father for bread and avoiding him for the rest of the day.

            And in the completed canon we have what the first century believer could only dream of.

            The process of creating the canon was not men creating a list, but God causing men to write at His command. The list of books are interesting but do not tell us when the canon was formed.

          • Albert

            You just take these things about of context:

            Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

            The full quote is:

            [10] God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
            [11] For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
            [12] Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
            [13] And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.

            Firstly, notice it is all in the plural. There is nothing here to say that he is speaking of all individuals by themselves.

            Secondly, notice the mystery that remains (verse 11), so there is clearly limitation to what is comprehended, and thus it is possible for others to shed more light on our views, or for our views to be mistaken.

            Thirdly, it only speaks of the gifts given to us. Now in the light of verse 11 this cannot be include the whole of Gospel, for mystery remains part of it.

            Fourthly, you seem to ignore verse 13 which prevents your interpretation, although he is speaking to those who possess the Spirit, it is still necessary for him to interpret spiritual truths to them.

            So a passage you wheeled out in defence turns out to undermine your position.

            But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

            Classic Martin! You say that as if it somehow contradicts my position. How? Obviously, we all have knowledge, no one is denying that.

            And if the believer does not have the Holy Spirit’s aid, why would this be true:
            All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

            This only says scripture is profitable so the man of God is equipped. It’s quite a step to draw much of a conclusion from it – if the conclusion is supposed to oppose Catholicism, that is.

            You will see that here we have a man, looking at himself in a 1st century mirror. That is Paul’s ‘now’, he then gives us a ‘then’, a later date. In that later date he tells us we shall see as face to face. Now if in the ‘now’ we see ourselves why do you imagine that in the ‘then’ we see another.

            You don’t understand the metaphor, even while you are having to make metaphorical adjustments. You can’t see yourself face to face! You can only see someone else face to face. Part of the problem is your translation. Here’s the Greek:

            βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾽ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην

            The key word here is not ἐσόπτρου (mirror – not made of glass but steel BTW) but αἰνίγματι which means obscure. The idea is that what we see now is obscure (as in a glass darkly, to use the more traditional translation), not that we are looking at ourselves (which would become absurd given that we are then going to see the object face to face).

            The second half speaks of knowing, in the ‘now’ in part, in the ‘then’ fully. This entirely matches the vision of ourselves given in the Old Testament where, by means of our failure to keep God’s Law, we have a vague, undefined view of our nature compared with the New Testament where we see our utter helplessness and need of a Saviour.

            Well that makes even less sense of your position, for it is evident that the apostles knew full well their need of Christ their saviour: they weren’t in the darkness on that one until the completion of the canon. Thus the passage cannot mean what you say it means, but therefore it must be talking about something else entirely.

            I’ve never spoken of our perfection, for the Bible tells us that the Christian has two natures, that of the redeemed soul, righteous, and that of the remaining flesh, sinful.

            The point about perfection is that you claimed the Bible was the only earthly thing the Bible says is perfect, and this just showed your lack of knowledge of scripture. I asked you to provide a scripture to defend your claim, but you have not done so.

            The second point about perfection is your claim that we would know perfectly, when perfection comes, and that the latter is meant to be the completion of scripture. But the passages I cite, demonstrate this is not true.

            Remember, it is through Scripture that God imparts wisdom to us. Asking for God’s aid in gaining wisdom without reading Scripture is like asking your earthly father for bread and avoiding him for the rest of the day.

            Actually if you read scripture, you will see that it is through the proclamation of the Gospel that God imparts wisdom to us. And as I cited last time, scripture says wisdom will come through prayer:

            If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

            I find it bizarre how, in order to maintain your presuppositions about the Bible, you hold your position in direct contradiction to what the Bible actually says.

            And in the completed canon we have what the first century believer could only dream of.
            The process of creating the canon was not men creating a list, but God causing men to write at His command. The list of books are interesting but do not tell us when the canon was formed.

            There are two distinct questions here (i) when were the canonical scriptures written and (ii) when (and why) were they recognized as scripture. The answer to the why partly includes the need for it to be ancient, thus, pointing out that the canonical books are ancient it tautological. The question is, when did people know correctly which books were scripture and which were not. You make it sound as if this question is irrelevant, which is just bizarre. If you need the completed canon, you need to know what is in the canon, this necessarily comes later. I asked you if you knew when this was, and as always, you seem not to know.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It isn’t all individuals, it is those who have received God’s Spirit, the Christians.

            Of course there is mystery still, God only reveals what we need to know to us. And is not Paul interpreting to the believer when we read his letters? That is, of course, the ordinary every day Christian, not the ‘clergy’.

            Sorry, it is you that does not understand the metaphor, it is about the mirror, which is imperfect, and so we see imperfectly. Seeing face to face comes after. You take the conclusion and use it to alter the metaphor, making it meaningless.

            I’m not saying that they didn’t know their need of Christ, Abraham knew that, but that until Scripture was complete the reader of Scripture had only a very limited understanding of their own need and of the nature of salvation.

            You can’t expect me to take seriously your claim that a love poem speaks of the perfection of the lovers.

            We have, in the Bible, God’s perfect revelation. It reveals God and it reveals ourselves. We see in it our own nature perfectly reflected. And no, I didn’t say we’d know perfectly.

            You seem to have two things muddled here, the proclamation of the gospel and the understanding that the believer receives by reading the Bible. The two are not the same. And by prayer we respond to God and He reveals through Scripture. After all, we are not silly girls who imagine they see a figure who reveals things to them.

            It is very simple to answer when the books were known to be canonical, and Peter gives that answer:

            And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
            (II Peter 3:15-16 [ESV])

            It was clear to the believers that what was being written was Scripture, each little part of the canon. It didn’t require a council to declare them to be canonical.

          • Albert

            Of course there is mystery still, God only reveals what we need to know to us. And is not Paul interpreting to the believer when we read his letters? That is, of course, the ordinary every day Christian, not the ‘clergy’.

            The trouble is that this is just an assertion. Your position may be internally consistent, but every time you try to prove it from scripture, you always have to go beyond scripture. Which is ironic. What you say here cannot be proved from the passage. Why is that?

            Sorry, it is you that does not understand the metaphor, it is about the mirror, which is imperfect, and so we see imperfectly. Seeing face to face comes after. You take the conclusion and use it to alter the metaphor, making it meaningless.

            Not so. You are misreading the passage. He is saying that at the moment, we see God only as we see dimly in a mirror, but then we will see him face to face. There is obscurity now, but not then.

            I’m not saying that they didn’t know their need of Christ, Abraham knew that, but that until Scripture was complete the reader of Scripture had only a very limited understanding of their own need and of the nature of salvation.

            Just to be clear: you assert that point also of Paul himself?

            You can’t expect me to take seriously your claim that a love poem speaks of the perfection of the lovers.

            It’s what it says, and it contradicts what you said. Moreover, you have, rather unfortunately chosen to pick on that point, and ignored the more salient one, that the law of the Lord is called perfect. But your claim about scripture being called perfect, this is yet to be proved.

            You seem to have two things muddled here, the proclamation of the gospel and the understanding that the believer receives by reading the Bible. The two are not the same.

            So I ask again, is it your view that you know better than the apostles?

            And by prayer we respond to God and He reveals through Scripture.

            Perhaps, but as usual, in order to defend sola scriptura, you have to go beyond what scripture says, thereby refuting your own position.

            It was clear to the believers that what was being written was Scripture, each little part of the canon. It didn’t require a council to declare them to be canonical.

            It was clear because anything actually from the apostles is canon. So since Paul was writing, it was canon. But that cannot possibly include all the other parts of the canon. Besides, even if all the scripture had been completed, not everyone would have had access to all of it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course I’ve demonstrated from Scripture, it’s just that you won’t accept it.

            And where is God mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13? Why would you see God in the mirror?

            And remember, Paul did not have the completed canon, he had to rely on special revelation. We now have that completed canon, we now are able to look in God’s word, we are not dependent on special revelation.

            And no, I don’t have to go beyond what Scripture says, nor did Clement.

            Nor was everything from the Apostles canon, Peter was clearly wrong over circumcision when Paul challenged him.

          • Albert

            And where is God mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13? Why would you see God in the mirror?

            Of course you don’t see God in a mirror – we get to see God face to face. But for now, our vision of God is dim and obscure – as it is seeing things in a first Century mirror. Look, the position I’m defending is the usual one. Here are a few Protestant commentators:

            Matthew Henry:

            All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us.

            Notice that – all things are dark and confused now. I.e. there is no sense that the completion of the canon has the effect you claim.

            Barnes’

            Darkly – Margin, “In a riddle” (ἐν αἰνίγματι en ainigmati). The word means a riddle; an enigma; then an obscure intimation. In a riddle a statement is made with some resemblance to the truth; a puzzling question is proposed, and the solution is left to conjecture. Hence, it means, as here, obscurely, darkly, imperfectly. Little is known; much is left to conjecture; a very accurate account of most of that which passes for knowledge. Compared with heaven, our knowledge here much resembles the obscure intimations in an enigma compared with clear statement and manifest truth.

            But then – In the fuller revelations in heaven.

            Notice how it is impossible to take the metaphor at all literally, for the darkly here means as in a riddle. Now riddles and mirrors do not go literally together. Notice too, that it is heaven that is talked about.

            Barnes continues:

            Even as also I am known – “In the same manner” (καθὼς kathōs), not “to the same extent.” It does not mean that he would know God as clearly and as fully as God would know him; for his remark does not relate to the “extent,” but to the “manner” and the comparative “clearness” of his knowledge. He would see things as he was now seen and would be seen there. It would be face to face. He would be in their presence.

            Notice here that ultimately, it is God that is seen face to face.

            Finally, here’s Calvin himself:

            In the first place, there can be no doubt that it is the ministry of the word, and the means that are required for the exercise of it, that he compares to a looking-glass For God, who is otherwise invisible, has appointed these means for discovering himself to us. At the same time, this may also be viewed as extending to the entire structure of the world, in which the glory of God shines forth to our view, in accordance with what is stated in Romans 1:16; and 2 Corinthians 3:18. In Romans 1:20 the Apostle speaks of the creatures as mirrors, 801 in which God’s invisible majesty is to be seen; but as he treats here particularly of spiritual gifts, which are subservient to the ministry of the Church, and are its accompaniments, we shall not wander away from our present subject.
            The ministry of the word, I say, is like a looking-glass For the angels have no need of preaching, or other inferior helps, nor of sacraments, for they enjoy a vision of God of another kind; 802 and God does not give them a view of his face merely in a mirror, but openly manifests himself as present with them. We, who have not as yet reached that great height, behold the image of God as it is presented before us in the word, in the sacraments, and, in fine, in the whole of the service of the Church. This vision Paul here speaks of as partaking of obscurity — not as though it were doubtful or delusive, but because it is not so distinct as that which will be at last afforded on the final day. He teaches the same thing in other words, in the second Epistle — (2 Corinthians 5:7) — that,
            so long as we dwell in the body we are absent from the Lord;
            for we walk by faith, not by sight.
            Our faith, therefore, at present beholds God as absent. How so? Because it sees not his face, but rests satisfied with the image in the mirror; but when we shall have left the world, and gone to him, it will behold him as near and before its eyes.
            Hence we must understand it in this manner — that the knowledge of God, which we now have from his word, is indeed certain and true, and has nothing in it that is confused, or perplexed, or dark, but is spoken of as comparatively obscure, because it comes far short of that clear manifestation to which we look forward; for then we shall see face to face

            Notice the key points: it is God who is seen face to face. However, this is not the case yet, not because the canon is incomplete, but because, as Calvin points out, Paul says:

            so long as we dwell in the body we are absent from the Lord;
            for we walk by faith, not by sight.

            And he refutes your view that it is only the completion of the canon that is needed:

            The ministry of the word, I say, is like a looking-glass For the angels have no need of preaching, or other inferior helps, nor of sacraments, for they enjoy a vision of God of another kind

            It is the ministry of the word itself that is the looking -glass – i.e. obscure. And again:

            The adverb “then” denotes the last day, rather than the time that is immediately subsequent to death. At the same time, although full vision will be deferred until the day of Christ, a nearer view of God will begin to be enjoyed immediately after death, when our souls, set free from the body, will have no more need of the outward ministry, or other inferior helps.

            Yet you will doubtless say you are right and all this commentators are wrong. And you know this because you have the Spirit of truth guiding you. Apparently, then, they did not, and Paul’s comment applies to you without irony:

            What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?

            You continue:

            Nor was everything from the Apostles canon, Peter was clearly wrong over circumcision when Paul challenged him.

            That’s just a very poor error. Peter is plainly not wrong over circumcision, he is the first to be right about this matter as Acts records. It is Peter’s behaviour not his teaching that is at stake in Galatians 2, as the text clearly shows:

            But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

          • Martin

            Albert

            That’s hilarious, you turn the passage round to claim that God is what is seen when there is no evidence in the passage that it is about seeing God.

            And not one of those quotes demonstrates that what is seen must be God.

            Of course Peter was wrong over circumcision, Paul says so and Peter effectively admits as such by abandoning the error.

          • Albert

            That’s hilarious, you turn the passage round to claim that God is what is seen when there is no evidence in the passage that it is about seeing God.

            Yes, and you’re going to say the person seen face to face, is oneself – the only person we cannot see face to face. So we can be certain that your interpretation is false. Now if you want to be really dogmatic about it (i.e. not treat it as text, but read it as a computer) then, yes, there is no reference to God. But as I say, it cannot be a reference to ourselves, and so, if we cannot take it as a reference to anything that is not mentioned, we have to say the passage means nothing.

            And not one of those quotes demonstrates that what is seen must be God.

            Are you serious? They all do as any reader can see.

            Of course Peter was wrong over circumcision, Paul says so and Peter effectively admits as such by abandoning the error.

            Where is the evidence that Peter is wrong over circumcision and how do you square this with the evidence of Acts?

          • Martin

            Albert

            But he doesn’t start by speaking of seeing face to face but of seeing in a mirror. You do not see another in a mirror. The whole point is the inadequacy of the mirrors reflection, followed by the perfection of the sight. It is one’s self that is seen in both cases.

            The narrative in Acts is the evidence. Peter changed from siding with the circumcision party to abandoning the argument.

          • Albert

            The whole point is the inadequacy of the mirrors reflection, followed by the perfection of the sight. It is one’s self that is seen in both cases.

            The first part of that is right, the second part nonsensical. You do not see yourself face to face in a mirror, or any how.

            Peter changed from siding with the circumcision party to abandoning the argument.

            Let’s have the passages, please.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since seeing in the mirror is the first point the second must conform to it.

            You want to know where Peter abandoned the argument, Acts 15 of course.

          • Albert

            Since seeing in the mirror is the first point the second must conform to it.

            No. As it is a metaphor and impossible to take literally, then it must be talking about something else.

            You want to know where Peter abandoned the argument, Acts 15 of course.

            That’s not what I asked about. What I asked about was where he was pro-circumcision. In order to abandon the argument for circumcision, he must first have held it. What is the evidence for that? For the record, Acts 15 does not record where he abandoned the argument, since Peter is already aware of the rightness of receiving the uncircumcised in Acts 10 and was arguing for it in Acts 11. Yet again, we seem to encounter your lack of knowledge of scripture.

            Now notice that Acts 10 and 11 must have happened long before the incident in Gal. 2, since Gal.2.14 indicates the incident in Gal.2 happened a full 14 years after Paul’s conversion. But there is clearly no such gap in time in Acts.
            Evidently, Galatians 2 is not about what you think – that is, it is not about pro-circumcision doctrine.

          • Albert

            Annoyingly, our thread where we were discussing justification has closed, so I cannot reply to your previous post. Shall I reply here or do you want to call it a day?

          • dannybhoy

            I think all structures organised by men invite corruption, especially when the reason for their creation no longer exists, but the structure remains.
            It is the Holy Spirit who breathes life into the Church right across the world, using and equipping imperfect men. Like a fruit tree some parts are dying, some parts are under attack from disease, and some parts flourish and bring forth fruit..

          • Little Black Censored

            “…the NT is clear on what the structure should be”
            That was what my original question was about. The NT isn’t all that clear, to judge from this discussion.
            There is an interesting imaginative account of an early Christian eucharist in “The Shape of the Liturgy” by Dix.

          • Martin

            LBC

            Bearing in mind what other inventions exist in the churches, that is hardly a reasonable way to judge. 😉

          • Watchman

            Albert, when the NT was translated into Latin the word “apostle” translated as “missio”.from which we get the word “missionary”. If you substituted missionary for apostle would it have the same resonance and would you grant him the same authority?

          • Albert

            when the NT was translated into Latin the word “apostle” translated as “missio”.

            Really? Paulus servus Christi Iesu vocatus apostolus segregatus in evangelium Dei

            usque in diem qua praecipiens apostolis per Spiritum Sanctum quos elegit adsumptus est

            Just to give two examples.

            But in answer to your question, no, of course not. Missionary is a broader term than apostle.

          • Martin

            Will

            Actually the biblical structure is perfectly adequate. What it does not do is give someone the authority to demand everyone obey them, which is a design feature.

          • The model included apostolic oversight (which did come with individual authority). In the post-apostolic era this role needed filling, which is where episcopacy came from – the successors to the apostles. Nothing in the NT suggests that this 1st century development, originating with the apostles themselves, is invalid.

          • Martin

            Will

            No it didn’t. It is clear from Revelation that the individual churches were answerable to God. The Apostles had no successors.

          • Anton

            Exactly. Letters from Jesus Christ to seven churches in one region; no command to form a diocese, and personal oversight by Christ.

          • Watchman

            As with a lot of things that the institutional churchians insist upon, if they had been important the Paul and the other apostles would have written about it instructing them what they should be doing. The seven churches were separate entities, there is no question of any overarching umbrella structure, the church was a local entity and that’s how it was intended, so that each one should be able to take responsibility for itself and be accountable to the Head. The trouble is that once men get hold of something it obeys all the rules of man-made organisations, and the first rule is grow and by doing so gain power. If you have any doubts about this look at the corporate world of takeovers and mergers. I find it difficult to believe that in the divine plan men were intended to take the Kingdom of God and use it as a tool for their own devices and play power politics with it! By the end of the NT all that needed to be said had been said and any further development were strictly down to men’s machinations.

          • Very little is clear from Revelation! Individual Christians are also answerable to God. That doesn’t imply there is no church authority structure.

          • Martin

            Will

            It is abundantly clear that the churches addressed in the letters in Revelation are directly answerable to God, not to a hierarchy.

          • The two things are not mutually exclusive. Are Anglican churches not directly answerable to God? You are arguing from silence.

          • Martin

            Will

            I’m arguing from the absence of any evidence to support an episcopal hierarchy.

          • Little Black Censored

            “The Apostles had no successors.”
            Now that is provocative.

          • Martin

            LBC

            I don’t see why, after the Apostles died there was no one going around doing their job. That’s simple history.

          • Watchman

            I agree. It is clear that many here want to impose worldly structures, principles, values, cultures etc on the Church, the Body of Christ. Jesus said that His Kingdom is not of this world so it is well beyond my understanding why people want to organise it in the same way as the world organises it’s affairs, particularly as corruption always appears in the high places, among the most ambitious and the most ruthless. Don’t we think that Jesus anticipated what would happen when they became vast corporate empires. His Church is built on the love that exists between its members and that relationship of love cannot be transmitted by hierarchical structure outside the local church but rather recreate the legalism that Jesus so criticised.

        • Well whatever it is, it bears no resemblance to episcopacy.

          • Little Black Censored

            That depends on what you mean by episcopacy. In the strict sense of the word, it doesn’t just resemble, it is episcopacy; but how simple it was, nobody here seems to know.

          • Watchman

            It seems that the discussion here is based upon people’s understanding of the disciplines that the world imposes. We have a mindset for the secular world when we talk about such things as relationships within a church. If Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world then we can expect that worldly secular values, attitudes etc should take a back seat to the Kingdom values, attitudes etc. Similarly with structural concerns; these a spiritual structures and as such should be seen as a structure which took account of the fact that everything within the structure is there for a spiritual purpose of fruit bearing, salt and light producing and other spiritual growth and, as Paul often emphasised, done in love. Secular disciplines are not renowned for the love they imbue.
            All things that are done in the Kingdom such carry the hallmarks of the Kingdom and be steeped in the commandments that Jesus gave on love.

      • “How far from the simplicity of the NT model.”

        The Church grew from a small group of frightened men and women in Jerusalem into a worldwide body. Of course its structure had to adapt to preserve doctrinal integrity and ensure the Gospel was taught truthfully. Even in Jerusalem there was a clear leader appointed by Christ.

        • I don’t subscribe to your ‘of course’. I believe the order established was ideal. For days beyond the C1 the second epistles point the way forward. 2Tim 2 is particularly instructive. Again, I think you place far to much emphasis on a a structural ecclesiology and not nearly enough on spiritual nature of the body. You think if only a proper historically developed ecclesiology were in place this would preserve the church and you believe this is found in the RC church (despite the evidence of history). While I believe in a structural ecclesiology I think the real heart of the church is pneumatic not structural. Where two or three are gathered in his name (recognising his authority) he is in the midst.

          Your material authority is the RC magesterium not Christ. For many Protestants it is their Confession. It ought for all to be (both formally and materially) the Spirit-inspired apostolic Word. Where this is supplemented (as it is when magesteriums, catechisms, confessions etc exist) then it is inevitably supplanted; the secondary source becomes primary, the authori active interpretation trumps the revelation. No doubt this is why the NT emphasis is on the apostolic word interpreted by the indwelling Spirit.

          Do you really think it will cut any ice at the judgement seat to say I simply believed what my church told me? Was this a valid defence at Nuremberg?

          • You may believe the very early structure was ideal – but this is far from claiming it was biblically mandated. The early Apostolic Church disagreed.
            Jack repeatedly states the Church is both visible/structural and spiritual.

            Jack sees no contradiction at all between Christ and the Church He established, gave authority to and promised to protect and guide until His return. Jack anticipates no difficulty in facing Jesus as a member of His flock. How Jack measured up, is another matter. There’s nothing the Catholic Church asks of Jack that goes against scripture. Nothing.

          • Is that because you read Scripture through the lens of the church. Clearly if you do it cannot contradict Scripture. My question is what is your authority. Do you ask the Spirit to illumine you even if it goes against the teaching of the church or is the teaching of the church the ultimate authority. Are you open to the church magesterium being wrong. If not, they are the authority and the apostolic word ( by apostolic, I mean only the NT apostles) is unable to be heard in its own terms.

            We both agree with structural and spiritual. My point was re weighting.

            If the NT ideal was intended only for the time then present then the onus is upon you to so prove and to do so within Scripture. It is clear to me that Paul anticipates great apostasy in the church. In fact it was already present. His instruction for such a situation is to distance oneself from the evil and meet with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. Those who ‘hold fast’ to his teaching. There is no inkling of some episcopal structure with an authoritative magesterium. All this Jack is the ways of men and not the result of revelation.

          • Come off it. We all read scripture through “lens”, even protestants. It’s either great theologians or heretics who have “original” ideas. Jack is neither. As for your approach to scripture, Jack doesn’t accept it. He simply points to the behaviour of the immediate successors to the Apostles and the Church Fathers. They clearly didn’t consider themselves bound by the very first structure of the Church and they were the ones organising to honour the Great Commission.

          • They were wrong. The rot had set in. In any case, we don’t know much about the smaller insignificant little churches.

            But back to a lens. Yes we all have a lens but the question is how authoritative that lens is. Over the years I have moved away from various dogmas that belonged to my church tradition. Where I find people who are completely loyal to their church confession I immediately suspect them to be in bondage to it. If your thoughts are entirely those of your church then it reveals to me that you are not able to look at Scripture for yourself. You are unable to hear or see the word. Your loyalty to your church has deafened and blinded you.
            We may discuss Scripture as if it were authoritative but you will never be persuaded by a view that runs counter to official RC teaching however persuasive or self-evident. Your authority is not Scripture but the church. I fear this echoes the orthodoxy of the Jewish religious leaders in Israel at the time of Christ. Their tradition blinded them to truth.

            That being said Jack I enjoy discussing with you and much that you say I agree with and often am helped by. My criticisms are not intended unkindly however blunt they may be.

          • Jack is as deaf and blind as countless Saints down the ages who have dedicated themselves to understanding the sacred mysteries and who have developed the splendid dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic Church – all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

            “For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave.”
            Jack just doesn’t accept your premise. There is just no conflict between the authoritative and definitive teachings of the Church and God’s revelation to us. There’s plenty of scope of Catholicism for private opinion. Plus, when Jack reads scripture he does so for personal spiritual growth to develop his relationship with Christ – within the framework of 2000 years of constant and consistent understanding passed down by the Church.
            Jack too enjoys our discussions.

          • dannybhoy

            imv that’s because the tide turned for Christians and it became acceptable even preferable to be involved with the growing influence of the early Church.
            Young Romans seeking to carve a career from themselves seized the opportunities, and the church slowly morphed from a spiritual base to a worldly one.
            Only my opinion of course, but I see nowhere in Scripture where the Lord intended an earthly kingdom complete with pomp and circumstance…

          • Jack agrees with your last sentence. However, the episcopal structure emerged in the very early Church when Christians were being persecuted. There was no advantage for young Romans who entered the Church.

          • dannybhoy

            I like it when we agree Jack.
            My point was that human beings always organise into groups or structured societies, and as the Church became more influential those with ambition would seek influence. Much as Roman families would try to curry favour with the Emperor..
            The thing is that if only we Christian groups could stop trying to score points off of each other, and acknowledge that historically we have ALL failed to live up to what our denomination believes and teaches, we could stop being arrogant and condemnatory..

          • Little Black Censored

            “…you read Scripture through the lens of the church…”
            Nothing wrong with that; it is inevitable, since the Scriptures were written, selected, compiled, proclaimed and interpreted in and by the Church from the very beginning.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Wasn’t James, the Lord’s brother, the leader of the Jerusalem church?

          • Anton

            It’s not stated explicitly but he certainly seems to take the decision what to do at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.

          • Really?! That’s not how Jack reads the text – nor all the Church Fathers.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Provide evidence that all the Church Fathers asserted that Peter led the Jerusalem Council.

          • All Church Fathers? It’s clear in scripture.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You said:

            “That’s not how Jack reads the text – nor all the Church Fathers.”

            So provide evidence for the latter part of your claim.

          • Yes, but Peter was the leader of the Apostles and held authority over him. And James wasn’t his biological brother.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Don’t be silly, James was Mary’s son as Jesus was. That makes them biologically related.

          • Not so …. and we’ve covered this before. You know, what the term “brother” meant etc. etc. Besides which, if James was Mary’s son why did Jesus when He was dying on the Cross tell John she was his mother and Mary that she was his mother?

          • Martin

            HJ

            We’ve covered it before and it is quite clear that you have not a leg to stand on.

        • Martin

          HJ

          And God gave a structure for the local church, a plurality of elders/overseers to look after the spiritual state of their fellows and a plurality of deacons to look after the physical needs of their fellows.

          Sadly men thought they could improve on that structure by making one man a ruler of the local church, then of a groups of churches with others ruling under him. Until at last we have the episcopal structure where the rulers appoint their ruler and lord it over the laity.

          Curiously the New Testament has no distinction between clergy and laity, since all are under the headship of Christ and responsible to Him.

          And in Jerusalem, the leader was an elder of the local church, James.

          • Tell Jack where God mandated a once and for all time structure? Surely He left this in the hands of those He to lead His Church? Peter was clearly the leader of the Apostles. Since the earliest days of the early Church the Apostles appointed successors and it wasn’t long before the authority of the Bishop of Rome was recognised by the local churches when matters of doctrine needed resolving.

          • Anton

            By what authority was the original structure changed?

          • The structure was never “mandated” as the only model, was it? The Apostles and their successors were charged with running the Church.

          • They were commanded to uphold the traditions as they had been taught. This certainly included church structures.

          • Did it? Tradition is restricted to matters of faith and morals – not discipline. According to what your saying only married men could be admitted to the priesthood. Clearly a ridiculous position.

          • An arbitrary exclusion. Head-covering was a tradition. Hardly a matter of faith and morals. Whatever the apostles taught was a tradition and they taught re church structures.

            The teaching regarding elders does not demand that they be married any more than it demands that they have children however, if they are married they are to be monogamous and if they have children they are to be controlled.

            Jack, I can’t believe you’re squirming like this.

          • Jack isn’t squirming. At all. You need to research the differences between Tradition and tradition/custom and also between dogma, doctrine and discipline. The Apostles never wrote definitively about church structures. It cannot be accidental that early in the second century people looked to the bishop of Rome to solve disputes in the Church.

          • Watchman

            Structures were there to contain functions rather than confer precedence, status or title in which men could glory, as many have. Jesus remains Head of His Church, even the local church and we, whatever our function must defer to Him. The leadership has the responsibility of ensuring that the will of the Head is known and this entails spending much time in prayer. Alas, I fear this does not happen to its fullest extent and most churches run on “what seems right unto man”

          • Indeed.

          • Anton

            Nicely ducked.

          • Just demonstrating that Sola Scriptura has its limitations.

          • Anton

            No, you are not. To change that which is in scripture is to invoke a higher authority than scripture’s author. Is there one?

          • But there is no mandatory prescription in scripture for the structure you are advocating.

          • Watchman

            From where do you get authority for apostolic succession?
            What evidence have you that Peter was the leader of the apostles?
            What evidence have you that Peter ever went to Rome?
            Wasn’t Paul appointed as apostle to the gentiles?

          • See Jack’s lengthy answer to Dannybuoy.

          • dannybhoy

            Throw that little orange man a lifeline somebody!
            Cressida?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Bible.

            Peter tended to be the first to speak, not necessarily the leader.

            The Apostles appointed a leadership team in each church, not successors.

            Rome originally had a group of elders/overseers as Scripture prescribes.

            Rome, as the capital had a natural authority and funds. It was the church that led not a bishop.

            Curiously they didn’t just say, “let’s ask Rome” in 325AD, they called a council.

          • The Church when faced with controversy over doctrinal matters summons a Council – just as the Church held a Council in Jerusalem. The pope isn’t all knowing!

            Work your way through these scriptural passages:

            There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).

            https://www.catholic.com/tract/peter-and-the-papacy

            The role of St. Peter and his successors is made remarkably clear in Matthew 16:18-19:

            “And I tell you, you are Peter” (Gr.—petros—‘rock’), “and on this rock” (Gr.—petra—‘rock’) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

            Jesus here promises infallible authority to Peter that would empower him to speak in the place of Christ, or as his vicar on earth. Jack believes just what the text says. When St. Peter (and his successors) “binds” something on earth, it is “bound” in heaven. That’s infallible authority with the power of heaven to back it up.

            “[A]s my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you” (Gr.—humas, plural—“you all”) “that he might sift you” (Gr.—plural again) like wheat, but I have prayed for you” (Gr.—sou, singular—Peter alone) “that your faith (Gr.—singular again) “may not fail; and when you” (Gr.—singular) have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

            In the context of committing his authority to the Apostles to govern the church (the “Israel of God” – see Gal. 6:16), Jesus especially prays for Peter so that he may be the source of strength and unity for the rest of the Apostles. If the Apostles want to be protected from the devil’s attempts to divide and destroy them and the church, they must be in communion with Peter. And notice, Jesus says specifically to Peter, that, literally from the Greek text, “the faith of you [Peter] will not fail.”

            In John 10:16, Jesus prophesied:

            “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, and one shepherd.”

            Who is this prophetic shepherd? Jesus declared Himself to be “the good shepherd” (or “pastor”) in John 10:14. Jesus is the shepherd. Yet, if we dig deeper into the text we discover another meaning as well. In the context of prophesying about this “one flock” and “one shepherd,” Jesus says He must gather “other sheep” referring to the gentiles. Who does our Lord use as the shepherd to bring this prophecy to pass?

            In John 21:1-17, we find Jesus aiding the fishing of the Apostles who caught nothing all night long. At the command of Jesus they let down their nets and catch an astonishing 153 large fish. When Jesus commands the net to be hauled ashore, St. Peter heaves the entire net of fish to shore by himself. No man can lift that size of a catch out of the water and on to the shore by himself. If you take these words literally to mean Peter actually did this, it seems Peter was given supernatural strength to do what no man could naturally accomplish. Fish are symbols representing the faithful. And the symbol of the net is used elsewhere in the New Testament for the Church. Not only is Peter’s ability to carry these fish (all the faithful) a miracle, but the fact that the net is not broken is also extraordinary. The message seems to be that the Church Jesus establishes containing all of God’s faithful with Peter packing the power will never be destroyed!

            It is in this context that Jesus then asks St. Peter three times, “Do you love me… Do you love me… Do you love me?” When Peter responds in the affirmative the second time, Jesus responds by commanding Peter to “tend” (Gr. poimaine—’shepherd’) “my sheep”. Jesus the shepherd here commissions Peter to be the prophetic shepherd of John 10:16 to shepherd the entire people of God! How many of the sheep belong to Jesus? All of them. How many of his sheep did Jesus give to St. Peter to shepherd? All of them.

            In 1:15-26, as a matter of historical record, St. Peter takes the helm of the Church and gives an infallible interpretation of Psalm 69:26 and 109:8 in choosing a successor for Judas.

            In Acts 10:1-48, Jesus appears to St. Peter and commands him to bring the gospel to the gentiles by way of Cornelius, the centurion. When Peter then commanded Cornelius and his household to be baptised in, the prophecy of John 10:16 was fulfilled. There was now one fold and one shepherd for Jews and Gentiles. That ministry has continued to this day in the successors of St. Peter, the bishops of Rome.

            In Acts 15: 1-12, the ministry of St. Peter as “the shepherd” of the Universal (i.e. Catholic) Church continues. When there was a heresy spreading in the church at Antioch (and elsewhere) so widespread and problematic that Paul and Barnabas could not quell the resulting confusion, the church there decided to “go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question” (vs. 1-2). The question concerned salvation and the Old Covenant law in relation to the gospel. Some among “believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise…and…to keep the law of Moses’(vs. 5) to be saved. In particular, they spoke of the gentiles who were converting to Christ, but the same would apply to all. The real question was: Are Christians saved by the grace of Christ in the New Covenant or must they obey the Old Covenant as well for salvation? The first Church Council (of Jerusalem) was convened and the theological question was put to rest by the pronouncement of St. Peter. When everyone was arguing, St. Peter arose and declared the truth on the matter and then, to translate the text below in modern parlance, everyone shut up! The matter was settled by the “one shepherd” given to the Church as a source of unity and authority.

            The Apostles and elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice…that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe…we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” And all the assembly kept silence…”

          • Watchman

            Jack, i have said this to you before and now I will repeat it: the rock
            Jesus was talking about was himself, not Peter.
            1 Corinthians 10:3-4 HCSB
            ” They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.”
            And from Peter himself
            1 Peter 2:7-8 HCSB
            ” So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving, The stone that the builders rejected- this One has become the cornerstone, and A stone to stumble over, and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this.”

            Would you argue with one of your own bishops? Here is the transcript of a speech by One of your bishops to the Vatican Council of 1870 who saw things rather differently.
            http://www.mtc.org/bishop_s.html

          • Martin

            Peter

            However you said:

            “it wasn’t long before the authority of the Bishop of Rome was recognised
            by the local churches when matters of doctrine needed resolving”

            So are you now saying that isn’t true?

            The interesting thing about Matthew 16:18-19 is that Jesus does not say to Peter “on you I will build my Church” but “on this rock I will build my Church”. If He was speaking to Peter the natural thing would have been to use the first, so why didn’t He. Probably because He wasn’t saying what you claim. So we really have no evidence for Rome’s claim.

            As for your last paragraph, Peter is just giving evidence, after which, they listen silently as Paul and Barnabas do the same. Finally, James sums up all that has been said and pronounces his final judgement. Not much evidence of Peter being in charge there.

          • Amen.

      • Martin

        John

        And combining it with sacralism ….

    • …. or the bishops and the Church failed to understand the depth and extent of the abuse problem and the nature of paedophilia. It’s too easy to blame episcopal structures – and rather lazy. Look more at the nature of child sexual abuse itself and then look at “clericalism” as a culture. Any structure with the wrong culture – one opposed to the Gospel, in this case – will fail to meet its objectives.

      • Clericalism as a culture is not God’s plan. Even less is a clericalism that is composed only of celibates. The latter is almost certain to create serious sexual difficulties.

        • Certainly “clericalism” is against God’s plan and contradicts Jesus’ own teaching at the Last Supper. As for celibacy …. there’s actually no evidence it results in “serious sexual difficulties”. Jesus was celibate and the odds are Saint Paul was too, and possibly other Apostles.

          • Celibacy is for those called to it. It is never mandated that those who lead and teach must be called to celibacy. In fact clearly this was not so. Many of the apostles were married. As a member of the Sanhedrin the likelihood is Paul was married. Elders who taught were to be the husband of one wife.

          • It’s not mandated that elders/priests must be married – but that if they are it be to one wife. This is a Latin/Roman Catholic discipline – not a doctrine – and it is not required of priests in the Eastern Catholic churches.

          • Jack

            Not sure how you define clericalism and in why you oppose it. Is the clergy/laity divide not essentially Roman Catholic?

          • The priest is ordained and so able to administer the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession. This doesn’t make him a better Christian than lay members and doesn’t necessarily mean he is theologically sounder than his parishioners.
            Jack uses the term “clericalism” to mean the expectation of unquestioning acceptance of obedience in all areas of church life, rather than restricted to those areas where it is legitimate.

      • Anton

        Any structure with the wrong culture – one opposed to the Gospel, in this case – will fail to meet its objectives.

        I could not have written a better condemnation of episcopacy myself. Thank you!

        • How is the episcopal structure “opposed to the Gospel” That’s absolute nonsense. Jesus taught the Apostles to be servants – not overlords.

          • Anton

            You wrote “Any structure with the wrong culture – one opposed to the Gospel..” and I was referring to the churchly culture.

          • What on earth is “churchly culture”?

          • Anton

            Stop feigning ignorance. You talk freely enough of the ethos of a Catholic church differing from protestantism.

          • Where has Jack made such a claim about “ethos”? Honestly, he has no idea what “churchly culture” is.

          • Anton

            You have to be very highly educated indeed to be ignorant of that. I didn’t realise you were!

  • Ian Paul

    But how is it possible to respond to the satisfaction of every complainant whilst not allowing spurious claims? The story as told is appalling—but without the other side of the story, how do we know?

    • Notforinfants

      “but without the other side of the story, how do we know?”
      Ian, is that not the whole point of AC’s piece, namely that the “other side” has, or so it appears, consistently refused to offer a proper hearing to long standing complaints, and that from the very highest authorities in the C of E so that the claims can be openly received and examined?
      As said, all the complainant asks for is a hearing, for natural justice and for bishops to exercise their pastoral oversight with a view to resolving long standing and scandalous problems.
      Because this is so symptomatic (complaints of abuse against clergy) and has been repeated so often over the years within the C of E, then clearly the system is failing for a variety of reasons.
      I believe, as Anton has noted below, the episcopal system is indeed unfit for purpose due to these repeated failures and that the existing hierarchical pattern of leadership fails to reflect the NT pattern for pastoral ministry, and perhaps that is at least one important lesson to be learned from such failures ?
      On another note, perhaps the most disturbing element is the apparent rejection of these clergy to understand and apply the Pauline reminder that a primary function of the church is to offer a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor.5:18 – 19), and first and foremost within its own ranks.
      This being the case, how then can it offer the Gospel of reconciliation to unbelievers if the principle is so wilfully ignored or rejected?

  • Matthew Ineson

    Ask the bishops! They have refused to answer…over 5 years. If they are innocent why did they object to the CDM and are refusing to answer what has been put to them? It’s called colluding a cover up.

    • Anton

      I expected you’d be reading this thread… may God walk closely with you, and I’m very glad indeed that you turned to him rather than away from him.

  • IanCad

    What an amazing and sad story. That Fr. Matthew Ineson has suffered so much and remains faithful to his calling is inspirational.

    On the other hand we have the tragic tale of a flawed priest being driven to suicide by the inaction of those who held the reins of pastoral discipline and conduct. The Revd. Trevor Devamanikkam did not deserve the death penalty for what he did. As we admire the fortitude of Fr. Matthew let us also not forget the agony of the Revd Trevor.

    If all is as the post suggests, heads should roll – or at least – a very severe rapping of ecclesiastical knuckles be visited upon the remiss.

    • Anton

      Driven to suicide by the inaction of his superiors? He was driven to suicide, clearly, by the imminence of his public trial on a disgraceful charge.

      • IanCad

        My point being, Anton, that a timely intervention would most likely have avoided the ultimate consequences of his actions. In no way am I suggesting he was not responsible for his own behaviour.

        • Anton

          We can’t know. He should always have been subject to a public trial and that cannot be mitigated.

          • IanCad

            If the evidence was there he should have been prosecuted back in 1985 or thereabouts. He would then have been still in his thirties – resilient enough to face shame and young enough to change.

          • Anton

            You presume a great deal about his response. We can’t know. Ray Wyre of the Gracewell Clinic treated many paedophiles and was appalled at the depth of their denial.

          • IanCad

            Anton, I’m not presuming anything, merely stating what should have transpired.

          • Anton

            But you said that “a timely intervention would most likely have avoided the ultimate consequences of [Devamanikkam’]s actions”, by which in context you unambiguously meant his suicide.

          • IanCad

            Well, certainly I would have hoped his suicide would have been prevented. Had established procedures for church discipline been excercised the sorry situation could well have been nipped in the bud.

          • Anton

            “Nipped in the bud”? He’d already committed the abuse! Your concern seems directed a lot more toward the abuser than the abused in this thread, and I regret that.

            He was driven to suicide by the imminence of his public trial for a disgraceful offence. What reason do you suppose would have made the outcome different had he been tried earlier?

    • Sarky

      ‘Did not deserve the death penalty for what he did’

      Yes he did.

      • IanCad

        Sarky, I think the law holds otherwise. In its wisdom, a spell of incarceration and counselling is deemed appropriate. This happened many years ago – time is a great healer – justice postponed is rarely good justice.

        • Anton

          Time is NOT a great healer.

          Forgiveness is a great healer and it often takes time (and the knowledge that you are forgiven by Another).

        • Sarky

          Are you fo real???
          This man was a filthy peado who destroyed the lives of children.
          Anyone who knows anything about these people would realise they are the nastiest most manipulative people you could ever meet, who will do anything to convince you they are safe to be around. No amount of counselling or jail time will change this. Why should we pay thousands to keep these people when a bullet costs a couple of quid?
          As for ‘justice postponed is rarely good justice’, how about ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’.

          • IanCad

            That’s good then – for a minute I was thinking of lanterns at night, clubs and pikes, shouting and excitement, and Sarky at the head with a rope at the ready.

    • Anton

      What he did was a capital sin in the only time and place where God set the laws.

  • Little Black Censored

    There is an article of parallel interest today on Fr Hunwicke’s blog.

    • Notforinfants

      There is also a most appropriate comment given by Gavin Ashenden on his blog under the title ” The God who makes all things new” with an expansion on the much needed theme of reconciliation. Well worth hearing for a much needed spiritual approach in this sad context which AC raises.

  • David

    It is difficult if not impossible to imagine how tortured victims of such crimes must be. If the assailant also masquerades as a Christian minister then the confusion and pain must be even greater. So justice must be done. Therefore an uncompromisingly evidence backed backed approach where all facts are exposed, weighed and considered is the only way to proceed.
    We must above all else never let hasty, emotional or knee jerk responses rule our actions. We must be as careful to achieve justice for the victim as for any alleged perpetrator, who may of course be innocent. Victims must be shown true compassion, support and compensated well, or at least as far as one can compensate for such deep emotional, psychological damage.
    As with all legal matters in the UK the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, for it is a crime indeed to throw innocent people to the wolves that infest the media.

  • This case sounds more complicated than this leaflet suggests. If I understand correctly, Matt was 16 and had moved in with the abuser. These days that would actually be legal if it was all consensual. It sounds like Matt has been treated badly by the hierarchy but I think I’d like to hear what they have to say before coming to any views of my own.

    • Matthew Ineson

      Will. I didn’t ‘move in with him’ as you suggest. I was only JUST 16. He had offered pastoral care to my family who were having tremendous problems and he offered to work with us. I was put there for family respite. That may not happen today but it was a different era back then…
      He took advantage of the situation.

      • It sounds horrendous, Matt. I hope you get responses from the church figures and they explain themselves properly and appropriate action is taken.

      • Chefofsinners

        How did you find a calling to the priesthood after being treated like this through the Church? I suspect your story would be helpful to one of our regular gainsayers, Linus, and many others whose reaction is to damn the whole of Christianity.

    • Anna

      “I think I’d like to hear what they have to say before coming to any views of my own.”

      I agree that we need to hear what the other side has to say. I would also like to know if anyone else has come forward with similar accusations.

      • Matthew Ineson

        That is just the problem Anna. They are being protected by the immoral one year can rule and they WON’T speak. They have been guven full opportunity and not one of them has ever put forward their side or given a substantive defence for their actions ( and lack of). But why not is they have nothing to hide? The answer is very simplr. They cannot justify their actions and lack of.

  • Charitas Lydia

    The entire lot including Welby and Sentamu need to resign right now. If Welby asked Carey to resign (and Sentamu did not support Carey) should the same yardstick not apply to them and should they not resign as well? I had a very strong feeling about this when I read the column in the Conservative Woman on Welby’s rank hypocrisy and now His Grace has confirmed it beyond a shadow of doubt. http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-welby-guilty-rank-hypocrisy/

  • Linus

    Parents should learn one very valuable lesson from all of this. Keep your children well away from church. Anglican. Catholic. They’re all the same. Full of deeply troubled men who want to hurt children. Or anyone else they can get their claws into.

    Some do it by rape. Others by a more subtle form of psychological manipulation. The goal is always the same: to destabilise and dominate by inducing guilt and self-hatred in the subject.

    It’s the whole raison d’être of the Christian religion.

    • Anna

      I am so sorry for you. I had no idea that this was your experience. No wonder that you are so bitter.

      • Linus

        The experience of psychological manipulation by the clergy is universal. I’ve never met one whose ultimate aim wasn’t to convert me to a deep hatred of myself. That’s how they control the sheep who follow them.

        I’ve seen others abused by the clergy. They let themselves be taken in by insincere love and were taught to hate themselves. That’s what the priests want: a flock of broken, lost sheep they can lead by the nose.

        Luckily I was raised by parents who instilled a deep sense of self-worth into me at an early age. I know who I am and no pasty, wheedling crow of a priest for whom the church is no more than a convenient way out of low birth and social isolation has the means of convincing me otherwise.

        Call me bitter if you like. It’s just Christian shorthand for unbrainwashable. When the scrawny “virgins” who use the church as their way of wreaking revenge on those with a real life can’t get their own way, they always resort to personal abuse and demonisation. That’s when they unmask themselves. Hatred and scorn hidden beneath a thin layer of fake compassion are easy to discern.

        • Anton

          If you find that you are an inveterate sinner (and I mean in many ways – I am not discussing homosexuality) then isn’t that depressing? Aren’t the only alternatives open to you to deny it even as part of you sees the truth of it, or to admit that it is true and be depressed about it? I call that a lousy choice, but it is not the only one.

          • Sarky

            If you see sin as just human nature then there’s nothing to get depressed about.

          • CliveM

            Really? That would be even more depressing.

          • Anton

            Ah, you beat me to it!

          • Anton

            No, that would be even more depressing!

          • Sarky

            As depressing as blaming all the ills of the world on some woman eating an apple? Then finding out that your only way out of it is to prostrate yourself in front of a god?

            Human nature makes sense. Some people are good, some are shit. Some people can control themselves and make good choices, some can’t. You do the best you can and try to be the best you can, that’s it…simple.

          • Chefofsinners

            Which ones are good?

          • Sarky

            The majority of us.

          • Anton

            Today, thanks to modern media and travel, it is easy to see that people all over the world have a lot in common, and that differences of race or nationality are much less deep than the things we all have in common. That is a good understanding, but people don’t take the logic far enough. If we are all the same, we cannot say that WE are good and THEY are bad – whether we are talking about nations, races, political parties or anything else. So, are humans all basically good or basically bad?

            Just look at the world and its history.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            What apple is that then?

          • Sarky

            The fruit of the tree of knowledge.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So can you show me where that is an apple?

          • Sarky

            Can you show me where it isn’t?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Genesis 3

          • Anton

            Today, thanks to modern media and travel, it is easy to see that people all over the world have a lot in common, and that differences of race or nationality are much less deep than the things we all have in common. That is a good understanding, but people don’t take the logic far enough. If we are all the same, we cannot say that WE are good and THEY are bad – whether we are talking about nations, races, political parties or anything else. So, are humans all basically good or basically bad?

            Our culture’s view is that “Hey, nobody’s perfect, but unless you are a serial killer or a paedophile then you are basically OK.” But is that really true? Human history is written in blood; it is a tale of warfare. That doesn’t look good. Zooming into personal lives, couples choose to marry because they are crazy about each other, but 10 years on many just put up with each other and nowadays not even that; they divorce. I hope you have a happy marriage, but dare you say you are fundamentally better than people who don’t? Some people commit worse crimes than others, too, but we are all the same inside – and the evidence is clear that we are all bad inside.

            God did not design you like that; it is because something he is not responsible for went wrong a long time ago. But it is still the way the world is, at least for the time being.

          • Sarky

            God is not responsible???
            If you believe the bible then it is blindingly obvious that god engineered it for us to fail.
            Why put the tree of knowledge in a place where it could be easily accessed?? If it was that dangerous hide it away. You wouldn’t put a child in a room with a box of razor blades. Why let satan in the garden when as ‘god’ you knew what would happen??
            Don’t give me the old ‘free will’ rubbish. I wouldn’t give my children access to a medicine cupboard full of sweet like drugs and then say “well I’ve warned them, its up to them if they eat them”. That would be gross negligence at best.
            You can’t possibly look at that story and say that those are the actions of a loving god.

          • Anton

            I think you don’t understand the sheer depth of the free will issue. Without that we would have just been God’s programmed puppets. And puppets can’t show love, because love is a choice by definition.

          • Sarky

            So you can’t have free will in world without disease? A world without violence?
            Of course you could. Lack of violence/disease does not make you a robot.

          • Anton

            That wouldn’t follow from what I said.

            Our ancestors made the wrong choice. They didn’t have to do that. They had free will – they would have been merely God’s puppets otherwise – and they exercised their free will wrongly. Worse still, they lost it, because if you taste evil then it changes you for the worse. After that they weren’t able to keep clean. Because we are their descendants we too are enmeshed, both inwardly and outwardly, in the same web of sin. We need help to get free of it. God sent his son to offer that help.

          • Sarky

            Sorry, but what a load of nonsense.
            Think I’ll stick with human nature, at least it makes sense.

          • Anton

            Which is where we came in. Please simply reflect on your assertion that most people are goodies and there are a few assholes. Really, we are all the same. We are all humans, after all; how can we possibly be that different?

          • Sarky

            We’re not different. It’s just that some make bad decisions and some don’t.

          • Anton

            You make it sound like a choice of the head, not the heart.

          • Sarky

            How is it not?

          • dannybhoy

            It was not that the tree was dangerous, but whether Adam and his wife would obey God’s injunction not to eat of it…
            The issue was trusting that God had a very good reason in forbidding it, and so leave it alone.

          • Sarky

            Why would god forbid knowledge?

          • dannybhoy

            The focus is not on knowledge, but on obedience, on trusting God rather than one’s own understanding. We know Adam had knowledge and intelligence because God brought the animals to him so that he could name them.
            This principle of trust is always an issue for true Christians. We obey God through prayer and acts of kindness, giving etc. We trust God even though what we see and observe with our senses would tell us to trust our own understanding rather than God.
            I know you don’t believe that, but to me being a Christian is the most wonderful and satisfying and challenging life possible.

          • Sarky

            I have problems with blind obedience and the fact that knowledge is seen as something dangerous.

          • dannybhoy

            Methinks you are being disingenuous (again) Sarky.
            Had you left it at,
            “I have problems…” ;0)
            Where has anyone said or inferred that knowledge is dangerous?

          • Sarky

            god not allowing adam and eve to eat from the tree of knowledge would suggest that.

          • Pubcrawler

            You need to read the passage again. It is the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not of knowledge per se.

          • Sarky

            Its a ‘merism’ therefore good and evil implies ‘everything’.

          • dannybhoy

            You I believe have children, have you never specifically asked them not to do something because it might harm them?
            Of course you have.
            Never said “Don’t touch that it’s hot!”
            So this is a case of building a relationship based on trust. God needs to know that the man He has created, the first man; will be obedient.
            Like I said, you’re being disingenuous…

          • Sarky

            I wouldn’t put my kids in a room with a box of razor blades and say ‘dont touch’, that would be negligent. A bit like god and the tree.

          • How does that make sense? And I’m not so sure of some being good. Given the correct circumstances we are all capable of gross evil. There is no evil that another has done that we are not capable of doing. We all have the same nature. Our hearts are a world of evil.

          • Sarky

            You’re kind of confirming what i said.
            However, my major problem with religion is that your starting point is that we are all intrinsically evil. Some people may be born evil, but this is rare. Most times people’s behaviour is due to upbringing/circumstances.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree surprisingly enough. I don’t believe we are all born evil, but we are all born rebellious wanting to do things our own way instead of listening to what God says.
            In that sense we are indeed trapped because not only do we fail to live up to God’s standards, we fail to consistently live up to our own.

          • Actually, the bible blames the man and it wasn’t an apple.

        • dannybhoy

          Danny sobs into his cocoa..
          Come on Linus, you’ve said all this before and people here have tried to reason with you.
          The fact is that down through the centuries there are great examples of Christian love and grace, sufficiently powerful to change society for the better. Hospitals, unions, schools all founded by Christians. The great reformers like Shaftesbury and Wilberforce, Booth and Barnardo and many more. All inspired by their Christian faith.
          I certainly believe you have suffered at the hands of people calling themselves Christian, but there are many many many more people whose lives have been blessed by true Christian people.
          Methinks you use your history as an excuse.

          • Linus

            Hospitals provide endless opportunities for domination, persuasion and conversion.

            Orphanages offer an even more endless supply of fresh young meat.

            Of course Christians do things for the poor and needy. What easier targets could there be for brainwashing and manipulation? Plus they usually don’t complain too loudly when their children are interfered with. At least, they never used to…

            My how things have changed. All those poor orphan children who were raped with what their rapists thought was total impunity are now finding their voice and bringing their attackers to account. And how they and those who enabled them cry persecution and pose as wronged martyrs.

            The sickness of the church is founded on the psychopathic personalities of those who run it and the creed that encourages them to dominate, manipulate and convert. Christ is nothing more than a child abuser’s bag of sweets. Something to lure the little children with.

            Run little children, run! That’s not a Curly-Wurly Father Tom has under his cassock!

          • dannybhoy

            Here Linus, in between your rants and accusations, have a read of the true story of George Muller and his Christian orphanages..
            ” In the 1800’s orphans had no one to care for them and had to beg for or steal food in order to survive. People did not have pity on them, and the government put the children in work houses where they worked long hours under the harshest of conditions.

            In 1835 there were only a dozen orphan homes in all of England and Wales, but they charged fees to care for the children. Poor children who became orphans had to move in with relatives or were sent to work in the workhouses.”
            http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdmuller.htm

            Then consider the story of William Bramwell Booth, founder of the Salvation Army..
            “Founder of the Salvation Army. William Booth was born in Nottingham, England. He was converted to Christ through the efforts of a Methodist minister, and soon became interested in working with the outcasts and the poor people of Nottingham. He preached on the streets and made hundreds of hospital calls before he was 20 years of age. From 1850 to 1861 he served as a pastor in the Methodist Church, after which time he and his wife left the church and stepped out by faith in evangelistic work in East London.

            It was there that he organized the East London Christian Revival Society. Out of this beginning came the Salvation Army, with its uniforms, organization, and discipline. By 1930 there were branches in 55 countries. Its main emphasis under General Booth was street preaching, personal evangelism, and practical philanthropy. More than 2,000,000 derelicts have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the work of the Salvation Army since its founding by the general.”
            http://www.gospeltruth.net/booth/boothbioshort.htm
            It’s all very well going on about the injustices visited upon you, but many people down through the ages have suffered, have been born into the most awful of circumstances, yet found salvation through Jesus Christ.
            God knows all about you and what forces have shaped you, and He is able to take all your heartache and pain and change you from within.

          • Linus

            As I’ve already said, orphanages and missions provide ample opportunity for Christians to manipulate, dominate and control. Any good they do has a very specific purpose. It puts the people they help in their debt, making them so much easier to control.

            Christians do nothing out of truly disinterested altruism. There’s always a payoff for them. “Winning souls for the Lord” is code for “making people worship the ground I walk on”. Look at Teresa of Calcutta. She revelled in the media attention her “charity” earned her while keeping her charges in unsanitary conditions and withholding medical treatment and even pain relief so their suffering would “glorify god”.

            That’s Christian charity for you. Cold-hearted feeding of your monster god’s thirst for pain while forging your own reputation as a saint.

          • dannybhoy

            Then there’s the conversion story of John Newton, the former slave trader….
            http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/bnewton10.html

            God loves you Linus. He wants you to be reconciled to Him and receive new life.
            Every day you spend scorning and mocking Him and His Son is another day of your life wasted.
            The reason you keep coming back to this site is because deep inside you crave inner peace and healing. That comes from God.

          • Linus

            Sigh!

            You can’t even prove that god exists, yet you demand that I believe him capable of love. More specifically you demand that I believe he loves me.

            I can’t argue with whatever character you endow your imaginary friend with. He’s your fantasy, so you get to determine what he does and doesn’t like. As your puppet, he can only move when you pull the strings.

            What I find comical however is your contention that if I don’t believe in him, he’ll send me to hell forever and ever. In other words, eternal damnation awaits all those who refuse to acknowledge the divinity of your imagination. You command me to believe, so believe I must. If I don’t, I will suffer for all time.

            The reason I keep coming back to this site is to expose narcissistic idiots like you so that others won’t fall prey to your manipulative attempts to control them. You make it so easy that I almost wonder if it’s worth bothering. I mean, you don’t have to be particularly intelligent to see how ludicrous your claims are. So who am I protecting, I wonder? The people you and your converts try to persecute, perhaps. Yes, that’s it. If a young gay person being abused by religious parents reads my words and they help him/her to cope, I’ll have done a good thing. So no matter how puerile and hackneyed your arguments get, I’ll still be here to debunk and pour scorn on them. Someone has to think of the children.

          • dannybhoy

            ‘yet you demand that I believe him capable of love.’
            Didn’t. Over exaggeration!
            ‘More specifically you demand that I believe he loves me’
            Didn’t!
            ‘What I find comical however is your contention that if I don’t believe in him, he’ll send me to hell forever and ever.’
            Where I say that?
            ‘The reason I keep coming back to this site is to expose narcissistic idiots like you so that others won’t fall prey to your manipulative attempts to control them.’
            What mean ‘narcissistic’??

    • IanCad

      I think you are being too harsh Linus. Essential to the embrace of the Christian faith is the recognition that we are wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked. We need our Saviour, without Him we can only depend upon our own frail selves.
      You speak of guilt – Christ speaks of sin. What is a preacher to do but in his frailty expound what he sees only darkly. His faith is personal, his struggles are those of all humanity. We will not see glory this side of the grave.
      Go easy Linus, your insecurities and doubts are ours also.

    • Anton

      For 300 years Christianity was persecuted and no end was in sight. How can you say that its aim was to destabilise and dominate?

      • Linus

        Destabilisation and domination has always been Christianity’s aim. It was invented by a band of psychotic manipulators who tried it out on an unsuspecting Jewish people and found that, even if the majority rejected it with scorn, the most vulnerable and weak flocked to it like masochists generally do to any opportunity to inflict pain and suffering on themselves.

        The civil authorities tried to stamp it out, but their attempts were in vain. After all, persecution is exactly what masochists love the most. They revelled in their oppression and sacrifice. Indeed when Constantine the Great realised the religion’s potential in terms of absolute despotism and elevated it to the status of an offical cult, they must have been appalled. Where would their next martyrdom be coming from?

        They shouldn’t have worried. With imperial support, the twisted and psychotic Christian priesthood soon made sure it had the power of life, death and torture over entire populations. If they couldn’t browbeat you into obeying their dictates, they’d make damn sure you died in pain and suffering. From that point up until the Revolution, their dominance went unchallenged. Even when they squabbled among themselves, they still retained the power of life and death over the various sects they divided into. Then came the Revolution and they got the first taste of the medicine they’d been doling out to the world for more than a thousand years.

        It’s been downhill since then. Fewer victims to torture with every year that passes. Fewer dupes willing to let themselves be manipulated by pathological control freaks. There’ll always be a few basket cases for them to get their hooks into. But their former dominance is broken forever and their religion has been driven to the edges of society where it is now associated with gibbering fundamentalism and the unbridled sexual abuse of children.

        The case in question exposes the malevolence of the clergy for all to see. Those who don’t want to see it won’t. They’ll find all sorts of excuses for the priests who abuse them and their children. Be it on their own heads.

        • Chefofsinners

          Masochism or Sadism? It can’t be both.
          A little kindly advice, elicited by pity for your intellectual shortcomings:
          If you wish to reduce the greatest movement for good that the world has ever seen to a fetish, then at least try to maintain a semblance of logic.

          • He’s a homosexual, what do you expect from him? He’s probably into both himself.

          • Sarky

            Wtf?? Seriously ignorant comment.

        • Anton

          Masochists seek pain for its own sake. We stand against evil and are wiling to accept pain for doing so. Our motivation is not the same and you cannot at present understand what motivates us even if you think you do.

        • Linus, by anyone’s standards this is a pathological analysis of church history. Your hatred blinds your reason.

          • Linus

            And your partiality blinds yours.

            The history of Christianity is written in blood, pain and oppression. For most of its history, the church has doled these things out rather than suffered them. Even the most cursory examination of the various crusades, reformations and counter-reformations Christians have inflicted on the world proves that. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    • Albert

      You’re quite right Linus. All the evidence is that non-Church institutions are 100% safe.

      • Yes, as we all know, Jimmy Saville was really an ordained priest.

        • Albert

          Though a secret one, to make it all the more devilish.

          There’s a serious point here: child abuse happens everywhere. If we try and stick it on this or that group, we end up not being properly vigilant in other places.

          • And not only vigilant but responsive and this means listening to and supporting children when they come forward with allegations and acting on this, to protect them and other children.

          • Albert

            The news reports today sex abuse against cadets. That leaves Linus with two option: deny the abuse because the armed forces are not church organisations, or pretend the armed forces are church organisations.

            Of course he could just admit that sex abuse has taken place everywhere, that it has been covered up everywhere, that it is unacceptable everywhere and that, therefore, we need to be vigilant everywhere.

          • Anton

            But the church is different in that it claims to be better than the world. As far as cover-ups go it is actually (and tragically) worse: Matthew Ineson got justice only from the secular authorities.

          • Albert

            You’re absolutely right, but you need to keep focused on the point Linus raises. He’s not worried by the fact that the church should be better than the world. He doesn’t think it should be or is. His interest is in trying to make the Church uniquely bad, so as to further his own apologetic purposes. Everything is wrong with that. It is factually wrong, it is dangerous and it is using the sufferings of the abused for his own agenda.

    • Chefofsinners

      I think you’re onto a winner there, Linus. For so many years parents have been crying out: “If only I had a narcissistic middle aged French homosexual with a grudge against humanity to tell me how to bring up my children!”

    • Glenn Peoples

      Spend five minutes with Google in regard to the difference between abuse rates in the Church vs abuse rates in schools. Any abuse is appalling, but if you’re talking about the most dangerous place to send your kids, you’d sooner send them to church than to school.

      • Sarky

        How many kids go to school and how many go to church?
        Think you’ll find the risk is disproportionate.

        • Anton

          I think you’ll find he was quoting the per-capita risk.

    • Linus, abut sweeping lumping everyone together. However, there is no arguing with the shame this brings on the gospel. It gives you and others who are hostile ammunition and credibility.

      The only defence is that Christ and the apostles warned that the professing church would become a disgrace. In this sense, corrupt leaders is not a surprise.

      • Linus

        Corruption among leaders may not be a surprise, but appalling grammar certainly should be.

        How would JFK been remembered by history if he’d said “We chooses to send a man to the moon…?”

        Would we respect the memory of Martin Luther King quite so much if his famous speech had started with: “I has a dream…”?

        If you have pretensions of leading some kind of revolt against Christian leaders, I’d advise remedial grammar lessons as a top priority. A well-turned phrase can be extremely convincing. Airing your ignorance of basic agreement between noun and verb has quite the opposite effect.

      • Sarky

        Thats ok then.

        • O how I am tempted to retaliate.

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t give in!
            I did, and there’s not a day that goes by…

      • Anton

        Which verses have you in mind?

        • We have Jesus words about false Christ’s and how the faith of many would grow cold…. But more specifically I was thinking about texts like Paul’s to Timothy

          • Anton

            It is whether Paul is discussing the church rather than the world that I’m not convinced of. Why, please?

          • The wider context is life in the church and the fall away from apostolic teaching. In the actual text we have, ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power’; these are professing Christians. Paul does not warn believers to have nothing to do with the godless in the world but the godless in the church Cf 1 Cor 5. V6 identifies them as in the church opposing the truth.

          • Anton

            Thanks.

          • Anton

            Thinking further on this, John: I reckon it refers to the many many people who call themselves Christian but go to church once a year at Christmas. One could hardly say that they dilute the church in the way that apostate liberal clergy do, could one?

          • I’m on holiday Anton so only occasional access to internet. I think the reference is both to false teachers and those who are the product of their teaching. Of course, those who are the product are also the promoters; they ‘heap to themselves teachers having itching ears’.

  • Sybaseguru

    This is really about the liberal mafia. Most of these church cases are homosexual ones – men raping boys. (Did you know that over 50% of all paedophiles in prison are homosexual – men raping boys, according to a defence lawyer I know). If the church had followed scripture these cases would not have happened as the homosexuals would have been thrown out. A small diocese in England now has 3 safeguarding staff as they are expecting a flood of claims – but it took them 8 years to put a policy together, something our church has had for 25 years.

  • grandpa1940

    As with the CofE and the abuse therein, so also with the Jersey Abuse Inquiry .

    It is a long, troubling and terrible read, but worth it for one thing only; that someone actually listened, in the end. Too late for many, but enough for those in power to actually confirm that a great wrong was done to Innocents!

    • Anton

      Private Eye were on to Haut de la Garenne very many years ago, and in those days at least they often got tips from police convinced of guilt but unable to take the matter further for various reasons.

  • ecclesiaman

    How sad that the C of E has not dealt with this. St Paul’s advice in 1st Corinthians is for the church to deal with issues and not for them to become public matters of judgement. He expects better of “All things are become new” Christians”, to behave in a Kingdom manner.
    On a technical note whether or not the alleged/actual rape was consensual, the age of 18 is the determinant factor. Consensual activity with under 18’s is child abuse, and further it is abuse of power of office. School teachers have been punished for consensual activity with under 18’s. I am surprised this appears to have gone unnoticed.

  • ecclesiaman

    To take the issue a bit wider the Child Abuse enquiry following Rotherham has got through several judges who have been deemed unfit or resigned. The latter possibly because she was not allowed to obtain information she requested from the government departments concerned, presumably the Home Office.
    The involvement of parliamentary people in child sex abuse is widely believed and obstruction by Police, the judiciary, Councils, social workers etc., is similarly so. There is significant information on line to justify such suspicions.
    The deeper one digs here the worse it gets. Police officers who speak out about what they know are being forced out and without pay.
    The Police Chief in the Edward Heath enquiry has made a video explaining his actions due to the pressure from above to close it down. These are dark times.

    • Anton

      It seems to me that some light is currently being shone on dark acts in the past, and for that let us be thankful.

      The authorities must be petrified of the possibility of the Rotherham report being politically incorrect. I wonder if that is why it is not making progress.

      In February the Chief Constable of Wiltshire was quoted by someone likely to know as saying his enquiries into Heath looked damning and he was determined to continue them come what may, with publication later this year. (Those words are my own summary.) He disavowed the leak, as a good professional should, but I await the report with interest.

      • ecclesiaman

        I have deliberate underplayed my comments. I believe this reaches to the highest levels of politics and it is not just in this country.
        What happened to David Kelly is an indication of the lengths those in power will go to in an attempt to cover this up.
        See the book by Lib Dem MP Norman Baker about DK.

      • Sarky

        You need to be watching the documentary on bbc1 at the moment. Truly shocking.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I don’t think the Child Abuse enquiry you mentioned had anything to do with Rotherham. It was not an enquiry into why abusers were allowed to get away with it in the interest of “community relations” but an enquiry into allegations against MPs and other public figures.

      • ecclesiaman

        Yes I agree. I am not sure when the latest enquiry was set up but it is covering child abuse over several decades and that may have been before Rotherham. I believe it is supposed to be wide ranging in scope. I had better check! My concern is that cover up is the order of the day.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I could be wrong. The enquiry from which judges kept resigning was originally into abuse by MPs and other well know figures. I haven’t kept up with the news about it so for all I know it could have had its remit changed or have been replaced by a sort of super-enquiry into all abuse everywhere in Britain. If so that could be a way of ensuring that its task is never completed.

          • ecclesiaman

            I have just looked up the web and it is not clear to me exactly what is happening. It is a very broad enquiry covering varied institutions, corporate bodies etc., where abuse has happened, or allegations thereof. They are looking for victims.
            It will be interesting to see if anything positive comes out of this and whether there is any real intent to properly investigate perpetrators.
            I would like to see if any of the child abuse charities have confidence in this enquiry. Have the moles got in there too?

  • Don Benson

    In every sexual abuse case there are 3 potential abusers.

    The first one is obviously the accused if he / she did indeed do what is alleged. The second is the person to whom the allegation is made: if he or she fails to act with due diligence or, worse, treats the alleged victim with contempt, he or she may become a party to what has been alleged. The third potential abuser is the accuser; he or she may be deliberately malicious in making a spurious claim. The corollary to this is that any one those 3 potential abusers may be wholly innocent and therefore stand to lose a great deal by being caught up in the case. And the awful truth is that it is often extremely hard to sort out what has happened; justice can only truly be done if the facts are known with certainty, and that’s not always possible.

    Surely, since all this is plainly obvious, one would expect a church to have thought through the process of handling these horrendous situations and to have straightforward procedures in place for handling them expeditiously and honestly.

    The idea that (for example) there is a 12 month period after which the truth is definitively erased for the purposes of discipline is as morally bankrupt a rule as one could imagine; for a church to think it is acceptable beggars belief. For an archbishop to pass a case for investigation to another archbishop, who is himself implicated in an alleged cover-up, is beyond farcical if that kind of thing should happen.

    In fact, while cases may be deeply complex and troubling, the process of handling them by the church should be pretty straightforward. Given the collegiate nature of the church hierarchy and clergy there can be no confidence in any kind of internal investigation; the days of that kind of trust / deference have long gone. The police should always be informed immediately (the knowledge that this will happen might reduce spurious claims too). Every single church officer should be aware that this is the inviolate procedure so that no misunderstanding or ill will could occur between close colleagues, for example.

    As for discipline, we all know the CofE is in an unholy mess with this anyway. Instead of pontificating on conversion therapy for homosexuals and trans gender blessings the General Synod needs urgently to address itself to the useless and embarrassing procedures for discipline amongst clergy. Integrity is currently a stranger to the Church of England on this matter. Perhaps fewer cases of sexual misconduct could occur in a well ordered and disciplined church – and we must all wish for that.

    I suspect a good many of us are deeply frustrated and embarrassed by our church’s current antics when it should be engaged in far more positive and coherent activity on behalf of the Gospel of Christ. Common sense alone should be telling us that we are pressing a self destruct button if we don’t get our house in order. On this particular issue we don’t want witch hunts; we simply need coherent and just procedures and that they be carried out with integrity. Surely that’s not too much to ask on behalf of those who cry out for justice from their own church.

  • CliveM

    Could I make an observation and a plea. This post is about Episcopal abuse and cover up. It’s not about which Church has the best structure or is the most Godly.

    To argue those points on this thread seems tasteless to me.

    This is about how the Church failed and we need to consider how to respond to that.

    • Chefofsinners

      Perhaps the CoE could respond with a change to the structure and by becoming more Godly.

      • CliveM

        All Churches should try and become more Godly I think. Sadly child abuse isn’t limited to one denomination or time.

        • It’s everywhere not just churches.

    • Anton

      It’s impossible to disentangle the issue of structure from the issue of cover-up, because cover-up is a problem generic to large hierarchical organisations; I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that God arranged the apostolic church *not* to have such a structure. For the same reason it is not intrinsically a Catholic vs protestant issue, and I said this in my original post which brought in the issue of structure; others made it a Reformation issue.

      • CliveM

        Anton

        I deliberately didn’t post this in s response to a particular comment as I didn’t want to appear to be pointing a finger.

        • Anton

          I was first to open the subject which is why I replied to you, but I’m not offended.

    • Sack the lot of them. Their behaviour was anything but Christian. I bet they don’t even have any faith in the Lord otherwise they would have shone the torch on the problem and got it out into the open.

      • Anton

        It would take The Queen to do that.

        • She should, they are not fit and proper people to be bishops.
          A Bishop is someone who supposed to be a pillar of the community and in charge of upholding Christianity the glue that sticks us together.

          • Anton

            They are a bunch of invertebrates but the real problem is the position of bishop and who gets to end up as one. Hence the discussions about the episcopal system.

          • Those with courage, honesty, integrity, openness and faith.
            I’m rather surprised at John Sentamu, I’d always held him in high regard.

          • Maalaistollo

            As is almost invariably the case, once he has achieved high office, he’s been turned.

          • Anton

            That’s why I blame the (episcopal) system.

  • Chefofsinners

    I think we need to inject a dose of reality. Bishops just can’t be expected to keep up a steady flow of Twitter comments supporting Jeremy Corbyn and at the same time deal with allegations of child abuse. Priorities, people.

    • dannybhoy

      Pure Chef that..

    • Albert

      Just spotted this. You really are one of the funniest people on the internet!

      • Chefofsinners

        Thanks, but let’s be honest, the competition’s not that stiff.

        • Albert

          This is true, but that just means you’re way ahead.

  • John

    This is a string of very serious allegations. It is almost beyond belief that this man should be ignored or worse by so many in senior leadership.

    Safeguarding is enforced where I am to near obsessive levels; even the church mouse needs a DBS certificate and 3- or 6-hour strictly mandatory safeguarding training is required by pretty well half the church (no exaggeration), even for those in education, the police and healthcare services who are already trained to death.

    As His Grace says, those accused have a right to reply and the presumption of innocence. It is a staggering claim that so many complaints have fallen on deaf ears or been dismissed as frivolous. If proven true, those in leadership guilty of failure to act should not only be be required to resign, they should be defrocked, and serve custodial sentences for gross negligence or even collusion in criminal activity.

  • Mike Stallard

    Bishop King of Lincoln, we are told, made a point of visiting every single clergyman in his enormous diocese every year. Now the Church is miles smaller and there are more and more bishops. I do hope they follow the same principle and do pastoral work in their tiny little areas of control. If they are in touch with the men and women who they control – lots of unpaid ministers round here, lots of priests in charge who can be dismissed at a moment’s notice round here too – then such cases would be known about and come to terms with.

  • len

    All on the surface appeared to be ‘right and proper’. But underneath that veneer of respectably evil was allowed to go unchecked by the establishment. It still does apparently. But this evil is being uncovered and like all evil it resists being brought to the light.
    Those who cover up evil become complicit in the crime.
    It is truly shocking to discover the extent of child abuse and there are still apparently cases of child abuse of which no one dare investigate?

  • David

    What we have learnt these past few years is that this criminal scourge, child abuse, occurs throughout society in all types of people. So all large institutions, with sizeable numbers of people, will contain those who do these terrible things. Unlike physical assault, this sexual attack triggers deep emotional harm, which can last a lifetime. Emotional harm is far worse than physical damage. This is why society subjects itself to the endless checks and vetting procedures, in the hope that those likely to make such an attack can be screened out.
    Any attack on a person’s sexual integrity is shocking and horrible. When the institution containing the attacker is the Church, any Church, then we are, and quite rightly, even more deeply shocked and offended. Let us hope that those who have been attacked can be given all the help that is available. The guilty must be punished by society. I also hope that they will repent of their wrongdoing, which will lead to God forgiving them.

  • CliveM

    Driving into work this morning and there was a report on the radio about the cover up of child abuse that went on in the childrens military corps (army Corp, ATC etc).

    The problems within the RCC and the CofE are well documented. From personal knowledge I know of instances within the CofS and near instances in other denominations.

    Then you have the reports about abuse with the uniform organisations like the Scouts etc.

    Yesterday on the news, was a reminder of events at a jersey children’s home.

    You don’t have to look hard to find stories of abuse within schools both public and state.

    If you were to speak to friends I bet it wouldn’t be hard to find instances of inappropriate behaviour that some of them will have suffered. I know of friends and family who have been sexually abused as children.

    We have let down the youngest and most vulnerable in our society for decades, probably longer, and we should be ashamed. If God is judging us, he won’t be focusing on SSM, or transgender rights or no fault divorce, he will be looking at the rape of our young ones and how society covered this up, looked the other way and changed the subject.

    • dannybhoy

      Sexual abuse of all kinds can be found in every area of society. Some more than others. I would imagine it is a part of the (fallen) human condition. It has something to do with power over others, the thrill of dominating another person. Perhaps more often seen in dictatorial/ hierarchical systems, whether sacred or secular…

      • CliveM

        Yes and men seem particularly prone to this. 96% of sex offenders are men. Child sex offenders are attracted to organisations that give them trusted access to children; schools, churches, scouts etc.

        Such is the shame of our sex, one does wonder why God would specify men for church leadership roles, when we would seem so good at abusing the position.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s a very good question Clive, one I have often mused over myself. It does lead to other theological ‘origins’ speculations that one might explore, but I believe it has to do with the animalistic part of our beings and what happens when we indulge those urges/impulses, becoming enslaved to them..

          • CliveM

            Perhaps. When you think what we as a society do to our young, I think God has shown to much patience.

          • dannybhoy

            Again, one has ‘thunked’ about these things. Why would a loving God allow evil to flourish. When one considers the depths of human suffering and misery over the centuries one might feel reluctantly drawn to the conclusion that this loving God is not so loving after all..
            Then we remind ourselves that God gave us free will; or as atheists, evolutionists and such like might say. “I am answerable to no God, and what I choose to do with my life is my affair..”

          • CliveM

            You are a deep thunker DB.

          • dannybhoy

            Thunk you.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Well said Clive !

          • Anton

            About nurses I tend to agree. About teachers I don’t. The profession is already skewed toward bossy leftie women teachers.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You do realise that you agreed with a point I have made? Put it down to heat stroke. It is 50 c+ in Baghdad
            today. Is that where you are?

          • Anton

            I agreed because you got that point right. You do realise we shall meet in heaven?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

          • CliveM

            One of my primary school teachers was a psychopath. A foul man, a man more unsuited to teaching it is hard to imagine.

            However the right type of male teacher can give boys excellent role models, especially when as now so many don’t have a full time father.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Note I said infants teaching….the little ones need female nurturing. What kind of guy wants to lead the role play enactment of ‘ I’m a little teapot ‘ 5 days a week….Yes that’s right and we don’t want those ! 🙂

          • CliveM

            Yes ok I agree. It also has to be said that school starts to young in the UK.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes agree….but not in the infants section.
            You seem so reasonable and grounded, Clive. Proof that a certain type of person can survive psychopaths. There is definitely a hint of Catholic about you:)

          • CliveM

            You are too kind Cressida!

          • dannybhoy

            Careful Clive, she might have ulterior motives..

    • John

      “If God is judging us, he won’t be focusing on SSM, or transgender rights or no fault divorce, he will be looking at the rape of our young ones and how society covered this up, looked the other way and changed the subject.”

      He will focus on it all.

      • CliveM

        Luke 17:2 2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

        • Marcus Stewart

          And His greatest punishment is probably reserved for clergy, who know who they are…

  • DespiteBrexit

    It is impossible to understand the deeds and words of Welby unless you realise that he is the establishment’s man in the church, not vice versa.
    And then you can understand all of them.

    • dannybhoy

      Sadly I find myself in agreement. Not that Justin is a people pleaser or even a hypocrite. Only that he seems to believe his role as Archbishop is to keep the good ship CofE afloat, and avoid clashing with the politically correct establishment.
      He can come out fulsomely against discrimination of most kinds, he can rally to the cause of the poor and disadvantaged.
      But it seems he cannot come out for Christian morality, or the need for repentance and the transformative power of the Gospel….

  • bobo

    Apropos of nothing, but did any of young victims of the Rotherham grooming gangs ever reach out to the Church for help and, if so, what was the outcome?

  • dannybhoy

    No disparagement of your winsomeness intended, but I think she’s in full Roman temptress mode..

  • John Moore.

    I’ve been waiting to have an explanation as to why this website was closed down on the same afternoon that it this item was published. It re-appeared the next morning without explanation but with a delay of some five seconds when another small notice was shown without explanation. What happened?

  • Marcus Stewart

    I’m grateful to this site for airing this disgraceful situation of prelates covering their own arses via scapegoats at any cost. Just when you think the CofE couldn’t disappoint any more… it does. It’s inverted priorities – the lunatics really are running the asylum – beggar belief. Theology – out; doctrine – out; scholarship – out; common sense – out; political correctness / multiculti-ism / gender lunacy / trans-whatever – more! What has it come to?