child abuse survivor - good samaritan
Church of England

“I need a friendly bishop,” said the child abuse survivor, as the prelate passed by on the other side

This is a guest post by Martin Sewell, a retired Child Protection Lawyer.

_____

Two years ago, Archbishop John Sentamu gave one of those sermons which you know you will remember.

It was delivered in York Minster to the assembled Houses of the General Synod of the Church of England, and Archbishop John was plainly on ‘home turf’. He was preaching on the Good Samaritan, and we had an icon to contemplate as he took us slowly and in-depth through the familiar text.

Plainly he knows the acoustics of the Cathedral well and used them to good effect, repeatedly returning to the same refrain at points in the story and demanding of his listeners: “Who will help? You? You? You?”, leaving the words to echo around and find their mark.

The church took the lesson to heart and has enthusiastically raised the question with the government when discussing refugees, foodbanks and the implementation of Universal Credit.

But what about matters closer to home? How about those who have suffered abuse within the church?

The story of the Good Samaritan challenges us to measure up to that standard.

When I attended the protest of victims at Canterbury, I met some survivors whose stories I did not know, so I agreed to listen and learn, and after a brief exchange of emails we agreed to talk later on the telephone.

The day before that call, I was contacted by a survivor who was in serious need, but was seeing no progress on the case settlement despite there being little doubt on liability. More worryingly, the survivor’s circumstances were worsening and homelessness was feared. There is more to the case but I must respect confidentiality.

An advance of something between 5% and 10% of the value of the claim would fix the problem and release the survivor from prolonged anxiety and frustration, so I urged that an advance payment on the settlement be sought.

We have been told in recent weeks that the church is more responsive to survivors, so it seemed to me to be an eminently reasonable request. It is not unusual in litigation where liability is not in issue.

The survivor was understandably reluctant to ‘beg’ for anything, and was anxious not to be seen as motivated by money. I therefore suggested that I could make a low-key suggestion that an advance payment might be considered, and this was agreed.

In his letter to Gilo, Archbishop Justin had written: “There are lessons to learn and I am keen that we learn them and make any changes necessary.” And it seemed to me that making a swift response to an emergency might be a part of the reformation in culture that we sorely need in this area. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them..’ came to mind.

The following day the church gave the survivor two responses: one that help should be sought from “a sympathetic bank manager”; the other that the claim had to go through “the usual channels” (ie slowly). “I don’t need a friendly bank manager,” said the survivor sadly, “I need a friendly bishop.”

Terse, dismissive, unfeeling… the Church of England could have been responding to a bothersome jobsworth at any secular organisation.

I am a naive fellow. I thought the church in its brave new world of sensitivity to the needs of child abuse victims might have a mechanism for swift executive action to help in circumstances such as this. I thought we might be geared to take risks for the gospel, confident that even if the House of Bishops had to report occasionally, after decades of making mistakes protecting abusers, they had unfortunately ‘wasted money’ by being over generous to victims, that the General Synod might have given them a sympathetic pass. Some of us might even have offered them a round of applause, given the history, congratulating them for daring to be fools for Christ.

It is actually not unprecedented for the church to facilitate a payment to a victim ‘off the balance sheet’.

In the case of Bishop George Bell, I had been puzzled at an early stage why the church insurers had not taken the legal point that the claim was statute barred, and wondered what their legal view was on the case, generally. My General Synod colleague David Lamming had pursued the point and ascertained the slightly surprising fact that, in the Bell case, the payment had come not from our insurers but had been privately brokered, half from the Church Commissioners and half from a private individual.

So it appears that the Church of England can be financially resourceful and creative during its preparation to throw one of its dead saints under a bus to improve its image, but when a living victim of child abuse needs urgent help, we apparently have no mechanism for responding.

The following day another survivor and I were having a conversation, and in passing he emphasised (like the earlier victim) that money was a secondary consideration. In fact, he said casually that some don’t need compensation because they come from very wealthy families.

Being utterly shameless and opportunist, and knowing how God moves in mysterious ways, I asked if I could be incredibly cheeky and enquired if anyone he knew might help a survivor in need. I was asked how much was needed. I gave an indication. “Leave it with me,” he said.

The money was in the needy bank account within a few hours – plus 50 per cent.

Who will help? You? You? You?

“Find a sympathetic bank manager,” said the CofE priest.

“The usual channels,” said the Levite.

“Brother, sister, let me serve you,” said the outsider, who had been paying attention.

  • Sarky

    Seems to me the church is still treating survivors like ‘dirty little secrets’.
    Instead of you?you?you? It should be shame!shame!shame!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Absolutely so.

  • ardenjm

    It’s important to take care of the victims: There, too, my own Church has been lamentably defensive (and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor instead of being eulogised as ‘a very gracious, godly man, kind and compassionate’ should have “Gatwick Airport Pedophile Facilitator” forever pinned after his name.) But even more important is to do the utmost to prevent there being more victims in the future.
    All the profiling, procedures and safe-guarding that have been added in the last 20 years are merely the tip of the iceberg of this problem – as welcome as they are and as effective as they have been.

    Statistics from the US confirm, around 90% of the abuse was of the following kind:
    Predatory homosexual men who should never have been ordained in the first place, preying on adolescent boys.
    What the Catholic Church has still failed to do is officially acknowledge that the problem lies there and respond, aggressively, accordingly: apply the discipline that has been the Church’s line for centuries and remove homosexuals from her clergy: first in the seminaries, then those who do not keep their promise of celibacy and then monitor those who, whilst chaste, still identify as homosexual.
    Will this create a climate of fear?
    Yes.
    That’s the point.
    Our Lord is clear in the Gospel that we must pluck out eyes, cut of limbs and place millstones around out necks and still fear even more the One who can send us to Hell.
    If homosexual men will not do their duty by not becoming priests then the Church must make it as difficult as possible for them to do so.

    And then you will see a genuine decline in not only abuse cases but in all the other attending problems of an institution dominated by a majority of maladjusted homosexual males.

    • It astonishes Jack that even now characters like Gregory Baum are eulogised in certain quarters of the Church after his self disclosures last year in his auto-biography, and priests like James Martin are not laicised.

      • Anton

        Baum died on Wednesday.

        • Jack knows. Visit a particular American dissenting site and he’s already being hailed a hero and being made ready for canonisation. Jack is expecting to be cast into utter darkness for having the “indecency” to criticise a recently dead man by sharing truths from his own auto-biography.

          • Anton

            Apologies; it wasn’t clear from what you wrote that you knew he had died. I confess that I had never heard of him so visited his Wikipedia page and discovered he was recently deceased. I have no problem with your words or their timing.

          • As a little known Catholic playwright once wrote: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

            This man’s evil is being turned into good and being held up as an example to follow.

          • Anton

            Shakespeare Catholic? You have to have no literary sensitivity to deny that he was a nominal Christian, and nominals are confined, for obvious reasons, to the mainstream version of the faith in their era.

          • Thought you’ d bite. What took you so long?

          • Anton

            Tackling the problems of the universe, Jack. I’m a physicist, remember?

      • ardenjm

        Powerful homosexual friends in high places.
        That’s what happens when over 50% of your clergy are homosexual.
        And they’ll be found in Liberal, Conservative and even Traditionalist places. More or less open (even to themselves) but there nonetheless.
        It’s the elephant in the sitting room and has been for some time.
        Think about it, Jack: because of the child abuse scandal the Church lost all moral authority for about a century in vast swathes of the world – you’d think that would focus minds on identifying and dealing with the real problem, right, given the fact that overwhelmingly these weren’t ‘pedophile’ priests but gay priests going after teenagers – a trait shared with many other gay men (since time immemorial).
        Has any of that been acknowledged?
        No.
        Because if you can make the narrative, “we’re so sorry for this separate category of people called pedophiles amongst us” you can deflect attention away from the larger problem: the massive presence of gays in the priesthood.
        That’s a powerful narrative they’ve been able to spin over the past 20 years.
        And so the rot continues.
        And will continue.

        How many homosexuals, fearing God and Hell, have done the decent thing and sought laicisation themselves? Some, perhaps. But far too few. And not one single bishop, NOT ONE to my knowledge, has openly said, “I shall not accept men who are homosexually attracted into my seminaries.”
        Because they ALL do.

        And we wonder why these dismal abuse cases and treatment of survivors in such a shoddy manner happen:
        Men of the Church no longer fear God’s judgement.

        • It makes Jack’s blood boil.

          • bluedog

            And the solution to the problem is?

          • As outlined above by ardenjm – prevent all homosexuals entering the church and remove all those in active ministry. Then adopt an honest, transparent and pastoral approach to victims and to the public.

          • Hi

            Even by AJM’s figure that would still be 10% abusers untouched. Therefore heterosexual priests should be banned too.

          • Yes and he has responded above.

          • Hi

            Not very well though.

          • For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, he did.

            No one is claiming all homosexuals are child sex abusers. Just that in over 80% of the American cases these were sexual crimes against boys by men. The other unspoken possibility is that there is powerful homosexual network in the Church that exercises influence and protects its own by nefarious methods.

          • bluedog

            If 50% of your priesthood is homosexual and you sack them your ministry collapses. You can only entertain this sort of purge if you have replacements, so where are they? The answer is, not in Europe. But can a non-European priesthood successfully takeover a European church in the current political environment. Once again, the answer is no. You are therefore faced with making changes to the rules for admission to the priesthood. There is no biblical inhibition on married priests, the celibate priesthood is a self-inflicted wound. Obvious step, recruitment of married men as priests. One concedes that women priests are not something we are likely to see within the Roman church, being both unbiblical and well outside tradition.

          • ardenjm

            It is ironic that you would propose a married clergy as a solution given the fact that this blog is actually about Anglican clerical abuse…

          • bluedog

            Irony noted and understood. However, the proposal for a married Catholic clergy is designed to cover the loss of 50% of the priesthood that results from the mooted expulsion of homosexual clergy.

          • ardenjm

            Young straight men in the Catholic Church would progressively discover that the Priesthood was for them.

            But this is a larger question of Catholic families and the contraceptive mentality. Which is for another time…

          • Anton

            They could always revert to what St Peter advocated, the priesthood of all believers (1 Pe 2:9).

          • bluedog

            The hierarchical structure of the established churches stands in direct contrast to the anarcho-syndicalist model of Christian worship you seem to prefer. While not doubting the sincerity of your suggestion, it is scarcely likely to be accepted, given 1700 years of Roman practice of the current model. Would you not agree?

          • Anton

            Sadly I agree. I’m highlighting the irony that St Peter himself regarded the priesthood as universal.

          • Hi

            Make AJ president of the Catholics for Protestants society..

          • Hannah, have no fear there is very little likelihood that a Judaic woman will ever be considered for the Catholic priesthood. Being ordained is not a human right. The Church is perfectly entitled to select those she judges suitable without this being “hateful” or “discrimination”.

          • Hi

            For clarification I don’t care whether homosexuals are let into the priesthood of your church . If the rule is to ban them so be it. What has annoyed me is this attempt to link abuse with homosexuality by the implication that all gays are potential abusers . This is done by ultra social conservatives to demonize gay people(which doesn’t work) and to reinforce the self belief that being gay is evil. If it were that simple then you wouldn’t have heterosexual abuse either.

          • bluedog

            HJ does things by the book, Hannah. May not rewrite the book, which is what is needed. With the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses coming up, it is remarkable to see how much the RC Church has changed to meet his demands, which are mainly about the abolition of the doctrine of purgatory and ending the practice of selling indulgences. What the Roman Church needs now is a new Luther to help it survive another 500 years. Don’t think Pope Frank is the man.

          • ardenjm

            Purgatory, and indeed Indulgences, still alive and well in the Catholic Church.

            The selling of indulgences was an abuse – and criticised as such – long before Luther got all uppitty about German money going south to Italy. An abuse no different to the Evangelical mega-churches and prosperity Gospel con of the last 30 years. But a con isn’t a dogmatic quarrel: Luther’s dogmatic quarrels saw nothing of Catholic doctrine change. Indeed, if anything, if you look at what happened to Protestantism (if there is such a thing) the Catholic Church looks remarkably well preserved (thank you Holy Spirit). Protestantism, on the other hand, has splintered into thousands of different pieces – none of which teach exactly what Luther taught (soul-sleep anyone? justifying Philip of Hesse’s bigamy?) thereby proving the Catholic case against him all by themselves: throw off the Magisterial authority of the Church and every man becomes their own infallible pontificator on the meaning of Scripture.

          • bluedog

            Surprising, but maybe not surprising, that the indulgence racket continues in the Roman church.

            Is there a publicly available schedule of fees? Or is it a matter of sotto voce negotiation in say, the confessional? One imagines that a Cardinal, like a QC, would charge far higher rates than say, a humble parish priest. But it all depends on value for money. Would a Cardinal harbouring dark secrets of paedophilia have his licence suspended by the Almighty, yet continue to practice without earthly sanction? One might never know until one stood at the Gates of Hell. The scenarios and variables are considerable. If you can point this communicant towards the salvationary equivalent of Lord Sumption QC it would be much appreciated.

            What one needs is a good Jewish Cardinal who really gets results.

          • ardenjm

            Sorry to burst your Jack Chick fantasy bubble.
            Like I said (already) the abusive sale of indulgences is an old crime: Simony. Existed in the Church since, well, Simon Magus, and exists still. Protestant ponzo schemes are no different. So indulgences aren’t bought nor sold (nor should have been at the time Luther’s constipation-inspired revolt, erm, erupted). Indulgences are a gift of grace within the Church’s purview, astonishingly. When Our Lord said ‘what you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven’ that’s the kind of indulgence He’s granting to the Church: stewards bringing things both new and old from the storeroom for the renewal and well-being of the members of Christ’s body, the Church.

            Hope that clarifies. In so far as anyone wilfully bigoted ever can be.
            But we do our best and leave it in the hands of the Holy Spirit to break through your seemingly invincible ignorance.

          • bluedog

            ‘Jack Chick’. Never heard of him, her, it. But drawing a line from ‘wilfully bigoted’ and ‘invincible ignorance’, it’s an insult. But like jokes that need to be explained before polite laughter, meaningless insults fall just as flat.

            When you posted ‘Purgatory, and indeed Indulgences, still alive and well in the Catholic Church.’ you did not make the point that these Indulgences were not paid, or so at least it seemed. If I’m wrong I’m happy to admit it. But in this instance your infantile abuse suggests it would be a mistake to offer an apology. You don’t deserve one.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Ardenjm was very clear that “the sale of indulgences was an abuse…”

          • bluedog

            Sure. But that’s his opinion and doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been the practice, and indeed, may not still be the practice.

          • Terry Mushroom

            He said that it was an abuse. He agrees with you that it was wrong.

            I’m intrigued that you think selling indulgences may still go on. If I may ask, what are the grounds for your suspicion? Who buys and who sells?

          • bluedog

            Pure speculation. Have no evidence but would guess that in central and South America, as well as in somewhere like the Phillipines, it would a case of the Chinese proverb, ‘The mountains are high and the emperor is far away’. Then there is Africa.

          • Terry Mushroom

            As you say: pure speculation.

          • ardenjm

            I rarely deserve apologies so please don’t give it a second thought.
            But your extended riffing on the theme of indulgences was just a form of self-pleasuring so I decided to throw a bucket of cold water over you to calm you down.
            Indulgences aren’t paid for.
            It’s an abuse always and everywhere for money to be made from grace.
            But of course Luther’s revolt was based on far more deep-rooted errors than getting (rightly) cross about indulgences.

          • Hi

            It makes my blood boil when people use this kind of abuse to jump on a homosexual hate bandwagon.

        • Hi

          I was wondering who would come up with this usual nonsense that homosexuality automatically = paedophilia / abuser.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes. I agree. I believe there are statistics showing that homosexuality and paedophilia are positively correlated, which someone will produce before long. But these comments seem to go far beyond that in a way which is unfair and unjustified.

          • Anton

            At a time when 1-3% of people identified themselves as homosexual, one study found that 25% of a group of paedophiles was homosexual in their preference for adult sexual partners: see Blanchard, R., et al., Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation in pedophiles, in: Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 29, pp. 463-478; 2000, and references therein.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            The problem with that is that it is not a finding of the study by Blanchard et al., which you cite. The Abstract refers to “the high prevalence of homosexuality in pedophiles (25% in this study)”, which as it stands is perhaps ambiguous. The main text makes it clear, however, that this figure refers to a homosexual (same sex) preference for CHILDREN, not for adults:

            “The proportion of pedophiles in this study who were exclusively or primarily interested in boys, as assessed from their offense histories, was 25%.”

            In the final paragraph of their detailed list of the implications of their study, the authors add that “A few closing comments are necessary to preclude any misunderstanding or misuse of this study”. One of those closing comments is the following:

            “Ordinary (teleiophilic) homosexual men are no more likely to molest boys than ordinary (teleiophilic) heterosexual men are to molest girls.”

          • Anton

            I need to dig out my copy of it, but when is a boy a young man and vice versa?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            An interesting question for discussion, as equally is the question, “When is a girl a young woman and vice versa?” What Blanchard et al. tell us, however, is that for their investigation into the fraternal birth order of homosexual and heterosexual paedophiles they took as their paedophile subjects “260 sex offenders (against children age 14 or younger)”.

          • Hi

            Correlation doesn’t equal causation and besides which it is the usual suspects who have a problem with homosexuality who are trying to jump on any bandwagon to bash homosexual people.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes. Agreed. I don’t think anyone’s saying there’s a causation.
            Anton has the stats. They seem significant.
            Suppose 2% of people were ginger but 25% of paedophiles were ginger. You might think twice about employing a ginger babysitter.

          • Hi

            The difference is that paedophilia and homosexuality are two different matters. It’s like saying 2% of people drink tea and 25% of abusers are tea drinkers. Therefore all tea drinkers must be abusers or a deduction that tea drinking and abuse are somehow correlated. Do you not see the logical fallacy there?

          • Chefofsinners

            No, it would be a fallacy if a correlation did not exist. But the statistics seem to show that a correlation does exist.
            In your example tea drinking and abuse are correlated. A statistical link is what correlation means.

          • ardenjm

            I’m making no such confusion at all.
            The Church’s plurisecular tradition was to deny ordination to homosexuals.
            This was NOT because they were more likely to be pederasts (though they are – and that’s the Twink subculture in the homosexual world today) but simply because they were not apt to living in seminary with other men etc.

            The issue of the blog post however was pedophilia.
            Pedophilia is very wicked.
            But most of the abuse cases presented as pedophilia were not, technically pedophilia at all but ephebophilia: a phenomenon so widespread in human history and cultures that in some places and times it became virtually an institution: ancient Greece, Japan, parts of Afghanistan.

            Once you can acknowledge the difference you can then identify the demographic prone to the actions:
            There are pedophiles in the Church.
            There are ephebophiles also. But this latter is drawn from the population of homosexuals in the Church. The pedophiles are a case a part.

            That Hannah is clutching her pearls because I’m equating gays with pedophiles is PRECISELY that kind of obfuscating collusion that has made this problem so disastrous for the Catholic Church. You can’t “persecute” the gays which means you can’t deal with the problem of ephebophilia, it’s all lumped under pedophilia and the category “pedophile” entirely separated from where the real problem lies:
            there are FAR TOO MANY gay men in the priesthood.
            And the Church must resolutely deal with this.

            Hannah doesn’t like this? Fine. Then she shouldn’t become a Catholic.

            Simple.

          • For clarification I don’t care whether homosexuals are let into the priesthood of your church . If the rule is to ban them so be it.

          • ardenjm

            Thanks for clarifying.

            Let’s proportion our mutual indifference to each other’s views on this issue accordingly henceforth.

          • Hi

            Okay. I’m off now anyways!

          • Chefofsinners

            I won’t be becoming a Catholic any time soon either. From my point of view the Catholic Church’s culpability goes deeper than you suggest. The problem has been caused by creating an unbiblical priesthood and by preventing them from marrying. Add in a tendency to create an obedient, silent, fearful laity and you have the perfect environment for sexual exploitation of all kinds.

          • ardenjm

            “The problem has been caused by creating an unbiblical priesthood and by preventing them from marrying.”
            Well, my replies have been highlighting 2 problems:
            1. The prevalence of predatory homosexuals in the priesthood.
            2. The presence of pedophiles in the priesthood.
            Even if we lump 1&2 together the proportion of abuse in the Catholic Church is not significantly statistically higher than any other organisation, apparently. But the Church is so big we just heard more about it.

            Your idea, though, that married life is a panacea for sexual frustrations will surely astound many, many couples who have been together for any length of time…

            As for a compliant, infantilised laity – I agree only to an extent. If you look at Church history you’ll see that the laity have rarely been cowed for long. But it can happen and almost certainly did happen in the 20th century – often connected to the Irish. If you look at the truly awful cases of pedophilia: Britain, Ireland, Newfoundland, Boston, Australia – the priests nearly always share one thing in common: Irish origins.

            As for a celibate Priesthood: it was part of the Gregorian reforms to both solve nepotism and concubinage on the one hand (and rightly so) and to configure the instrumental Priest to Christ, Sovereign Priest who, of course, was unmarried Himself. This was, and remains, a lofty and noble witness to the Gospel of Our Lord. The onus, then, during 7 years of formation is to have men apt for it.

          • Anton

            I suggest that the Irish connection is simply that Catholic Ireland was always going to be the main source of Catholic priests in the English-speaking world, because of the linguistic commonality and because of mass emigration.

          • ardenjm

            And the Francophone Catholic world? And the Hispanophone? Hundreds of millions of Catholics amongst those two missionary population groups in Africa and South America.
            Abuse has happened, of course it has but nothing like with the same frequency.

          • Anton

            Or perhaps it has only been exposed in the English-speaking world to date. Time will tell. But as you consider it is principally an Irish phenomenon, have you a suggestion why?

          • ardenjm

            For some of the reasons you yourself highlighted: A laity dominated by a clergy who had been the only effective educated opposition to English persecution down the centuries – and grinding poverty coupled with a northern european puritanism. It was a perfect storm, alas.

          • Anton

            That doesn’t explain why evil was expressed sexually of all the many ways it can be.

          • ardenjm

            Then you’ve forgotten what the whole world was like before the 1970s.

          • Anton

            Don’t get rhetorical. There are a few missing links in your argument that the Irish are more paedophilic when they get ordained. I’m defending the Irish rather than attacking Rome in this subthread!

          • ardenjm

            ‘There are a few missing links in your argument that the Irish are more paedophilic when they get ordained.’
            That’s not the argument I made. That’s your extrapolation.
            I said simply that the cases of pedophilia around the English-speaking world correlate, disturbingly, to Irish names (be they first or second, third, fourth, generation Irish emigrés.) I suggested that the particular role and understanding of
            1. The Church as sole successful cultural resistor to English (Protestant) domination led to a particular veneration of the priest and subservience to the institution.
            2. Purience and puritanism in a hyper-clericalised and moralised nation.
            3. Poverty.
            All of these thing factor in.
            1 goes some way to explaining the clerical abuse cases especially when added to the other factors 2 & 3. But 2 & 3 alone would suggest that abuse also occurred in Irish families. That physical abuse certainly happened is undoubted. That sexual abuse also happened is almost certainly the case, also. Angela’s Ashes may be a fictionalised account but it’s plausible enough.

          • magnolia

            Thin line between nepotism and “passing on the genes/ knowledge/ ability/culture”. Some of the very best Anglican clergy have been sons of the clergy, used to answering the door and being sympathique from an early age. It is almost an apprenticeship per se. Perhaps the church over-reacted.

          • Anton

            Incidentally, “homosexual” as a noun rather than a description of a form of behaviour was unknown until the Romantic Movement a couple of centuries ago, as noted by the gay community’s own preferred intellectual Michel Foucault (in his History of Sexuality, vol.1, part 2). This is why Mosaic Law prevented certain acts and never spoke of orientation. It is why Rowan Williams was mistaken (as usual) to suggest (in a private letter made public at the time of the Jeffrey John business) that the prohibitions were on heterosexuals seeking sexual variety rather than on dedicated homosexuals.

          • bluedog

            It is remarkable that this correlation is not being researched and the resulting paper published. One can only speculate on the reasons for such a significant omission. There have been suggestion on this blog that a survey of paedophile prisoners resulted in 30% admitting to homosexuality. If this is true it’s an extremely significant finding. Unfortunately we have moved into a perverse era of the glorification of homosexuality in which any adverse fact is censored or repressed.

          • Anton

            See my reference to the work of Blanchard, below.

          • bluedog

            Noted. Many thanks.

          • ardenjm

            And I’ve been wondering who would try and pretend that 90% of the cases in the Catholic Church weren’t pedophilia at all but gay men going after fresh adolescent meat.

            You win the prize for muddle-headed connivance.

          • Hi

            I’m not conniving in anything. I’m noting that you are trying to use abuse of heterosexual and homosexual nature and then twist this to a general attack on gay people , who are perfectly capable of having age appropriate, loving and consenting relationships.

            Also , I read this Wikipedia article, which refutes your assertions quite well :

            “According to the John-Jay-Report 80.9% [Not 90% as you claim ] of the alleged abuse victims in the United States were male.[17]

            ….Margaret Smith, a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the report, pointed out that it is “an unwarranted conclusion” to assert that the majority of priests who abused male victims are gay. Though “the majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature […] participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.” She further stated that “the idea of sexual identity [should] be separated from the problem of sexual abuse…[A]t this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”[19]

            Another researcher, Louis Schlesinger, argued that the main problem was pedophilia or ephebophilia, not sexual orientation and claimed that some men who are married to adult women are attracted to adolescent males.[20]

            “It’s important to separate the sexual identity and the behavior,” said Karen Terry, a second researcher. “Someone can commit sexual acts that might be of a homosexual nature but not have a homosexual identity.” Terry said factors such as greater access to boys is one reason for the skewed ratio. Smith also raised the analogy of prison populations where homosexual behavior is common even though the prisoners are not necessarily homosexuals, or cultures where men are rigidly segregated from women until adulthood, and homosexual activity is accepted and then ceases after marriage.[19]

            Analyzing a number of studies, Gregory M. Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, concluded: “The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so… Many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.”[21]

            In an interview with CNN, James Cantor, Editor-in-Chief of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment said, “It’s quite solidly shown in the scientific literature that there is absolutely no association between being a gay man and being a pedophile.”

          • ardenjm

            Sigh. I said nearly 90%. Other studies are closer to that figure for earlier decades you’ll find. But in any case – a whopping 80% is still a huge number.

            Here is precisely the problem:
            “The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.”

            Indeed they are not, I can well believe it. And in relation to what I’ve been speaking about this is the 10% of genuine pedophile abuse cases.
            But what has been studiously avoided is asking:
            What percentage of homosexual men are attracted to adolescents between the ages of 14-18? (You see, in the States, where a minor is under 18, sexual relations with, say, a 16 year old scout is counted as pedophilia, just as the abuse of a 6 year old would be.) And there you’ll find that a huge proportion of the cases of “pedophilia” in the US at least were done by men who would otherwise be classified as homosexual (and who’d have sexual experiences with other men) taking the opportunity to take advantage of post-pubescent adolescents.

            Is that a problem? It sure is. But let’s not forget that our own secular hero, Peter Tatchell, campaigned to have the age of consent for such boys lowered to 14: because that suits the youth-obsessed culture of the gay “community”.
            And it has ALWAYS been thus.

            So why the hell would you have upwards of 70% of your men in the priesthood from of that “community”?
            It beggars belief.

          • Though “the majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature […] participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.” She further stated that “the idea of sexual identity [should] be separated from the problem of sexual abuse…[A]t this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”

            There’s the obfuscation, right there. Because the men having homosexual sex with boys (which is not paedophilia) and they did not self identify as homosexuals (were they confused heterosexuals?), no link between the two was established.

          • ardenjm

            Yup.
            Thanks, Jack.

            We live in times of absolutely diabolical confusion.

          • Anton

            50 children per week are being referred to sex change clinics according to today’s Mirror frontpage.

            The essence of trans is that one’s spiritual sexual identity is unrelated to one’s physical sexual identity, ie one’s genitals and genes. But there is a clear contradiction between that assertion and sex-change operations on one’s genitals. What is the Trans response to that point? And what is the Trans reply to the question, “You say that there are men wandering round with vaginas they were born with, and likewise women with penises. What is your definition of man and of woman?”

          • John

            The fact it was the Mirror, and only the Mirror, reporting those stats does not inspire confidence that this is true or accurate – mercifully I might add.

          • Hi

            It’s not , it is something which goes against your world view. . So you have to dismiss it for it to it into that sphere.

          • So all these men having sex with boys – what “sexual orientation” were they exhibiting?

          • ardenjm

            Exactly! They have to be described as ‘pedophiles’.
            There are thus 3 categories: gay, straight and pedophile.

            It’s a complete nonsense.

            Edit: sorry, 4, no doubt. Let’s not forget the bisexuals.
            [Cue the LGBTQI alphabet-soup brigade protesting that they all need to be included, too.]

          • Wot about the transgenders?

          • Hi

            You are saying this to toe the party line. From the same Wikipedia article :

            “Rome’s Congregation for Catholic Education issued an official document, the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders (2005). The document has attracted criticism based on an interpretation that the document implies that homosexuality is associated with pedophilia and ephebophilia.[13]

            In a statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in 2009, the Holy See stated that the majority of Catholic clergy who had committed acts of sexual abuse against under 18 year olds should not be viewed as pedophiles, but as homosexuals.[14] The statement said that rather than pedophilia, “it would be more correct to speak of ephebophilia; being a homosexual attraction to adolescent males”[15] The move angered many gay rights organizations and sex abuse victims groups, who claimed it was an attempt by the Vatican to redefine the Church’s past problems with pedophilia as problems with homosexuality.[16]”

          • ardenjm

            Err, the party-line?
            We’re CATHOLICS.
            OF COURSE we try and be obedient to the Church.
            The Modernist Crisis of the last 100 years is that the Laity strive to do so and the ground is cut from under their feet by literally diabolical Bishops.

          • Hi

            I wasn’t intending that to be a criticism. It’s an observation.

          • It’s a matter of reason and logic once one examines the data – not emoting and screeching.

            The move angered many gay rights organizations and sex abuse victims groups, who claimed it was an attempt by the Vatican to redefine the Church’s past problems with pedophilia as problems with homosexuality.

            So what? The “victims group” would be SNAP and associated dissident groups who are intent on using this crisis to destroy orthodox Catholicism.

          • Hi
            “So what? The “victims group” would be SNAP and associated dissident groups who are intent on using this crisis to destroy orthodox Catholicism.”

            This may or may not be true , but by that token , you aren’t exactly being objective yourself , so this isn’t you bringing reason and logic to my screeching etc.

          • Do you know anything about SNAP and their programme? Jack’s point was objective.

          • Hi

            But you brought in the word SNAP, not me!

          • Because my point is true.

          • Hi

            But you aren’t so neutral arbiter on this subject. That was my initial point. Second point is the quote mentioned victim groups, in the plural. It may be true this snap group doesn’t agree with your worldview, but it wasn’t mentioned by me in the first place. It seems like a diversion.

          • ardenjm

            Perhaps one day we will have a majority of people who no longer subscribe to Nietzschean perspectivism (knowingly or not.)
            Presently, though, as the Modernist Crisis continues its toxic way through our civilization, we claim that all we can ever hope to have are competing narratives and subjective spins.
            Sigh.
            T.S.Eliot already summed it up 100 years ago! And yet here we still are, still “shoring fragments against the ruins.”

            How long O Lord!

          • That was Saint Peter Damian’s sigh too.

          • Know anything about SNAP and their agenda?

          • John

            Only 80.9% of the victims were male! That’s still an awful lot of buggery and that’s pretty solid evidence that predatory homosexuals account for over eight tenths of the problem of historic child abuse. It is completely irrelevant, Hannah, that gays can have ‘age-appropriate, loving and consenting relationships’. Most men and women can have an age-appropriate, loving, consenting, life-giving and happy marriage. But Fred and Rose West were still monsters.

        • Anton

          As I understand from essentially secular friends in Ireland, the collapse of Catholic moral authority there is due more to the bishops covering it up than the priests who perpetrate it.

          • ardenjm

            Sure.
            The Bishops have the most to answer for.

            And they will – if they haven’t gone to meet their Maker yet.

    • Hi

      If 90% of the abuse was “homosexual” then presumably 10% were “heterosexuals” . Therefore heterosexual priests should be banned as well?

      • ardenjm

        No. What I said, if you’d paid attention instead of self-righteously lumbering in was that around 90% of the cases were of gay men going after adolescent boys.
        The remaining cases were of genuine pedophiles going after pre-pubescent children: be they boys or girls.
        As for the rest of your spurious nonsense – and you’re not a Catholic if memory serves me correctly – there isn’t a simple equivalence between heterosexuality and homosexuality.
        One is a nature rightly ordered, the other is a nature that is dis-ordered: i.e. oriented in a direction which is not natural. Accordingly, whilst such people must be treated with compassion and kindness, the Church has long been clear that they should not be ordained priests. That requirement has been routinely ignored for decades.

        On a purely practical level – and I hope you can understand this at least – an overwhelmingly homosexual clergy no longer corresponds to the laity it serves: where, at the very most only 5% will be gay or lesbian.

        • Hi

          You got that first statistic wrong. Why should I take anything else you say at face value?

          • ardenjm

            If you’re merely interested in rhetorical grandstanding – in which case Aristotle wasted his time writing his Refutation of the Sophists – then of course you don’t need to. I guess you could take your self-satisfied self-righteousness along with you to your moral high ground and feel very pleased with yourself. (But don’t forget the oxygen tanks: the air is rarefied all the way up there.)

            Alternatively, you could look at the argument I made – which isn’t premissed on the precise statistic but simply “lots of” – and refute it accordingly.

            Your call.
            In relation to yourself, I really don’t care.
            In relation to the Church, however, I shall persevere.

            Oh – and here’s why I said nearly 90%:
            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/28/sex-abuse-religion-vatican

          • Hi

            I’ve been pretty polite to you and if anyone is rhetorical grandstanding it is yourself. I know you hate homosexuals, but You shouldn’t let that hatred make you go ott against the facts.

          • ardenjm

            I don’t ‘hate’ homosexuals at all.
            For pity’s sake. Quit the emoting and the psychological projection.

            Homosexuals require compassion, friendship and God’s grace – just like the rest of us.
            What they don’t require is muddle-headed (or worse) Bishops welcoming them into the priesthood. They have no place there.
            End of.

            And please don’t take my lack of politeness personally.
            I’m like it with everyone.
            All of the time.

          • Anton

            Must make for a great family life!

    • Terry Mushroom

      Pope Francis says in Evangelii Gaudium: “Spiritual worldliness can also translate into a concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions.

      “It can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution. The mark of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ.”

      I offer this extract to partly explain what has gone wrong.

  • Ray Sunshine

    Thank you, Martin, for yet another of your rewarding insights into the nature of the problem and the difficulty of finding a solution.

  • Royinsouthwest

    The anonymous donor of the money deserves great credit. Martin and the person to whom he addressed the question also deserve praise even if they would be slightly embarrassed to receive it.

  • carl jacobs

    Of course, on the other side of this article is another lawyer. That lawyer is very interested in words like “precedent” and “fraudulent claims”. He might also have a different assessment as to whether or not there was “little doubt on liability”. None of that matters to a private individual with surplus money and a willingness to help. It matters greatly to an organization.

    Lawyers aren’t bound by the truth. They are advocates who make persuasive arguments by eliding certain inconvenient details. This is not to say the advocate should be ignored. It means he should be subjected to cross examination before judgment is rendered.

    This statement for example:

    The day before that call, I was contacted by a survivor who was in serious need, but was seeing no progress on the case settlement despite there being little doubt on liability.

    Do we just take that statement at face value? The author wants us to do just that. In fact his entire case depends upon it. But what justification has he offered for it?

    Lawyers …

    • Anton

      …are still human beings in the image of God, and some of them are Christians.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, they are. But what relevance is that?

        • Anton

          OK, not a lot, but let me defend Mr Sewell another way: He is not in court, he is on Cranmer’s blog.

          • carl jacobs

            Which means he is free of the constraints of the Court.

          • Anton

            Quite: He can say what he really thinks, rather than words designed to further his client’s case.

          • carl jacobs

            Is he acting as a lawyer for a client? That isn’t clear to me. If so, then is he deliberately using this post to shape the battlefield in his client’s best interest? That would be his ethical responsibility. And if so, how should I treat this article? Lawyers don’t just act in court.

          • Anton

            But juries are supposed to act only on information disclosed in court.

          • carl jacobs

            But we both know that ideal is unrelializable. A Court case is contested both in and out of Court. If you can pressure your opponent settle, so much the better.

          • Anton

            Do you think that lawyer, in your country at least, is a profession that any committed Christian should “come out of, my people”?

    • A realistic point …. tinged with an edge of slight cynicism … but valid. You seem to have some issues with the noble legal profession. All upright citizens one and all.

      That said, the Church could have made a “without prejudice” payment if liability was still an issue given the circumstances of the person being referred. Jack would be interested to know what amount was being requested.

      Just so you know, these sort of bureaucratic-legalistic scenarios used to drive Jack up the wall when people approached him through his Church in his role as a Saint Vincent de Paul volunteer. He always adopted the position that if he was a fool in meeting immediate need then he would rather err on the side of the person in need and be a “fool for Christ” than turn them away. If the charitable donations which had been made by parishioners was then found to be misappropriated, as it was other people’s money he was dispensing, he would refund it out of his own pocket. He never had to – not once. Of course the sums involved were small – ranging from £20 – £100 – but the principle stands.

      These are bishops with access to considerable sums of money. Let them set-up a help fund to cover these unexpected situations. When they’re mismanaged, all they do is add fuel to the sense of injustice and set barriers between themselves and those they owe a pastoral duty to.

      • carl jacobs

        You seem to have some issues with the noble legal profession.

        Let’s just say every Spidey sense in my body went off when I read “Child Protection Lawyer”.

        Jack would be interested to know what amount was being requested.

        I wondered that as well. Why wasn’t it revealed? It was left as an exercise for the reader to infer what “small” meant. And you know that wasn’t an accident. The author had a reason to keep that information hidden. He is manipulating his reader to reach certain conclusions. Heck, I’m not even sure if the author is acting as a lawyer or as a friend.

        I want to make a comment here about “slithering reptiles” but I won’t.

        • Maybe he’s being as wise as a serpent, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Of that I have no doubt. But whose wisdom and to what end?

            He may be telling the truth. He may be telling the truth as far as he is willing. Do you believe the defense attorney when he says “My client is innocent”?

          • Do defence lawyers actually say that? Are they not bound to withdraw if their clients disclose they are guilty? Rather, they say: “My client is pleading not guilty.” It’s their job to create “narratives” and highlight “facts” that promote the interests of those they represent. It’s an adversarial process after all.

          • carl jacobs

            Are they not bound to withdraw if their clients disclose they are guilty?

            No. They are ethically bound to present an effective competent defense despite knowing of the client’s guilt. They are bound to lie and deceive and manipulate. They can’t suborn perjury. Now read this post again in that context.

          • Hmm … Jack gets your point. Very slippery and yet ….. :

            Can my lawyer represent me if he knows I’m guilty?

            Yes. Defense attorneys are ethically bound to zealously represent all clients, the guilty as well as the innocent. Perhaps no one has ever put the duty as eloquently as Henry VIII’s soon-to-be-beheaded ex-Chancellor Sir Thomas More, who, before going to the scaffold, insisted, “I’d give the devil the benefit of law, for mine own safety’s sake.” A vigorous defense is necessary to protect the innocent and to ensure that judges and citizens and not the police have the ultimate power to decide who is guilty of a crime.

            Another way of looking at this is that the defense lawyer almost never really knows whether the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she has been charged with. Just because the defendant says he did it doesn’t make it so. The defendant may be lying to take the rap for someone he wants to protect, or may be guilty, but guilty of a different and lesser crime than the one being prosecuted by the district attorney. For these reasons, among others, many defense lawyers never ask their clients if they committed the crime. Instead, the lawyer uses the facts to put on the best defense possible and leaves the question of guilt to the judge or jury.

            If my lawyer knows I’m guilty, can my lawyer argue at trial that I should be found not guilty?

            Yes. The key is the difference between factual guilt (what the defendant did) and legal guilt (what a prosecutor can prove). A good criminal defense lawyer asks not, “What did my client do?” but rather, “What can the government prove?” No matter what the defendant has done, he is not legally guilty until a prosecutor offers enough evidence to persuade a judge or jury to convict. However, the defense lawyer may not lie to the judge or jury by specifically stating that the defendant did not do something the lawyer knows the defendant did do. Rather the lawyer’s trial tactics and arguments focus on the government’s failure to prove all the elements of the crime.

            Defendant a guilty client may mean committing professional suicide.

            Criminal defense attorneys may vigorously defend guilty clients, but as a couple of examples make clear, they risk committing professional suicide by doing so. Way back in 1840, Charles Phillips, one of the finest British barristers of his era, defended Benjamin Courvoisier against a charge that Courvoisier brutally murdered his employer, wealthy man-about-town Lord Russell. Courvoisier privately confessed to Phillips that he was guilty. Nevertheless, Phillips’s aggressive cross examinations suggested that the police officers were liars and that other members of Lord Russell’s staff might have killed him. Courvoisier was convicted and executed. But when it became generally known that Phillips had known that his client was guilty, Phillips became a pariah to the profession and the public.

            https://sfcriminallawspecialist.com/blog/how-lawyers-defend-a-guilty-client-in-a-criminal-case/

          • carl jacobs

            I understand the necessity and logic behind the system. But that understanding exists only in Court. It leads me to doubt everything a lawyer says once removed from Court.

            And if a lawyer suggests an alternate motive in order to cast suspicion on an alternate suspect all the while knowing full well that his client is guilty, what is that but lying?

          • Is it lying? As the extract above says: “The key is the difference between factual guilt (what the defendant did) and legal guilt (what a prosecutor can prove). A good criminal defense lawyer asks not, “What did my client do?” but rather, “What can the government prove?”

            It takes a certain type of person to become a lawyer and preserve personal integrity whilst playing their part effectively in such a system. Offering alternative scenarios that fit the presented “facts” is their job.

          • carl jacobs

            Offering alternative scenarios that fit the presented “facts” is their job.

            Yes. It’s called lying. If you know that Mr X is guilty and you suggest Mr Y is guilty, you are lying about Mr Y. It may be a necessary part of your job. But call it by its name.

          • But …. but …. he’s only guilty if the prosecutor can prove him so. Trial by ordeal would be so much more efficient. It’s a game with rules of conduct. A bit like chess.

          • Maalaistollo

            I believe you were correct in your earlier comment that a defence lawyer must withdraw from the case if the Defendant client admits that he is guilty but nevertheless instructs the lawyer to pursue a ‘not guilty’ plea. Anton’s recollection is similarly correct. The lawyer’s duty to the court overrides his duty to the client. That’s how it is in England, at any rate. They may do things differently in HM Plantations Overseas.

            Carl does seem to have a bit of a problem with lawyers. What can account for his entirely unreasonable and disproportionate assertions that they are, apparently without exception, incapable of telling the truth? I would be interested to know how he would propose to operate a legal system without lawyers. Has he never needed advice or representation himself?

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t say they were incapable of telling the truth. I said they weren’t bound by the truth. There is a difference. A lawyer is an advocate ethically bound to act in his client’s best interest. Everything he says must be viewed through that lens.

          • Maalaistollo

            Did a lawyer cut you off in mid-sentence?

          • carl jacobs

            No, I accidentally hit the “Post” button. It’s fixed now.

          • Maalaistollo

            I can only assume that the professional ethics rules are different in your part of the world. Do American lawyers not have an overriding duty to the court?

          • carl jacobs

            They can’t suborn perjury. The defendant pleads and not the lawyer. The lawyer presents his case in service to his client. How could he serve his client if he goes to the judge and says “My client confessed his guilt”? It would be a violation of attorney-client privilege. Jack’s post stands unrefuted by anecdote.

            If you want to see a defense attorney in all his glory, examine the work of Jose Baez in the trial of Casey Anthony.

          • Maalaistollo

            Then the ethical rules appear to be different. The US legal system (or should it be systems, if each state has its own laws) is interesting in that it has retained a number of practices that were the norm in 18th century England, but which have subsequently been done away with here. Grand Juries, for instance. Also, I have seen recently-drafted American documents which use exactly the same language as would have been used here a couple of hundred years ago, but which would be quite unfamiliar to a modern English lawyer.

          • OJ Simpson.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I think that “More” quote is from A Man for All Seasons: and it’s certainly true, the character of More in that play is wholly admirable. Shame about the real life fella; which is rather the point: don’t go to a hagiography of a lawyer to understand who he is, go to his case history.

          • Hope you’re not relying on Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs” for your assessment.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Nothing so partisan. I just remember that More was a man who delighted in the burning of booksellers and personally interrogated suspects in his own home. I don’t need to turn him into a cartoon to find many of the things he did repulsive. Nor am I afflicted with the curse of Wolf Hall and be unable to see any virtue in some of the other things he did. He was a politician with the wit and appetite for conflict characteristic of many lawyers who was thoroughly nasty when in power and recovered a modicum of dignity when he lost it in the face of that great thug Henry VIII.

          • Anton

            Well said. A much over-rated man. The Catholic of principle who deserves respect at that time was John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.

          • Anton

            I don’t know about the USA but I’m not sure that’s true in England, based on vague memories of asking a barrister friend quite a long time ago what happened if a client disclosed to him that he was guilty.

  • Anton

    The problem of cover-up is endemic to big hierarchical organisations: those tasked with oversight cover up for their juniors. I question this model of church polity.

    That said, Christians are bound by the New Testament whether they are high-ups or not and, supposing that the situation is as described above, this is a sorry and disgraceful tale.

    • Mike Stallard

      “supposing that the situation is as described above”
      Well now, I am not at all prepared to make a judgement on that without meeting the grown up who was allegedly abused. I hope, too, that nobody else is.
      Last Thursday, I was with a young man of seventeen whose Mum and Dad had had a huge quarrel in front of him and his brother. He ruined my lesson because he was in total melt-down. Luckily it was an adult education class with three lovely ladies there too. They were outstanding in listening, in a rather shocked way.
      Then he went back to his disintegrating home.
      For an awful lot of people, life is very tough. Very tough. We have to get used to it and Christianity has, actually quite a lot to say about this really.

  • David

    I bow to those with greater knowledge and wisdom of all this.
    But I just wish that, once liability is not in question, the Church would stop behaving in such a defensive manner, rather like a international corporate organisation anxious to please its shareholders, but instead as the loving, compassionate reflection of the Christian message of help, hope and kindness.

    • Matthew Ineson

      Well said David! Totally agree!

    • Come now. Even when there were only 12 Apostles Judas appears to have put finance above promoting the Kingdom. It’s human nature to want to want to protect oneself, one’s possessions and one’s reputation. It exists in all organisations, small and large. Isn’t that the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

      • David

        What a strange comment. You know very well that Churches are meant to act at a level above that of the natural man. Let’s not make excuses here.

        • It’s not a defence. Of course Churches should act above the level of natural man. – as should all 12 of the Apostles. They don’t because they are composed of flawed sinful men.

          • David

            Correct !

          • …. with the exception of one, true Church being free of dogmatic or doctrinal error, just in case there’s any further misunderstanding about what Jack meant.

          • Anton

            Do you realise that you have just said the Roman Catholic church is NOT composed of flawed sinful men?

          • Now corrected, thank you.

  • Inspector General

    There used to be wolves in England. But then monastic orders arrived from the continent and introduced sheep farming on a massive scale. The wolf no doubt considered itself among the most blessed of God’s creatures when that happened.

    Today, sheep farming may have its problems, but the wolf isn’t one of them.

    The Church of England still believes wolves and lambs can exist together in it. You could say some members are passionate about this. Wolves get ‘hungry’ but the same are still passionate about co-existence. Of course the church holds lambs dear. They are the future. The sheep to be shepherded. But the church also cares for the wolf. The wolf can never self identify as a sheep, but if you are a progressive, it seems that hope shines eternal it can.

    • Did you know that after many years wolves have returned to the city streets of Rome?

      • carl jacobs

        Now Jack. Let’s not turn this into a discussion of Pope Francis and his ilk.

        • Jack is just interested in urban wild life, Carl. The Swiss Guard are no doubt on high alert to protect the borders of Vatican City. As sheep appear to be in short supply in the vicinity, said creatures will find it difficult to disguise themselves.

          • Anton

            Bah !

          • Jack knows where you can get a really good deal for a fortnight’s stay in Rome. Interested?

          • Anton

            You’d be surprised where I stayed in Rome… with an ordained Catholic friend doing a higher theology degree, whose own national college had no spare rooms and so who lodged in the pontificial college of another European nation, in whose guest room I was enabled to stay.

          • David

            Ecumenicism in action ?

          • Or a freebie …

          • Chefofsinners

            We all like a bit of indulgence, don’t we Jack?

          • Speak for yourself, Chef.

          • Chefofsinners

            Come on, won’t you bid me top dollar for this bit of paper allowing you to do all sorts of stuff…?

          • You do know that a Church indulgence only covers past action and to be effective requires a complete detachment from all sin – minor and grievous.

          • You never spent nights on the streets feeding stray wolves? Mind you, there are a few wolves in the Pontifical College if reports are accurate.

            Did you learn anything of interest?

          • Anton

            It was a pure holiday, with a good friend who was happily also an insider to show me round what is left of ancient and Renaissance Rome. In response to your ungallant suggestion below that it was a freebie, I reimbursed him for the room. I don’t think Rome is likely to give me a freebie.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Swiss Guard disguise themselves? Won’t the big girly pantaloons be a bit of a giveaway?

      • Brian

        ‘Romule! Remi! ‘
        ‘Mamma! Ubi fuisti?’

    • bluedog

      Wild pigs (boar) are a growing problem, IG. Come the next outbreak of foot and mouth they will prove to be an uncontrolled and uncontrollable vector of the disease. Large wild pigs will eat lambs too. Of course, the urban enthusiasts of this kind of renaissance have no understanding of the damage that their fetish causes, like the fools who seek the reintroduction of the wolf.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The Church of England cannot move fast enough to sell off clergy houses, or enter into new money-making ventures, but when it comes to helping those it has itself damaged it seems to have stepped into a pool of treacle.

  • DespiteBrexit

    These articles are interesting but ultimately pointless, except again to highlight the fact that the Church of England is not the Church of Christ. The clue is in the name.

    • Anton

      There are plenty of members of the Church of Christ in the Church of England and indeed in the Church of Rome; it’s just that neither is synonymous with the Church of Christ. In fact, some of us might consider that it takes *more* faith to be a committed Christian in these organisations!

      • DespiteBrexit

        Of course.

  • magnolia

    Until the financial burden is disproportionately borne by those who make the problems, or tolerate them, or overlook them, the problem will not go away fast enough. If theological colleges or particular dioceses for instance turn out a disproportionate number of those who go on to abuse children they should be made to pay, possibly until bankrupt, until they amend their ways. I think it would all happen remarkably quickly. Spread the cost over all people, and responsibility is blunted. As it is there are nests of wasps and wasp havens, and no effective and continuous dissuasive.

    Yes the good Samaritan is ever important, and it is always necessary to bind up the genuine wounded. Not always entirely easy to know who they are, but on a parallel case I have known a group of pious Christians talking earnestly about said parable, only then as one to drive past one of their number (not me) on the side of the road with a puncture. Pure and applied, I guess. But depressing indeed….so it’s not only on this issue that the blindness happens.

    • Inspector General

      Perhaps an annual cash grant from Stonewall and Terrence Higgins and Pink News to the CoE to be held to compensate victims, Mags.

  • Father David

    I note the gender of the bishop walking by on the other side. I’m surprised that she is wearing her mitre in the park as it will undoubtedly draw attention to herself.

    • Inspector General

      Could be a pole dancer on her way to an after Synod party for you darling progressives…

      • Pole Dancing now been given “observer status” by the Global Association of International Sports Federation so is provisionally recognised as a sport.

        • Anton

          This is discriminatory to other eastern Europeans!

          • Yes, Anton.

          • Brian

            There are Czechs and balances to the system.

          • Brian

            but some are still Hungary for change.

          • Brian

            But other want things Romanian the way they are.

      • Father David

        I don’t know the nationality of the female bishop but I doubt if she is Polish as the Poles are mostly devout Roman Catholics and would therefore have nothing to do with that kind of thing.
        Anyway, if she is Polish then come March 2019 the poor dear will have to be airbrushed out of the painting and sent packing back to Poland post-Brexit.
        Inspector dear, I do hope that you are not including me, of all people, among the “progressives”?

    • Happy Jackie

      Cool shoes.

      • Inspector General

        If worn in the wrong circumstances, then the footwear of a whore, Jack.

        • Happy Jackie

          How dare you …. that’s sooo hurtful to Jackie’s feelings. Why should a woman have to care where she may or may not wear certain items of clothing in case some horny man gets the wrong idea. We women are reclaiming the streets.

        • Hi Inspector

          Indeed. Feminists are the ones who are campaigning NOT to wear high heel shoes as part of their obligatory office dress. Those ghastly cultural Marxists at it again….

          • Dominic Stockford

            As far as I understand it many of the female CofE peeps masquerading as clergy are desperate to wear heels, in order to demonstrate how female they are. It’s all very confusing.

          • Anton

            They could try growing their hair a bit longer then.

            A survey by (Rev Prof) Leslie Francis found that female Anglican ordinands typically have masculine personality traits, and male ones have female traits (in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 12, pp. 1133-40; 1991).

          • Hard to define masculine and feminine personality traits.

          • Anton

            But not impossible. That was published in a secular academic psychology journal; check it out.

          • Jack takes psychological definitions of male and female personality traits with a pinch of salt and such assessments are riddled with socially constructed bias. Where would you place Our Lord on such a spectrum?

          • Anton
          • Catholic depictions?! Mind you, one supposes there are no Puritan comparators.
            Anyway, He was the perfect person and combined nurturing with authority, compassion with judgement, He forgave and He used whips …. get the picture?

          • magnolia

            Not very Pauline either. Both genders are called on to have courage, hence the many martyrs both male and female who have adorned the history of the church, hence also the gentleness of many male saints and holy men, and their closeness to God’s creatures- Francis, Seraphin, and so on.

            Also both genders are called upon to shun gossip, dressing for sexual provocation, and vengeance. And all are called upon to show love, care and protect the weak. We over-complicate at our peril

          • Brian

            To be fair, that was a loooong time ago. And Leslie Francis produces (or produced) the most boring stuff, all done by questionnaires.

          • Anton

            Asking questions – how else?

            Boring – don’t read it!

            A long time ago – that was indeed the first draft of women ordinands into the CoE, but why might they have been unrepresentative of later drafts? My own observations of local women vicars suggests that the problem has if anything worsened.

          • Not just the women ….

          • Hi

            I don’t wear high heels as I’m modest in my dress. And while it is up to the c of e to decide who it wants as clergy I’m not overly impressed by my encounters with them.

        • Father David

          I know of no female bishop in the Church of England who looks remotely like the mitred one depicted in this painting. In no way does she resemble the Noble Lords of Gloucester or Newcastle nor indeed of the growing army of female suffragans.
          Any idea of the name of the artist?

          • Anton

            The picture is prophetic. Give it a couple of decades.

          • Brian

            The C of E doesn’t have so long. Have you seen the stats for attendance 2011-2016 – and the absence of children form so many congregations?

          • Inspector General

            In real world, priest, women will not go anywhere without two important items: Their handbag and their alluring femininity…

      • Father David

        Indeed, not dissimilar to those kitten heels so beloved by our dear Prime Minister Mrs, Dismay.

    • Chefofsinners

      It is indeed refreshing to see stereotypes reversed in this picture, with a Chuckup Umunna lookalike also having passed by, but a white male being the outcast Samaritan, as indeed they are to many these days. He does look suspiciously like Gary Lineker though…

      • Father David

        Couldn’t possibly be Gary Lineker – he’s wearing a tie.

  • Martin Sewell

    ” Carl, I shall bear your distaste for my former profession with as much
    fortitude as I can muster.

    You might however have sufficient confidence in His Grace’s integrity to
    assume that he would not publish the story with his chosen headline without
    having undertaken sufficient due diligence of his own.

    I don’t need to convince you – I have bigger fish to fry. I need members of
    The Church Establishment and its governing body to understand that it still
    has a long way to go in treating its victim/survivors properly.

    There are Church insiders who know the story and my criticism
    notwithstanding, they have enough integrity and empathy to understand why
    confidentiality must be respected. They can call me out at General Synod if
    I have been at all casual in my reporting.

    They won’t

    I wish I could say more – the detail I have to exclude to secure the survivor’s consent to publish makes the story stronger – but I will only break my word to people once.

    The story has two elements. Those who did not act were constrained by rules and culture – they are not bad people. We need to support them to make the necessary change.

    But don’t neglect the other side of the story- how good and generous ordinary people can be; the reason it was sorted because – to use a sporting analogy ” we wanted it more”.

    That’s what we need, people on the inside who are similarly determined to do the right thing and who will not take no for an answer. Putting the spotlight on the problem helps them gain the courage to set to work.

    • Inspector General

      Sir. This man has studied this post. He went away, but came back. You see, there’s something terribly wrong there.

      “they are not bad people”

      You need to edit that out. Only a victim can decide that. Not you…

      Sorry, but the guilt of omission carried by those who’s hope it was to send the victims away at the earliest is far too serious an issue. You are not their apologist. So don’t be…

      • Understand the enemy, Inspector. Jack spent the best part of 40 years bucking the “system” in health and social services. Culture is a realty that needs to be seen to fight effectively.

        There’s an old saying: “The Fish is the last to see the water.”

    • carl jacobs

      Not distaste. Just a realistic assessment. This entire post stands or falls upon your credibility, and I can’t even tell if you are representing a client or not. It makes a difference. A lawyer acting as a lawyer always has an agenda. Always. People should always be circumspect of lawyers because they don’t act in the public interest. They act in the interest of the client – for better or worse.

      I didn’t lie. I didn’t misrepresent. I just calls ’em like I sees ’em.

      • Martin Sewell

        Thanks Carl, I give and accept straight questions. I am retired and thus not a practising lawyer and this is not a client. I remain ” on the Solicitors Roll ”
        ( quaint English ) but do not hold a practising certificate and carry no insurance. I could return but have no intention of doing so.

        My professional life was during the time that Child Protection emerged as a specialism so I was ” in the room” when all the early mistakes were made, and thus find it intensely frustrating to see the Church making them all over again and not listening to folks who have ” been there – done that”.

  • Mike Stallard

    “survivor”.
    “There is more to the case but I must respect confidentiality.”
    “I thought we might be geared to take risks for the gospel”

    Were I still in my old Rectory, I would have listened carefully to the tale. But, from these remarks, I am afraid that my suspicions are a bit aroused. This, by the way, is not a job for the bishops. The Parish Clergy have quite often dealt with such matters in the past. And very sensitively and, actually, generously (Vicar’s Discretionary Fund) when they were convinced.
    By the way, to those of us who still believe in God, giving is between the two of us…

  • Chefofsinners

    This is a wonderful act of loving kindness by a person who is a true disciple of Christ. That is by far the most important thing to say.
    However, in stepping in to do the decent thing when the Church has so obviously failed, there is the same question that exists when giving money to a beggar. Are you just fuelling the problem? Every time the CoE finds a Good Samaritan making up for its institutional failings it is a little less likely to mend its shameful ways.

  • Chefofsinners

    Martin, Justin Welby has been in touch urgently. He is most anxious that you contact the Good Samaritan with this Gift Aid envelope.

    • Martin Sewell

      I need no tutoring on my own deficiencies. The institutional Church however habitually turns up a day late and a dollar short. Don’t shoot the messenger .

      • Chefofsinners

        It was by way of being a joke, at the ‘expense’ of the Church, not you.
        Also, did he ever buy PPI?

  • magnolia

    We should never have behaved like a self-important continent and taken too many people from all over the globe in the first place, decimating our green fields, wildlife, and agricultural capacity, all for mooted economic prosperity, largely represented by plastic gadgets and toys, white goods, and nice cars. Had it been about spreading the love of Christ all had not been lost. It wasn’t and now we- gradually- see the results.

    However, although for everyone’s sake and safety we must strip these people of the citizenship they never did deserve, we must still show the love Christ showed even to His enemies, and pray for their conversion, salvation, and fruitfulness in the cause of Christ, even while we keep our own compatriots safe.

    • Anton

      I think you meant to post this beneath the more recent article!

      • Chefofsinners

        My thoughts also!

      • magnolia

        Sorry, I realised and pasted it to the right place and edited this one. Didn’t know you were meanwhile pointing out my error! Rarely fully awake on Monday morning!

  • Simon Platt

    There’s some discussion down the thread about female clergy fashions (I mean, the dress of female clergy, not the fashion for them). I recently came across an interesting resource on that topic (hat-tip to One Peter Five). It’s not clear to whom it would be most appropriate for me to reply, so I’ll post here instead. Enjoy: https://houseofilona.com/womens-clergy-wear

    • Vicars with attitude.

      • Simon Platt

        There are some very attractive garments there, expertly presented. But the designer seems to have missed the point entirely, as must her customers.

        • Rather odd given clerical attire should be a sign of consecration to the Lord and a demonstration of adherence to His example of material poverty.

          On the up-side, the Oxford Movement’s use of the Roman collar seems to still be alive and well. Wonder why no one has yet designed and marketed a Rainbow collar. (Idea under patent)

          • magnolia

            Very expensive! Partly due to £/$ exchange rate, I think!

            Not much to be said for dog collars in comparison to some of the earlier Victorian garb!

          • Apparently the clerical collar was invented in the Presbyterian Church and then adopted by other Christian denominations. Church of Denmark ministers still wear the ruff.

  • Janet Fife

    Thank you, Martin, for a very powerful piece. The Church just doesn’t seem able (or willing?) to understand the needs of survivors, or its own obligations. Its attitude is shocking, and a betrayal of the gospel.