Church of England

Lord Carey’s forced resignation is an injustice: he, too, was a victim of Peter Ball

This is a guest post by Martin Sewell, a retired Child Protection Lawyer and a member of General Synod. He considers here the wiles and manipulations of child-abuser Peter Ball, and advances a plausible defence of former Archbishop George, now Lord Carey.


If one reads the Gibb Report, with the child abuse story organised and catalogued in a single document, Lord Carey’s serious errors and misjudgements are obvious, especially through the lenses of our modern understandings of abuse. Life is experienced in a much more haphazard and diffuse way, however, and the story evolved over a lengthy period. For substantial periods the name of Peter Ball fell off the agenda, and when he returned it is of the nature of everyday life that it was not always the case that ‘joined-up thinking’ resumed.

We also need to recall that Peter Ball operated in a period when it was seriously advanced on behalf of abusers of children that ‘all children lie’, that they did so for trivial advantage, and quite seriously by some psychiatrists, that all little girls fantasise about having sex with their fathers. These were times of a very different mindset, and Ball lived and operated in a church which simultaneously condemned gay orientation and acts, yet comprised of men like George Carey who felt compassion for their plight and vulnerability.

Like Jimmy Savile, Ball’s professional reputation and successes within the Church conferred upon him a degree of untouchability which he knew, understood, and exploited. Like Savile, Ball worked within a large institution where many developed collective amnesia, willing to acknowledge ‘rumours’ but without a sufficient structurally rigorous safeguarding regime to collect all the evidence and force the key question to be asked: ‘What does all this mean?’

The comparison with Savile needs to go a stage further.

Both he and Ball were able, by force of personality, to only to dominate their victims initially, but to hold them, isolate them and silence them beyond the time of direct influence. For many, it was only upon Savile’s death that the spell was broken and they were finally able to tell those closest to them what had happened. We rarely speak of the power of evil in the modern world, but even the sceptical secularist struggles to explain such a phenomenon in any other way.

If you have never encountered such glib, plausible, manipulative abusers, it is almost impossible to fully grasp the way in which they successfully operate. It was especially rare for their brand of charismatic evil to be appreciated in the public sphere during the period when Ball was working on Carey.

The first point of defence is to note not simply how naive Carey was, but how many people were taken in – not only by Carey, but Ball’s own bishop brother who joined his brother to re-write the narrative. Carey had two of them working on him over a prolonged period of time exploiting an innate Christian kindness.

It was not only the Archbishop but nine further bishops who were ensnared, and countless others. Carey was being pressurised without independent advisors cataloguing the story, keeping him on the straight and narrow. The closer you let Peter Ball get to you, the less chance you had of seeing him for what he was. It is striking that it is mainly the remoter figures in the story, such as Deacon K, who actually got his measure at the time. Peter Ball’s brother defended him from first to last.

Even some of Ball’s victims spoke of the ‘spiritual benefits’ they experienced from his methods of distorting and corrupting spiritual exercise into abuse. He fooled a Lord of Appeal – Lord Lloyd – one of the most astute judges of his day, together with countless school headmasters, members of the gentry, and possibly members of the Royal Family. He persuaded a diocesan registrar to imprudently interpret the rule against conflict of interest in order to represent him in a personal capacity whilst simultaneously advising the church. These are not naive people, but all succumbed in various ways alongside George Carey.

If you want a model for Carey’s ensnarement, think of the abused wife who is always making excuses for her abuser, or even Esther Rantzen, who was simultaneously setting up Childline and suppressing her doubts about Jimmy Savile as all the rumours reconfirmed everything she ‘heard’ but did not ‘know’. Even now she honestly struggles to explain it. We used to convict wives who stabbed their abusive husbands because we reasoned that they could always walk away rather than resort to murder. Now we have a better understanding of the corrosive power of the emotional entrapment exercised by the manipulative abuser.

Once having ‘got’ Carey, Ball would have regarded him as a prize asset and not let him go.

There are two striking parts of the story that resonate from my own experience of such abusers.

First, Ball accepts a caution of gross indecency with a 17-year-old boy. That was plainly an offence at the time. Later he presents it as accepting a caution involving a 19-year-old, which would not have been a crime against a minor. That is clever and subtle. It refocuses the mischief from the plainly criminally abusive to the culturally unlucky. He implants the notion in a context where it may not matter enough for Carey to instantly go and check, and having re-ordered the narrative, Ball can then return and build upon its minimising implication at a later time. This is textbook manipulative behaviour, like a conjuror ‘forcing’ an idea or a choice upon a victim.

I do not make false equivalence between the Archbishop and his victims, whose abuse is infinitely deeper and longer lasting, but Carey is also a victim of Ball. Many of Ball’s victims were persuaded to ignore what they thought and knew, and by the power of his charisma were induced to adopt and trust the narrative that has been implanted and developed.

Another familiar technique of the manipulator was his use of the Diocesan Registrar. Being close to his legal advisor, he might better hope to avoid receiving clear distanced advice of a challenging kind. He could build on the respect developed in happier times and thereby retain a measure of control. He gets the firm to mislead the CPS on detail about what is agreed, and they refer to a Royal reference which is never produced: it is easier to suggest that the church should ‘pay the Diocesan Registrar’ rather than ‘pay my independent solicitor’. If the Diocesan Registrar is fighting his corner, the Church of England is also fighting his corner. Drip, drip, drip.

Later, when he decides the time is ripe to challenge the caution – which he had been very lucky to receive – he is happy to throw his solicitor under the bus, claiming that the Registrar was incompetent and let him down. Ball presents himself as the victim of advice he should never have accepted. Each step of the way he is exploiting the proximity, and rightly assumes that neither Carey nor anyone else will go back, read all the notes and remind themselves, reconnecting to the actual facts. Carey is only human. There is no computer to say ‘No’.

This is classic behaviour which I have seen and encountered many times from such people.

He develops the tyranny of small concessions. You are hooked and weary, and just want to get on with other more important things. He wants to do confirmations? He tells you he’s already done some, nothing went wrong, where’s the harm? You can either go through it again or just give in because it probably doesn’t matter, and he is a great inspirer of vocations and it was only a police caution: if it had been serious they would have prosecuted him over that 19-year-old…  ( see what I did there?).

His brother Michael is a bishop who described his brother’s behaviour as merely ‘silly’ and, according to the report, behaved in a way ‘close to perverting the course of justice’. He tried to secure the status of an assistant bishop for his brother, petulantly declining one for himself if his brother were not similarly honoured.

Michael Ball has not suffered a penalty akin to that of George Carey, although his role in keeping Peter Ball within the church fold was crucial.

Archbishop Carey was ultimately responsible, but his brother bishops and the church structures of the time gave him scant help. Every institution of the time was making similar catastrophic judgements. Individualising the responsibility is not helpful because the very function of the scapegoat is to remove the sin from others. To coin a current phrase, the inadequacies from this time were of the many, not the few.

We must be careful to ensure that such reports continue to usefully inform us. George Carey co-operated with the Gibb Inquiry, and so, to his credit, did Bishop Michael Ball. These reports are improved by the frank and willing engagement of those who remember, though when there is delay, several of those who could have added perspective have died. They will include some who might have added to the indictment of George Carey, but also those who might have aided his defence. Justice delayed is indeed justice denied.

I offer the suggestion that it may be best for society if these kind of inquiries are regarded as more akin to the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’. Used in this way, we gain better insights and have a better chance of understanding how to avoid these problems in the future.

George Carey has been forced to resign. If he is now prosecuted, as some are now demanding, what message will that give future potential witnesses, and how might that distort our future ability to be informed and to learn? Pour encourager les autres has some coercive value, but it is not an obviously moral impulse when applied to a witness who has agreed to engage with his failures, only to find that his honesty paves the way to prosecution. We gain more from George Carey and Michael Ball testifying than from Peter Ball ‘taking the Fifth Amendment’.

The Gibb Report is but the start of the problem from the Church of England’s point of view. The Carlile Report into errors of the church in its handling of historical abuse in the case of Bishop George Bell will almost certainly add to our woes and the clamour for reform. The two reports deal with separate issues, but they have one thing in common: the current Bishops shaped the agenda. I say that as a structural point and in no way to personalise criticism of people doing their very best. That may not, of course, be enough in this context.

Very few in the Church want or wanted abuse to go undetected. That included George Carey.

The lesson that surely screams from the pages of the Gibb Report is that those who manage complaints must be much more professional, organised, and above all must not retain any personal connection with the person under consideration. The case for the out-placing of the investigations is becoming unanswerable. Unfortunately, if we direct our ire at the hapless Archbishop, we are almost certainly taking our eye off a much bigger picture.

  • IanCad

    A lot of work wet into your post Martin; and along with yesterday’s sad tale would lead most to believe that child-abuse and paedophilia are somehow “Gender Neutral.” Although mentioned in your third paragraph you brushed by the elephant in the room that is “Homosexuality.” The affliction inseparably linked to the Kiddie-Fiddlers so long tolerated.
    Until we all brace up and call things as they are, any resolutions will float around in committees, safeguarding sessions, psycho-consultations, and will be diminished by the inclusive, diversity and equality lobbies who will place themselves at front and centre of any discussions.

    • Martin Sewell

      I have dealt with far too many abusers of young girls to give that proposition the slightest credence.

      • IanCad

        In the general population – Yes. However, within the church abuse of young boys is by far the more common offense.

        • Martin Sewell

          We are speaking of times when the Church was overwhelmingly male. When the US robber Baby Face Nelson was asked why he robbed banks, he replied “Well,that’s where the money is”. Why would you expect the predators of little girls to have active been in this environment? It doesn’t mean they were not abusing, as many of my former clients confided in me in the days when none of this was talked about in the public forum.

          • You will have you read the John Jay report on abuse in the American Catholic Church. This determined that 80% of clerical sexual abuse was male on male homosexual activity, with the majority of boys being post-pubescent. That isn’t an accident nor, as liberals claim, simply a result of opportunity or celibacy, or that they had to hide their same sex attraction away.

            A moral disorder /perversion will be accompanied by greater levels of temptation and lower thresholds of resistance. Abusers are addicted to their sin. It came as no surprise to Jack that Peter Ball was of an Anglo-Catholic persuasion, into worship as a “performance art” with ritual, vestments and him at the centre. And Jack speaks as a Roman Catholic.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I don’t believe that perversion has greater temptation and lower threshold of resistance. Sounds like an excuse. All sin is addictive. That is what temptation is.
            No one is going to sin if it doesn’t feel good. I wonder if these offenders ever had a proper Catholic religious education. You are supposed to fight temptation with prayer and everything in your arsenal.
            I suspect a lot of the problem occurs in the seminaries. There should be frank discussions about how to deal with these problems and it should be made very clear that if the temptation is so overwhelming that it cannot be resisted then the priest must be isolated from the religious community never to return.If they wish to remain they can live in caves like the traditional hermits and pray or tend to the dying and the sick untouchables in the third world.

            It also should be made clear that homosexuals and bisexuals are not suitable for the priesthood.Also..if you are preoccupied with sexual tendencies, the priesthood is not the place for an

          • Jack agrees that all sin is addictive but in his experience grave moral perversions, like homosexuality and paedophilia, are addictive. They kill grace in the soul and without sanctifying grace it is difficult, if not impossible, to resist temptation.

            Agreed that those with deep-rooted homosexual inclinations should be barred from the priesthood as the Vatican instructs, much to chagrin the of the liberals.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well what you are describing is a mental disorder …dangerous to the community.If they were cannibals they would be locked away. What’s the difference? isolation from the community is a must. You are talking criminal insanity here. You have to lock people like this away.If you are a loony you are not responsible let alone expected to resist temptation but you cannot be allowed to walk freely amongst the rest of the herd.

          • And you reckon Mr M. is over the top? There’s certainly no known secular cure for paedophilia (or homosexuality) but some do manage to control their behaviour.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Paedophiles are dangerous and should be locked away. It is a form of insanity and it is criminal. What is over the top about that.?

            Homosexuals are not necessarily paedophiles. There are also heterosexuals who are paedophiles Homosexuals don’t need a cure because they are not dangerous to the community.Being a homosexual does not automatically mean you are sexually attracted to children.

          • Jack was teasing you. There’s nothing over the top in your comment about dangerous paedophiles with a record of offending and reoffending. As for homosexuals, Jack wasn’t claiming homosexuals are paedophiles. There was once a time when homosexuality was judged to be a mental illness. Now it’s legal from 16 years of age and is taught in schools as normal and equivalent to heterosexual love.

          • Manfarang

            ” a life lived on an elevated level.”
            An appreciator of classical music no doubt.

          • Cressida de Nova

            A small but helpful part of the complete picture. Man should strive to offer the best that man can achieve as an offering to God. The reason Catholicism used to offer
            an education encouraging intellectualism, inclusive of rich and poor ,of the high arts in music, literature philosophy and visual arts as a means of making a connection to the Divine apart from prayerful worship

          • IanCad

            Martin – I have to be blunt – you are choosing to downplay, and spread the blame from where it truly belongs to others less culpable.

      • Don Benson

        I didn’t mean to vote up this comment.
        I wonder if your experience takes into account that homosexuals are 1 or 2% of the population and that if heterosexual clergy were equally represented as child molesters there would theoretically be 50 to 100 girls molested for every one boy who was molested. In any case, theoretically there should not be any practising homosexuals in the church – unless we are operating gross hypocrisy on that score too.

        • Anton

          You can delete your upvote by hitting the downarrow.

          • Bernard from Bucks

            Or you can reverse your vote by a second click on the up-arrow.

  • magnolia

    “Compassion for their plight and vulnerability”:. I fear that is an extremely dangerous quality. While kindly on the face of it, it can lead to torture for the innocent victim or the innocent entangled.

    I have seen the kindly, the trusting, young innocent women, even disabled children have their needs completely and utterly trampled upon, even by church people, for the sake of strong hulking “vulnerable” adult men. It is a disgrace to common sense and humanity.

  • magnolia

    I think this quantity of blame for Carey is utterly unjust. His brand of churchmanship had few infected with this disease, and so he didn’t expect it. Blame those who knew it and nourished it. And let’s name the central shame here; something very rotten indeed around (mostly) higher church folk in and around Chichester including its erstwhile theological college.

  • Anton

    Well, I agree that if Carey was pressed to resign then so should many other bishops be!

    • magnolia

      Of course being in favour of Brexit may not have helped him. History however will judge him well on that. Also on his general views on sexual purity. It is a bit pathetic and seems rather unattractively mercilessly vindictive to ask him to resign as an honorary unpaid Bishop.

      The abusers get treated with far more charity and less desire to humiliate. It feels like an institution serving its own needs and fearing the media more than the Just Judge of all. Wasn’t that the original problem? What would Jesus say about Carey’s treatment? What will Jesus say when those who throw brickbats at him now meet him face to face? Will he use the word scapegoat? Anyone care?

      • Anton

        I do feel that there were specific factors of personality weakness in Carey’s crumbling in the face of Ball’s pressure. Granted that this is partly a generic problem, but men do exist in the church who would have replied to Ball the ecclesiastical version of Get Stuffed rather than weakly giving way. And he was at the top, where the buck stops.

        • CliveM

          I agree. I feel sympathy for him and I’m not saying I would have done better if the face of that pressure, nevertheless the mistakes were his.

  • “We also need to recall that Peter Ball operated in a period when it was seriously advanced on behalf of abusers of children that ‘all children lie’, that they did so for trivial advantage, and quite seriously by some psychiatrists, that all little girls fantasise about having sex with their fathers.”

    We are talking about the 1990’s here and not the 1880’s. This is quite an astonishing statement – even for 20 years ago. Lawyers may well have advanced such specious claims but no one with any knowledge of children or protecting them would take this defence seriously.

    However, this is on the money.

    “If you have never encountered such glib, plausible, manipulative abusers, it is almost impossible to fully grasp the way in which they successfully operate.”

  • Royinsouthwest

    Happy Jack, to his credit, pointed out in a reply to Martin Sewell that the Catholic Church is also affected by this plague. It seems to extend high up to places where you would not expect it if an article in today’s Times is true. The article is behind a paywall.

    Clouds of scandal gather over Vatican after police break up gay orgy

    Vatican police broke up a homosexual orgy last month in an apartment belonging to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — the department charged with, among other things, tackling clerical sexual abuse.

    The occupant of the apartment is alleged to be the secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts, and a key adviser to the Pope.

    • Anton

      The Times is slow off the mark. I read about this last week:

      and the orgy in the CDF (formerly the Inquisition) took place a while ago according to this comment, which names names:

    • The existence of an active and powerful homosexual cabal in the Vatican has been known for decades. This came as no surprise to Jack.

      • Cressida de Nova

        If this is true…Why isn’t Cocopalmerio shipped off to a leper colony on Devils Island where he must attend to the sick and dying in atonement for his sins. Better still he should be made to attend the convent I went to. Our very brilliant Mother Superior would have dealt with him. In a few days he would be pleading for death. She could achieve all of that without saying a word…just a look ! There should be nuns like her working behind the scenes….all these problems would be sorted in a matter of months.

        • Royinsouthwest

          The allegations are against Cocoplaerio’s secretary rather than the cardinal himself. Perhaps he did not know what was going on but if so that would in itself be sufficient reason for supposing that he is not suitable for his job.

          • Cressida de Nova

            It would be hard to keep a secret in the Vatican. The Cardinal has to take responsibility for his choice of staff

            This could all be sorted out with a hard line approach.

          • Anton

            Ratzinger tried it and they managed to get him sidelined, I suspect. He’d certainly have had my support for a clear-out.

          • There’s no evidence Pope Benedict was the subject of a conspiracy and “sidelined”. He may have resigned because he judged he lacked the capacity to reform the Curia.

          • Anton

            If he can’t, who can? He ran the CDF as a sharp disciplinarian before becoming Pope.

            It is not credible that a traditionalist who is in good health resigns as Pope for no reason. Bergoglio was runner-up in 2005 and a liberal, and it is reasonable inference that the liberals and the gay faction within the Curia in Rome managed to press him into resigning. All we don’t know is how. The gay faction was made very public in the Vatileaks scandal, which reported infighting between the gay faction and other groupings; and in the report into the leak by three Cardinals.

          • Now you’re sounding like Malachi Martin. He was old and tired and his official resignation statement offered his waning physical and mental powers as the reason. Pope Benedict was a teaching Pope, a theologian and intellectual.

            The papal press spokesman at the time, Father Federico Lombardi, stated: “The Church needed someone with more physical and spiritual energy who would be able to overcome the problems and challenges of governing the church in this ever-changing modern world.”

          • Anton

            You are ignoring, to minimise the anomaly, 500 years of tradition of Popes keeping going till they died. That’s not a small thing. Moreover Ratzinger is reportedly still in decent shape today.

          • Decent shape? He’s 90 years of age!

            Read between the lines of Father Lombardi’s statement. The man didn’t feel up to challenging the Curia infighting and culture and making the changes needed in the Vatican.

          • Anton

            I’m saying that what he did is such a huge breaking of precedent that I don’t believe “I’m tired” begins to explain it. I think in different circumstances that you would be insisting that a Pope should stay in office till he dies, unless he has lost his faculties of reason.

          • It’s not like marriage being until death …. Jack was disappointed he resigned bit God will judge the decision and his reasons.

          • Anton

            You seem determined to minimise the unusualness of it.

          • Not at all. Jack just isn’t keen on conspiracy theories unless they involve the Lizards. There’s no evidence Benedict was ousted or forced to resign.

          • As Mr M. wrote:

            Let us come back to the episode of the Cocaine Fag Partying Monsignor recently arrested in the very old building of the Sant’Uffizio (the old CDF of when they believed in Catholicism and had therefore much more to do).

            How do you keep secret, in a place like the Vatican, perverted orgies with drug consumption?

            You don’t. You simply can’t.

            Therefore, the very reasonable assumption here is that such parties were the object of whispers of various kind, and the Cardinal who supported the arrested Monsignore is either a pervert like him, or too afraid of the perverts’ lobby, or just too dumb to be a Cardinal. Albeit I much favour the first hypothesis.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Mr M? Who he?

          • Terry Mushroom

            Thanks. I’ve tried to read him in the past. Howevever I find it difficult enough to know what’s going on in my own parish and vast diocese. I leave Rome to God and others.

          • Known by Mr M. as CockLovingErio.

          • Cressida de Nova

            A lot of what M says is true. However the savagery with which he delivers his critiques is unhinged and in my experience is unnecessary and not recognisably Catholic. He is doing damage to his faith rather than good.

          • Unhinged or a deliberate style? Who knows? We live in an age that has less regard for of purity of the faith and many Catholics have lost a sense of sin and lack an awareness of the depth and extent of the problems facing the Church. For Mr M. and many others, the barbarians are at the gate.

          • Cressida de Nova

            True about the age which has a great bearing on attitudes .The fault also lies in Catholic education. V 2 was a compromise and a mistake except for some of the Protestant hymns which are very good. I agree the Catholicism of my forebears and that I grew up with has changed and I do not accept the changes.The Church has to be a spiritual haven and a secure refuge in life and a Filipino woman teetering on stilleto heels with her tits hanging out of her blouse distributing the host at a Cathedral is not my understanding of that.
            Needless to say I am a private traditional Catholic who chooses her priest and place of worship very carefully now.
            Forget the gate the Barbarians are in and running the show.

          • So we fight with whatever we have, as best we can. Mr M. chooses to pour scorn and contempt on those spreading heresy. He’s a traditional Italian Catholic and is horrified by what he is witnessing.

          • Chefofsinners

            I say, where can one find said Filipino? Er, I mean where should I avoid?
            And which are Protestant hymns you appreciate?

          • Anton

            My longstanding Catholic priest friend says that the English hymnal is the one thing he’s jealous of. Some Catholic churches now sing some traditional English hymns, I understand. There is no reason why they shouldn’t.

          • Chefofsinners

            O how yes there is. Copyright. How dare they?

          • Anton

            Nearly all of the decent hymns are out of copyright.

            Pay to sing the modern crap or sing the good stuff for free? It’s a no-brainer. Which says something alarming about much of today’s worship.

          • As they are in many Protestant denominations. In my view, it is inevitable, though not excusable. The NT and the OT anticipate a remnant of authentic faith within a sea of apostasy.

          • CliveM

            I agree. It comes across as a bit self regarding.

        • Cocopalmerio is a known “friend” of homosexuals.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I think the Catholic laity has just about had enough of these scandals. We need a strong unfaltering leader who takes a broom and sweeps out all the offending clergy.

          • We do indeed. Perhaps when Cardinal Pell is cleared he will return reinvigorated and help start the process. It’s clear Francis isn’t up to it and is making matters worse with his recent appointments of liberals and gay friendly Cardinals and the demotions of orthodox ones.

          • Anton

            I’m unconvinced that Pell was an abuser:


            That he was a cover-upper appears more plausible despite his denials; this clip includes an interview with a man who says he was abused by a churchman and that Pell responded, “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet”:

          • It’s all political at the moment, so who knows what and whom to believe? What is clear is that Cardinal Pell is being treated disgracefully. He was known for doing all he could to root out sex abuse in the Church. His role in the cover-up of abuse has become a part of the culture war. In 1996, just three months after becoming Archbishop of Melbourne, Pell created the Melbourne Response to help victims of sex abuse. In doing so, he became the first leader in Australia – whether in church or in government – to seriously confront the plague of sexual abuse of children. His strong stands on marriage, homosexuality, abortion, bioethics and the environment and his traditional views have offended the liberal-progressives seeking to bring Catholic teaching into line with modern secularism.


          • Anton

            My post ignored the political noise and focused only on the allegations and the people making them. There are irreconcilable comments from the people directly involved. At that point it is one person’s word against another and the political and cultural noise is very secondary.

          • Here’s Cardinal Pell’s statement following that programme’s airing:


            These allegations are all about the political and cultural noise.

          • Anton

            Good info Jack. I’d like to see Ridsdale’s response. But it is all about Ridsdale and Pell at this point.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Your first sentence is probably what Carey said about Ball. Think on that for a bit, please.

          • Anton

            I thought before posting! Thankfully I’m not anybody’s line manager – but that isn’t a coincidence because even if I were the pastoral leader type I don’t believe in the episcopal system. That was extensively discussed on the preceding thread.

          • And not what Welby said about Bell.

            Let’s wait for due process to run its course and be grateful we’re not charged with determining guilt or innocence.

          • Cressida de Nova

            This allegation is quite a clever way of ensuring Cardinal Pell’s demise. He is old and quite frail.The media is against him and he has powerful enemies both in Australia and the Vatican who are determined to destroy him.SSM is not legal in Australia and Cardinal Pell is attributed to be a cause of this situation. The present day government is prepared to legalise SSM if there is a plebescite. The left do not want this and block it because they know that with compulsory voting it could result in a resounding NO….

            The National broadcaster ABC and the press relentlessly attack him .The ordeal he is going to encounter even if he is found not guilty is most likely going to have serious consequences for his health and future in the Vatican. Both the Catholic Church in Australia and the Vatican have declared they are not going to fund his legal expenses.
            Catholics (the real ones) are volunteering to make donations. The QC who is representing him charges ten thousand dollars a day.

          • Anton

            Cheap at half the price! Find a less exorbitant lawyer!

          • Anton

            Just as I’ve recently moved to considering Welby as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, perhaps the same is true of Francis?

          • Perhaps. Perhaps not. What Jack will say is that he is proving to be a poor spiritual leader and an even worse Catholic theologian.

          • Anton

            The following website is quite as extreme as Mundabor (run by someone who insists Benedict is still the true Pope and Francis is an antipope) but is well connected in terms of knowing who gets up to what in the RC church, including the Vatican. By that I mean she provides information that I’d never have known or guessed that can be followed up on google for verification.


          • This woman states a series of facts and then weaves them into a fantastical theory. She makes too many leaps of imagination. At least Mundabor stays grounded and also understands the Church. In Jack’s opinion, she displays many of the features of bi-polar disorder.

    • CliveM

      It’s about trusted access to children and for a long time churches of all denominations have been targeted by men such as these.

      The addition of being in a position of respect and authority would come as a welcome bonus.

  • bernard.randall

    Carey did get things wrong, even by the standards of the time, and his resignation acknowledges that fact. Sometimes one has to face some consequences, even where the exact level of blame may be questionable. That is the honourable thing to do (I know, I know, “honour” in this day and age, how naïve!).
    But that the threshold for criminal charges has been met looks unlikely, and I agree that criminal charges are unlikely to help a good safeguarding culture in cases like this. I know of a cleric who, when discussing a much more minor safeguarding situation said “I’m not going to gaol for anyone.” In that situation it was about defending a massive over-reaction (as it seemed to most onlookers) to what had happened, erring so far on the side of caution that good sense and looking at evidnece didn’t get a look in. People are understandably cautious and watch their own backs, even at the cost of doing the right thing.

    • Britain still does not have mandatory reporting as a legal requirement. Maybe it’s time is was a legal requirement. However, until it is, there’s no grounds for a prosecution. This call for a criminal investigation of Carey is malicious and, one suspects, intended to enhance civil claims and damage the Church. There’s no suggestion he conspired to facilitate abuse, nor wilfully concealed evidence. Bottom-line – he was stupid and taken in by a sexual sociopath and his brother. If that ever becomes a crime, God help us all.

      • Martin Sewell

        I agree mandatory reporting would help. I have no reason to believe that the victims are motivated by seeking compensation; those I have spoken to are desperate for simple closure acknowledgement and justice.

        • Yes, maybe Jack is too cynical about lawyers.This is a huge industry in America aimed at damaging the Church and lining pockets and Jack is suspicious. Is it “just” to persecute a man who acted in good faith, if incompetently?

      • Richie


  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    If you ever tune in to ‘Woman’s Hour’ (don’t, it’s horrid), all you hear about are breast cancer and ‘downstairs’ issues: similarly, all you hear about in relation to the Church is gay marriage, women bishops and sexual abuse. Perhaps its time for both institutions to call it a day.

    • Chefofsinners

      Why is there not a man’s hour? We have downstairs issues too. Well, Linus does.

  • David Gee

    Peter and Michael Ball have been good friends of mine for over twenty years. I do not attempt to justify Peter’s actions, but if we are Christians, we are all sinners saved by grace. Some sins are considered by us to be greater than others, and the more so when they are publicly exposed. But in God’s sight, all sin is sin, and we all need repentance and forgiveness daily.

    David Gee

    • God considers some sins greater than others too:

      “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

      • len

        ‘it is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble’

        This can be interpreted as those being ‘new believers, young in Christ’ .
        ‘A stumbling block’ IMO is the RCC which promoted false religion.

        None can be too smug and self satisfied about their religion.

        • Read Matthew 18 2-8 for a fuller rendition.

          “Whereupon Jesus called to his side a little child, to whom he gave a place in the midst of them, and said, Believe me, unless you become like little children again, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. He is greatest in the kingdom of heaven who will abase himself like this little child. He who gives welcome to such a child as this in my name, gives welcome to me. And if anyone hurts the conscience of one of these little ones, that believe in me, he had better have been drowned in the depths of the sea, with a mill-stone hung about his neck. Woe to the world, for the hurt done to consciences! It must needs be that such hurt should come, but woe to the man through whom it comes!”

          • len

            Still applies Jack’,babes’ in Christ

            “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Cor. 3:1-3)

          • Would you agree that any priest/minister/preacher (whatever), who sexually abuses a child, under the guise of representing Christ and the cover of religion, is on the path to hell unless there is true repentance and an effort to right the wrong?

          • Mike Stallard

            Plucked out any eyes recently?

          • len

            Have you?

          • Jack still has both his eyes – and both hands and feet too.

            Doesn’t Jesus offer a model (in Matthew 18:15-18) for the Church to address sins against Church members? This follows immediately after His warning about the eternal consequences of harming the consciences of children.

          • len


            ‘Sin is transgression (breaking) of the Law (I John 3:4), and repentance means to turn from sin. It is more than contrition (sorrow for sin); to repent means to confess sin and forsake it–to agree with God that it is wrong and to turn and go in the opposite direction. ‘

          • And, based on Jesus’ words in the passages cited, would you agree that some sins are more grievous than others?

        • Of course not, but one can most certainly feel confident in the truth of the Church.

        • David Gee

          That scripture does go on to talk about forgiveness. As others have said, only God can judge

    • Anton

      As you have disclosed that you know Peter Ball, do you consider that he is repentant?

      • David Gee

        He is truly repentant, and utterly devastated by the trauma he has caused .

        • It’s for God to judge his soul, not man, but here’s what the prosecutor, Ms Cheema, said about him:

          “He was highly regarded as a godly man who had a special affinity with young people.

          The truth was that he used those 15 years in the position of bishop to identify, groom and exploit sensitive and vulnerable young men who came within his orbit.

          For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him.”

          One prays he is genuinely sorry for his behaviour and the harm he caused these young men – not to mention the disrepute he has brought on the Church and the message of the Gospel.

          • CliveM

            And isn’t that the problem, these people have been such clever manipulators for so long, how can you ever believe a word they say.

            Only God will know.

        • Sarky

          Only because he was caught.
          I think i would be wiser in my choice of friends.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I would tend to agree with you on this. A day of shocks!

          • Sarky

            There are some things all can agree on !

          • David Gee

            Sarky is evidently an apt name. You are obviously commenting with no personal knowledge. Easy, cheap comments, too. Better change your name to Stupid

          • Sarky

            I’m not the one sticking up for a peado!!

          • David Gee

            Well, you really brought that on yourself. And, in any case, if you read my posts you will see that I have not tried to defend Peter Ball. And as for me choosing my friends, Jesus was the friend of sinners. We have all done things of which we would be ashamed, but that does not mean we have to be friendless. Let me apologise for my previous remark re your pseudonym. I have been travelling all night and it was around 6am.

          • Mike Stallard

            I want to commend you on your bravery in sticking up for someone who is your friend. I am also tired of self-righteous condemnation of someone who has done wrong.
            There are a lot of sex sins that are just as bad – divorce, begetting unwanted children when drunk, seeing people as sex toys…

          • David Gee

            Thank you, Mike. I don’t in any way condone Peter Ball’s actions, but he was, and is, a good friend. Jesus was the friend of sinners, and we are all sinners, and it is good that we obtain forgiveness if we truly repent (I’m preaching to myself!)

          • Richie

            How much filthy lucre were you paid to peddle these distorted lies and fabrications Mr Gee….

          • David Gee

            I see that some people on this site are not interested in truth, but there only to hide behind anonymity and make scurrilous comments. Your comments are hardly worthy of reply, but I can assure you my friends do not pay me to post comments. And whilst on the subject, what lies, exactly?

        • Anton

          What, if I may asked, caused his change of heart?

    • len

      Ok there are sinners and there are sinners but some lines are just not crossed .Paedophilia is one such line.

      • *gasp*

      • Sarky

        Bloody hell!! think i just agreed with you.

        • len

          I am amazed too!.
          I am no saint ,far from it,, but some things you just don`t do.

          • Just thank God you’ve faced such a temptation, Len.

          • len

            Faced many, succumbed to some ,but not that.

    • Richie

      Bullshit jail both of them the brother for cover up.

  • grandpa1940

    I wonder why the Jersey Child Abuse Scandal isn’t picking up more resonance in the MSM. Having read, or rather ploughed grimly through the stack, I can concur it is not pretty reading, and is a prime example of what can, and is, allowed to happen when there has never been any qualified oversight.

    As one senior person commented ‘If it was anything to do with Finance, or the IMF; they would have been in there with a bulldozer!

  • IanCad

    Just as an aside, and with no intention of diverting the thread, I can’t help but wonder on this 4th July; Where is Carl ??

    • He is missed by us all – even though he is an American Calvinist and a Man City fan.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Is a Calvinist allowed to be happy when his team wins?

        • If he reckons it’s all predetermined, why not?

    • Maalaistollo

      And where is Avi, this being Canuckistan’s sesquicentennial year?

    • len

      I wondered that too?

    • CliveM

      Sadly a few regulars seem to be disappearing. Explorer we must assume is no longer with us. Likewise Uncle Bill. Pubcrawler and William Lewis don’t seem so regular and by me at least I miss their contribution. I hope they and Carl come back more regularly.

      • Chefofsinners

        I miss Carl’s brilliant logic. And I worry about him: I don’t think he’d disappear without saying something.
        Pubcrawler is still going strong and Avi dips in and out.
        The Inspector has gone quiet for a few days: probably gone down with another pink virus.
        If I ever disappear I’m dea… aargh!

        • Carl’s still posting on other weblogs. Very infrequently. Only today he posted a comment on another site. Maybe he just needs a break or fancies a change.

          • Chefofsinners

            A great loss to this site. Come back soon, Carl.

        • Sarky

          dea…ling cards in a casino?

          Drug Enforcement Agency out on a mission?

          dea..r john letter writing???

        • CliveM

          What……….. Open the Champagne, hold it, wait, that last sentence may have been a joke. Darn it, Ooops I mean good. Yes good……….

        • Royinsouthwest

          A few years ago, after the Inspector had been silent for a couple of weeks, he claimed he had been on safari on the Isle of Wight and had shot the hotel cat. That was probably inspired by the case of a lion in a zoo that had been shot not long before. I suspect that the Inspector is on holiday in some more or less exotic destination and will be back within two or three weeks.

      • carl jacobs

        So I would call it happenstance if I believed in luck. Since I don’t, I’ll call it Providence. Yesterday, I listened to an Episode of “Anglican Unscripted” where Gaven Ashenden talked about the scandal with the Bishops and Cranmer’s role in bringing it into the light. It was the first I had heard of it, so I decided to check the weblog to see what was going on. This is the really the first time I have checked the weblog since the end of May. I shouldn’t have seen this thread.

        On towards May I decided to back away from commenting at Cranmer’s for a while. The specific reasons aren’t important, but suffice it to say I needed distance and reflection. The moral fatigue I felt six weeks ago has subsided somewhat. Think of me as on sabbatical. I haven’t forgotten about this community. At the moment I just don’t feel much like commenting. I want to lean back with my feet on the desk and a cold cloth over my eyes. One gets tired of hearing the sound of Babylonian siege engines, if that makes any sense to you.

        I am however somewhat humbled that my absence produced this little sub-thread. Which is why I responded and why I am grateful that I saw it.

        • David

          Good to hear from you. Gavin Ashenden and his American friends generally make a very worthwhile contribution to a wide range of subjects.

        • CliveM

          Nice hearing from you Carl. Hope you’re enjoying your ‘retreat’ and are back soon.

      • Pubcrawler


        • CliveM


    • bluedog

      Back in the USA.

  • Anton

    A long time since that stollen!

  • Dominic Stockford

    Surely the lesson from the Gibb report is that such allegations should never be investigated by the church, but rather by the proper authority, the Police.

    • Mike Stallard

      We had a man who showed signs of pursuing an altar girl who was well below the age of consent. Nothing much to go on, actually. The Catholic Church investigated thoroughly with a retired Met policeman. Quick, impressive, final.
      When I was in the CoE, I went to the Police in suspicion that a parishioner was misbehaving – no more than that – expecting to be thrown out for wasting Police time. No. They were round his house in hours. He was convicted and given a Section 49 immediately. They were fantastic.

  • Chefofsinners

    Blaming Carey is a powerful gesture, but therein lies its weakness. The more powerful the gesture, the less likely the church is to do something practical and meaningful.

  • Alison Bailey Castellina

    I’ve noticed over the course of life that Christian leaders, in particular, want to hear no evil, see no evil on the basis that they want to trust in and foster good thoughts about everyone, notably those they see often in leadership roles. In this sense, they are unworldly, which in a world rife with sin, is at best naivete and at worst cooperating inadvertently in the abuse of unsuspecting innocents in a church (supposedly safe) context, which leads to great spiritual and other damage. The problem is that the laity expect these leaders to have greater widsom, a Holy Spirit-led wisdom and greater compassion. Yet by being less worldly, they can end up having less wisdom than the ordinary person who has a critical mind and eyes to see and learn. This may be the strongest reason why third parties probably should be involved in the reporting of these cases, in the church?

    • Mike Stallard

      How bad is buggery of an adolescent boy?
      Is it worse than divorce? Deliberately breaking a life long vow and ruining a lot of lives, including those of trusting children, irretrievably?
      Is it worse than looking at porn and encouraging the exploitation of a lot of people?
      Is it worse than bonking around when drunk and producing unwanted children?
      Is it worse than the hypocrisy of children’s homes where teenage girls are allowed to go out with randy and violent Muslim men in Rotherham, Leicester and Peterborough?
      Let us get a bit of proportion in here please.

      • IanCad

        Good for you Mike!!! All the same questions I had but was too chicken to raise.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Sick pervs united !

          • IanCad

            Oh Well !! There’s a first time for everything. Never been called that before.

        • All the listed events are harmful to children but not all result in the same degrees of physical, emotional and psychological harm.

      • Anton

        Ask the adolescent boy when he is fully grown.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Why wait?

      • Dreadnaught

        You may be able to answer those questions when it is your child or yourself, that is being buggered.

        • Cressida de Nova

          From his response I don’t think he thinks it would be of great significance. Being anally raped is something he thinks is less of a problem than being divorced. Enough said.

      • CliveM

        Child rape, which is what we are talking about as they are unable to give consent, is a big issue.

        In what way do you feel their is a lack of proportion? Personally I think trying to draw an equivalency between child rape and divorce lacks proportion.

      • len

        You seem to have missed the point entirely.

        This is about the covering up of crime, not the degree of criminality!

      • Cressida de Nova

        How bad is buggery of an adolescent boy? Ask one how it feels.You are a sick pervert.

      • “How bad is buggery of an adolescent boy?”

        Sexual abuse of a child causes a sinister type of trauma because of the shame it instils in the victim. Victims are often too young to know how to express what is happening or to seek out help. When not properly treated, this can result in a lifetime of PTSD, depression and anxiety.

        Now, imagine that when it is perpetrated by a person claiming to love you and to represent Christ.

      • Jon of GSG

        Isn’t it often said that a very common effect of child rape is the suicide of the victim, sooner or later? I think that is an indication of the answer to your question (which is, of course, a valid one).

  • Mike Stallard

    If my brother was bent, would I shop him?
    Brother clergy…
    And the Prophet Mohammed demanded two witnesses to adultery cases before stoning to death. The CoE is not that strict.

    Another little point. Being very old, I can remember way back when my Housemaster at a Prep School was dismissed for gross indecency with a pupil. He just disappeared. No moralising. Everyone felt shocked and surprised and – yup – very sad.
    Sort of like Jesus with the woman caught in adultery.

    Never mind – get old Carey! That will make everyone feel better! And – hey – aren’t we righteous!

    • Anton

      Very convenient, requiring two witnesses to adultery… in ancient Israel God himself consented to be the witness (Numbers 5).

    • len

      ‘If my brother was bent, would I shop him?’
      No, just bury your head in the sand and let him carry on with his crimes .Which is exactly what the church has done!.

  • Frances Withers

    Lord Carey of Clifton – my godly former college principal (Trinity, Bristol ) – is being made into a scapegoat from a time when very different laws applied. A retrospective prosecution under the laws of today would be the deepest injustice. I pray that grace may prevail and the media cease to vilify a man of God who has done so much for many people. It’s not just a retired Archbishop who is hurt by the relentless pursuit of those who are insisting on so-called “justice”.

    • Richie