Southern Religion

Church of England launches investigation of paedophile priest allegations

They aren’t moving with superluminal speed, but there is no “church reputation first” here:

LONDON — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has set up an inquiry in Chichester diocese in southern England, reportedly after allegations that paedophile priests were allowed to continue working despite being accused of sexual abuse.

The archbishop’s decision to investigate the diocese will throw the spotlight on abuse by clergy in the Church of England, raising an issue which has already rocked the Catholic Church in a number of countries.

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace refused to say whether the concerns related to current or historic child protection issues.

In May, a review found serious failings in the senior clergy after two priests were allowed to continue working despite being accused of serious child abuse offences.

An earlier investigation found a history of problems, BBC reported:

Lambeth Palace said it would ensure recommendations of the report by Baroness Butler-Sloss were implemented.

She was appointed by the Church of England to examine how senior clergy dealt with historical claims of abuse.

Her report last May found there had been “a lack of understanding of the seriousness of historic child abuse”.

The report looked into the cases of Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard, who abused children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pritchard served as the vicar of St Barnabas, Bexhill, until 2007, when he was arrested over sex abuse claims. In 2008 he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys and was jailed for five years.

Cotton was ordained in 1966, despite having a conviction for indecently assaulting a choirboy in the 1950s, and went on to abuse at least 10 boys from Eastbourne.

Baroness Butler-Sloss’s report found senior clergy, including bishops, were slow to act on information available to them and to assess the potential risk to children in the diocese.

There were some mumbling excuses in response to a BBC invesgitation.

Bears watching.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Anglican, children, Crime | , | Comments Off on Church of England launches investigation of paedophile priest allegations

‘Piece by piece dissolution’ of the Anglican Church postponed

Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected as “deeply flawed” the Anglican covenant whose alternative Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said is “piece-by-piece dissolution” of worldwide Anglicanism.

The Church of England’s general synod in London votes voted today “on the Anglican covenant, which has been seven years in the making, and sets the Church of England at a crucial crossroads. The church is already facing probable defections to Roman Catholicism by some priests opposed to the ordination of women bishops.”

The General Synod voted Wednesday morning to continue debate and so it goes to dioceses for approval.

That is the outcome Williams sought.

Reuters explains:

The proposed agreement, called a covenant, would require member churches to undertake not to act in a way likely to upset fellow Anglicans in other countries.

The covenant was first proposed in 2004 after tension rose over the consecration of an openly gay bishop at the Episcopal Church, the official U.S. member church in the Communion.

Relations between Anglican churches became more fractious after conservative churches, mostly in Africa, responded by appointing bishops to serve in other countries, including the United States.

The covenant commits member churches to mutual accountability and consultation for settling disputes. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism gives its leader no direct power over all members.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Anglican, Religion | , | Comments Off on ‘Piece by piece dissolution’ of the Anglican Church postponed

Anglical mural upbraiding Catholic Church failure to ordain women priests

St. John’s, an Scottish Episcopal Church in Edenburgh, Scotland, has a tradition of murals which are an appeal to community conscience.

On their Web site, they explain:

Murals addressing contemporary issues relating to justice and peace have appeared at St John’s for many years. They are intended to provoke discussion and a response from passers-by on Princes Street. The murals are painted by Artists for Justice and Peace and planned by a small group including the Rector and Associate Rector of St John’s.

For the pope’s visit they offered the following mural commenting on the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to ordain women priests, as the Scottish Episcopal Church has since 1994:

The pope is likely to have seen it, since the mural is along the procession route he followed.

The pope is meet Church of England Canon Jane Hedges this evening when he goes to Westminster Abbey for prayer. Four years ago, she was the first woman appointed as a residentiary canon at Westminster Abbey. She is a leading candidate to become the Church of England’s first female bishop.

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Anglican, Churches, Pope Benedict XVI | | Comments Off on Anglical mural upbraiding Catholic Church failure to ordain women priests

Worst headline nominee

Virtue Online tells is, “Russian Metropolitan Blasts Anglican Communion’s Sexual Innovations.”

No, the Kama Sutra does not have an Anglican Communion version now. It isn’t at all what it sounds like.

It’s just a shrill headline on an overwritten but otherwise interesting story about debate over the ordination of women, same-sex marriage and the like.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Anglican, Religion | Comments Off on Worst headline nominee

Archbishop Williams afflicts the comfortable

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who can be slow to act and whom we have criticized for lack of force, rebuked Church of England clergy for complaining of persecution in England while Christians elsewhere face “terrible communal violence” and are “living daily with threats and murders.”

He was referring in his ecumenical Easter letter to a group of Church of England Bishops who in a letter last week to the Sunday Telegraph asserted widespread British persecution, including “numerous dismissals of practising Christians from employment for reasons that are unacceptable in a civilised country.”

Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia wrote in response to the letter to the Sunday Telegraph:

To my knowledge, even the most extreme pressure groups like Christian Concern for our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre who are stoking and reinforcing the Christian persecution complex, haven’t made the claim that there have been “numerous dismissals”. So far they have pointed to only a handful of examples where there is some alleged injustice. Rarely have this small number involved dismissal. And even where (if?) they have, upon further investigation, the claims have tended to fall apart. Indeed, in one case, it even seemed to be the intervention of Christian campaigners which brought the dismissal about, after confidential client details were given to a national newspaper. In another, CLC claimed dismissal and then reinstatement, when dismissal never actually seems to have occurred.

Williams suggested in his letter today that attention be focused instead where the need is compelling and the risk of meeting it considerable:

When St John tells us that the disciples met behind locked doors on the first Easter Day (John 20.19), he reminds us that being associated with Jesus Christ has never been easy or safe. Today this is evident in a wide variety of situations – whether in the terrible communal violence afflicting parts of Nigeria, in the butchery and intimidation of Christians in Mosul in recent weeks, in the attacks on the Coptic faithful in Egypt, or in the continuing harassment of Anglican congregations in Zimbabwe. As we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador, we acknowledge that Christians will never be safe in a world of injustice and mindless fear, because Christians will always stand, as did Archbishop Romero, for the hope of a different world, in which the powerful have to let go of privilege and rediscover themselves as servants, and the poor are lifted up into joy and liberty.

By comparison, the secure incantations to civil fear of the five prominent bishops and Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, pale.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Anglican | | Comments Off on Archbishop Williams afflicts the comfortable