‘Basket case’ diocese had ‘major issue’ with child abuse

Latest news

    Chichester Cathedral
    Image caption The diocese of Chichester is being investigated by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse

    The diocese of Chichester had a “major issue” with priests carrying out abuse, an inquiry has heard.

    Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Martin Warner, made the claim when giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

    Dr Warner said there had been a “breakdown of trust” between the Church of England and the local council.

    He also said he was warned by a senior Church of England official that the area was considered “a basket case”.

    The bishop claimed Caroline Boddington, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s appointments secretary, made the remark when he was appointed in 2012.

    Dr Warner said there was a “damaged relationship” between two bishops in office at the time – his predecessor John Hind and a junior bishop in the diocese Wallace Benn.

    Both have been accused of not responding properly to reports of abuse.

    Dr Warner claimed officials at East Sussex County Council had urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to sack Bishop Benn – the Bishop of Lewes – and that he had held talks with colleagues about a “dignified exit” for the bishop soon after he moved to the diocese.

    There were also issues with parishioners, with Dr Warner describing a “hostile” response over the church’s treatment of Bishop Peter Ball – who was convicted of abusing children.

    “I was kind of persona non grata with them because they believed the church had mistreated him and was continuing to mistreat him badly, and that was a shock to me,” he said.

    ‘Pride and arrogance’

    The bishop said there was an atmosphere of “defensiveness and pride” at the diocese’s headquarters in Hove, along with a fear of the media.

    “It wasn’t clear who was going to say what to them when they were asking legitimate and pressing questions and nobody knew quite where the answer was due to come from,” said Dr Warner.

    “There was a fear of making an answer which would be taken, particularly by Bishop Wallace Benn, to be a slur on his character.”

    He added: “Pride and arrogance sometimes stems from a genuine commitment to the church, and there are aspects of that which are positive. But it can also bind us to its real failings.”

    But he rejected calls by some survivors that it should be an offence not to report a disclosure of sexual abuse.

    Dr Warner said: “I’m not sure that mandatory reporting is necessarily the way that we are going to achieve best protection for children.”

    Ending his evidence, he repeated his apology to survivors, saying he “grieved for the loss of access to faith that this has often resulted in”.

    The inquiry continues.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43406040

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43406040

    In the same category are

    Child obesity plan targets sweets at checkouts Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The plan proposes bans on sweets and junk food promotions in the aisles and online Sweets and fatty sna...
    Newspaper headlines: ‘Give me £20bn or I’ll bring May down’ By BBC News Staff Image caption Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has threatened to "break" Theresa May's government if his department does not...
    East Coast train line back under public control Image copyright PA Image caption The route will now be known as the London North Eastern Railway (LNER), a name last used in the 1940s Rail servic...
    England 36-18 New Zealand England were playing in the USA for the first time since 2000International Test match, Denver, USAEngland (10) 36Tries: Hall, Whitehead 2, Connor, Ma...
    French jogger detained after crossing US-Canada border Image copyright AFP/Family handout Image caption Ms Roman said she did not see any signs on the beach and dirt path she jogged along A young Frenc...
    World Cup 2018: Serbia chief accuses Fifa of ‘brutal robbery’ after Swiss defeat World Cup 2018: Serbia 1-2 Switzerland highlightsThe head of the Serbian Football Association has accused governing body Fifa of showing bias against...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.