Abuse: C of E is dodging the issue

Abuse: C of E is dodging the issue

Victims of abuse of religious power and clergy sexual abuse have sent a New Year’s Message to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, above, calling for an end to the bullying and silencing of those who speak out about the misconduct of clergymen in his church and in other faiths.  

In a statement just issued by the Church Reform Group, it is alleged that the Church of England is using the services of  a private “scandal management” company, Luther Pendragon, to shield it from victims of clerical abuse.

Luther Pendragon has a controversial history of lobbying and PR scandal management on behalf of the tobacco, arms and nuclear industries – and campaigners have criticised its role in allegedly hushing up clergy abuse in Winchester last year.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham, 66, was placed at the centre of a police inquiry in August 2014 over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham, 66, was placed at the centre of a police inquiry in August 2014 over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago.

The call follows a recent panel debate on abuse in the House of Commons, with speaker and audience contributors from parliamentarians, clergy abuse victims groups, legal experts and advisors to the government panel inquiry on child sexual abuse.

While the panel included speakers from the Catholic Church, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu clergy, the Church of England declined to send any representatives to face questions about its record on clergy abuse.

Certain Anglican clergy, bishops and archdeacons whose alleged behaviour in relation to matters of abuse were to be questioned and debated at the event had repeatedly been invited to come along to the meeting in the interests of fair and free speech and of ‘the right to reply’, but instead they all avoided attending to face inquiry.

Instead, the Church of England employed Luther Pendragon to apply pressure against the meeting taking place, and put pressure on the room booking.

Thereafter it attempted to prevent the publication of this film footage of the open discussion in Parliament.

Activists have called on Archbishop Justin Welby not to be blinded by the Church of England’s high profile campaigns against bankers and the City of London Corporation, and concentrate instead on “the evil within the Church itself – abuse perpetrated by some of Welby’s own clergy”.

Kit Klarenberg, a spokesperson for one of the survivors campaigning groups at the event in Parliament said:

Church of England leaders have attempted to disrupt the free and open discussion in the public interest about clergy abuse by, on the one hand, their avoidance and refusal to attend and face questioning from abuse survivors and the public, and on the other hand the Diocese of London employing a private lobbying agency for the tobacco and nuclear industries to disrupt and censor free debate.

This is a shocking betrayal of Archbishop Justin Welby’s stated commitment to a full and frank conversation about these extremely serious issues in an Anglican context. 

The conduct of Anglican authorities was also criticised by Hindu leaders, as well as by clergy of other religions.

Satish Sharma, leader of the National Council for Hindu Temples and one of the speakers at the event, rebuked the Church of England for what he called “the big abuse” of protecting perpetrators in order:

To preserve an institutional brand.  

He stated:

The absence of members of the Church of England and the decision-making members of other bodies is the crime of mocking troubled souls. 

A former police officer in the Rotherham abuse investigation also spoke of his experience of the bullying of whistleblowers.

The statement claimed that Luther Pendragon is:

Unwilling to comment about the very sizeable funds which had been spent by the Church of England for procuring their scandal management services.

Hat tip: Robert Stovold

20 responses to “Abuse: C of E is dodging the issue”

  1. Broga says:

    It looks as if the shit has just hit the fan for Justin Welby. This is an answer to the Vatican’s prayers, manna from heaven you could say, in that Welby is shaping up to be worse than Frankie. Indeed, while Frankie is heading for the ocean and clear blue water, Welby is heading for the rocks.

  2. L.Long says:

    Thee is only one thing wrong with the sex abuse by preachers…it is the sheeple’s kids being victims. If the dimwitted sheeple themselves were being abused ,I would care less.

  3. Cali Ron says:

    Non sequitur-Just wanted to wish everyone at Freethinker and the regular cast of posting characters a Happy New Year! Discovered Freethinker this year and just want to say it’s a refuge of intellect and sanity in a world gone mad! Cheers, Slainte, Salud!

  4. Barry Duke says:

    Your best wishes are appreciated Cali Ron. We always like to hear from appreciative newbies, and I would like to add my New Year’s best wishes to you and to all who support our efforts to bring a touch of rationality to bear on an otherwise chucklebrained world.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Well – he’s going to tell us all that we mustn’t “turn our backs” on suffering in 2015:

    When we are at our best, living out the generosity of Jesus Christ, as that has formed itself in our national character, when we turn outwards and use our best resources to change this world in which we live, we see what a wonderful heritage we have, and the hope we can bring to the poorest and those with the greatest suffering on the face of our planet.

    The BBC is giving this New Year’s message the same prominence that it did the Queen’s Speech, of course.

  6. Newspaniard says:

    @Barry. Talking about “Happy New Year”, isn’t it donation time?

  7. Barry Duke says:

    Donation time, Newspaniard, is any time you choose.

  8. Caute says:

    Why is it the clergy love to dress up in absurdly ornate over embellished finery. Is it to lend an air of authority?

    And I really cannot imagine what goes through the minds of Welby and Bergoglio (and that patriarch sidekick ponce of Putin with the cross on the top of his hat) when the flunkies dress them up in the regalia. Do they think we should drop to our knees in awe, wonder and deference? Well I am sorry but if I ever have the misfortune to be within range of one of these halfwits then I will be honour bound to swat his hat to the ground and grind it underfoot.

    My resolution for 2015 is the same as every previous year ….to rail, at every opportunity, against religion …all religions … and especially islam and that other abomination the rcc.

    I yearn for misfortune, scandal and ruin to befall the leaders, the hierarchy, managers,officers and apologists of these dangerous, divisive, retarding, interfering, hateful organisations.

  9. Broga says:

    @Cali Ron: And a Happy New Year to you. I share your thinking about this site being a refuge from religion and a location for (most of the time) reason.

    I would just add that the estimable Barry Duke puts in one hell of a performance. We are lucky he is on our side.

  10. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: What a bloody hypocrite. Welby preaches this while taking the money from his gullible parishioners to pay a PR firm to deflect attention from his abusing clergy. BBC, as you say, gives him air time. Without challenge, of course.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Broga: The clergy are good at words!

  12. Barry Duke says:

    They sure are, BarrieJohn. Enjoy this fella telling his congregation that God knows where your box is.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Oh, yes: “Jesus broke every stereotype” again. That would be the imaginary Jesus that they have constructed in their own imaginations, based upon a few Bible verses and their own interpretation of them. Even a child reading the Gospels with an open mind should be able to see the fallacy of that!

  14. Broga says:

    @Barry Duke: The preacher looked plump and well fed, wearing a clean shirt and expensive suit. I don’t think he was living in a box.

  15. Mark Mark says:

    @ Cali Ron and all whom post and visit here as well as the rest of the logical thinkers on this planet who are tried of the hate, lies, and abuse of religion around the world.

    “A very happy New Year…and may each and every one of us convert at least one brainwashed religious person into the world of logical thinking In the year ahead.”

    Mark Mark

  16. Nelmonster says:

    Off topic to a degree but just wanted to share;
    Happy new year everyone. 🙂

  17. Robster says:

    Comparing that pope Frank with Welby is like comparing a kayak with a steam ship. Welby represents (or is said to..) a couple of million deluded souls who don’t seem to take the nonsense too seriously while Frank claims a billion or so besotted followers who think the nonsense is worth supporting and in some way may just actually be sort of, potentially real.Mind you, it’d be interesting to compare percentages for both camps in terms of child molesting clergy. Do wonder if the Anglicans would do better than the RCC’s impressive six percent.

  18. barriejohn says:

    Robster: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the “Anglcan Communion” split in two over attempts at “modernization”. Intelligent members can’t stay in an organization with mediaeval ideas and the fundamentalists – mainly in Africa – aren’t going to give an inch. Meanwhile, the RCC gained 15 million adherents last year – hahahahaha:

    PS Scroll down and read this headline:

    Pope Francis urges people to hear cries of children at Christmas
    Pontiff prays for children ‘abused and exploited under our eyes’ in Urbi et Orbi message

    You couldn’t fucking make it up!

  19. dennis says:

    Cali Ron
    I to found these beautiful thoughtful people here this year and am so happy for them all, every god damned one of them. hopefully they forgive my messy English punctuation.
    everyone a happy new year and glorious conversion of a god virus soul with logic reason and science.

  20. Robster says:

    Oh jeesus! Well over a billion catholics barriejohn. Wot a worry. When I was growing up, being catholic was considered a bit downmarket and many let’s eat jesus/pope followers kept it quiet and to themselves. There’s been quite a change it seems. Perhaps the Anglican church can become like a football club and evolve into a sort of social organisation that holds regular dinner and bingo nights.