Thursday, February 01, 2018

CHURCH HOUSE, Westminster... a rather splendid place, beautifully equipped and with fine portraits of Anglican worthies....a mix of good architecture, good taste, and the latest equipment. The right place for a serious meeting about Bishop George Bell. It was a privilege to be invited to chair the event.

A number of resolutions were passed, urging that  Archbishop Welby apologise for his "significant cloud"  statement about Bishop Bell,  and that Bell's portrait be reinstated at Chichester and his name restored to the house in Canon Lane which was opened in his honour. We also urged a full Synod debate about Lord Carlile's report at the earliest opportunity.

Not coincidentally, the Church of England issued a statement yesterday announcing that further information had been received about Bishop Bell and that they were liaising with Sussex police on the matter. It's not clear why police should be involved: if the suggestion is that Bishop took part in some criminal activity, he cannot be prosecuted because he is dead. And why is he being named at all? Archbishop Welby appeared to indicate that the Church of England would accept the serious criticisms made by the Carlile Report and would act accordingly: a major recommendation was that a person of whom a serious allegation is made should not be publicly named because it implies that the allegation is true.

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