Archbishop Justin Welby sorry for abuse-accused bishop comment

Nov 17, 2021 by

by Harry Farley, BBC:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for saying a “significant cloud” hung over the name of the late Bishop of Chichester George Bell.

In 1995 a woman alleged Mr Bell – who died in 1958 – sexually abused her as a girl. The police were only called in after she wrote to Mr Welby in 2013.

The Church settled with her out of court in 2015 and issued an apology.

However, a review of the case in 2017 said the Church “rushed to judgement” in assuming Mr Bell’s guilt.

On Wednesday Mr Welby released a personal statement saying he does not “consider there to be a ‘significant cloud’ over Bishop George Bell’s name”.

While insisting allegations of abuse “must be taken seriously”, he added, “we also owe a duty of care to those who are accused”.

Mr Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958 and was praised for his criticism of the RAF bombing of German civilians in World War Two.

He also played a part in organising the Kindertransport rescue of Jewish children from the Nazis.

He was later honoured with an official Anglican holy day dedicated to his life.

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