‘General Synod has no confidence in the Church of England’s capacity to regulate its own safeguarding culture’

Feb 20, 2019 by

by Martin Sewell, Archbishop Cranmer:

The laicisation of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by the Roman Catholic Church was one more step on the long journey towards cleansing that institution of sexual abuse, much of it at the highest of levels. McCarrick had been Archbishop of Washington and a key figure in both national and church politics.

The ousting of such a figure does not happen easily, even when rumours of improper activities reach the higher echelons of the Church, and on Sunday, Roman Catholic priest, writer and Consulting Editor of the Catholic Herald broke ranks and named the problem:

 One should not underestimate either the difficulty for (or the integrity of) such a priest making such a statement. The Roman Catholic priesthood, for good or ill, is a more orderly and disciplined cadre that its Anglican counterpart, and the willingness to name ‘the elephant in the room’ is as unexpected as it is to be welcomed. The righteous anger of the press and laity is likely to continue as further potential miscreants fall under suspicion.

As the General Synod of the Church of England gathers at Church House today, one wonders how many of its representatives will be similarly courageous in challenging those responsible for the ongoing inadequacies of our safeguarding regime. If so, they will have to add ingenuity and a thick skin to their armoury to make significant progress on this occasion, for the odds are stacked against any meaningful engagement with the problems during the current sessions.

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