The Church gets in a disciplinary mess

Jun 19, 2020 by

The Church gets in a disciplinary mess

The Church of England is in a mess as far as its disciplinary processes and its safeguarding measures are concerned. From observing its processes up close and personal in the last couple of years, it is clear that at the highest levels some of the key Church officers find it impossible to keep up with their workload. They do not follow through on their own initiatives and seem not to understand the devastating effect of that failure on those they are dealing with.

I am thinking here in particular of the victims and ‘survivors’ of clerical sexual abuse but there are others too. Many clergy caught up in the Church of England’s disciplinary process, especially when it comes to new guidance on safeguarding, find themselves utterly abandoned in cold, interminable, distant processes. They are cut off from their usual networks and feel utterly betrayed by the Church they serve.

Take, for example, the Bishop of Lincoln who was suspended by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the beginning of May 2019. More than a year later, after his suspension was presumably reviewed several times, it was finally announced that he was to face disciplinary proceedings brought by the Director of the National Safeguarding Team.

This suspension of more than a year looks to me like ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ under any definition. To leave a person twiddling their thumbs with their reputation in tatters for so long is a disgrace. I make no comment on the merits or otherwise of the case against Bishop Lowson because it is shrouded in mystery but the shocking delay raises question marks about the disciplinary system itself and whether it can possibly be fair to clergy.

In another case concerning the ‘justice system’ of the Church of England, the Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy (pictured), finds himself in the grip of a so-called ‘core group’ set up by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team. Critics say that since Martyn Percy is not employed by the Church of England and has acted according to the safeguarding procedures of Christ Church, the NST has no jurisdiction…

…There are questions to be legitimately asked about whether complainants or the accused, are adequately supported and assisted through the process. In particular, does the system of justice reflect Christian virtues of compassion, and forbearance? The answer is ‘no’ and this terrible system of ‘nonjustice’ needs radical and urgent reform.

 Read here

See also:

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has permission to officiate at religious services revoked by Church of England: See report from Channel 4 News, including full statement from Lord Carey, in which he says he has been given no further information on why his licence has been removed, and he has “little confidence” in the ability of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team to “pursue a proper investigation”.

George Carey – a victim of Stasi-style injustice? by Julian Mann, Anglican Ink

Martyn Percy falls foul of Marxist conformism in the Church of Englandby Julian Mann, Anglican Ink

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