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Herrnhut • 3 years ago

Celibacy as a commandment is an abuse according to St Paul (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago

The writer makes an emotional argument for mandatory reporting, but not a logical, evidenced-based argument for such legislation.

Dave H • 3 years ago

There's already laws against sexual abuse. People have this delusion that passing more laws will change a situation. When you've got thousands of homosexual clergy, they're going to prey on boys, no matter how many laws you pass. Obviously the root problem is a huge network of homosexual clergy, some of them serving as bishops. They're not going to rat each other out.

shalini • 3 years ago

It seems you dont care if clergy prey on girls and women.

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago

Within the church, conflicting signals have been sent and received for decades now. There has recently been criticism of Lord Carey because he allowed Peter Ball to continue working, putting men an boys at risk, after the police had cautioned him for a gay offence, rather than a paedophile offence.

His critics would like Carey's head, because he failed to associate homosexulaity with a risk of abuse which this tendency posed to children, to find out if there were any other rumours, similar or worse, and to feed these back to the police who had cautioned Ball for one incident, albeit not one involving any children.

If you or I linked gay sex with child sex in the way his critics blame Carey for FAILING to link the two, allegedly leaving children unprotected, some of those attacking Carey for not making that association, would be amongst the first to turn on us for making that politically incorrect association.

Guglielmo Marinaro • 3 years ago

Well done, Mr Allman! With your customary perspicacity you have penetrated straight to the nub or crux of the matter. What should have alerted Lord Carey to the possible danger that Bishop Ball might pose to other men or boys was the fact that Ball had demonstrated that he had homosexual tendencies. The fact that his behaviour was predatory – he had misused his ecclesiastical office to lure or trap a young man into a sexual situation – was quite immaterial.

If he had behaved in a similar way with a young woman who had come to him for spiritual guidance, there would have been nothing to worry about. Certainly there would have been no question whatever of a bishop who had behaved in that way posing any potential threat to other young women or girls. Nor would there have been any need to find out if there were any rumours, similar or worse, of such inappropriate behaviour with other females, either over or under the age of consent. He would merely have been expressing heterosexual tendencies, which would, of course, have been absolutely fine.

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago

Actually, I don't think I did penetrate with persicacity to the nub of the particular matter of the Rev Ball. I think that you did that in your response to my point. Well done and thank you for that.

The narrow point that I was making was about the spectrum of *conflicting signals* in which the Church of England has been bathed for much of the 20th century and into the present century.

In 2018, it is too easy to criticise Carey for not realising in 1994 (?) that the single, one-off gay offence for which the police warned the church that Ball had accepted a caution, ought to have alerted Carey of the risk to others that "predatory" Ball posed.

You are correct that it was the "predatory" circumstances of the single known lapse for which Ball was cautioned that, with hindsight, ought to have alerted Carey to the risk that Ball posed to other young adult males, and perhaps also even to male adolescents, although that has never been proven. If only Carey had used his imagination, and considered the possibility of other "predatory" horrors! Assuming, that is, that the police reported to the church not only a gay offence, but also a *predatory* gay offence, one which suggested that there might one day be other victims. (There is some doubt about this.)

One of the signals that would have conflicted with any signal Carey ought to have picked up that there had been something "predatory" about Ball's one-off gay offence, would have been the signal that the church ought not to persecute "gay people", but ought to be "inclusive" towards such people, or at least forgiving of them.

Amidst conflicting signals, when there are difficult decisions to be taken, I find it understandable that sometimes the wrong signal is heeded, at the expense of missing altogether the signal that ought to have predominated, as we now think it should after several inquiries, almost a quarter of a century later.

Did the police warn the church in 1994 that Ball had not only accepted a caution for gross indecency (something that some in the church would even then have considered to be forgiveable), but also explained that the particular offence was *predatory* (suggesting perhaps that the police ought not in the first place to have allowed Ball to accept a caution instead of prosecuting him)? Was the church told that the victim had reported the offence? Rather than the offence haing been discovered because it had been committed in public, as one would normally expect for an offence that was charged as gross indecency?

Guglielmo Marinaro • 3 years ago

It has never been the general view that either secular society or the church ought to persecute “straight people”. On the contrary, since time immemorial nearly everyone has been as “inclusive” towards such people as it is possible to be. That “signal” has not impeded or conflicted with appropriate action against people who commit predatory heterosexual offences – although other considerations have no doubt sometimes done so. There is no logical reason whatever why a similarly non-persecuting and “inclusive” attitude to “gay people” should impede or conflict with appropriate action against people who commit predatory homosexual offences – although once again other considerations have no doubt sometimes done so. Nor, in fact, does the evidence indicate that that was what happened in the case of Bishop Peter Ball.

According to the recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church, the allegations against Peter Ball first came into the open in December 1992, when Neil Todd made his accusation against Ball to three different bishops. On 12th December 1992 Todd’s parents told the police that Peter Ball, under the guise of providing spiritual guidance and religious instruction, had sought to sexually exploit him.

It seems that Lord Carey was not told at that time exactly what Ball was alleged to have been up to:

“Lord Carey, who was then the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his evidence to the inquiry has indicated that the police did not disclose details of Peter Ball’s offending to him, despite the fact that he asked for them, or make the church aware of precisely what the offences were. It was the case that Archbishop Carey did speak to a senior investigating officer to try and find out the details of the offending, but was rebuffed.” (IICSA Hearing)


“Archbishop Carey also received in December 1992 and January 1993 six letters in total from individuals, some of whom had in fact also approached the police, or their families. At least three of them identified occasions in which Peter Ball had manipulated his position or had acted in similar ways to that disclosed by Neil Todd to the police.” (IICSA Hearing)

In his testimony before the Inquiry, which took up pretty well an entire day, Lord Carey was asked why he did not take the allegations against Bishop Ball more seriously and act accordingly. He did not reply with any ridiculous nonsense about being “inclusive”. He explained that he had simply been unable/unwilling to accept the possibility that a bishop of the Church of England – and, I presume, especially one who had been put on a pedestal in the way that Peter Ball had been, although those are my words – could really have behaved in that way.

The covering up of predatory homosexual behaviour among clergy clearly has nothing to do with being “inclusive”. Historical evidence shows that it was going on – as also was the covering up of predatory heterosexual behaviour – back in the days when being known as homosexual resulted in social ostracism and when even fully consensual homosexual behaviour between adults was still in countries like the UK and the USA (except in one state) a criminal offence.

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago


The covering up of predatory homosexual behaviour among clergy clearly has nothing to do with being “inclusive”.


In the final analysis, that is the sort of statement that it isn't easy to prove, or to disprove, using evidence. You seem adamant that your assertion is true. I'm unwilling to antagonise you by expressing afresh a mere opinion that it might not be as simple as that, however logical you have explained it would be if people thought the way you would like them to.

Guglielmo Marinaro • 3 years ago

I certainly can’t prove that no misguided, muddle-headed person has ever covered up predatory homosexual behaviour in the name of “inclusiveness”. Indeed that probably has happened somewhere or other: people have been known to do all manner of wrong and foolish things for the most extraordinary reasons.

However, the evidence indicates that the covering up of such behaviour (as also of predatory heterosexual behaviour) among clergy has in general been due to an attempt to protect the church’s reputation, with myopic lack of foresight of the far greater damage that the eventual uncovering of the cover-up would cause; to a naive refusal to entertain the possibility that a clerk in holy orders, let alone a bishop, would ever really be capable of such behaviour; or to a combination of those motives; not to a desire to be “inclusive”.

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago

The evidence that "the covering up of such behaviour ... has... been due to an attempt to protect the church’s reputation", consists of what people say, when decades later they are cornered into explaining their criticised historic decisions. However "muddle-headed" they might have been at the time, the circumstances in which those who do the explaining find themselves, will clear the mind wonderfully. The abuse-enablers are hardly likely to admit a belated insight (if they had one) that they had enabled abusers partly out of unconscious political correctness, to be "inclusive", rather entirely out a misguided zeal for the church's reputation, which is obviously also a frequent factor.

Guglielmo Marinaro • 3 years ago

The desire to protect the church’s reputation, and the naïve inability or refusal to confront the possibility that a “man of the cloth” could engage in predatory sexual behaviour, are both readily understandable reasons, albeit badly misconceived ones, for covering up such behaviour or for turning a blind eye to suspicious circumstances which should have been regarded as red flags. If, therefore, those who engaged in cover-ups or facilitated them admit that those were their motivations, there is no obvious reason to disbelieve them.

Since no-one can get inside anyone else’s head, we can never prove that those really were their genuine motivations. Nor can we ever disprove your suggestion that some were really (and quite illogically) motivated by an unconscious and “politically correct” desire to be “inclusive”. However, you have adduced no factual evidence indicating that that was commonly the case – or even that it ever was. All that we have is your unsubstantiated speculation. “Quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur”, I would remind you. Furthermore, it should be noted that covering-up was going on long before such “inclusiveness” ever became “politically correct” or even trendy (as shown, for example, by the recent report of the grand jury in Pennsylvania).

You are, of course, free to convince yourself that your unproven theory is correct, and I don’t doubt that you have your own not particularly admirable motives for doing so. That is certainly no reason why anyone else should take it seriously.

Herrnhut • 3 years ago

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
For (Because) I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decay and wax old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8)

Blessed are those whose sin He impute not on their heart so they will walk in the spirit and not in their flesh.

Dave Alanson • 3 years ago

More law? You cannot legislate more and more it'll change nothing. Current safeguards are strong. Church abuse is not the biggest % of abuse; it is abuse within families that is really worrying.

Martin • 3 years ago

There is no end to the invention of new laws to cover perceived gaps. As the law stands, knowledge of an offence without the reporting of the offence is cooperation after the offence with the offender. It matters not what the offence is. In a hierarchical organisation, when a senior person knows his junior has committed an offence and fails to ensure that it is reported they should be prosecuted.

Phil Johnson • 3 years ago

I agree, they should be prosecuted but under the current law NODODY has been prosecuted despite the multitude of cases that have been exposed where bishops had knowledge of abuse and failed to report it.

JohnAllman.UK • 3 years ago

Where did this multitude of cases take place? Please would you identify a case, in England or Wales, where it has been exposed that a bishop had knowledge of a criminal offence of any kind, and failed to report that offence to the police? Not counting, that is, cases in which a victim who was an adult by the time he reported the crime to anybody, was perfectly capable of reporting the crime to the police himself, but "failed" to report it to the police (or rather decided not to).

Mandatory reporting is not the right approach, because it destroys confidentiality. As a teenager, I might not have confided in a clergyman that I was being abused, if the inevitable consequence would have been that the clergyman would have been committing a criminal offence if he "failed" to betray my trust, and breached confidentiality, by becoming a police informer.

The decision to report a suspicion or allegation to the police, requires Ecclesiastes 3 wisdom. There will be times to report to the police even if that breaches confidentiality. There will be other times to seek to resolve issues without involving the police.

No sensible fire drill says that the first priority is to call the fire brigade and evacuate the building every time a smoke alarm goes off, or that one should leave to the experts even a small fire that one can easily extinguish oneself in a few seconds.

Martin • 3 years ago

That is down to the prosecuting authority, not the law.