Archbishop of Canterbury decries child sex abuse cover-up – Guy Faulconbridge

Justin Welby

ReutersFrom the 1940s to 2018, 390 clergy and people in positions of trust with the Church of England were convicted of sexual offences against children. – Guy Faulconbridge

The Church of England’s* spiritual leader said on [Oct. 7th] it was disgraceful that the institution had for decades failed to protect children from sexual predators within its ranks and shown lack of care for victims.

From the 1940s to 2018, 390 clergy and people in positions of trust with the Church were convicted of sexual offences against children, an inquiry found this week.

“It’s shameful and disgraceful and reveals exactly what they said—a culture in which there was cover-up and hiding,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the BBC in his first public reaction since the report was published.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found the Church allowed abusers to hide to defend its reputation.

“It didn’t come as a surprise,” Welby said, adding that the Church had begun “a journey of change”. “We have not gone quick enough or far enough yet.”

A victims group said the Church had a long way to go as it still dealt with too many allegations in-house and should also recognise life-long needs of those abused.

“It will take more than platitudes to rebuild trust in the Church,” said the Minister And Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group. “Apologies and expressions of shame and sorrow are welcomed but what is needed is practical and well resourced action.”

‘Lack of care’

The Catholic Church has been similarly excoriated for belated action over decades of scandals around the world, though it has paid billions in damages and Pope Francis has urged an “all-out battle” against clerical child abuse.

Welby, who became archbishop in 2013, said he had known abuse was happening because of the case of a former bishop of Gloucester, who in 2015 pleaded guilty to indecent assault.

Peter Ball had suggested to victims that humiliation—including praying naked, masturbation and flagellation—was a teaching of St. Francis and would bring closeness to God.

One of Ball’s victims took his own life years later.

“I was shocked by the level, when I came into this job, by the extent to which it was happening,” said Welby, 64.

“We have been poor at dealing with redress and dealing with the victims and the survivors. … The whole lack of care in this is shocking.”

Welby said the Church had now overhauled internal systems to deal faster and better with allegations and helping victims.

The archbishop guides the entire Anglican Communion of 85 million believers worldwide. – Reuters, 7 October 2020

Guy Faulconbridge reports for Reuters in London.


* The Church of England is known as the Episcopal Church in the US. In India it is in communion with the Church of South India and Church of North India. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual head of these churches.

Paedophile priests of Chichester



One Response

  1. Fr. Reji Palakkadan

    Priest held for alleged sexual assault on woman in Kerala – HT Correspondent – Hindustan Times -Thiruvananthapuram – Oct 13, 2020

    The Kerala police on Tuesday arrested a Christian priest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman in Idukki on Monday.

    Police said the [Jacobite Syrian] priest Reji Palakkadan, also an Ayurveda practitioner, was held following a complaint filed by the woman’s parents.

    Palakkadan was running an Ayurveda clinic in Adimali as part of the church and the woman had visited the facility for treatment on Monday, police said. In their complaint, the parents said their daughter was assaulted by the priest in the name of treatment. The accused also threatened her not to reveal the incident to anyone. But she later narrated her plight to her parents who then filed a complaint with the police.

    Circle Inspector Anil George said the accused was booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty).

    “The accused priest was known as a doctor in the area. We will also examine his educational qualifications and other details. He will be produced in the court later in the day” George said.

    The church is yet to react to the incident.


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