Monday, July 08, 2013

Synod supports safeguarding apology for child abuse


The General Synod of the Church of England is a peculiar animal. Instead of debating profound matters of theology and mission, it can so often get bogged down on matters of social work and welfare or tie itself up in knots over questions of justice and equality. Sometimes, of course, these are matters of applied theology, but very often they are not.

Over the weekend, Syndod voted to acknowledge and apologise for past child-safeguarding wrongs. It also voted to endorse work on legislative and non-legislative changes to tighten procedures which have been identified following the Chichester Commissaries interim and final safeguarding reports.

Opening the debate, the Rt Rev'd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee, said: “We cannot do anything other than own up to our failures. We were wrong. Our failures were sin just as much as the perpetrators sinned. By failing to listen or act appropriately we condemned survivors to live with the harm when we should have been assisting them into whatever measure of healing might be possible.”

The motion - that Synod accordingly acknowledges and apologises for past wrongs and seeks endorsement from the Synod for legislative and non-legislative progress to be made during the period of this Quinquennium - was debated.

Nobody made the theological point that vicarious apology is meaningless: all essentially acknowledged that the Body of Christ is one; that when one limb becomes infected it should be cut it off, lest it corrupt the whole body.

An amendment moved by the Rev'd Preb Stephen Lynas was carried.

Following a division of the Synod, the motion, as amended, was carried unanimously (360 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions).

The Church of England has found a matter upon which it is absolutely united.

It had been brought to Synod following consideration by both the House of Bishops and Archbishops’ Council so it could approve the next steps.

In a follow-up to the Commissaries’ reports, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote: “It is right, therefore, that the General Synod should receive an account of the actions that the House and the Council have put in hand, have an opportunity to comment on the next steps, and be able to identify with the apology that we wish to offer unreservedly for the failure of the Church of England’s systems to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by its clergy and others and for the failure to listen properly to those so abused."


The House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council have agreed that given their importance and, in some respects, their sensitivity, the matters below should be the subject of a consultation (p7) over the course of the summer, with a view to the introduction of draft legislation as soon as possible, so that the necessary legislation receives Final Approval in the course of the current quinquennium. It includes provisions for:
Removal of the 12 month limitation period for the bringing of complaints under the CDM in sexual abuse cases

Extending the bishop’s power of suspension under the CDM

Amending canon law so that clergy can be required to undergo risk assessments

Preventing prohibited and suspended clergy from robing

Extending the circumstances in which churchwardens and PCC members can be suspended and/or disqualified from holding office

Amending Canon C8.
Two further proposed changes to the legislative framework have already been approved at this group of sessions by Synod. The first of these is an amendment to the Code of Practice under the CDM to clarify when a complaint can be made under the Measure notwithstanding an acquittal in criminal proceedings. The second is an amendment to the Clergy Discipline Rules made under the CDM so that victims will be able to withhold their contact details from respondents when making complaints.


Non-Legislative Changes take the form of actions proposed by the commissaries where changes to practice but not legislative changes are needed. These include:
Changes to the culture of the Church - implementing cultural changes to any organisation is a complex task and does not happen quickly. However, this process can be facilitated by identifying areas where cultural change should happen. The proposal for an audit of diocesan safeguarding is intended to address both the more and less obvious areas where cultural change needs to happen.

Ensuring that existing and new safeguarding policies are properly implemented at diocesan level – further work needs to be done to support safeguarding advisers in the effective roll-out of these policies.

Ensuring that every diocese has adequate safeguarding expertise with a professional adviser and an effective safeguarding group – there will be a need for national advisers to provide bishops with a checklist to carry out an immediate review of provision, including an assessment of diocesan websites and an audit of their current provision and future needs.

The roll-out of a national programme of safeguarding training – this will require the development of training material at national level and advice to dioceses on how to use this material, who should attend, and encouraging dioceses to commit to the necessary training.

Introduction of best practice guidance on responding to serious situations – this includes putting in place adequate resource at diocesan level to respond quickly to serious situations and developing guidance for dioceses on best practice in such situations. This will also require resource at national level to address situations which require national attention.

Development of guidance on safe working practices – this guidance is being worked on by the Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group.

Review of risk assessment processes – this will need to be developed and agreed at national level before it is rolled out at diocesan level, and will require additional national resource to ensure that risk assessment processes are consistent, robust, of a high standard and compliant with human rights requirements.

Improved policy and practices on responding well to survivors – this will require additional resource at national level to help dioceses respond better and to recruit and train Authorised Listeners.

Safeguarding standards for ministers from other denominations – this is dependent on the implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 after which further guidance can be developed.

Further clarity on the issue of confidentiality, including with regard to the Confessional, where some additional guidance may be needed.

Wider non-legislative changes take the form of actions proposed by the commissaries where changes to practice but not legislative changes are needed. The general actions which are being proposed are as follows:
The undertaking of an audit of safeguarding provision in every diocese

The review of risk assessment procedures

The development of core material and expectations around attendance for safeguarding training.
Most of these actions will require increased national resources at least in the short term (and possibly in the long term as well) and the audit itself may show the need for many dioceses to increase their resourcing on safeguarding. The Synod is asked to note that the Archbishops’ Council has now allocated additional funds at national level for the national work. This will be in addition to any funding which will need to be found by the dioceses to support increased work on safeguarding.

As His Grace says, the Church of England - Episcopacy and Laity - are 100 per cent united on these matters.


There was no motion to canonise those princes of the Church who presided over years or decades of gross moral failure, appalling child abuse and incalculable suffering.

(With thanks to Keith Bundy for the photographs)

67 Comments:

Blogger Albert said...

This is excellent news - well done CofE, better late than never. Unfortunately, it appears that the European Court is going to undermine some of this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10165760/Church-warned-over-rights-of-suspected-paedophile-priests.html

I don't understand this article, since the kinds of things the CofE is proposing has been standard practice in the Catholic Church in England for about a decade. So it seems that if the European Court wishes to put the human rights of children at risk, you just have to ignore them.

8 July 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Sorry Cranmer, couldn't be bothered reading the whole article. An article opening with the words, "General Synod of the Church of England" has the same effect on me as a picture of the ex-Archdruid of Canterbury at the top used to have ... scroll to the end. [And if a picture paints a 1000 words, the pictures accompanying this article scream "DULL" & "IGNORE ME"].

However I did read sufficient to note that there was 100% unanimity in the matter in hand. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because anyone who votes or abstains in anything that comes under the broad brush stroke of "child protection" is instantly under suspicion of having something to hide. Why else would anyone want to question a "child protection" proposal? And the old chestnut of, "if it saves just one child then it's got to be worth it" comes into play - no matter how dubious it's merit.

Still, I am grateful to yourself & Keith Bundy for reminding me how glad I am that I ceased to be a formal member of the CofE all those years ago.

8 July 2013 at 10:46  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Worth wading through for the punch line.

8 July 2013 at 11:05  
Blogger David B said...

I must say that I liked the punch line, too.

David

8 July 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Richard Watterson said...

Great punchline but hard work getting to it.

8 July 2013 at 16:40  
Blogger Peter D said...

"There was no motion to canonise those princes of the Church who presided over years or decades of gross moral failure, appalling child abuse and incalculable suffering."

Good job too as I don't think the Church of England believes in canonisation; well, not all of its members, anyways.

Ah ... got the point ... how slow of me ... Pope Francis recently approved the canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII!

The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.

8 July 2013 at 16:57  
Blogger non mouse said...

In my case - that involved Skimming rather than Wading, Your Grace. These writers/debaters are obviously embued with the 'filosofic' style of our euro-meisters.

Must say I am also rather bored with all this fashionable apologizing by our institutions and officials. Why don't other nations go in for it? Or are we the world leader in grovelling?

In the case presented here, surely private apology would be most efficacious. It would be well consolidated by whatever measures might mitigate the effects of wrong-doing. Have to add though, that I never heard rumours of such cases in my own areas of CoE activity, so they can't have been common there.

On the other hand, secular school-teachers at all levels have had quite a reputation. Considering present-day curricula (eussr-instigated-mind-and-gender-abuse), I'd suggest that we all concentrated a bit more on watching that lot in the present, and a bit less on apologizing vicariously for past events and past people.

As for confession !!!! I thought that was mainly for RCs. But, of course, under the aegis of the euSSR, they're lurking....

All that said then, there's one apology I'd like to see: from Gordon Brown and his whippees for having the gall to 'give us away' to the euSSR. And after the apology, how about some action to declare British Independence - for Church, State, and People?

8 July 2013 at 17:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

"There was no motion to canonise those princes of the Church who presided over years or decades of gross moral failure, appalling child abuse and incalculable suffering."

I didn't spot that the first time. It's just a nasty comment, that is unworthy of you. Frankly, the moment in which the CofE finally gets around to apologising and getting its child protection policies in order, is a bit of sick moment to point the finger at others - especially as, in order to make your comment stick, you would need to show that both popes knew what was going on - both in terms of the abuse and the failure to respond properly, understood it, and colluded in the cover-up. You have done none of that, of course. Indeed, considering the evidence of the John Jay report, such an accusation is absurd in both cases and frankly impossible to make in the case of John XXIII. In contrast, we know that an Archbishop of Canterbury knowingly approved the ordination of a convicted child-abuser, and then left him in post for decades while he continued to abuse.

The simple fact is that the CofE is about 10 or more years behind the Catholic Church on child protection. 10 years in which children entrusted to the CofE have continued to be abused. That is a cause for shame and sorrow, taking the opportunity to make unsubstantiated allegations against others is sick and disturbing.

8 July 2013 at 17:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"I didn't spot that the first time. It's just a nasty comment, that is unworthy of you"

Albert, you've bitten, and His Grace is delighted.

Indeed, in this context, your allegation of nastiness is itself nasty, though possibly completely worthy of you.

It is inconceivable that Pope John Paul II know nothing about the thousands of cases of historic child abuse that were occurring all over the world. Indeed, many Roman Catholics were (and are) quite irked that Benedict XVI was tarnished by having to pick up the pieces.

For God's sake, JPII gave Cardinal Law a refuge in the Vatican. One wonders how many of your co-religionists agree with you that he is purer than the driven snow, meriting canonisation with unprecedented haste.

8 July 2013 at 18:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace @8 July 2013 18:02

Huge chuckles.

The Vatican would probably try to canonize Judas Iscariot if they thought they could get away with it, under the premise that without someone having the temerity to betray Jesus, then salvation may never have been forthcoming and Peter and Rome would be key-less.

They have canonized worse, haven't they?

Blofeld

8 July 2013 at 18:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Dr C,

Albert, you've bitten, and His Grace is delighted.

I'm sorry that you think that a moment in which the CofE is apologising for chronic failures in child-protection, and the resulting chronic suffering of children in her care, is a moment to play such games and take delight in them. Frankly, your admission of being "delighted" only heightens my sense that that sentence is very sick - and leaves me wondering a great deal.

Well I'm not going to join your game in trying to distract attention from the CofE's abuse to unsubstantiated accusations elsewhere. If the best you can do is make an expression of your psychological difficulties in believing Pope John Paul II did not know about it all, and understand how bishops had got it wrong, then I suggest it is in your interest to let the matter lie. For anyone else, I refer to the evidence I gave in my previous comment. It is pretty clear: what he knew at all, he knew when it was too late - but not as late as the CofE evidently left it.

8 July 2013 at 18:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Dr C,

Do you actually have children of your own?

8 July 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Games, Albert?

You're welcome to engage with the manifest ecclesio-theological and historical points, or leave and waste someone else's time. Your ad hominem swipes are adding nothing to the debate.

8 July 2013 at 18:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop
"For God's sake, JPII gave Cardinal Law a refuge in the Vatican. One wonders how many of your co-religionists agree with you that he is purer than the driven snow, meriting canonisation with unprecedented haste."

Are you looking for a new job? Reforms to the canonisation process eliminated the role of 'Devil's Advocate', a person charged with presenting the case against canonisation. I'm sure many of your communicants will help fill this void - but its too late at this point.

These Popes had faults and failings, of course they did, but do remember no Saint is "purer than the driven snow" - look at the first Pope's record before Pentecost. If memory serves, Christ even called him "Satan" at one point!

Catholics accept canonisation is an infallible statement by the Church that the person concerned enjoys the Beatific Vision - that is they are in Heaven. As a Catholic, I accept such decisions.

Ernsty
Thought you'd be along for this one.

Are you going to 'judge' John Paul II? (gasp!)? ... or even suggest he is in hell (double gasp!)? I mean, you don't accept the existence of Purgatory. It must be one or the other.

8 July 2013 at 19:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

ad hominem swipes

I asked for evidence of your insinuation, while providing a reference to show your insinuation was false. You provided none. All you did was provide evidence of your psychology: It is inconceivable by which of course you meant it is inconceivable to you. Therefore, to comment on your psychology was perfectly in order. That's all I had to go on.

But you also admitted it was just some kind of game: you've bitten, and His Grace is delighted.

On a topic of this seriousness, if you make jokes, play games or take delight, you can expect nothing else than an ad hominem response. After all, your own responses are adding nothing to the debate and therefore, what is left?

8 July 2013 at 19:10  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Albert,

"A leading British Catholic commentator said the issue had exposed an ongoing power struggle between senior Vatican cardinals that started during the papacy of Pope Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II...

"Ratzinger was thwarted on several occasions... by people surrounding the Pope, and indeed possibly by John Paul II himself, who did not appear to be taking the situation anything like as seriously as Ratzinger," said Mr Longley..

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8612787.stm

"In 2001, sex abuse cases were first required to be reported to Rome with the publication of Pope John Paul II's Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases

"John Paul II spoke of the priesthood as a status above that of the angels. Both men simply could not believe that priests could be abusers on anything but a very minor and exceptional scale. Benedict has been forced to alter that opinion.."

http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2010/03/newman-catholic-benedict

"Allen's analysis underlines the credibility of reports that Cardinal Ratzinger fought for tougher action against the pervert Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who was sacked from Vienna for assaulting boys and young monks – but failed to persuade John Paul II to commission a proper inquiry.

"We have to be careful before jumping to conclusions here. The late Pope was a man of titanic courage, personal holiness and high moral standards; we don't know how much he knew or, indeed, whether he was in a physical or mental condition to tackle a crisis whose scale was being concealed by the Vatican old guard.

"But the simple fact is that the scandal was not properly addressed during his papacy, and I know I speak for many Catholics when I say that I don't see why Benedict XVI should take the rap for the mistakes of his predecessor."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100036871/did-the-vatican-let-benedict-xvi-take-the-rap-for-the-child-abuse-scandal-in-order-to-protect-the-memory-of-john-paul-ii/

"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to persuade Pope John Paul II to mount a full investigation into a cardinal who abused boys and young monks, one of the Church's most senior figures revealed yesterday. But Ratzinger's opponents in the Vatican managed to block the inquiry. As the future Benedict XVI put it: "The other side won.""

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100031816/pope-john-paul-ii-ignored-ratzingers-pleas-to-pursue-sex-abuse-cardinal/

"For a long time now, some conservative Catholics – most of them hardline traditionalists – have been discreetly slagging off the late Pope John Paul II. One priest I know grimaces every time his name is mentioned. "Oh, you mean, 'John Paul the Great'," he says," rolling his eyes. He does not want him to be made a saint – not because he thinks he was a bad man, but because he thinks that, despite his heroic witness against Communism, he damaged the Church."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100006738/why-some-conservative-catholics-want-to-stop-pope-john-paul-ii-being-made-a-saint/

8 July 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop

"The late Pope was a man of titanic courage, personal holiness and high moral standards; we don't know how much he knew or, indeed, whether he was in a physical or mental condition to tackle a crisis whose scale was being concealed by the Vatican old guard."

This I think is the nub of the matter.

My own opinion, for what its worth, is that there is more likelihood of a homosexual clique at the heart of the Vatican, actively undermining the Church, than John Paul II being personally culpable for a cover up. An aged man with an uninformed and outdated view of predatory homosexuality was easy prey. This cabal defeated him and it exhausted Benedict XVI. I pray Francis rises to the challenge.

These canonisations have become 'political' both within and without the Catholic Church.

Many traditionalists see the speed of these canonisations as a unwarranted endorsement of what they see as the evils of Vatican II. The more liberally inclined support them for the opposite reasons. Some outside the Church see it as an opportunity to question the doctrine of Papal infallibility.

The fact is, for a Catholic, once a person is canonised they are a Saint and we can be certain they are with God. We can analyse their lives all we want, judge their strengths and weaknesses, look at historical facts. But question the process or the motives for canonisation? No.

(Ps - I didn't know you were a fan of Peter Damian?)

8 July 2013 at 20:03  
Blogger Peter D said...

Oooops sorry .... Damian Thompson.

8 July 2013 at 20:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Where's this punch line then ?

8 July 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

I think Peter has picked up the major points. I would add that the evidence you have produced, actually undermines your own case:

In 2001, sex abuse cases were first required to be reported to Rome with the publication of Pope John Paul II's Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela

In other words, they did not know of thousands of cases until after then. That was part of the problem. This of course, coheres with the picture given in John Jay. John Jay shows that the vast majority of the abuse had occurred before 1986, but was not even known to the bishops, at that time. So it's hard to see how JPII was morally "presiding" over all this, when even your own evidence shows that he wasn't (let alone the evidence of John Jay which is much more reliable than your journalists).

By the time the evidence was getting through to the Vatican, the abuse had died down. JPII was sadly old and ill. His experience of Communism and Hitlerism had led him to believe that secularists and the media made these things up or exaggerated them. He relied increasingly on those around him - some of whom were particularly slow to respond to the problem. And that's without getting into John XXIII with whom the difficulties of defending your insinuation are massively multiplied.

In the meantime, the CofE is apologising for knowingly ordaining a convicted abuser, and for leaving children vulnerable to abuse - at least a decade after the Catholic Church had these procedures in place.

I can see why you don't want to talk about that - I really can.

But I'm not trying to score points against the CofE. Child abuse is a scourge of humanity. All institutions have failed. Most people most of the time did not fail morally though - in the CofE as in the Catholic Church. And it is the that knowing, moral failure that you need to prove for your insinuation to have any worth - you must admit, you've failed there.

But to be honest, I really don't think now is the time for you to making that insinuation even if you had better evidence in support.

8 July 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lighten up, you three. There was nothing offensive about Cranmer’s post.

The real enemy is homosexuality, and it was that that abused the children. And from what this man gathers from Pink News, Big Gay is going from strength to strength by the year.

Keep up with it chaps, it is the biggest menace to the welfare of the West since the Soviet Union...


8 July 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"I can see why you don't want to talk about that - I really can."

No, Albert, you are really can't: your response is obtuse.

This post is manifest evidence to the contrary. The crimes in Chichester are appalling and here displayed for the world to see. If His Grace didn't want to talk about it, he wouldn't have written at such length.

"But I'm not trying to score points against the CofE."

Really?

".. It is pretty clear: what he knew at all, he knew when it was too late - but not as late as the CofE evidently left it."

His Grace rests His case.

These canonisations are both premature an uncanonical. John XXIII hasn't even performed a corroborating miracle. You couldn't make it up.

Or perhaps that's exactly what's going on.

8 July 2013 at 21:16  
Blogger David B said...

I don't think either of them have performed one miracle between then that would be persuasive to anyone adopting a sensibly - not an ultra - sceptical stance.

Or, for that matter, one could say the same of any of the other saints.

It's remarkable that supernatural tales do build up around people with some claim to living an ascetic religious life - as if people who hold one of them in veneration adopt a 'My saint is more supernatural than your saint' POV.

One thinks of recent people like Maharishi, Ramakrishna and Sai Baba, and more in the Christian tradition some people who lived - if in fact they weren't entirely mythical - close to my home, like St David and St Govan.

Even the Catholic church is doubtful about the tales that grew up around St David/

David

8 July 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

This post is manifest evidence to the contrary. The crimes in Chichester are appalling and here displayed for the world to see.

Isn't it obvious? In as subtle a way as possible you've tried to say "At least we're not like the Catholics in this."

Really?

Yes, really. I was giving a tu quoque to your point - ditto your next quote of me. My opinion on the matter is to be found in the first comment here. Even the "better late than never" was added as an after thought, because without it, it looked like I was perhaps unconcerned by the harm done in the meantime.

These canonisations are both premature an uncanonical. John XXIII hasn't even performed a corroborating miracle. You couldn't make it up.

You can knock this canonisation process. But that does not provide any evidence in support of your original insinuation - and it is that insinuation that I am objecting to. Neither does it deal with my objection that even if it were worth making, now is not the time for you to be doing it.

BTW, I don't see how it is uncanonical either.

8 July 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Or, for that matter, one could say the same of any of the other saints.

Now this is an interesting point. Either (i) You have investigated all the alleged miracles and found the testimonies to be inadequate or (ii) you are making the a priori assumption that no evidence could be convincing in favour of the miracles of saints.

8 July 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop

"These canonisations are both premature an uncanonical. John XXIII hasn't even performed a corroborating miracle."

Are claiming to be the real Catholic Pope as opposed to Francis? He has the 'Keys', as they say, and the authority. Only a Catholic Sedevacantist can make such a claim.

Papal infallibility, eh. It's so annoying! The Holy Spirit does work in mysterious ways.

"What we say we are, we must also be. We say we are Catholics. This means we believe everything that the Church believes, and profess everything that the Church professes. The infallibility of canonisations is not an innovation of V II that some evil prelate suddenly wants to smuggle as infallible doctrine. on the contrary, it is part and parcel of the way the Church understands Herself."
(Mundabor - 6/7/12)

8 July 2013 at 22:31  
Blogger Peter D said...

Ps

Btw, it isn't the Saint who "performs" a miracle. It's God, through the intercession of the Saint.

8 July 2013 at 22:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector
"Lighten up, you three. There was nothing offensive about Cranmer’s post."

Hope you're not including me in that? I don't feel offended.

I do think the 'punchline' (trust you've found it by now) unnecessary and uncharitable.

8 July 2013 at 22:45  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

This is a Church of England blog.

Does the self-appointed Cyber Swiss Guard not yet grasp what this means?

If not, please feel free to leave. Much will offend you here, not least because Anglican Holy Orders are 'absolutely null and utterly void'. Why don't you go and occupy an orthodox and infallible Roman Catholic blog? His Grace would be very happy to make recommendations. But he will not tolerate your pompous assertions of theological and ecclesiastical supremacy.

8 July 2013 at 22:50  
Blogger David B said...

Albert, "Now this is an interesting point. Either (i) You have investigated all the alleged miracles and found the testimonies to be inadequate or (ii) you are making the a priori assumption that no evidence could be convincing in favour of the miracles of saints."

While I do rather like what Hume wrote about miracles, that is a false dichotomy, as there are other possible solutions - one being that I have looked at a lot of alleged miracles, and found them wanting, and am hence led by induction, which is short of proof (unless it is mathematical induction, which is another story), that it is justified to have a working hypothesis that no miracles will pass reasonable sceptical analysis, which, of course, would be falsified by one example of a miracle that can be shown to definitely be a miracle.

Much as a rabbit fossil definitely found in the Cambrian would disprove evolution.

Has yet to happen.

David

8 July 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D / Albert, until the man himself stepped in, the Inspector was minded to inform you that this is an Anglican site. We taigs should sup at his table accordingly.

If Bob the fool was still around, and perhaps with his arm twisted up his back, he would tell you there is more than one way to our Christian God. Anyway, you know how the Inspector feels about ‘Catholic Club’...

8 July 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Back to the thread. Synod could always take a leaf out of Trading Standards and use undercover children…

Sacrificial lamb to bishop, over
Bishop here lamb, where are you
Vestry. The blighter has dressed me as a choir boy
Salvation is at hand, my dear lamb. Archdeacon ready to go in with a couple of heavies
Er, will you give it another 30 minutes. Rather hoping he’ll ply me with drink next
Is that wise lamb, you’re only 14
Let me be the judge of that bishop, it’s thirsty work being groomed, you know
Indeed lamb. See you at evensong, dear boy.





8 July 2013 at 23:42  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop
I wasn't offended at all by your 'punchline' or subsequent comments. It seems you may have been by mine. This was not my intention.

Inspector
" ...this is an Anglican site. We taigs should sup at his table accordingly."

Well, maybe you should tell that to the contributors to the thread above this one!

It's also a site for the exchange of views and opinions. Just look at the range of contributors here.

9 July 2013 at 00:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's a pity one or both of those two didn't sort out some new limbs for those veterans who have lost them in action. Now that would be a miracle.

9 July 2013 at 03:03  
Blogger Ivan said...


That's a punchline? A standup would be out on his ears if he takes this long to get to the point.

9 July 2013 at 03:57  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Notes that the Pope has always had the right to waive the requirement for a second miracle for canonization. He just doesn't do it often. There's been plenty of saints created by previous popes on much shakier grounds.

Personally I'm with the people who reckon that this whole move to canonization for that pair is a masterful political move on the part of Papa Francis. With one stroke, doing the pair of them on the same day, he's done something where the Catholic Raving Liberals and the Catholic Rad Trads are all going to have to come together on one day and at least pretend to be happy. And that constitutes a miracle in itself.

As for the "worthyness" of the two candidates, that's up to God. As Peter D said, all that canonization does is to state the Church's belief that both men are in heaven. Anyone who has ever read Blessed John XXIII's "Journal of a Soul" isn't going to doubt where he is. Nor, for all his mistakes, are many Catholics going to doubt that Blessed John Paul is in heaven. I've always seen him as a man whose successes and failures were all on a grand scale, and he had plenty of both. He did a lot wrong, and a lot right. Personally, I think it's too early to canonize him, but I see entirely why the timing is as it is.

9 July 2013 at 07:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

I don't feel offended.

Well I offended. I'm offended by Cranmer use of an Anglican apology for chronic and recent child abuse as an excuse to play games, take delight and make insinuations against others.

9 July 2013 at 09:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer

This is a Church of England blog.
Does the self-appointed Cyber Swiss Guard not yet grasp what this means?


Of course, your appeal to evidence having failed, I was expecting a resort to authority would come along soon. As it is a CofE blog, reporting on the apology for CofE child abuse, it is all the more inappropriate for you to making light of child abuse in the CofE and for you to be attacking others.

not least because Anglican Holy Orders are 'absolutely null and utterly void'.

Interesting, I had assumed that you didn't really (personally, I mean) have any orders. I have no doubt about the orders of Thomas Cranmer. And if you are in orders yourself, I suspect I believe nothing less about your orders than you do.

9 July 2013 at 09:13  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

The next question, of course, is compensation. The bishops must take full legal and financial responsibility. Mock apologies won't do by themselves, after all.

9 July 2013 at 09:14  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

While I do rather like what Hume wrote about miracles, that is a false dichotomy, as there are other possible solutions - one being that I have looked at a lot of alleged miracles, and found them wanting, and am hence led by induction, which is short of proof (unless it is mathematical induction, which is another story), that it is justified to have a working hypothesis that no miracles will pass reasonable sceptical analysis, which, of course, would be falsified by one example of a miracle that can be shown to definitely be a miracle.

What a fascinating paragraph. I've just finished reading John Earman on Hume - it seems pretty clear that Hume had been answered by Christian apologists in his own life-time, and that modern probability has sided with the Christians against Hume. Science too cannot progress on Hume's lines.

And that of course is the pickle you're in. For in order to get beyond the witnesses, but still maintain a usual level of historical or medical analysis, you need to have some way of showing prior probability of the miracle is so low that the evidence given in each particular case, is not high enough. (After all, some of the claimed miracles have exactly the kind of testimony Hume said would be lacking.) Now I wonder how you would do that?

So you are probably resting on two levels of induction: (i) I can move from observed regularities in nature to a rule which is so strong that none of the evidence in favour of miracles I have seen is convincing. (ii) All the miracles I have investigated have been unconvincing, therefore none will be (similar to "none of the swans I have seen have been black").

That you seem to be resting on a double form of induction, while praising Hume is a little ironic - is it not?

9 July 2013 at 09:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr Tiberia,

You are quite right: Thomas Aquinas was canonised without any miracles. John XXIII has one to his name.

I've always seen him as a man whose successes and failures were all on a grand scale, and he had plenty of both. He did a lot wrong, and a lot right.

That's just got me wondering, what JPII got wrong. I can think of one or two things, but not a great deal.

9 July 2013 at 09:25  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert

If that offended you then you need to develop a thicker skin! In truth, I've read far worse about these Popes on sites claiming to be Catholic.

The questions are: did the 'punchline' add or detract from the merit of the article? And, more importantly, did it offend God?

I believe you addressed all the salient points; ones I was aware of but was wondering how to best approach. A little while ago, Sister Tiberia recommended a 'cup of tea' in such situations.

9 July 2013 at 10:12  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

It wasn't the references to the popes that I found offensive - that was irksome. It was the fact that Cranmer used the apology of the CofE about this terrible matter to attack others. Child abuse is not something one should use.

9 July 2013 at 10:26  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

".. It is pretty clear: what he knew at all, he knew when it was too late - but not as late as the CofE evidently left it."

Albert, you're a hypocrite. *You* used child abuse to highlight CofE inefficiency and assert JPII's ignorance and consequent innocence.

Please just go. You'd obviously be far happier on a Roman Catholic blog amongst your like-minded co-religionists where you could not be offended. This request is a polite one. It could, if you prefer, be enforced.

9 July 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

I dealt with that already. I was responding to your argument with a tu quoque

You used that line to leave us with the feeling that at least the CofE is not as bad as the Catholic Church. But that is totally unfair - you have produced no evidence in its support.

*You* used child abuse to highlight CofE inefficiency and assert JPII's ignorance and consequent innocence.

Obviously I didn't use child abuse to assert JPII's ignorance and innocent. My response to this question was given in my first comment on this blog: well done CofE - no point scoring. But when I realised that you were - quite unjustly - trying to pass off the idea that the CofE was not as bad as the Catholic Church - then I simply pointed out that that was simply not the case.

Please just go.

No, I'm not going to go. I cannot see that I deserve to be banned either - at least not by the standard you put on your blog about free-speech. I have debated with evidence and reason. But if you write unjust and unpleasant things about popes, you can expect me to defend them. If you banned me for doing this, I suspect, some even of those who has disagreed with me would take a dim view of it.

9 July 2013 at 12:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Albert,

There is no remote possibility of your banned for practising freedom of speech, though one may well understand why you now disingenuously and manipulatively attempt to turn your hysteria into a false allegation and slur against His Grace.

You are being very strongly urged to leave because you appear to believe you have the right not to be offended.

Read His Grace's 'Bottom Line'

This is not the blog for you if you think every post ought to have regard for your sensitive Roman Catholic feelings. Try a Roman Catholic blog. As His Grace has said, he can make a few suggestions if you know of none.

9 July 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger LEN said...

The History of the Popes is a long list of abuse, corruption, murder and incest in fact every crime know to humanity.Why anyone should feel the need to defend these criminals is quite beyond me.

To use scripture to defend the indefensible shows more about the true position that has been taken than any words I could ever say.It should be remembered that Satan tempted Christ with Scripture.

We shall all answer to God for positions we have taken and if we are using scripture to further ideas and traditions which are directly opposed to God`s Will then we can only expect the full force of God`s wrath to come upon us.



'It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.'(Luke 17:2)

('Little ones')newly born again believers.


9 July 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

You are being very strongly urged to leave because you appear to believe you have the right not to be offended.

I most certainly do not think that. On the contrary, as I have said, on many occasions, I believe we all have the right to offend others. However, in common with most people, I think I have the right to respond when I am offended - both elements are part and parcel of believing in the same fre-speech. Moreover, as I have said, my offence was not in defence of the popes, but because of your use of the topic of child abuse.

I can see from several of your comments that you have plainly misunderstood me. I accept that perhaps I have misunderstood you (although I cannot see where you have shown that).

9 July 2013 at 12:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Cranmer,

There is no remote possibility of your banned for practising freedom of speech, though one may well understand why you now disingenuously and manipulatively attempt to turn your hysteria into a false allegation and slur against His Grace.

I did not do that either, I simply said that by your standards of free-speech you have no reason to ban me - you had after all, used the word "enforced" in this regard.

9 July 2013 at 12:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

Cup of tea anyone?

"Sometimes two people may both be wrong by being so right."

Never really fully understood this old Irish saying.

9 July 2013 at 14:41  
Blogger Peter D said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 July 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

"How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the Priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!"
(Cardinal Ratzinger, Good Friday 2005)

Pope Francis' greatest challenge is dealing with the issue of sexual corruption among priests and the Vatican bureaucracy getting in the way of this. It is this issue which is undermining the mission of the Church to bring people to Christ.

Atheists, secularists and disaffected liberals within the Church use this scandal as a weapon to undermine the Gospel message.

This cancer damages all Christians. It is evident a similar attack faces the Anglican Church. As Christians we must resist the temptation to throw stones at one another over individual denominational failings. This, I think, is the point Albert was making and he is quite correct.

The Catholic Church has an opportunity to demonstrate good faith.

The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child has requested information from the Vatican on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by clergy, saying this is justified "in the light of the recognition by the Holy See of sexual violence against children committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns in numerous countries around the world, and given the scale of the abuses".

The Vatican has been asked to demonstrate that it has implemented measures "to ensure that no member of the clergy currently accused of sexual abuse be allowed to remain in contact with children".

The UN committee also wants to know about specific cases in which Bishops or other Catholic leaders have failed to report suspected abuse to the police.

The Vatican was also urged to divulge details of its investigation of alleged sexual abuse and the outcome of those investigations, including any financial compensation or psychological counselling for victims.

The committee also wants to know what measures the Holy See has taken "to prevent further sexual violence from taking place in institutions run by the Catholic Church".

The Vatican has until January to compile all the information, in time for an open meeting of the UN committee in Geneva at which Vatican officials will be questioned.

This is an opportunity for the Church. It will be facing a hostile audience and the world will be watching. Pope Francis may well face obstruction from within the Vatican in releasing all the information required. I pray he overcomes this and the Church demonstrates it is at last on top of this issue that so troubled Pope Benedict.

"Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion.

Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures.

Have mercy on your Church...You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all."

10 July 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Peter,

As Christians we must resist the temptation to throw stones at one another over individual denominational failings. This, I think, is the point Albert was making and he is quite correct.

It is partly that yes. But perhaps I wouldn't go so far as that. I think it is right to throw stones at the Catholic Church when it is the Catholic Church's abuse that it is in the news...but not when someone else is having to do the apologising. I certainly don't think the topic should be used for institutional advantage - apart from the tastelessness of it, we've all made errors here, and also, how that point scoring goes depends on perceptions of child abuse in our institutions rather than reality. And I particularly don't think unjust comparisons should be made about the speed with which institutions responded to abuse.

I'm interested in the UN thing. Yes, I hope that we can show the Church in a good light. I suspect however, that anything that is presented will be represented unfavourably. There's something curious I think about the way child abuse and the Catholic Church is presented. The hard evidence from a variety of sources shows the Church is no worse than others and better than most, and yet, there is this desire to show it as a Catholic problem. Look at this apology from the CofE. It's truly shocking what they are having to admit to - this is not historic abuse, but has been happening because of failings in procedures until now. And yet where does it appear in the papers? Page 9? If this were the Catholic Church it would be front page.

I expect the UN thing is designed to weaken the authority of the Catholic Church, and this will be done in favour of promoting liberal attitudes to sexuality (which we know are responsible for increasing the problem) and at the expense of the well-being of children (who will appear safer in other institutions).

It may just be that the apology of the CofE illustrates just how dangerous that last danger is.

10 July 2013 at 09:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert

"There's something curious I think about the way child abuse and the Catholic Church is presented."

I don't find it curious at all, Albert. Satan is striking at the very heart of Christianity.

I agree about the potential hazards of the UN 'requests' - even the wording of these were somewhat aggressive. However, the Church needs to trust God and be open, present the information asked for and the steps it is and has taken to defend children.

"Blessed John Paul, intercede for the Church militant and empower our brother Pope Francis to lead us to success in overcoming its enemy and those he uses. We ask this in the name of and through the power of Christ."

10 July 2013 at 13:30  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Peter D,

Could we cut the prayers to dead popes, please?

10 July 2013 at 13:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Why would Peter need to do that, Dr C? You don't find such prayers offensive do you? :-)

10 July 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Albert,

For the second or third time, this blog is ANGLICAN. It is HIS GRACE's space: HE created and maintains it. He will write as HE sees fit. HE will judge what is offensive or not. He is sick to eye teeth of certain 'robust' Roman Catholics hijacking every thread with their infallible pontifications, spiritual superstitions and derision aimed at His Grace or the church to which he belongs. Prayers to dead popes belong in the second of these categories. Peter D (ab)used (again) HIS GRACE's space for a private invocation to a dead man. It belongs ON A ROMAN CATHOLIC BLOG.

10 July 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10 July 2013 at 15:33  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

A great pity, Albert.

You couldn't make a reasoned comment without another smarmy, snide swipe at the Church of England.

Goodbye.

10 July 2013 at 15:36  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 July 2013 at 15:47  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10 July 2013 at 15:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Never did understand this RC business about praying to dead saints, dead popes, or the dead next door neighbour come to that.

Sort your own problems out and if you can’t, you pray to God. To give you the purpose to get through it...

10 July 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop
"Could we cut the prayers to dead popes, please?"

As you wish. No offence meant and, I trust, none taken.

Inspector
Not a terribly helpful comment at this point.

Having just read through the 39 Articles I can appreciate our host's position as an Anglican. Yours, as a self-professed Catholic, I can't. This isn't the time or the place to explain further.

Now, what was that title you claimed for yourself recently? Lord something or other?

10 July 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D, you ain’t no Catholic priest – remember that. It will stand you in good stead on this site.

One does hope that Albert has not been excommunicated. Something else not found in the 39 articles...


10 July 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

If you've been reading the Anglican Articles of Faith then consider Article 33 alongside Article 20.

And, if you are a Catholic, you will know Priests and laity are bound by a common deposit of faith and acceptance of certain defined doctrine.

Like you, I hope Albert will be permitted to return.

10 July 2013 at 23:05  
Blogger Jay said...

"Nobody made the theological point that vicarious apology is meaningless..."

I've always understood that vicarious apology was the basis of Christianity.

11 July 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

Jay

Christ did much, much more than "apologise"!

11 July 2013 at 21:31  

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