Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks the Church of England

A recent report, “Abuse of Faith,” provides damning documentation that the Church of England covered up sex crimes by a disgraced senior bishop.

The report, part of an independent review, concludes that Bishop Bell was known, even at the highest levels in the church, to have engaged in sexual relations with numerous young male individuals over a 20-year period. Many were below the age of consent. Disturbingly, the report concludes that the church actively concealed evidence of Bell’s criminal activity.

Report author Dame Moira Gibb concludes that church officials “displayed little care,” for the victims, instead focusing on protecting its own reputation. “Ball’s priority was to protect and promote himself and he maligned the abused,” the report said. “The Church colluded with that rather than seeking to help those he had harmed, or assuring itself of the safety of others.”

Gibb further states: “The Church’s policy statements do now recognise the importance of enabling and responding appropriately to “whistleblowing”. It should be easier for those with concerns to come forward and there should be an appropriate and thorough response to those concerns. In Ball’s case those he abused and their advocates were consistently ignored.”

Tellingly, the report also notes that Bell repeatedly claimed close connections with the Prince of Wales, which Bell used to ward off criticism. This perceived power is a thread that runs throughout the report, and officials appear not to recognize the extent to which they cooperate in Bell’s posturing.

In response to the report, a previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has stepped away from his largely honorary position, and more fallout is expected.

My take: A profoundly disturbing report showing all the bad behaviors we have seen in the Roman Church, and proof that no religious tradition is immune from abuse.

See the actual report at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/3999908/report-of-the-peter-ball-review-210617.pdf  

About Eric Bonetti

I’m a cradle Episcopalian, living in Northern Virginia. My interests include writing, policy, sports, cooking, volunteer work, good food and wine, and teaching kids’ cooking classes. I retired in 2017 and now just work for fun. I’m also a regular contributor to Episcopal Cafe, and have been published at HuffPo and other major sites and publications.

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