If a place is Holy, it doesn’t mean its caretakers will be Holy as well. A recent event has proved how a whole institution of worshiping God has failed to protect human beings pleading for protection and help. The stories of priests, bishops, etc. involved in cases of sexual abuse are not new, but a Church as grand as the Church of England admitting to having helped cover the deeds of a Bishop is progress.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has admitted that the Church colluded and concealed one of their former bishop’s sexual abuse for over two decades. The confession came after the Archbishop went through a report ‘Abuse of Faith’ which had all the events reviewed in detail. He described the report as a “harrowing reading”.
Former Bishop, Peter Ball, was jailed in October 2015 for 32 months after he admitted to historical sexual offenses against teenage boys and young men over the span of 15 years from 1997 onward. The report speaks of the indifferent conduct of seniors towards the victims asking for help.
Justin Welby comments on the report, in an attempt to re-establish the church’s inclination towards the truth,
This is inexcusable and shocking behavior and although Dame Moira (author of ‘Abuse of Faith’) notes that most of the events took place many years ago, and does not think that the Church now would conduct itself in the ways described, we can never be complacent, we must learn lessons.
The victims of the abuse have suffered irreversible pain and trauma and have long waited for justice to be served. One of the victims attempted suicide three times before killing himself in 2012. Neil Todd was the first one to come forward and speak of the bishop’s indecent act, but the Church turned him down.
As early as 1993, prosecutors had considered putting charges on the child abuser, Peter Ball, but the then Bishop of Gloucester avoided the trial. The Church certainly failed in its duty to help those who were brave enough to speak against the abuse. The incident has shaken the faith of many in the religious institution and its representative.