TWO bishops last week attracted their share of opprobrium and support. In one case, retired Bishop Wallace Benn’s perceived shortcomings were to do with the alleged sin of omission.
He stood accused of failing to report serious allegations of sexual abuse to the police. His defence was that he followed both the letter and spirit of the law in reporting serious matters to the diocesan child protection officer. By implication the fault lay with diocesan staff rather than diocesan leadership.
Disciplinary proceedings cleared him of any wrongdoing. But it has to be said that questions remain about the fact that following correct procedures does not necessarily guarantee either the safety of children or the openness and transparency that we should expect in such serious matters.
As in the case of Jimmy Savile and the BBC, it seems that senior staff are so keen to follow the correct lines of accountability that they end up dehumanising the very process which is supposed to protect the most vulnerable of humans - children. Where was the natural curiosity that should have led senior BBC staff and senior Diocesan leadership to ask questions about the very ‘process’ they were serving?
I have absolutely no doubt that as a