Bishop says Church helps pae­dophiles es­cape through ‘call to for­give­ness’

The Daily Telegraph - - News -

♦ The Church of Eng­land has ex­ploited the con­cept of “Chris­tian for­give­ness” to al­low pae­dophiles and abusers to get away with their crimes, a bishop has ad­mit­ted.

The Rt Rev Christo­pher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coven­try, said the “call to for­give­ness” had been used as part of col­lu­sion and cover-up in the wake of church abuse scan­dals.

Writ­ing in the Church Times, he said vic­tims and sur­vivors are of­ten told to for­give their abuser and this can “add to the harm done by abuse”.

He added: “If they can­not, then the mes­sage con­veyed is that they are not proper Chris­tians: that they have failed, are guilty of sin, and can­not be part of the life of the Church un­til they are will­ing to say, ‘I for­give you’ with­out reser­va­tion or hes­i­ta­tion.

“For a per­son suf­fer­ing trauma, that is a de­struc­tive mes­sage, and can only alien­ate them from the Church and from the good news that the Church ex­ists to spread.”

The idea that God has for­given them also makes per­pe­tra­tors feel bet­ter about their crimes, he added. “At the same time, peo­ple who have com­mit­ted abuse may be re­as­sured that re­ceiv­ing di­vine par­don for their ac­tions makes it un­nec­es­sary to face the hu­man con­se­quences of their crime.”

Dr Cocksworth thinks the Church should be fo­cused on jus­tice as well as en­cour­ag­ing abusers to re­pent.

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