Ex-arch­bishop Carey al­lowed to re­sume church du­ties

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Har­riet Sherwood Re­li­gion cor­re­spon­dent

Lord Carey, the for­mer arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, who was heav­ily crit­i­cised in an in­de­pen­dent re­port for his part in the cover-up of sex­ual abuse car­ried out by a bishop, has been al­lowed to re­sume an of­fi­cial role in the Church of Eng­land.

Carey stepped down last year as an hon­orary as­sis­tant bishop at the un­prece­dented re­quest of Justin Welby, the cur­rent arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, af­ter a re­port found the church had col­luded over the abuse.

But it emerged this week that Carey has been granted “per­mis­sion to of­fi­ci­ate” (PTO) by Steven Croft, the bishop of Ox­ford, al­low­ing him to preach and pre­side at churches in the dio­cese. Croft is re­port­edly un­der po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­legedly fail­ing to re­spond prop­erly to a sep­a­rate re­port of cler­i­cal sex­ual abuse.

The de­ci­sion to grant Carey a PTO in Fe­bru­ary was made de­spite ex­pec­ta­tions of fur­ther rev­e­la­tions this month about his role in the case of Peter Ball, a for­mer bishop of Glouces­ter, at the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into child sex­ual abuse. The in­quiry will spend a week scru­ti­n­is­ing the C of E’s han­dling of the Ball case, start­ing on 23 July.

Ball was jailed in 2015 for the groom­ing, sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and abuse of 18 vul­ner­a­ble young men be­tween 1977 and 1992. Prince Charles has been asked to give a state­ment to the in­quiry about his cor­re­spon­dence with Ball.

Carey, who was the arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury from 1991 to 2002, re­signed his hon­orary po­si­tion last June af­ter pub­li­ca­tion of a re­port on the Ball case by Dame Moira Gibb.

She con­cluded that se­nior church fig­ures “col­luded [with the abuser] rather than seek­ing to help those he had harmed”. She said: “The church ap­pears to have been most in­ter­ested in pro­tect­ing it­self.” Carey had “set the tone for the church’s re­sponse to Ball’s crimes and gave the steer which al­lowed Ball’s as­ser­tions that he was in­no­cent to gain cre­dence”.

Carey apol­o­gised and stepped down af­ter Welby asked him to “care­fully con­sider his po­si­tion” in the wake of the re­port.

In Fe­bru­ary, Carey con­tacted the dio­cese of Ox­ford to re­quest a PTO, which was sub­se­quently granted by Croft. Let­ters from mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion where Carey wor­ships had re­quested that he be al­lowed to re­sume min­istry at their church.

A spokesper­son for the dio­cese of Ox­ford said: “The grant­ing of PTO en­abled Lord Carey to preach and pre­side in the church where he wor­ships, a church where his min­istry is much val­ued. The grant­ing of a PTO does not in­di­cate a planned re­turn to the role of as­sis­tant bishop.”

It is un­der­stood that Carey un­der­went fresh checks on his crim­i­nal record and C of E safe­guard­ing train­ing.

The church’s na­tional safe­guard­ing team was not con­sulted on whether the PTO should be granted.

One sur­vivor of abuse by Ball said he was “ex­tremely con­cerned” to learn that Carey had been granted a PTO. “It’s a real stab in the back for Ball sur­vivors,” he said.

Croft is one of sev­eral se­nior church fig­ures – in­clud­ing John Sen­tamu, the arch­bishop of York – who are re­port­edly be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by South York­shire po­lice over al­leged fail­ures to act on dis­clo­sures of an al­leged rape of a teenage boy by a cler­gy­man in the 1980s. South York­shire po­lice de­clined to con­firm or deny an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der way.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: DAVID HARTLEY/REX

Lord Carey, the for­mer arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury

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