Ex-archbishop Carey allowed to resume church duties
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.
Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury