LORD HOPE OF THORNES, a former Archbishop of
York, announced on Thursday that he had resigned as an honorary
assistant bishop in the diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales,
in the light of a report that critcised his response to allegations
of sexual abuse.
The Cahill Inquiry report, published last week (
News, 24 October), was critical of Lord Hope's response to
allegations against a former Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd
Last week, Lord Hope argued that the allegations reported to him
had been "unspecific" from "unnamed sources who had indicated their
unwillingness at that stage to go to the police". He "genuinely
believed that any complaints were being adequately dealt with by
the respective dioceses in which they were alleged to have
He expressed regret, however, that he and others had not been
"more proactive" in helping one of the survivors.
On Thursday, he announced that, "after much prayerful and
considered thought", he had submitted his resignation. "This ends
my nearly 50 years of formal ministry in the Church of England,
which I have always sought to serve with dedication. I will
certainly continue to pray for the important ongoing work with
The present Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu,
who received Lord Hope's resignation at the beginning of the week,
said that he was "deeply saddened" by it. Lord Hope had "served the
Church of England with joyfulness, commitment, honesty, and
holiness. I personally thank him for his leadership as a priest,
principal of a theological college, bishop, and Archbishop of the
Province of York; and, above all, as a dear brother in Christ."
He concluded: "As the old saying goes, 'To err is human; to
forgive is divine.'"
After his retirement as Archbishop of York, Lord Hope was
appointed as Priest-in-Charge of St Margaret's, Ilkley, but the
following year resigned the post, owing to ill-health.
From 2005, he was an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of
Bradford, latterly West Yorkshire & The Dales.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said this week that, after hearing
personal stories from survivors of abuse perpetrated in the Church,
he "broke down completely".
He told journalists at a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch in
the House of Commons on Monday of "the shredding effect of hearing
what we did - what we did - to those people, and the sense
of total failure and betrayal." He went on: "When you abuse a child
or a vulnerable adult, you mark them for the rest of their lives."
The Church should "hold itself to a far, far, far higher standard"
than other institutions, but had "failed terribly"
More had yet to be revealed, he said; there was a "very
significant legacy of unacknowledged cases". The Church was taking
the issue "as seriously as we can. Survivors come first, not our
Archbishop Welby referred to the audit of all clergy files,
which is currently under way in every diocese. This process was
being overseen by an external body, so as to avoid any claims of a
cover-up, he said; and the inquiry team was being led by the Bishop
of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler.
It is not the first review of diocesan files to take place. In
2007, a "comprehensive review" of "the Church's handling of past
concerns about child protection" was ordered (
News, 26 February 2010). Independent reviewers were appointed
to conduct "comprehensive surveys of personnel files held on
diocesan staff, clergy, and lay ministers".
More than 40,000 diocesan files dating back more than 30 years
were analysed; and more than 900 letters went to bishops, senior
clergy, and diocesan staff. On completion of the review in 2010,
the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, then Bishop of Hereford and chair of
the Church's Central Safeguarding Liaison Group, said that "nobody
representing the Church in a formal capacity has allegations on
file that have not been thoroughly re-examined in the light of
current best practice, and any appropriate action taken." But "We
can make no firm guarantees that allegations which were not
recorded in the past will not resurface in the future."
The current audit will scrutinise files dating back 65 years
"for anything that needs following up", Archbishop Welby said on
STATEMENT FROM LORD HOPE
"After much prayerful and considered thought I wrote at the
beginning of the week to the Bishop of Leeds and in the light of
the Cahill Inquiry Report I have submitted my resignation as
Honorary Assistant Bishop of Bradford, now West
Yorkshire and the Dales, with immediate effect. This ends my
nearly 50 years of formal ministry in the Church of England, which
I have always sought to serve with dedication. I will
certainly continue to pray for the important ongoing work with
STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, DR
"I respect the prayerful decision made by my predecessor Lord
David Hope. I am deeply saddened by his decision. He has served the
Church of England with joyfulness, commitment, honesty and
holiness. I personally thank him for his leadership as a Priest,
Principal of a Theological College, Bishop and Archbishop of the
Province of York; and above all as a Dear Brother in Christ. It did
not come as a surprise to me when othe day the Inquiry Report was
published Lord Hope said that "It is matter of great regret to me
that 12 years ago when the non-specific anonymous allegations were
first made in Manchester, the church and I myself were not more
proactive in seeking out and/or assisting a reluctant complainant.
Nor is it any comfort that other organisations were no more
diligent at that time when dealing with similar situations." As the
old saying goes "to err is human, to forgive is divine".
The Inquiry into the alleged abuses by Robert Waddington led by
HH Judge Sally Cahill QC has made its recommendations and these now
need to be considered and action taken in a thoughtful and measured
manner to ensure the Church can be a safer place for all. I
continue to hold all the survivors in my thoughts and prayers and I
am grateful too that some have offered to help the leadership of
the Church of England to create a new culture of protecting and
safeguarding all God's children. May I repeat my request to all
those who wish to comment on this report that they read it fully
before doing so."
Redress scheme proposed in Australia
by Muriel Porter, Australia
THE diocese of Melbourne has proposed a
complaints-and-redress scheme for institutions and survivors in
Victoria, to deal with complaints of child sexual abuse by clergy
and church workers, and to provide redress to those
The proposed scheme, if it is adopted by the Victorian
government, will be backed by legislation of the Parliament of
Victoria, which would operate the scheme under a legal
The summary posted on the diocesan website states that
the scheme "is intended to offer an alternative pathway to
survivors of child sexual abuse seeking to have their complaints
heard and dealt with. It would complement, but not replace, any
existing disciplinary regime of an institution. It would offer a
therapeutic and pastoral approach to the handling of
It would not be about the "government imposing
regulation on institutions, but about empowering institutions to
respond constructively through membership of the scheme to give
survivors choice, to redress harm, and to earn the trust and
confidence of the community", the summary says.
The proposal, which has been made available for comment
and discussion, would be a voluntary scheme open to other Churches
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, has said
that the report by an English judge concerning the actions taken in
the Waddington case (News, 24
October) by the former Archbishop of York Lord Hope was
"profoundly disappointing for the Anglican Church of
The report had provided vindication, he said, for the
victims of Robert Waddington, who was principal of an Anglican
school in north Queensland until 1970.