I am writing the same article over and over again because the Church of England establishment doesn’t see just how homophobic the church is. By ‘The Church of England establishment’ I mean the House and College of Bishops, the staff at Church House, Lambeth Palace and Bishopsthorpe, the Archbishops’ Council, and the courtiers appointed by or working under the jurisdiction of these bodies. By a systemically homophobic culture I mean one that is unaware of the abusive effect the hierarchy and the teaching and practice of the church has on LGBTI bishops, clergy and laity, friends and families, congregations, and on those who observe the church from the outside.
I have written a letter to Graham Tilby, the National Safeguarding Adviser, asking the Safeguarding Team to investigate the Bishop of Maidstone, Reform, the Church Society, and Christian Concern as key instigators of abusive and homophobic teaching and practice in the Church of England. Spiritual abuse is now recognised as one of the most serious manifestations of homophobia and prejudice against LGBTI people. The letter is copied to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishops of Newcastle (Pastoral Advisory Group) and Bath and Wells (the lead bishop for safeguarding).
On Wednesday I wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York putting a question to them arising from the blogs exchanged by a number of bishops’ chaplains: “How are you going to ensure good practice in the future, practice that at least meets the legal requirements, to avoid a repeat of the concealment that led to the shameful abuse of children in the Church of England?” This is but one example of the bad practice within the Church of England that has been the subject of recent reports. Below the letter, I comment on the Archbishop of York’s failures, the incompetence of the Clergy Discipline Commission and the disregard for proper process exhibited by William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council.