Questions 8 – Questions for the Bishop and the Archbishops

Is the Bishop of Oxford aware that more than 40 currently-serving Bishops – that is around one-third of the total – have ‘live’ CDMs against them.  Yet none of them have “stepped aside from ministry”, as they will require their own clergy to do? Does the Bishop, the Archbishops, the Archbishops’ Council and others consider this to be fair, or a case of “one rule for you, one rule for me”?

Do the Archbishops and the Archbishops’ Council understand how little trust and confidence the rest of the CofE have in them – their word, assurances, competence, moral authority and integrity?

Can they help us with the Bishop of Oxford here:

  1. Why did the Bishop attempt to prevent Dean Percy from giving a lecture at a Festival in September 2021, which presented no issues of Safeguarding and had nothing to do with the Diocese, Cof E or College? Why has the Bishop also contacted other places where the Dean has been asked to speak, requesting they withdraw their invitation to him?
  2. Why did the Bishop seek to prevent the Dean from officiating at a wedding, after the settlement had been concluded and all of the allegations against him had been withdrawn?
  3. The Bishop was advised that his supporter in the National Safeguarding Team process for the seventh allegation was integral to the Dean’s mental health and well-being.  The NST commended this support.  Hours later the Bishop removed it.  Why did he do this to someone signed off with serious psychiatric injury?  The Bishop was informed that the psychiatric report on the Dean’s mental health recommended that the Dean recommence some speaking engagements. Yet Bishop took active steps to prevent the Dean speaking. Does the Bishop usually ignore the advice of medical consultants in relation to the metal health of his clergy?  Or is this only reserved for the Dean?
  4. The Percy case has spawned independent professional investigation from:
    • The Charity Commission
    • The Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority
    • The Royal College of Physicians (concluded and complaint already upheld against one of the complainants against the Dean).
    • Christ Church
  5. The only institutions that have yet to establish a comprehensive fully independent investigation is the Church of England. Will the Bishop and the Bishop’s Council publicly commit to a form of Full Independent Inquiry – Judge, Lawyer or QC led – that addresses each and every one of these questions which are already fully documented?
  6. Why did the Bishop of Oxford commission his own staff to “investigate” each other when the Dean complained of their misconduct, yet managed to run this complaints process without even interviewing the Dean?
  7. Why did the Bishop of Oxford “commission” a ‘Review’ by the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board (the ISB is chaired by Maggie Atkinson) to look into these matters, when the Dean had requested an Independent Inquiry? 
  8. Why did the Bishop, in “commissioning” the ISB, remove all of the references to named individuals and the allegations against his staff and clergy, and entirely remove all references to Winckworth Sherwood, Luther Pendragon and other specified concerns in the Dean’s complaint?  Does the Bishop normally edit and redact complaints made by people who may have been abused by his own clergy, church officers and lawyers?  Can the Bishop explain how his “commission” to the ISB is, in any sense, “independent”?  How is it different from any previous (alleged) cover-ups?
  9. Does the Bishop understand that anything less than transparency and accountability will be a return to the pre-IICSA days where the primary objective of the Church was the silencing of complainants, and the prioritization and the preservation of the reputation of the institution and its unaccountable Diocesan Bishops?