On 28th January 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, moved a motion that the House of Lords approve the Church of England’s Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure. Peers gave approval to the Measure, following a short debate – the full transcript of which is below.
Moved by The Lord Bishop of Durham
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure is set in the context of our commitment, as the Church of England, to keep becoming a safer church. The Measure itself is only one part of all the work that we are undertaking. The Measure is before your Lordships because the church believes it needs to improve its statutory arrangements: first, to prevent the abuse of children and adults at risk within the church community; and, secondly, to deal effectively with those in authority within the church who seek to harm children and vulnerable adults. Continue reading “Lords approves CofE Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure – Bishop of Durham leads debate”
On the 5th November 2015 the Rt Revd Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, hosted a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the impact of pornography on society.” The full text of his speeches opening and closing the debate are below, as is the speech from the Government Minister in reply. The Bishops’ speech can also be watched online here. The Bishop of Bristol also spoke in the debate and his remarks can be seen here.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, your Lordships may feel that they have sometimes listened to a speech from these Benches and thought that the speaker is not entirely familiar with the subject. There is, of course, an old adage that generally the Bishop speaks and generally the Bishop speaks generally. I shall avoid an echo of the confessional, but I can say that my first-hand knowledge of pornography is very limited. Of the range of vices available to me, I have been tempted by most, but not in any significant way by pornography. If the statistics are to be believed, that makes me a rather unusual, if not exotic, creature.
Pornography is a very widespread feature of western society, especially since the advent of the internet age. In my ministry I have come across addiction to pornography as a factor in individual marriage breakdown. As a Bishop, I have had two of my clergy prosecuted for downloading child sexual abuse images, usually called child pornography. Both these priests were given custodial sentences and both are unlikely ever again to exercise the Christian ministry for which they were trained. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester leads Lords debate on the impact of pornography on society”
On 15th July 2014, Lord Storey asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent and tackle child abuse in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in pursuing a review into questions of institutional child abuse, are her Majesty’s Government committed to recognising that listening to the voices of survivors and victims of child abuse is vital at every stage of this inquiry; that their voices, through for example the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign, are clear that ultimately only a full public inquiry will do; and that Sir Keir Starmer would be a trusted member of the inquiry panel?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate again makes a very important point. Let me assure him that the whole intention of this inquiry is to make it open and transparent. While it has been set up on a non-statutory basis at the current time, if the chairman and the panel decide that this requires a statutory underpinning then the Government have already committed to that—indeed, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has done so. The right reverend Prelate also raises the important point about ensuring that any bodies involved in protection of children from child abuse—be that in the church or voluntary sectors or across the board—are also included in providing evidence. In terms of the specific suggestion, I shall certainly take that back.
“Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today” – Bishop of Durham, 26.6.14
On 26th June 2014, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the measures being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent and address the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding, took part in the debate. He focused his remarks on needing to listen to the voice of survivors, and put forward a number of measures to reflect this need – including mandatory reporting by professionals, creating safe spaces for victims of abuse, and broadening the law to strengthen preventative measures. He concluded by calling for an independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse”