Since the publication of a report yesterday condemning Church of England bosses for colluding with serial abuser, Peter Ball, there has been much finger pointing, a lot of it directed at Lord Carey and his episcopal contemporaries. It is true that these "protectors of the Church's good name" should be held to account for their actions and lack of action. The sexual abuse of children was a crime when Peter Ball was preying on boys no less than it is now. Culture has nothing to do with it. In my opinion George Carey and those who aided him in the cover-up of serious crimes should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the person committing them.
However, although the bishops were ultimately responsible for the disgraceful lack of care and they should be held primarily responsible for the damage done, they were not the only people who put the Church's and their own interests before justice and their pastoral responsibilities. Many members of the clergy (if not all) in any local situation knew which of their colleagues and superiors were, more than likely, abusing young people or grooming them for possible future abuse. But they kept quiet about their suspicions. Some would have said nothing to protect the institution, the same as the bishops. However, most would have said nothing to protect themselves and their careers.
The Church of England is controlled with fear not love. Whistleblowers are treated far worse than the wrongdoers they report. The guilty priest is cared for. The reporting priest is vilified and excluded and, as in my case, eventually maneuvered out of the Church altogether.
Some may think that it was understandable that clergy put their livelihoods first, bearing in mind that most had families to support as well and were living in tied houses. Well, maybe it was understandable but that does not make their lack of action right. They were Christians, representatives of Christ, they should have given their lives for the kingdom of God, let alone lose their jobs for it, and priests buggering children is an attack on the kingdom of God of the most vile and Satanic sort.
So, if you are a priest and if you have ever kept quiet about the wrongdoings of a colleague or even kept quiet about the suspicion of wrongdoing, don't you dare point your finger at Carey and his like. Point it at yourself.
Furthermore, if you have turned your back on, or refused to help or stand up for, a colleague, who did have the balls to blow the whistle simply because you did not want to end up as hated as him, know that you are a coward and a priest in title only.