Saturday, 24 July 2021

Lord Carey calls off visit amid scandal

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury cancelled an engagement in Wargrave following revelations that he failed to report child sex abuse in the Nineties.

Lord Carey, 81, who stepped down from his latest role in the Church of England on Monday following a review of the case, was due to speak at a service at St Mary’s Church on Sunday to mark the end of the Wargrave Village Festival.

But last week, he visited Wargrave vicar Rev John Cook to say he would not be coming after all.

Lord Carey served as archbishop from 1991 to 2002 and was more recently honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Oxford.

He was asked to resign by the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby after being criticised in a review of the church’s handling of abuse carried out by Bishop Peter Ball. The review by Dame Moira Gibb said Lord Carey had failed to pass information on Ball, who was jailed in 2015, to the police in 1992.

Rev Cook said: “He didn’t come due to the publicity, which would have been a distraction. The last thing we wanted was TV cameras following him around. In the end I did the talk.”

Dame Gibb said Lord Carey had received several letters following Ball’s arrest for gross indecency in 1992 but failed to pass on six of them to the police.

He also chose not to put Ball on the Church of England’s “Lambeth List”, which names clergymen who have been subject to questions around their suitability to serve in the ministry.

Ball was jailed for two years and eight months in October 2015 after admitting sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men dating back to the Seventies. He was released in February after serving 16 months.

More than 200 people attended Sunday’s service. Rev Cook said: “We had a packed church and lots of people stayed for lunch afterwards. It was a good round-off to the festival.”

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