LETTER: The memory of Bishop Bell
Apparently, the bishop never existed. So, what?
His extermination was the ‘achievement’ of higher authority: Episcopalian (‘pisky’ for short), and presumably coming from the highest authority, the Archbishop, who heard the complaint.
We, in Chichester, do not know. The Anglican Church in the Chichester Diocese is formed of a great number of people, the baptised. The link ends there, at being the baptised; except for the clergy, who are pledged to obey authority (‘pisky
There is no club from which to resign; one can only “walk away”.
Quite another situation from the political, where all are involved and are encouraged to vote.
The Church authorities operate out of the public eye: that is, in secret. Even the discussions of the Cathedral Chapter (its governing body) may not be revealed by any member.
So, any idea the general public might have, that to be a Christian in Chichester is to be part of the blanking out of the former bishop George Bell, is just plain wrong.
Some of us puzzle. Why in the first place do we in Chichester need to be taught that child abuse is dreadful? Aren’t we aware of that?
Secondly, why is there the assumption that those living and active today are themselves guilty because of an offence committed sixty years ago before most of us were born?
Third, how is the Chapter to answer for going back on its word, given so long ago and yet so little time ago as not yet ten years, to accept a great donation of a house, in the name of a great Christian leader?
Fourth, how do you claim justification for all this, by talking of ‘achievements’ instead of a ‘person’; Mussolini made the Italian trains run on time – a joke from half a century ago. This is a matter of character assassination, not of listing events and actions. It is an overturning of our heritage.
Finally, we lack leadership: we need emphasis on the weakness in the legal system of our country, compared to other European countries; we need the Church to aim, if stones are to be thrown, at - there is a bagful of possible targets, and the bag includes seeking after power, the love of money, as well as cruelty in the home...
Meanwhile, the Diocese declares ‘Mercy’, and following this, the Cathedral has called one of its doors ‘The Gate of Mercy’. Except towards George Bell – as has been said. The Bishop declares the Diocese a place of ‘transparency’, but what is done is done in secret.
Perhaps by the time of your publication, things will have changed.
Charlotte A. Evans