Breaking – Changing Attitude claim that Chichester Diocese not operating National Policy

In an exchange of blog comments with Colin Coward of Changing Attitude this afternoon, Colin alleged that Bishop Mark of Chichester Diocese (and current acting Diocesan) did not ask David Page of Winchelsea for any assurance that he was not in a sexually active relationship. Colin wrote,

There is NOTHING in the press statement from which you might infer that David Page was asked about his sex life by Bishop Mark and NOTHING that infers David agreed to be celibate. David wasn’t asked and was not required to give any assurances. Yes, Peter, like it or not, I am seriously saying, not suggesting, saying that Bishop Mark didn’t ask for assurances.

My response was as follows,

So let’s be absolutely clear. Neither at the “interview” or before-hand were any assurances given. Neither was there any communication between the parties that the prior offering of assurances to Wally Benn when the PTO was first reapplied for earlier this year was to be taken as given?

This is an important clarification as it is possible that an exchange of correspondence occurred before the meeting during which the necessary assurances were requested and given. Such an occurrence would allow Colin to quite truthfully state that “David wasn’t asked” and have that just refer to the formal meeting itself.

So we now await one of two responses. Either Colin replies in the affirmative to my final question in which case he is clearly alleging that Bishop Mark did not practice the agreed guidelines in the 2005 House of Bishop’s pastoral statement on Civil Partnerships. Alternatively, such a correspondence did take place before the meeting and Colin is being disingenuous in his replies to me.

Over to you Colin.


Colin’s response is in.

Peter, I’ll be clear with you – neither at the CDM interview nor before the interview were any assurances asked for or given. Neither was there any communication between the parties that any parts of the earlier interview with Bishop Wallace Benn could be taken as given. David Page refused to answer Wallace Benn’s inappropriate questions at the interview.

Which almost answers the question as the assurances were given by Page in a letter to Wally Benn and not in an interview. But let’s take it as read that Colin intends to refer to that letter as well as not being under consideration when David Page met +Mark.

Congratulations Colin – you’re the first person I know of in the Church of England to publicly accuse a specific named Bishop of not following through on the 2005 House of Bishop’s Pastoral Statement.

Let’s see where this one goes…

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