David Page Capitulates
Remember this? It’s all over bar the counting.
Acting Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Mark Sowerby in June received a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 that the Rev David Page had over a protracted period exercised his ministry as a priest in the parish of Winchelsea without holding the Bishopâ€™s Permission to Officiate (PTO) and that the then incumbent, Canon Howard Cox had given his consent to this. Both the clergy concerned have admitted this misconduct and the matter has been brought to an agreeable conclusion.
Whilst there is no suggestion whatsoever that David Page or Howard Cox have ever behaved inappropriately with children or vulnerable adults, the Church relies upon the upholding of its disciplines relating to PTO in order to fulfil its obligations in respect of safeguarding.
Now that this complaint has been resolved the acting diocesan bishop has granted David Page Permission to Officiate which he hopes will be welcomed by the parish and people of Winchelsea.
So, to summarise:
- Page and Cox admit their misconduct and that it was wrong to permit Page to officiate in Winchelsea without the Bishop’s permission.
- Given that the original denial of a PTO was because Page would not give assurances about his sex life to Bishop Benn, it can be inferred that Page has now given such assurances to Bishop Mark. If he has done so then that means he is either willingly adhering to the national guidelines on the issueÂ or he is lying. One suspects the first because the second would be very silly.
That wraps that up then. The Diocese of Chichester’s position remains the same and no ground-breaking earth-shattering change in CofE policy is imminent after all. Looking forward to what Changing Attitude have to say about it…
No sooner had I put finger to keyboard then Changing Attitude have their response. Very interesting that whilst they assert that this case will dissuade Bishops from asking the legally allowable and indeed required questions of some clergy as to their sexual conduct, they skip over the fact that Page has had to agree to be celibate to get his PTO. Nice spinning Colin…