Jersey – A Dangerous Thought
I read the following sections of the Channel Islands Agreement that it handsÂ ALLÂ functions of the Bishop of WinchesterÂ in relation toÂ JerseyÂ overÂ to the Bishop of Dover.
The Bishop of Winchester,
(i) appoints the Bishop of Dover as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese
(ii) delegates to him the Episcopal oversight and functions reserved to the Bishop of Winchester under Jersey Canons and the customs and protocols of the Deanery of Guernsey
(iii) delegates to him such other episcopal functions asÂ may beÂ assigned to the Bishop of Winchester in all other ecclesiastical legislation, canons, customs and protocols as may apply in the islands
Does that mean that the Steel ReportÂ should beÂ delivered to the Bishop of Dover andÂ NOTÂ the Bishop of Winchester?
All this is only really a question for Dame Steel – aside from +Tim who’s clearly not being forthcoming in publishing the report she’s the only one with access to it at the moment I assume. If she were so minded to make mischief I’m sure that it’d be very difficult to argue she’d acted improperly if she did send the report to the bishop of Dover.
Perhaps the question is for the Bishop of Dover as to whether he should ask Dame Heather for a copy, now that he is acting in the stead of Tim Dakin in all matters pertaining to Jersey (and Guernsey)?
It all depends on whether the bishop of Dover is more interested in resolving the issues or quietening downing a fraught situation. Why was oversight transferred to Dover, as opposed to anyone else? Pure conjecture, but I imagine that the choice of delegate could well have been a bargaining chip when all this was being thrashed out.
I am not too sure things have moved on in any way since last November.
As I understood the statement from the bishop of Winchester on November 22nd the process of consultation with those named in the report had resulted in the threat of legal action, the consultation was part of the terms of reference. One can only imagine that there has been stalemate over this matter with Dame Steele now concluding her report with the challenged material still present.
We know from the November statement that its purpose had been fulfilled in as much as no action was taken against any cleric for safeguarding failures. With everyone exonerated and the November statement announcing what we now understand to be the separation process well laid out in your scoop below, there remained the obligation to share the report with the States and those named. I can only imagine that as this report was compiled with the assistance of the police (or at least a police officer) from Jersey, then its contents are already well known to the government there. Those others expecting a copy of the report appear to be awaiting he outcome of the legal advice to the bishop and it may be that they never see the full report though we must assume that all those named have seen at least that which relates to them or possibly the whole draft report. The person threatening legal action must have seen the material relating to her/him.
By November then, we already knew the results of Dame Steele’s enquiry and the break with Winchester had begun to take shape.
Events have now complicated the issue, the terms of reference made this enquiry very much the property of the bishop of Winchester and his heirs and successors. It would be perfectly legitimate for Dame Steele to give a copy of this report to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the provincial. I guess though she might baulk at handing copies to the others named in the tems of reference until the bishop of Winchester has resolved the legal challenge.
Joe public was never offered a full copy of this report, at best it was to be a redacted version, if anything.
Is it true that “everyone [is] exonerated”? It seems that the bishop had no power to discipline the dean and had to end the suspension on this basis. The dean did issue an apology which either was an acknowledgement of error or was insincere.
There may be another explanation for the bishop withholding the report. The diocese might be open for legal action based on the actions of the previous bishop. That is, of course, no more than a hypothesis.
I see, you are suggesting that Dame Steele’s finding was that he could not take action.
I think he would have said as much in his November statement, there is no reason to pass up the opportunity to say this, if it were true.
The apology is careful and seen in the light of the subsequent fracture looks very flimsy.
You raise a perfectly reasonable further justification for withholding the report. One suspects that parts if not all of this enquiry will emerge in time.
Still, my main contention is that nothing seems to have changed since November other than a final report has been delivered.
Thank you Martin. You might look at the Bob Hill blog. It seems that Dame Steele is a friend of Sir Philip Bailhache, a keen supporter of the dean. She refused to see HG to hear her side of the story but did not hesitate to pass judgement on HG.
It would be interesting to see the dean’s point by point response to the Korris report. Until we do it seems to be the best analysis of what happened. Any errors identified may have arisen from the dean’s refusal to co-operate with Korris and his attempts to prevent other clergy from co-operating.
It would also be interesting to see why The Abp of Canterbury switched from supporting the suspension to supporting the dean and undermining the bishop.
It seems to me that the absence of any arrangement for oversight or supervision of the dean is something that the former bishop of Winchester should explain. He left the current bishop with a complaint about a safeguarding failure (at least in terms of responding to the initial complaint) but with no means of dealing with it.
Finally I note that there seems to have been no attempt to identify the views of lay members in the Channel Islands which might not reflect those of the clergy.