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A New Year's message to the Archbishop from clergy abuse survivors
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ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY, DON'T SILENCE CLERGY ABUSE SURVIVORS

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Victims of abuse of religious power and clergy sexual abuse have sent a New Year's Message to the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for an end to the bullying and silencing of those who speak out about the misconduct of clergymen in the Church and other faiths.  Activists have called on Archbishop Justin Welby not to be blinded by the Church of England's high profile campaigns against bankers and the City of London Corporation, and ignore the evil within the Church itself, of abuse perpetrated by some of Welby's own clergy.

The call follows a recent panel debate on abuse in the House of Commons, with speaker and audience contributors from parliamentarians, clergy abuse victims groups, legal experts and advisors to the government panel inquiry on child sexual abuse.  While the panel included speakers from the Catholic Church, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu clergy, the Church of England declined to send any representatives to face questions about its record on clergy abuse.

Certain Anglican clergy, bishops and archdeacons whose alleged behaviour in relation to matters of abuse were to be questioned and debated at the event, had repeatedly been invited to come along to the meeting in the interests of fair and free speech and of “the right to reply”, but instead they all avoided attending to face inquiry.

Instead, the Church of England employed a private public relations scandal management company, "Luther Pendragon Limited", to apply pressure against the meeting taking place, put pressure on the room booking, and thereafter attempted to prevent the publication of this film footage of the open discussion in Parliament.

Luther Pendragon Limited has a controversial history of lobbying and PR scandal management on behalf of the tobacco, arms and nuclear industries - as well as for the Church of England, and campaigners have criticised its role in allegedly hushing up clergy abuse in Winchester last year.

Kit Klarenberg, a spokesperson for one of the survivors campaigning groups at the event in Parliament said, “Church of England leaders have attempted to disrupt the free and open discussion in the public interest about clergy abuse by, on the one hand, their avoidance and refusal to attend and face questioning from abuse survivors and the public, and on the other hand the Diocese of London employing a private lobbying agency for the tobacco and nuclear industries to disrupt and censor free debate. This is a shocking betrayal of Archbishop Justin Welby’s stated commitment to a full and frank conversation about these extremely serious issues in an Anglican context.”  The conduct of Anglican authorities was also criticised by Hindu leaders, as well as by clergy of other religions.

Satish Sharma, leader of the National Council for Hindu Temples and one of the speakers at the event, rebuked the Church of England for what he called "the big abuse" of protecting perpetrators in order to "to preserve an institutional brand".  He stated, "The absence of members of the Church of England and the decision-making members of other bodies is the crime of mocking troubled souls".  A former police officer in the Rotherham abuse investigation also spoke of his experience of the bullying of whistleblowers.
 
Despite the positioning by Anglican bishops of the Church of England as a champion of the poor against City of London finance and payday lenders like Wonga, Luther Pendragon Limited were unwilling to comment about the very sizeable funds which had been spent by the Church of England for procuring their scandal management services.

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You can watch the debate on abuse of religious power and clergy abuse either on our website or YouTube.
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