Church leaders in the Diocese of Rochester have called for the...
Justin Welby: 'I cannot with integrity rescind my statement' on Bishop George Bell
Despite criticism from a number of academics, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is standing by comments he made about deceased Bishop George Bel (pictured below)l, the clergyman who's been accused of abuse.
Last year he said there was a "significant cloud" left over George Bell's name.
He was speaking after a damning report published last year found the Church of England "wrongfully and unnecessarily damaged" the reputation of the bishop by apologising to, and compensating, his alleged victim in 2015.
Following the Carlile report, Archbishop Justin stopped short of fully apologising for the Church's response, and he pointed out that George Bell was "accused of great wickedness".
He was then criticised by the academics, including Sir Ian Kershaw, of making "irresponsible and dangerous" comments and damaging for the office of the Archbishop.
Speaking for the first time since the criticism, Archbishop Justin said: "I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile's review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case.
"I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him."
In the statement, he went on to say the Church is rightly facing increased scrutiny on the issue of abuse and the apology to the alleged victim came about following legal advice based on the civil standard of proof and the balance of probability.
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