Sunday, 29 May 2011

More on the Smell

The accusation was that Lambeth Palace leaked the CNC workings in order, as Sentamu mouthed, to make it look as if Colin Slee had done the leak as a means to support his friend Jeffrey John and thus undermine him.

As I have come up to speed, the leak enquiry took place and last November the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that the leak enquiry (called the Fitchie Enquiry) finding is secret.

Some of the graphic documents stop short, but the longer ones have these aspects. Look at the parts I have highlighted in blue (starting near the end of page 7):

The danger, several years down the line, is that there are bishops who unquestionably have been less than candid about their domestic


arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions. It is in the nature of things that this situation cannot endure, and exposure of the reality would be 'nuclear' Appointing Jeffrey would lessen that real threat. As we approach Passiontide, one cannot help thinking of the High Priest's dismissive remark: "It is better that one man suffer...". Despite being in a celibate relationship, Jeffrey was scapegoated and just left in that appalling position, and it is our responsibility and obligation to get him out. It would remove a real stain on the Church's reputation, it would also be a chance to prove that the Church is not totally homophobic, and at least means it when it says that only sexual practice, not orientation, is the problem.

I have been impressed by James Jones' humility and change of heart (probably as a result of what he has seen in the inner city parishes), and especially his recent comments to his Synod. There is definitely a change of temperament among 'open evangelicals', perhaps because of what they now see among their own ranks, and this was evidenced in the vote concerning pension rights for surviving partners in a CP at the recent Synod. In relation to the Communion, I believe also there are clear signs that much of the Church would welcome a move forwards, much is relaxing and people are realising previous mistakes, not least because unacceptable conduct has been overlooked in, for example, Nigeria, Uganda and elsewhere, without any recognition that cultural difference occurs two ways.

I have also a deep pastoral concern. Jeffrey has lived silently with his anger as a victim of injustice despite constant media offers. We know Grant became dangerously ill after the 2003 debacle through the physical effects of intense stress. They have both been heroic. I am also well aware, from parochial and indeed university experience throughout my ministry, that people with unresolved injustices (anger, hurt), have a very high rate of serious illness and cancer in particular. I would find my own silence tested beyond endurance should that happen to either of them.

I believe Southwark's vacancy offers an unrivalled avenue of hope and I will work very hard to enable that to be fulfilled for the Diocese, the Church and the Communion.

With best wishes.

Appendix 2

Email to Chris Smith

Dear Chris, Thank you for your letter dated August 17th. I hope you had a good break.

Your letter does not respond to my questions previously sent to you.

1. It tells us, for the first time, that Baroness Fitchie will be accompanied, and you kindly supplied an additional CV for Pam Cooke. In that case I need to ask, or are we to assume, it will be in order to bring a colleague also? It would be procedurally highly irregular to have to people conducting the inquiry and each person being questioned only alone.

2. Likewise, you did not reply to my question about making our own recording.

3. Paragraph 5 says, 'Baroness Fitchie will report to the Archbishops ...and they will consider how her conclusions will be shared! I asked for an assurance that the CNC will receive the report, not edited extracts. Participation implies full access. I am not at all happy with this lack of transparency.


4. The penultimate paragraph is really surprising. We are asked to contact Caroiine Boddington in your absence. That carries all sorts of implications which are not appropriate to such an inquiry.

Finally, I hope you are aware of the marvellous oxymoron in the terms of reference, (your italics) '...and to make any recommendations necessary to improve the confidentiality in the work of the Commission as it seeks to open up its processes.'

I look forwards to your assurances on these points before I reply to Carolyn Dunlop.

Dear Chris, Thank you for this. I am here most of August and September and am happy to see someone when they ask/ however, before doing so I wish to know:

the terms of reference;
the CV of the person making the inquiry; if a record is being taken of any 'interview' (curious word) then we may take a recorder;
will have a copy of that record supplied by the person to us;
we will see the final report.

There may be statements and matters we are willing to identify which we would offer in one circumstance but not in others. (e,g. observations on the conduct of both archbishops both before and during and after the CNC).


From: Chris Smith (LP) []
Sent: 30 July 2010 15:56
To: Colin Slee
Subject: CNC

Dear Colin

Further to Caroline's email of 15 July, I am writing to advise you that a suitable independent figure has agreed to lead our enquiry and will be briefed next week. Interviews are likely to be taking place at Lambeth Palace over the coming weeks, and my PA Rebecca will be in touch with you about convenient dates. We quite understand that many of you will be on holiday and clearly this is not the best time of year to try and complete such an exercise. It is likely therefore that some of the meetings will take place in Septernber.

In preparation for the interview I wonder if I might suggest you write down your recollections and understandings of events and their sequence check the dates when documents were sent or received and make a note of anything else you think might be relevant to the integrity of this CNC. it is likely that a record will be taken of the interview.

Please let me or Caroline know if you have any queries about all this.

Kind regards Chris Smith
Chief of Staff
Lambeth Palace

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