Most are unaware that the Church of England is synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, both were one entity until 1534, when King Henry VIII of England severed ties with Rome, giving the church its full independence.
Like its mother church, activists have long accused priests in the Church of England of child rape and molestation, especially against young boys. But because the church wields significant influence in Britain, the accusations were never investigated. The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is the Queen.
But despite the strong influence it held, activists never gave up exposing the dirty secrets of the church. Evidence presented before the church, with the help of activists, is so overwhelming that the church itself has finally made shocking admissions.
On June 23, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who serves as the senior most cleric of the Church of England, revealed that the church “colluded” with and helped to hide long-term sexual abuse of children and young men.
Mr Welby didn’t just make the damning revelation, he also apologized to the victims who spoke out and helped to expose one senior priest of the church, who for years has raped children and young men.
What brought the damning revelation to the surface was a case involving one ex-bishop of the church named Peter Ball. Bishop Ball served as the Bishop of Lewes and then the diocesan Bishop of Gloucester.
In 1960, he and his twin brother (Michael Ball) established a monastic community known as the Community of the Glorious Ascension. Unknown to the public, Ball was a pedophile who used his position to rape and molest many young boys. Activists later helped the victims seek justice against the pedophile bishop.
In 2015, Ball pleaded guilty to raping over 18 young men while in office as a bishop of the church. Despite the grave nature of the crimes committed by the pedophile bishop, he was sentenced to only 32 months in prison. This case convinced many that the long suspicion of the church protecting pedophile priests is true. Activists called for further investigations.
Due to public pressure, the church commissioned a special investigation into the allegations, particularly on the case that disgraced Ball and the church.
After the investigation, the report was given to Mr Welby to be made public. The report revealed Ball’s conduct “caused serious and enduring damage to the lives of many men,” and that “the church at its most senior levels and over many years supported him unwisely.”
The report further conceded that the church helped the perpetrator hide the abuse. Welby quoted from the report that “the church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward.”
The investigators who authored the report examined files as far back as the 1950s. Welby is said to have given the investigators total independence during the investigation.
The Free Thought Project reports that until Welby became the head of the church, the church had a long and sordid history of silencing those who claimed they were abused by priests.
Mr Welby vowed to change the rules of engagement regarding sex abuse allegations in the church. He said no priest will be protected anymore, as long as he remains the head of the church.
“We will systematically bring those transparently and openly first of all working with the survivors where they are still alive and then seeing what they want. The rule is survivors come first, not our own interests, and however important the person was, however distinguished, however well-known, survivors come first,” Welby said.