Postcard from London

It’s been a tough two years for Lord Carey and his family. The former Archbishop of Canterbury and his, wife, Eileen did not issue a Christmas letter in 2016 because their elder son, Mark, a vicar, was under investigation on allegations of abuse from more than 40 years ago.

In recent months, Carey’s handling of the case of Bishop Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, came under scrutiny. Carey is accused of failures in his handling of the Ball case, who was jailed for abuse of young potential priests two decades ago.

A report was sharply critical of Carey’s role in the Ball case. Archbishop Justin Welby asked Carey, 82, to stand aside from official episcopal duties, among them serving as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Oxford. That decision “is quite unjust and eventually will be judged as such,” Carey said.

Carey is accused of collusion with Ball and his brother rather than helping those harmed by him. Ball and his twin brother Michael, retired Bishop of Truro, reportedly are applying to be received into the Roman Catholic church on grounds that this will give them anonymity.

Lord Carey, who sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, often makes news. He became involved in the case of the late Bishop George Bell, who was accused of child abuse from more than 50 years ago. Writing to Bell’s niece, Carey said he was “frankly appalled by the way the church authorities have treated his memory.”

Recently he joined a visit to Syria with a group including human rights activist Baroness Caroline Cox. The group was sharply accused of giving succor to the Assad regime.

But the Careys have at least two other reasons for joy from 2017. They have downsized their house and now live in a very supportive retirement community not far from their previous home in Newbury, Berkshire. And Mark Carey has been cleared of the accusations against him and has a new post as a vicar in Bridlington, on the Yorkshire coast.

John Martin

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