Archbishop of Canterbury 'ashamed' of Church over abuse" width="976" height="549">
The Most Rev Justin Welby gave his evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said how "ashamed" he is of the Church in the wake of the child sex abuse inquiry.The Most Rev Justin Welby told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that it was "horrifying" to read the evidence from survivors."I have learned to be ashamed again," he said.The three-week hearing is looking into the Diocese of Chichester, where dozens of clergy have been accused of abuse.Mr Welby said: "To read the transcripts, to read the evidence, to meet the survivors, is horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes."
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He added: "I want to put on record again - I don't know how to express it adequately - how appalled I am and how ashamed I am of the Church for what it did to those who are survivors and are coping with this."The apologies are fine, but you have got to find ways of making it different and we have got to do it as soon as possible."Questioned by counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, the archbishop was asked what he could do to stop the "abuse of power that we have seen parading through these doors".Mr Welby said bishops and other members of the clergy were given training, which was "quite clear" that if a safeguarding issue was not reported it was a disciplinary matter."Nobody can say 'it's not my fault... I've heard about a problem but, oh well, it was someone else's duty to report it'," Mr Welby said."That is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response."If you know a child is being abused, not to report it is simply wrong."He said bishops already have training to help them understand they are not "God's gift to the church".Mr Welby said the culture of parish churches needed to change - so that safeguarding failures were as unacceptable as drink-driving."We have to get to the culture that if anything is seen as untoward, every regular member of the church, everyone who knows, who is around says 'this isn't right and I'm going to do something about it'," he said.He also told the inquiry the Church of England's safeguarding powers "probably needed re-looking at".The inquiry - set up in 2015 - aims to address institutional failures to protect children in England and Wales and the Church is one of 13 public organisations being scrutinised.
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