27 April 2007
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of his deep sorrow over the suffering experienced in child abuse cases involving the church. Dr Williams said that the church had developed greater awareness and expertise, and had stringent procedures in place, but that vigilance was crucial.
“Any case in which the Church has failed to prove itself a safe place for children is deplorable. This is one such case, and we can only express our keen awareness of the damage and deep sorrow for the suffering caused.”
“The principle that the welfare of the child must always take priority has sometimes been misunderstood to mean that a child should not be put through the distress of public legal procedures. It appears to me that this misunderstanding may have been involved in this instance."
“Since these sad events occurred, the Church - like other public bodies – has developed greater expertise and far more stringent procedures. This does not help victims of an earlier era, but the awareness of the cost they have borne is something that underlines the imperative need to keep all our procedures in the strictest working order.”