True to form, Bishop George Bell was as strongly opposed to nuclear weapons as he was to any other form of targeting civilians. It was just never accorded the same prominence as his views on the bombing of Dresden, which ruffled establishment feathers longer and harder. Peter Walker, later to become the Bishop of Ely, knew Bell at the time and later wrote an account of Bishop Bell’s views on the subject, which appeared in 1986. Click the image to download a copy. (9MB)
Writing in his Mail Online blog recently, journalist Peter Hitchen showcased an episode of Great Lives featuring the life of Bishop Bell, which he has recorded with Matthew Parris and others. Click the picture to read the blogpost – or head off to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rl8n8 and access the broadcast directly, ignoring the trailers and other impedimenta in the opening minute(s).
Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites has authorised the open publication of this letter. It was submitted to The Times on February 1 2018, and published on February 10 2018 (the same day as the BBC Radio 4 Today programme with Lord Carlile):
1 February 2018
The Editor, The Times.
Bishop Bell: is there evil intent in the Church’s hierarchy?
In response to Lord Carlile’s Report, both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Chichester made statements which effectively repudiated the findings of the Report. In particular, Archbishop Welby made the extra-ordinary statement that: “we realise that a significant cloud is left over his name” for which he has refused to apologise.
He also wrote that “the C of E is committed to transparency” – and yet yesterday’s “Statement issued by the National Safeguarding Team” explicitly sets transparency aside.
What does it say? First, that the Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop Bell which they have passed to the Sussex Police. Second, that it is a confidential matter and so they cannot say any more. Third, that no interviews will be given.
A pattern is thus emerging of an organised campaign by the Church’s hierarchy to blacken Bishop Bell’s name for good. It is a pattern which has now passed beyond the normal bounds of mal- administration, inefficiency and malcontent. It is as though evil has conquered the minds of the Church’s leaders – an evil which may have dire consequences for the whole estate of the Church of England.
Yours truly, Bryan Thwaites.