Oxford statement on removal of Lord Carey’s permission to officiate in the diocese

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The following statement was issued in response to requests from the BBC and Channel 4 news on 17 June 2020. 

A planned independent review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC is currently underway. In the course of that review, new information has come to light regarding Lord Carey, which has been passed to the National Safeguarding Team for immediate attention as per the agreed Terms of Reference for the review.

A Core Group was formed, according to House of Bishops Guidance, and it advised the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, to withdraw Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate (PTO) while the matter is investigated.

Lord Carey’s PTO was revoked by the Bishop of Oxford on Wednesday 17 June. Lord Carey is currently unauthorised to undertake any form of ministry in the Diocese until further notice.

While the investigation and review are ongoing, we will not be commenting further on this matter. However, for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make clear that the new information received relates only to the review currently underway, and that there has not been an allegation of abuse made against Lord Carey.

Notes for editors:

  • In the wake of Dame Moira Gibb’s review, Lord Carey stood down from the role of Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford in June 2017, and withdrew from public ministry for a season. Lord Carey accepted the criticisms made of him at the time and apologised to the victims of Peter Ball.
  • In February 2018 Lord Carey contacted the Diocese of Oxford to request PTO (permission to officiate). Following senior legal opinion, PTO was granted by the Bishop of Oxford later the same month to allow Lord Carey to undertake his priestly ministry at the church where he worships. The granting of PTO was conditional on no further concerns coming to light.
  • As with all granting of PTO’s, Lord Carey was subject to a fresh DBS check and appropriate safeguarding training at the time.
  • The new information referred to relates to the independent review currently underway, details of which can be read at: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/promoting-safer-church/reviews-and-reports/john-smyth-review
  • The Core Group first met on 16 June.