The archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for saying there was a “significant cloud” over the name of one of the most venerated figures in the Church of England who was accused of sexual abuse.
In a move that may end a protracted and acrimonious battle within the C of E over the reputation of George Bell, a bishop of Chichester and a leading 20th-century figure, Justin Welby issued a personal statement admitting his earlier position had been wrong.
In a remarkable volte-face, Welby said a statue commemorating Bell as “one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the past century” would be erected at Canterbury Cathedral.
In 2015, 57 years after Bell’s death, the C of E paid compensation and issued a formal apology to a woman who alleged that Bell had sexually abused her when she was a child.
Justin Welby admits he was wrong to say there was a cloud over George Bell https://t.co/BnluNJ9Vtk
— Guardian news (@guardiannews) November 17, 2021