The former Archbishop of York John Sentamu has been ordered to step back from active ministry.
It follows his criticism of a review into the church's handling of abuse allegations against a late priest.
In a statement on the Diocese of Newcastle's website, the Bishop of Newcastle Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley said following the publication of the review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, she had asked Lord Sentamu, who is Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese, to step back from active ministry until his response can be explored further. The statement went on to say :
'The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, is fully supportive of this decision. The Diocese of Newcastle remains committed to the highest standards of safeguarding which seeks always to place victims and survivors at the heart of this vital work.'
Earlier this week, the Church of England formally apologised to a victim of sexual abuse after the review found senior figures – including John Sentamu - failed to act appropriately when disclosures were made to them.
The apology was one of the recommendations of the review into the Church's handling of allegations against Devamanikkam who abused a 16 year old boy in the 1980s. Devamanikkam died by suicide in May 2017, on the day he was due to appear in court on six sexual abuse charges. His victim, Matthew Ineson, has since waived his right to anonymity.
In a statement responding to the review, Lord Sentamu had been critical of the author, Jane Humphreys and said he rejected the findings “due to a fundamental misunderstanding on her part of the jurisdictional, pastoral and legal responsibilities of Diocesan Bishops and Archbishops in the Church of England. I am saddened that a report that rightly seeks to review the workings of the church in order to learn lessons has demonstrated a lack of necessary understanding regarding the operation of dispersed authority in the Church of England."
Matthew Ineson told Premier he welcomes the decision to tell Lord Sentamu to step back from active ministry :
“I think it’s absolutely the right decision. And he's not the only one who should step back from active ministry either.
"All credit to the Bishop of Newcastle for acting swiftly. I know that the Archbishop of York agrees wholeheartedly in support of the decision and I'm pleased to hear that too.”
In a statement, the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Director, Alexander Kubeyinje said :
“I support the Bishop of Newcastle’s decision completely as responding well to victims and survivors is a core part of the Church’s safeguarding and this review is part of this, we have a duty to and must do better.”