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'What is his problem?': Ann Widdecombe criticises bishop over Lord Carey comments

The Church of England's lead bishop on safeguarding questioned the decision by the Diocese of Oxford after he was accused of covering up abuse.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 over the weekend, Rt Rev Peter Hancock (below, left) said: "I regret it not because I want to intervene in matters that relate to another diocese, but just because what I hear from those I speak to, which are the victims, the survivors, those who are particularly troubled by the church's actions, that see this, perceive this and believe this to be something which has caused them more distress and it's for that reason particularly."

But Widdecombe who now works in the media suggested forgiveness should be offered to those who get things wrong.

PA Wire
Dr George Carey (left), the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England's lead safeguarding bishop.

Writing her column in the Daily Express, she said: "The suggestion that George Carey, should not be allowed to carry on preaching because he failed to act properly over allegations of abuse against Bishop Peter Ball would be vindictive enough if it came from a secular figure but from Bishop Peter Hancock, leader of the Church of England's anti-abuse team, it should be offensive to all Christians.

"Carey was guilty of negligence, not collusion, but if Bishop Hancock's view is correct then there is no place for forgiveness: Christ died for everybody's sins except George Carey's.

"Where is Hancock's problem? If the early church had been run by the likes of Bishop Hancock then the apostles would have turned away St Paul, who had been busy persecuting Christians and privy to the death of St Stephen.

"Peter himself would have been denied any role because he had three times lied about knowing Christ. Calm down Peter Hancock - and let George Carey carry on."

Lord Carey originally stepped down from church duties when allegations of a cover up first surfaced. He has since been re-permitted to preach and lead communion in his home church.

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