Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Deep Sorrow over Child Abuse Suffering

Friday 27th April 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of his deep sorrow over the suffering experienced in child abuse cases involving the church. Dr Williams said that the church had developed greater awareness and expertise, and had stringent procedures in place, but that vigilance was crucial.

"Any case in which the Church has failed to prove itself a safe place for children is deplorable. This is one such case, and we can only express our keen awareness of the damage and deep sorrow for the suffering caused."

"The principle that the welfare of the child must always take priority has sometimes been misunderstood to mean that a child should not be put through the distress of public legal procedures. It appears to me that this misunderstanding may have been involved in this instance."

"Since these sad events occurred, the Church - like other public bodies - has developed greater expertise and far more stringent procedures. This does not help victims of an earlier era, but the awareness of the cost they have borne is something that underlines the imperative need to keep all our procedures in the strictest working order."

Back · Back to top