Letter: Sordid hounding of a homosexual cleric

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The Independent Online
Sir: Today's article by Andrew Brown on the former secretary- general of the General Synod seems to illustrate the wisdom of the Church of England's policy of requiring every candidate for holy orders to go through its selection procedure.

This entails a residential conference for a group of candidates when each is interviewed by several selectors, lay and clerical, chosen by diocesan bishops and responsible to them. A staff member of the Advisory Board for Ministry (formerly the Advisory Council for the Church's Ministry) is responsible for the administration, which includes the writing of the final report containing the selectors' recommendation. This report goes to the candidate's bishop, who has the final decision.

For Bishop Leonard to say that in Mr Pattinson's case a selection conference was avoided 'because technically he was the employer of the staff who were arranging it' seems remarkably close to an abrogation of shared episcopal responsibility. Which is odd for one who attaches so much importance to the episcopate.

Yours faithfully,



4 December