The cross I chose to bear

ANOTHER VIEW
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The Independent Online
Discipline is a necessary part of Christian life, but a judicial process based on the criminal law is an inappropriate way of ensuring it. We should be more like the professions (and, incidentally, follow early Christian practice) by having complaints dealt with in internal tribunals. The problem is that the Church of England has become so much part of the state that we have let the state take us over. I am not arguing for disestablishment, but I feel we have to take control of our own affairs. This is difficult when senior appointments are made by the Crown. I myself was a Crown appointment, but I am not allowed to appoint my own staff.

Jesus said you should take up your cross - and crosses are not just for hanging round pretty girls' necks. Crosses are for crucifixion, and crucifixion is a very, very painful ordeal. Burdens must be endured, but you chose to shoulder your cross. Jesus could have run away from his cross, but he didn't. My cross, and I could have run away from it, has been this case and the whole 17-month-long business of being pilloried in court, and for all the details to be printed in the most sordid way. The crisis arose because my bishop chose to believe the story of a girl he described to me as "pretty hopeless". I denied everything she had said, it was my word against hers. But he chose to take it all the way to the court to discover which version to believe.

I have talked about a conspiracy before, and I do believe there was a conspiracy against me. But now reconciliation is the main thing. I feel there needs to be mutual confessions. I am a sinner, the bishop is a sinner - we have got to confess our sins to each other, with a third party there to help us. I would like to sort things out like this and work together in the future in this way, but there has to be the same willingness to start anew from the other side.

I should like to thank my parishioners for being so resilient and mature, for their prayers and loving support, without which Mary and myself would have been sunk without trace. I would ask them to pray for everyone involved in this case, especially Verity Freestone - she is being cared for. As an under-shepherd of the flock of God I must make sure she is not pushed out.

I have been criticised - and praised - in court for being tactile, for hugging and touching people. A lot of lonely people come to a cathedral, and many of them need a hug. I intend to go on giving people caring hugs, but I accept I have got to be more careful to protect myself. I see nothing wrong with nice, friendly hugs.

Resurrection is what we need. Resuscitation is just breathing life into an old corpse, but resurrection brings new life, God's life. Resurrection is what I hope for and pray for, but it can only come from God.

The writer is the Dean of Lincoln.

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