Archbishop of Canterbury apologises over 'sadistic abuse' at boys camp

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises over 'sadistic abuse' at boys camp

May 21, 2021

Justin Welby issues apology for Church of England’s failure to put a stop to sadistic abuse at boys’ camps

  • The Most Reverend Justin Welby issued a personal apology on behalf of Church 
  • He said: ‘Having met some victims now, I want to offer a full, personal apology’ 
  • John Smyth subjected boys to tens of thousands of lashes at Anglican camps 
  • He died at his Cape Town home in 2018 aged 77 and a full inquiry is under way

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a personal apology for the Church of England’s failure to halt sadistic abuse at Anglican boys’ camps run by youth leader John Smyth QC.

Smyth is said to have subjected boys to tens of thousands of lashes, telling them that it would purge them of sins of pride and masturbation.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby issued an apology on behalf of the Church in 2017.

Yesterday he said: ‘Having met some victims now, I want to offer a full, personal apology.

‘I am sorry that this was done in the name of Jesus Christ by a perverted version of spirituality and evangelicalism.’

A full inquiry is under way. 

The Most Reverend Justin Welby issued an apology issued an apology on behalf of the Church of England in 2017

Smyth was allowed to work abroad after word of his abuse began circulating in the 1980s.

He died at his home in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2018 aged 77. 

Allegations of serious abuse during his time in southern Africa were later raised.

In 2017, Lambeth Palace confirmed that Archbishop Welby worked as a dormitory officer at one of Smyth’s camps in the late 1970s. 

A spokesman said: ‘He was not part of the inner circle of friends; no one discussed allegations of abuse by John Smyth with him.’

Last year the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse accused the Church of England of failing the nation by covering up sex abuse for decades for the sake of protecting its own reputation.

The Church has now started paying compensation to victims of a series of scandals that is likely to end in a final bill of at least £200 million.

The Church of England is accused of failing to halt sadistic abuse at Anglican boys’ camps run by youth leader John Smyth QC

The Smyth allegations have also produced bitter internal division.

Last year, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey was openly critical of Archbishop Welby after losing his right to officiate at church services. 

Lord Carey was briefly stripped of his licence because he was head of a theological college where Smyth attended a course in 1983. 

Carey said he does not remember ever meeting Smyth.

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