Thursday, September 14, 2006

You thought it was safe going to church?

Diocese of Durham houses pervert in former South Shields vicarage!

I was brought up as a Christian, our whole family were regular church goers, my father is a licensed Reader in the Church of England, we made many lifelong friends in the church, my brother and I attended a church youth club, we were both members of church based Scout troops in our teens, we went on day trips and outings, summer camps added to the fun and social fraternity. Church offered comradeship, stewardship, a "safety net", a comfort zone, the local church was a community asset and focal point for many social occassions all those years ago.

Oh how times have changed - the Church of England now has female priests, yet I never read of any female disciples in the Bible, it also openly allows "gay" priests to officiate, yet I can't remember reading of any such behaviour amongst our Lord's chosen twelve or subsequent "saints".

Despite being taught to be tolerant and receptive to the views of other people, I would admit to being a little uncomfortable in the modern surroundings of some of our churches today. I would be dishonest if I said that I agreed with some of the drift away from traditional theology, I clearly do not. Yet, the church should still be a place for "sinners" and not the self righteous, so in some respects I agree with the spokesman for the Bishop of Durham when he said of the recent case involving Daniel Devlin;

"The Bishop is aware of the proceedings against Danny Devlin and the Church agreed that bail be given as long as he lived in a local vicarage.
The Bishop recognises the gravity of the case but understands the need for pastoral support in the circumstances."

This is fine by me as it provides some sort of arrangement whereby Devlinpicture of Daniel Devlin, child porn downloader is removed from the community in Seaham, where it was apparent that he was downloading child porn whilst working in the local area. It also provides an opportunity for the Bishop's staff to provide counselling and support to Devlin before he appears at Durham Crown Court for sentencing.

Importantly however, what these arrangements do not provide is a level of reassurance for the residents of St. Oswin's Street in South Shields where Devlin inhabits the former vicarage. It provides no measure of support to the parents of children, such as myself, who no doubt use the same park as Devlin, it provides no sense of security to the teachers, pupils and parents of the local community schools less than a stone's throw from the former vicarage. Worse still, as the events of yesterday evening portend, the arrangements invite the unwelcome prospect of "vigilante" actions against Devlin, and this would be something which I could not condone. We are all subject to the law of the land and the processes of justice must be allowed to run their course. Devlin (as pictured by the Shields Gazette) is likely to be given a custodial sentence as well as being added to the Sex Offenders' Register.

Where the Diocese of Durham has attempted to give "pastoral support" at arms length, they have succeeded in enraging the local residents needlessly. One wonders why such "pastoral support" could not be found within the confines of the Bishop's Palace at Auckland Castle, or the many buildings within the precincts of Durham Cathedral, places of traditional sanctuary?

I would like to sign off by saying "suffer the little children to come unto me", but it's a bit risky these days! (Heaven knows what Cranmer would have to say about the matter)


Shields Gazette


Information has come to the Corner Shop that the property in St. Oswin's Street is not a former vicarage at all, but an existing vicarage. The property is being used by a current Church of England priest in South Shields, as well as Devlin. The priest formerly worked in the parish of Dawden and Seaham and may have met Devlin there.

This must cast suspiscions upon the priest and question his relationship with Devlin and the amount that he knew of his activities. The information might also give cause for concern about how the Diocese of Durham decided to allocate a property to Devlin, did he volunteer a request to be quartered with a priest that he knew? Did the priest actively request that Devlin be sent to South Shields? Was anyone who made the decision aware of the close proximity of schools and parks?

His Grace commends you for your important blog post.

Sadly, there are perverts in all walks of life, and the Church is not exempt. Holiness has been supplanted by convenience and gratification.

If only Rome might permit its priests to marry...
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