ME, PROTECT A PAEDOPHILE? THAT'S TOSH AND BILGE; EX ARCH BISH SAVAGES MAGGIE'S PR MAN; Church leader Spin doctor's book claims are just nonsense; EXCLUSIVE.
Byline: Julie–Anne Barnes
The former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey yesterday branded claims made by a Tory spin doctor that he protected a paedophile churchman as "tosh and bilge".
Lord Carey said there was no truth in the allegations made in the memoirs of Margaret Thatcher's PR chief Tim Bell.
In his book, Lord Bell claimed Carey told him he was having trouble with several churchmen in the early 1990s including a paedophile bishop.
Bell wrote: "One day a friend rang me up and told me the Archbishop of Canterbury was having a bit of trouble.
"Apparently a Sunday newspaper had claimed that he was 'tired and emotional' and that 'his marriage was falling apart'."
Bell goes on to detail how Carey took him to a framed photograph on the wall that contained his bishops in a long row.
Bell wrote : "'It's not easy, you know,' he said. 'This job, I mean, I have to control this lot.' He started to point at individual bishops in the photograph, saying things like, 'This one's gay, this one has no belief in God, this one believes in black magic, this one is a suspected paedophile'."
But the claims, made in Bell's autobiography Right Or Wrong, have infuriated the former head of the Church of England.
While Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, admits the meeting took place, he says Bell's account of the meeting is "nonsense".
Carey added: "I have never read such a lot of tosh and bilge. I recall our meeting, which came out of a conversation with Lord Griffiths, who is a close friend. He thought a conversation with Tim Bell might be helpful in terms of a PR man looking at the Church and my role within it.
"What is laughable is his take on our conversation. Not once did we talk about my marriage. Eileen and I have been happily married for 54 years and never has it been in trouble. What right has a total stranger to make this allegation? "It is also nonsense that I spoke of bishops indulging in black magic and an unbelieving bishop. This is crazy stuff. The rest of his claims are sheer dribble."
Yesterday Bell said: "He has his recollection, I have mine. They are not the same. That frequently happens."
There were no major scandals surrounding paedophile bishops during Carey's time in office. Former bishop Peter Ball was arrested in 2012 over allegations of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Chichester during the late 1980s and early '90s. Sussex police said Ball was released the same day on medical advice.
He was also summoned in March this year for alleged misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992, indecent assault on a boy then aged between 12 and 13 in 1978 and indecent assault on a man aged 19 to 20 between 1980 and 1982.
He is due to appear at a later date in relation to these charges.
Tim Bell's book Right Or Wrong, published by Bloomsbury, was released on Thursday.
"His take on our meeting is laughable.. this is just crazy stuff
MEMOIRS PR man Bell PR man Bell
FURIOUS Lord Carey Lord Carey