LIKE many others, I was shocked by the news of the allegations of sexual misconduct made regarding the former Bishop Bell, but I am saddened to hear of the decision by Bishop Luffa school to change the name of Bishop Bell house.
It hardly needs to be said that nobody would excuse or condone the sexual abuse of a child.
Bishop Bell was born in 1883, a very different world to that of today, and is being judged by 2015 standards.
Does he have any right of reply or a chance to defend himself? He has been in his grave for 55 years, he can hardly give his side of the story.
Have the general public been given anything other than a very general account of the facts?
Has there been DNA sampling to prove a case unequivocally? What kind of Christian messages of forgiveness, reconciliation and fairness are the students being taught?
During his lifetime his stand against the carpet bombing of cities during the second World War, and his constant striving for peaceful solutions did not make him a popular figure of the day — indeed he was vilified by the press and lampooned in popular cartoons.
I am put in mind of the abuse the current leader of the opposition has had heaped upon him for having the courage and integrity to say he would not ‘press the nuclear button’.
In this week of remembrance, when the current Bishop of Chichester has asked us to ponder on the virtues which make for lasting Peace, let us preserve Bishop Bell’s memory as yes, possibly a flawed individual, but not forget his great legacy in promoting peace by setting up the World Council of Churches, as well as his tireless efforts in bringing together peoples of different faiths and denominations in the world.