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A critique of Wesley Carr's lecture 'Whence and Whither in another Millennium '

On 3 April 2001 Wesley Carr gave a public lecture in which he attempted to portray himself as the victim of a campaign of 'collusive manipulation'. Like most of Wesley's output, it contains a number of falsehoods. This article highlights some of them. ------------------

"Managing any organisation today commits you to complicated technical and legal constraints upon what most people would consider normal human decency." Not true. Legislation compels employers to be more fair, honest, and accountable, not the opposite. ------------------

"The audit almost by chance exposed to my colleagues and me a serious matter involving Abbey money, the setting up of a private company; and improper charging for the choir. The Dean and Chapter knew nothing of these." Not true. Lord Jauncey explicitly stated that both Dean and Precentor knew of the account's existence, and was surprised that "neither the dean nor the precentor asked Dr Neary about its operation as soon as they were aware of it". Canon Semper, the treasurer at the Abbey when the account was first set up gave evidence under oath that he knew about it. Carr's use of the phrase "almost by chance" is also interesting. ------------------

"We recognise that the Abbey and its affairs are of public interest. And if we ever believed in confidentiality, we no longer do!" Westminster Abbey routinely breach confidentiality in their attempts to cover up their wrongdoing. This included the receiver general David Burden reading out a confidential letter of complaint from a parent whose son was being abused to other parents in an attempt to drum up support for the abusing headmaster. He was asked at the meeting if the letter was confidential and denied it, despite the words 'in confidence' being written at the top of the letter in capitals. Twelve days later the first article of unrest at the abbey choir school appeared in the press. Dean Carr pressed the school doctor to breach confidentiality about the boys who were suffering symptoms of stress, and when he declined to do so, attempted to undermine the doctor's professional position. ------------------

"The same person also recently remarked in the press, the intention remains to 'haunt and taunt' the Dean" Not true. The person to whom Dean Carr refers, Judge Compston, was reported in the Guardian as saying that the dean was "haunted and taunted" by his own past. ------------------

"Integrity is the foundation of all action in a Christian body: only when we can acknowledge failure in that area, can we confidently hope to be forgiven. And when the staff discover this, they learn that all are valued and fairly and equally treated." The statement about integrity is breathtaking, coming from one of the most deceitful individuals ever to take holy orders. His dishonesty extends to his 'theological' teachings, in which he argues that there is no such thing as evil only power, an argument as old as evil itself. But the statement that "only when we acknowledge failure, can we confidently hope to be forgiven," is a direct inversion of the teachings of Christ, who said that one must forgive one's unrepentant brother seventy times seven times. ------------------

"It falls to [James O'Donnell] to secure the future of our great musical tradition. The Choir has not for a long time sounded as good as it does. We are proud of the choir and the choristers. But in the background the fact remains that a school for just 38 boys is vulnerable to fashion (boarding for young boys is currently out of fashion). The weakness of scale also becomes apparent when the school is under attack as it has been recently, whether justifiably or not." At the time of Wesley's lecture the choir had lost some 20% of its strength due to sustained institutional bullying by the headmaster, supported in his wrongdoing by Dean Carr as chairman of governors. This was independently verified by the Social Services and the Childrens Society. The statement that the "school is under attack" is also untrue. It was the wrongdoing of the head master Roger Overend and the dishonesty and manipulation of Dean Carr that was under attack. ------------------

"What about accountability? This theme runs through society today and churches - including Westminster Abbey - cannot and would not want to be immune. At first hearing the notion sounds a good thing. But the questions are many: who is accountable to whom? In what should that accountability consist? And when does attending to accountability debilitate the actual work?" Dean Carr is on record as boasting of his lack of accountability. To one parent who had complained of abuse he stated in front of witnesses: "I am not here to discuss the behaviour of the head master. I am here to discuss the behaviour of your son. I am the Dean of Westminster and there is nothing you can do about that." When asked by another parent at a minuted meeting "who, at the abbey has the cure of souls?" - he refused three times to answer the question, saying that it was "not a relevant concept", eventually declaring "I will not be cross examined in my own Abbey". ------------------

"Dr Carr welcomes questions on the lecture - please Email your question to Westminster Abbey at : " Not true. Emails to Westminster Abbey asking them to correct the above falsehoods have gone unanswered. ------------------

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