Lord Carey PTO: Statement from Bishop of Oxford

Following the conclusion of IICSA public hearing on the Peter Ball case study, 23 – 27 July 2018, the Diocese of Oxford has issued the following statement from the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft.

Lord Carey PTO : statement from the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

“Along with many others, I am sorry and ashamed to hear again this week of the abuse perpetrated by Peter Ball, and the way in which the Church of England failed to respond to the survivors over such a long period of time and at the most senior level. The whole Church needs to respond to what has been revealed with repentance, improved practice and a continued change of culture.

“We recognise that there will be renewed questions concerning Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate following the IICSA hearings this week and I am sorry that my response to Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year caused additional distress to some survivors of abuse.

“When Lord Carey stepped down from his role as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford following the publication of the Gibb report in 2017 it also meant that he was no longer able to preside over services at his local church. There were no legal grounds for me to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year as he was not subject to a disciplinary process, and there has never been any suggestion that he is himself a risk to children, young people or vulnerable adults.

“Lord Carey’s PTO remains in place at this time, providing him with a safe space to exercise his ministry. However, as part of the Church of England’s ongoing response to IICSA, there will now be a process of review and support offered to Lord Carey by the Diocese of Oxford together with the National Safeguarding Team.”

For media enquiries call Steven Buckley on 07824 906839 or Jo Duckles on 07880 716761.

27th July 2018


The timing and content of Bishop Steven’s statement attracted adverse comment on social media, within parts of the diocese, and from the Church’s lead bishop on safeguarding.

Whilst there were no legal grounds on which the PTO could not be granted to Lord Carey, equally, according to the new House of Bishops’ Policy on Granting Permission to Officiate, there was no obligation that PTO should be granted on request: “PTO is not granted as of right, however senior or experienced the cleric may be.” [2.10]. 

The Guardian subsequently reported Church of England to review George Carey’s official role. However, such a review is referred to in the final paragraph of Bishop Steven’s statement.

Update 11 May 2019

In Crockford’s Clerical Directory, Lord Carey is listed as “retired”, whereas former Archbishop of York, David Hope of Thornes is listed as “PTO”. In our post Permission to Officiate – the new policy we noted that under the Policy on Granting Permission to Officiate (PTO) issued by the Church of England’s House of Bishops Delegation Committee on Friday 20 July 2018,

“In accordance with the recommendation in the Gibb Report, it [was] agreed to set up a national on-line register of all clergy who have the bishop’s authority to minister (whether on PTO, or licensed, or beneficed) [11.4]. Regular processes will need to be put in place for checking and agreeing data between dioceses and the National Church Institutions and Crockford’s Clerical Directory [11.6]”.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Lord Carey PTO: Statement from Bishop of Oxford" in Law & Religion UK, 27 July 2018, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2018/07/27/lord-carey-pto-statement-from-bishop-of-oxford/


3 thoughts on “Lord Carey PTO: Statement from Bishop of Oxford

  1. Pingback: Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (I) | Law & Religion UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *