Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey's permission to officiate revoked by Bishop of Oxford

Lord Carey of CliftonSimon P Caldwell

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has had his permission to officiate (PTO) as a priest revoked by the Bishop of Oxford.

The Diocese of Oxford confirmed that Lord Carey's PTO was revoked by the Bishop of Oxford on Wednesday, meaning that he is unauthorised to undertake any form of ministry in the diocese until further notice. 

The diocese said the decision had been taken after new information came to light regarding Lord Carey during the course of an ongoing review into the Church of England's handling of abuse allegations against the late John Smyth QC.

It did not disclose the nature of the information but said it had been passed to the National Safeguarding Team "for immediate attention". 

"While the investigation and review are ongoing, we will not be commenting further on this matter," the Diocese of Oxford said.

"However, for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make clear that the new information received relates only to the review currently underway, and that there has not been an allegation of abuse made against Lord Carey." 

Lord Carey was formerly Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford but stood down in June 2017 following criticism over his handling of historical child abuse committed by the late Bishop Peter Ball. 

At the time, he accepted the criticisms in Dame Moira Gibb's review and apologised to Ball's victims.

Although he withdrew from public ministry in 2017, in February the following year Lord Carey contacted the Diocese of Oxford to request PTO, which was granted by the Bishop of Oxford. 

The PTO allowed him to serve in priestly ministry in the church where he worships and was, according to the Diocese of Oxford, "conditional on no further concerns coming to light". 

Responding to the withdrawal of his PTO, Lord Carey criticised the Church of England National Safeguarding Team and the Archbishop of Canterbury's office. 

"I am bewildered and dismayed to receive the news a short time ago that due to 'concerns' being raised during the review of John Smyth QC I have had my PTO revoked," he said in a statement to Channel 4 News.

"I have been given no information on the nature of these 'concerns' and have no memory of meeting Mr Smyth.

"In 2018 the National Safeguarding Team and the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury invited me to meet with them to arrange safeguarding training and facilitate a meeting with survivors of Peter Ball's abuse.

"They have failed to deliver action on either of these matters which were the subject of mutually agreed action. As a result, I have little confidence in their ability to pursue a proper investigation.

"I understand from the testimony of victims and survivors of clerical abuse that this lack of confidence is shared widely."