Action needed to address problems at St George's
I am writing as one of the complainants mentioned in your report about the disputes at St George's, Belfast (News, October 14). In its response to your story, the Diocese of Connor stated that it is "concerned at the factual accuracy, or otherwise, of assertions put to us by the Belfast Telegraph".
Note that the statement hints at factual inaccuracy, but fails to instance any examples of errors in the report. The statement's purpose is to insinuate that the story is groundless. The diocese should withdraw its response if it cannot substantiate it.
I am not surprised that such tactics have been adopted by the diocese. Over the last eight years at least three separate complaints have been made by parishioners of St George's; at least seven different complainants have been involved. We have all seen our complaints rejected with contempt by the diocesan authorities.
In my case, the bishop went so far as to claim that I was partly responsible for a breakdown in pastoral relations. When I asked Mr Abernethy to justify his allegations, he declined to do so.
I then asked him to withdraw his groundless allegations. To date he has failed to do so. By contrast to the bishop's letter, my 16-page letter of complaint was precise and exact in its statements.
It is surely time for the Diocese of Connor to acknowledge that there are serious problems in this parish. Mr Abernethy's colleague, the Bishop of Down, appears to be prepared to take resolute and swift action when problems emerge in parishes.
Mr Abernethy ought to follow his example.