Talk:Peter Ball (bishop)
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What is the point of this Wikipedia entry, which reads like pure PR? It conspicuously fails to deal with the circumstances of the Bishop's resignation from Gloucester. In my view,the entry should either be full and honest or it should be removed.Carlos Iradier (talk) 22:12, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
- I agree that the article reads like an exercise in PR, but the subject matter is too noteworthy to be removed - which only leaves 'full and honest'. Obscurasky (talk) 15:56, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
- This biography of a living person has been fleshed out with sourced details describing the subject's work, which is laudable. I don't have access to that, so I can't tell how much of the wording derives from close paraphrasing of the source material. I think the article would be improved not by eliminating these details, which give a rounded picture of the subject's life and work, but by eliminating what wikipedians call "peacock language." For example, I am about to edit "His renowned compassion " to "His compassion." This is the sort of language which, in my opinion, gives the article a strident "PR" tone which does not serve the reader, Wikipedia, or even the subject well. Inclusion of a mention of "His compassion" in this international encyclopedia is demonstration of "renown" -- which is much better than assertion of renown.
- I would strongly urge user "Litling," who evidently has access to the sources, to consider additional edits that put the details of the subject's life out there, but without peacock language. Let the readers arrive at their conclusion rather than trying to push them into a pre-determined conclusion. Just one example: On this phrase, "Exhibiting extraordinary integrity, dedication and charisma ‘he lived on the knife edge of spiritual risk’ " did the source also say that the subject "exhibit[ed] extraordinary integrity, dedication and charisma?" If so, include that as quoted material, rather than having Wikipedia be the source as it seems now. I'm not a Wikipedia boffin, but I think the concept at stake here is what they call "Neutral Point of View", which is what Wikipedia pages should present.
- As for failure to deal with the circumstances of the subject's resignation, in my humble opinion, the known details that can be documented and verified by sources are clearly presented in the article. I would invite those who can document other relevant details, supported with evidence --not hearsay and potentially libellous personal opinion -- to do so if this would, indeed, make the article more "full and honest." It would be good if everyone working on this page could review the guidance on all this: Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. Cheers and thanks, Celia Kozlowski (talk) 09:59, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Mr. Hill, Can you elaborate? Is the comment you feel either blames the victim or suggests the Bishop was lying when he accepted the caution is this one?: In his published memoirs ‘Shy But Not Retiring’  Bishop Eric Kemp writes, “Although it was not realized at the time, the circumstances which led to his early resignation were the work of mischief makers.”
I would say that, as it stands, this comment is unhelpful hearsay. Is there more information and further comment in the Kemp book? If so, it should be added so that the reader can actually understand what Kemp was saying. As it is now, readers can, as Mr. Hill has done, conclude that unnamed "mischief makers" were responsible for the subject's resignation AND possibly that the subject was lying when he accepted the police caution. But I would note that "mischief makers" is not necessarily the "victim" -- we don't know who the mischief makers were, what they did or said, and how it was found out that mischief-making was involved, the nature of the mischief-making, and how reliably it is known that this is the case...
I appreciate user Litling's additional sourcing, but would agree that the tone of this biography continues to have the feel of forcing the reader to a conclusion, rather than presenting the facts and letting the reader get there on his own.
I also think it's unproductive to implicate the motives of editors and/or to use emotion-laden descriptions like "disgusting." Would it not be more helpful to assume that everyone is trying to improve the article in their own way? Some of these ways are more, and some less in tune with the Wikipedian objectives. It's the job of all wikipedia contributors to help get articles closer to those goals.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 12:03, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
- When an editor tries to conceal the fact that Ball admitted a criminal offence (admission of guilt is an essential precondition for accepting a caution) and then ascribes the events to "mischief makers", at the same time as inserting hagiographic material I think it is legitimate to question what exactly it is they are trying to do. DuncanHill (talk) 20:38, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I have known the subject of the article for many years. I was sufficiently involved in the Gloucester Police investigation to know it leaves many questions unanswered. While naturally I have formed my own informed opinion, my overall aim in contributing to the article has been to put that one incident in a larger and more balanced context. I accept the point that my fulsome praise has sometimes gone beyond the limits of simple information and have tried to amend my contributions accordingly. I was surprised nonetheless that a cited source from the Sussex Express pointing to the disquiet many feel was removed. Initially I experienced difficulty inserting citations and participating in the talk section.
I do feel it pertinent to ask why, when for example, the record of a former Bishop of Durham’s convictions for importuning find no mention in his Wikipedia entry that this one isolated incident needs to be so contentious? When I removed it I was surprised at the strong reaction. Other senior clergy have transgressed, but one would not learn this necessarily from Wikipedia. It hints that Peter Ball has been singled out. I certainly do not wish the story to be glossed over at all. Would indeed that the circumstances around his spent caution were a matter of public record. Bring it on! His accusers were and are surprisingly coy about evidence. Bishop Kemp had an acute legally trained mind. He did not make his comment about mischief makers lightly, but like other editors I wish he had been more specific. Where possible, of course I have provided precise quotes. The article from which the ‘knife edge’ quote is taken does indeed say all those things, although I have conflated them into one sentence.Litling (talk) 08:59, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
- If you have cited material about the criminal behaviour of other priests then please do add it to their articles. As for evidence - you seem to be forgetting a central point, that Ball admitted his guilt. Kemp's record in overseeing the sexual pecadilloes of his clergy is not the best, whatever training his mind may have received. I'm sorry that you've found it hard to use citations and the tak section, and I do appreciate that many new editors find this so I will drop you a welcome box on your talk page which includes useful links to help you contribute positively. DuncanHill (talk) 21:46, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the edting advice. While I agree logic points to his guilt, there are precedents for confessions that for various reasons are not ‘safe’. A Wikipedia entry is not the place to speculate, even though I have inside knowledge and a plausible theory for the existence of the caution. Only when the evidence comes to light will it be added to this entry. For Peter Ball’s sake I would prefer this not to be posthumously. I was able to provide citation for the fact that I am not a lone eccentric in believing he may well be innocent but this was recently edited out. I am not aware of any other bishop whose criminal record has been contentious in this way. Even if he was guilty as charged it is to be regretted that some are seeking to imply that this long spent caution implies some deeper offence. To sum up, yes he may possibly have been guilty, but my background knowledge, while not admissible here, leads me to weigh reasonable probability in favour of his innocence. The best I can do is quote sources that might suggest or lead others to question for themselves.Litling (talk) 10:52, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- The facts we have are that he admitted a criminal offece (rather a rare event for a bishop, I'm sure you'll agree) and also that after a safeguarding review files were passed by the church to the police (also not a common occurence, I can only think of one other Anglican Bishop, and him also associated with Kemp, ina similar poistion). DuncanHill (talk) 12:04, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- I don't think we can read too much into the act of passing the files to the police (to see if an investigation would be warranted). It might well have been the "news climate" in spring 2012 -- priest arrests; other churches having problems with abuse and its concealment; the archbishop's announced departure and wanting to be sure his house is in order, etc. The file was passed to a retired policeman and several months have passed since .... One could read into those facts, too. Vis-a-vis Ball's admission of guilt, I personally feel that just by including the link to the Wikipage on police cautions, the point is adequately made that Ball admitted his guilt. It states on that page: "In order to safeguard the offender's interests, the following conditions must be met before a caution can be administered: there must be evidence of guilt sufficient to give a realistic prospect of conviction; the offender must admit the offence; the offender must understand the significance of a caution and give informed consent to being cautioned." It's actually redundant to include on the Bishop's page that he admitted guilt in accepting the police caution as this is part of the definition of police caution.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 10:30, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
- Many people do not know that accepting a caution involves admitting guilt - and when the article is further edited to include suggestions that he did nothing wrong I feel that it is important to make things clear. Unfortunately, there is an editor here who seems determnined to re-write the article to make the criminal look like the victim. DuncanHill (talk) 16:52, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Latest information is that the fact that the review is being undertaken was leaked. Doesn't this constitute victimization of Ball? Other files were passed to the police and the fact only reported when they found cause to act on the information therein by making arrests. This seems prejudicial against Ball, doesn't it? Litling (talk) 16:53, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
- The BBC report quotes "a church spokesman" and "a police spokesman" publically confirming the enquiry and the passing of the files to the police. So, no, when the church and the police publically state something I do not think it is "victimisation" to mention it. DuncanHill (talk) 17:03, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
So why did the same spokesmen say nothing about the passing of Coles' and Rideout's files until the enquiries were complete? The subjects under investigation are not being treated consistently.In Ball's case guilt is implied before the files have even been opened. Litling (talk) 05:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
- I don't know, perhaps you should ask them! Given Chichester's lamentable performance in child protection (I'm sure you've seen the recent interim report from the archbishop's visitation) perhaps it was felt that the public had a right to know that matters from the relevant period involving one of the bishops responsible were under investigation. The facts we have are that Ball is a criminal, having admitted a sexual offence. Files relating to his time as bishop of Lewes have been passed to the police, and the diocese, while he was a bishop in it, protected abusers. The article as it stands is remarkably gentle - and I think strikes a reasonable balance in covering this aspect f Ball's life. I do feel compelled to ask what, if any, connexion you have to Ball, as I feel that you are on something of a crusade to paint him as whiter than white. DuncanHill (talk) 10:02, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I have asked, as it happens. It is embarrassing for the Police, but as Leveson confirmed there will always be some corrupt minor official prepared to be bribed. Whatever the motive, it was leaked, leaving Police and Church with no option but to issue statements. Dozens of us have lived under the same roof as Peter Ball and are united in mystification by stories that bear no relation to daily life in his household. There was nothing inappropriate, let alone worthy of police attention. The revelations that have come to light are a deeply shocking cause of shame. It would be extraordinary if Ball had not made genuine if naïve mistakes in regard to clergy who are now known to have been perpetrating acts of evil, but as you suggest it was Kemp who made policy decisions. Butler Schloss did not find Ball complicit in anything, whereas Benn does seem to have been aware and yet taken steps that directly maintained the situation, and perpetuated an unhealthy atmosphere of fear and suspicion. None of this should be whitewashed, but as yet any connection to Ball remains purely circumstantial.This may be pedantic, but is he a 'criminal'? Surely he can be granted the title of ex offender or reformed character, rather than such an emotive label. His caution was spent precisely because he is deemed not to have repeated a similar or indeed any other offence. Litling (talk) 19:51, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
- I'm separating your question off as a new subject. The previous discussion was getting unwieldy and this seems to be a different subject. I can't find the phrase 'inappropriate external links' on this talk page, so I can't answer your question. To make a long story short, this page has a long, convoluted, and contentious history. The best way to understand the links that have been used and discarded or retained is to compare version of the page via the "view history" link from the main page.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 13:17, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
- Ok, I spotted the inappropriate external links reference in the "advertising" banner that appears at the top of the subject page. We don't have any external links on this page, so that doesn't apply. It's just part of the standard advertising warning banner. But it would be good if people editing this page could follow the link in that warning banner to the neutral-point-of-view guidelines. It would be great if the person who put that banner on the page would take the time to go through and sensitively edit the material that is deemed to be non-neutral. Possibly some more neutral wording and paraphrase would soften the "hard-sell" feeling that resulted in the warning banner. I would do this myself, but must, like Litling, acknowledge a personal connection to the subject.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 12:52, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Removing the "advertising' tag
The discussion above seems to have addressed some of the critical issues. I would now invite those who feel the page reads like advertising to do the edits needed to allow us to remove the 'advertising' label on the page. Many thanks to everyone. P.S. I don't think it is either kind, appropriate, or correct to refer to the subject as a "Criminal." He has accepted a police caution, which as I mentioned before, means that he accepts that the police have enough evidence that he could be convicted of a minor offense. If he had committed a dire offence, he would have been charged with a crime. He was not. He was cautioned. The caution is spent.Celia Kozlowski (talk) 13:17, 9 November 2012 (UTC) Thank you. Following some just criticism I have become careful to keep my language factual and it can now be seen that all my contributions are cited and often word for word quotes. There is a great deal of positive material to balance with the circumstances of the resignation that are a preoccupation for some, and this should be allowed to speak for itself. It is on the actual entry page that reference is made to external links. For some reason my username Litling did not appear when I last signed a post22.214.171.124 (talk) 08:51, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Please do not read anything into this, but did not Bishop Peter found a community of men and women at Litlington where they could explore their vocation to monastic life or otherwise. I know very little about this, but I feel the article would be improved with this. I wonder whether it has been omitted due to the current situation regarding Peter Ball. I hope not. I too find this entry somewhat hagiographical. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 21:20, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
There was a community called the little brothers and Sisters of Christ, the concept was the same as the "give a year to God" scheme but was envisaged to be a 3 year commitment creating a re-generating monastic community. The first group of people's commitment was heard by the Bishop of Chichester around 1986/87. I doubt you'll find any quotable source on the subject so I don't see how it can be added to the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 15:54, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
The subject was erroneously placed in an inappropriate category, according to the definition on the category page in question. Please note the Crown Prosecuter's comments, "It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary, or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings." Inappropriate categorization could result in a contempt of court citation, as well as being libellous. Please, please be careful my dear fellow Wikipedians Celia Kozlowski (talk) 15:50, 28 March 2014 (UTC).
The page was reverted and subject was again inappropriately listed on a page where it states: "This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total. ► English people convicted of child sexual abuse (1 C, 29 P) ► English rapists (1 C, 13 P)." The subject does NOT fall into either of these categories and it is prejudicial and libellous to categorize as such, in my opinion. The police caution, since expired, was not for either of these serious offences, but for "gross indecency." Celia Kozlowski (talk) 17:42, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
bishop or priest
- He is correctly called a "retired bishop". It is incorrect for editors to suggest that he is somehow a "priest and former bishop". His being permitted to officiate as a priest but not as a bishop (confirmations and ordinations principally) does not make him a "former bishop" either legally or in any other way unless he is laicised or resigns his orders. A bishop can stop functioning as a bishop but is still a bishop nonetheless. Anglicanus (talk) 01:21, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
BLP noticeboard discussion 2016-02-24
The list of nine publications by 'Peter Ball' under Selected Works refers to at least eight books that are most definitely NOT written by the convicted bishop. They are in fact written by Canon Peter Ball, a retired Canon of St Paul's, now in his 80s, who lives in retirement in Ramsbury, Wiltshire. I know this because he is a friend of mine. You can check his entry in Crockford's. To my knowledge Bishop Peter Ball did not write at least eight of the nine books you list on this page. Please would you amend this? Thank you Simon Winn
- I've removed all the books until this can be sorted out.--Jahaza (talk) 21:03, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
- I have just restored the chapter in the Connections book. It was most definitely written by the subject of our article Peter Ball (bishop), who was Bishop of Lewes at the time: I attended the talk on which it was based. I have also added the BLP noticeboard template to the article's talk page, as per the above instructions.
- I am still a relatively inexperienced editor, and am unfamiliar with noticeboards; however I do note that "this page is not for … material which can easily be removed without argument". If this issue had been raised on the article's Talk page, then I am sure that it would have been dealt with speedily. Of course, a new user could not be expected to know that; but I am somewhat surprised that so much material has been deleted from the article without the issue being moved to the talk page first.
- I am now going to copy this discussion to the article's talk page. After that I suggest that this BLP noticeboard report be considered to be resolved. If the original reporter subsequently feels that they cannot reach a satisfactory outcome via the talk page, then they can of course start a discussion here once more.
The other Peter Ball
The other Peter Ball is Peter William Ball (born 1930), Canon Emeritus of St Paul's Cathedral (see here). Here is what I have been able to find out about those nine works by "Peter Ball":
- Verified works by Bishop Peter J. Ball (the subject of this article)
- The Connections chapter: the list of contributors on p. vi says that Peter Ball was made Bishop of Lewes in 1977.
- Verified works by Canon Peter W. Ball
- Journey into faith, Adult believing, Adult way to faith and Faith on the way: See this link, kindly supplied by DuncanHill
- Anglican spiritual direction and Introducing spiritual direction: See this link
- Journey into truth: See this link
- Works probably by Canon Peter W. Ball
- Communicating the faith today through evangelism: this piece by the canon demonstrates considerable interest in evangelism.
So Simon Winn (the OP) is correct to assert that eight out of nine works were by the canon, not by the bishop. I should like to thank him for drawing our attention to this unfortunate misattribution. Following the edits by Jahaza and myself, the Selected Works section is now correct. I am going to mark the BLP noticeboard report as resolved. GroupCohomologist (talk) 09:42, 27 February 2016 (UTC)