Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth said the Church should focus on justice as well as encouraging abusers to repent.
Writing in The Church Times he said: “Survivors may be told that forgiving their abusers will mean not taking any action that may ‘hurt’ them, such as telling others in positions of responsibility about what happened.
“At the same time, people who have committed abuse may be reassured that receiving divine pardon for their actions makes it unnecessary to face the human consequences of their crime.”
Rev Cocksworth said even though forgiveness is “at the heart of the good news of Jesus Christ” it shouldn’t be used to collude and cover up abuse in the Church.
He comments refer to a new document called Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Abuse from the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission.
Cocksworth, who chairs the commission, said one of the key conclusions is that “forgiveness needs to be seen in relation to justice, healing, and repentance”.
The Bishop of Coventry has accused the Church of England of exploiting the concept of Christian forgiveness to allow paedophiles to get away with their crimes.