THINKING ANGLICANS

The Bishop of Willesden is asked to withdraw…

There are numerous reports in the media of the action taken by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres today in disciplining the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent.

Here is the actual text of the statement from the Bishop of London (emphasis added):

The Bishop of London has issued a statement regarding the Bishop of Willesden.

“Dear Colleague,

“I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden’s comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.

“I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. I have also been in touch with St James’s Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church.

“Arrangements will need to be made in Bishop Peter’s absence and further details will be given in due course.

“With thanks for your partnership in the Gospel.”

The term “suspension” is not used, although many media reports have used that word. For a suspension to occur, the Clergy Discipline Measure would have to be invoked, and this has not happened.

Earlier, Bishop Broadbent had issued a public apology for his remarks about the forthcoming Royal wedding, which he had made on Facebook.

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Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

You can denie the resurrection as a C of E bishop…but insult the Royal family and…well not the Tower of London..but the very next thing!

No one has protested that the couple are already living together!

Paul Hibbert
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Paul Hibbert

I have disagreed with Bishop Pete in another discussion forum (without using my real name, as I do for the first time now), and am certainly not on the same page as him with some of his concerns, nor do I fit well with his particular tradition. Nevertheless, this heavy-handed treatment of him – in relation to unguarded comments that many others (OK – mostly republicans) might think are poorly timed but not at all unrealistic – is ridiculous and repugnant. More than that, it seems to betoken an idolatrous privileging of temporal status. That might be a side-effect of… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Couldn’t have happened to someone more deserved

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Words fail me! Whatever his personal views it was nuts to put them out on Facebook and imagine that it wasn’t going to be all over the press. He could have expressed a bit of concern in a more episcopal way – but this was just plain rude, gratuitously cruel and uncalled for. Whatever your views of royalty the young couple have not milked the media attention, but have behaved with some restraint in a situation where they knew they were going to be the focus of all sorts of attention. I wish them well for a long and happy… Read more »

J. Michael Povey
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J. Michael Povey

Bishop Broadbent and I were fellow seminarians at St. John’s Theological College, Nottingham in the 1970’s.

This is what I wrote him today:

“Hi Peter

This is from Michael Povey St. John’s, Nottingham 1972-1976

Of course you said the right things about the up-coming “royal” wedding.

I congratulate and honour you.

The buzz about your “suspension” is far from clear.

I trust that Quiverful has rapped your knuckles simply for reasons of public relations, and that he will soon “fugetallaboutit”.

Fondly

Michael”

John Omani
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John Omani

Well, clearly some form of discipline was necessary. It is not merely the grossly offensive, cruel, and uncharitable attitude of the Bishop of Willesden towards the young couple that was at fault, poor example though that be, but his apparent contempt for his ordination vows. Perhaps they mean nothing to him. Broadbent’s dismissal of William and Kate and other disparaging comments are hardly compatible with his promise to be ‘faithful’ and ‘bear true allegiance to HM Queen Elizabeth II’ and her ‘heirs and successors’. Hopefully Bishop Richard’s firm but fair action will offer Willesden an opportunity to reflect on these… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Wow – at long last the slap of firm government. What a contrast between the response from Lambeth – we are all entitled to our own opinions – but we wish the happy couple well! with that from Fulham Palace (as was) – “I was appalled” – asked to withdraw from public ministry. The Archiepiscopal ministry of + Richard Cantuar would have been in stark contrast to that of + Rowan Cantuar.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

The Bishop of london has done the right and proper thing. For Bishop Broadbent to resort to this level of rhetoric on the British Royal Family is nothing less than scandalous – especially in view of the fact that Broadbent would have had some idea that the Queen would be present at the current meeting of general Synod. The Church of england does not need this sort of publicity at the moment.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

A bishops makes an ill advised comment. He apologises to the people he is most likely to have hurt, quickly, comprehensively and sincerely.

Pete Broadbent and I often find ourselves on different sides of the debate but for this I really admire him.

It makes sense that he undertakes no public roles until the fuss has died down, but apart from that “discipline” is certainly not needed, it’s just a showy overreaction for PR sakes.

robert Ian Williams
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robert Ian Williams

Ron..its the New Zrealand Royal family too, as NZ has not had the political maturity to get is own head of state.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

It was the way he said it, wasn’t it? ‘I am concerned that the tabloid press who now laud this young couple may, afterwards, turn on them and try to destroy them’ is one thing. What he said another. Likewise ‘I am a republican’ or ‘in times of austerity one wonders’…

Father David
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Father David

How can a self confessed Republican serve with any sense of honour or dignity as a bishop in a Church which is by Law Established? This makes a mockery of every ordination and induction carried out by the Area Bishop of Willsden (whose ministry is presently pending) where oaths of loyalty to the monarch – her heirs and successors are solemnly proclaimed and declared.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Gosh Michael! Did I just miss being a contemporary of you both! Michael Green was not happy with the way I filled in the application form and suggested puckishly I looked at Salisbury – I hitched from Nottingham straight there and the rest is …… I think it was a silly and offensive rant but the reaction is much worse! I am surprised that Chartres should be so badly wrong footed to make this sorry tale into a major story – but then Pete did touch on his particularly sensitive and often spoken of (by him) “close friend of the… Read more »

Laurence C
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Laurence C

“No one has protested that the couple are already living together!” Robert Ian Williams

Why would they protest? Surely you don’t expect two 28-year-olds to be virgins? Or is it the fact that they already share a home that is the problem? This is a serious question – please respond. Thank you in advance.

William
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William

Dear Paul Hibbert – I too am a liberal (whatever that may mean), but why not look at Broadbent’s remarks in context? How would you regard him if he were a parish clergyman posting remarks about a young couple wishing to be married? To say that he lacks Christian love and compassion would be an understatement. His remarks were uncharitable, ill-informed, ill-advised, destructive (perhaps bitchy is closer) and indefensible. As a Father in God he is a failure. As a priest he is an embarassment. As a member of the bitter, “conservative” wing of the church he is typical. His… Read more »

john
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john

I think the reaction of the Bishop of London was exaggerated and stupid, and not remotely justified by the fact that the disciplined bishop is ‘not one of us’. And from a PR angle, sycophancy to the royals makes the C of E look terrible.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“How can a self confessed Republican serve with any sense of honour or dignity as a bishop in a Church which is by Law Established?”

England is not a dictatorship nor a theocracy. Politicians can be members of Her Majesty’s Government or Opposition and still be Republican.
Bishops can be members of an Established Church and still wish it wasn’t.

Why on earth would it make a mockery of ordinations?

Peter Owen
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Martin Reynolds

The Bishop of London has not (yet?) been made a GCVO. But he is a KCVO (Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order), the grade below GCVO.

Mark
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Mark

Get real people: it’s not about sycophancy or Establishment.

Broadbent was unprofessional and demonstrated a real lack of judgement. His comments and their undoubted emotional energy were only possible in two contexts a) with close friends in private b) on the www where the commonly accepted standards of politeness and boundaries are suspended.

No senior figure in any organisation can afford to take b) as their yardstick.

The revealing truth about the CofE is that a bishop can be so out of touch with the world which he is trying to reach.

ELizabeth
Guest

It is clear that the wrath of man came on him bcos he said he was a republican and not a monarchyist or royalist for that reason he has become a martyr of the 1700 Settlements act.:) We all saw the Pope come to Protestant Britain with the 1700 Settlements in tact (or did you all chose just to ignore the Protestant Protests?)and as such the good bish spoke against the queen who has lost her crown as a result the Law affords him and all Citizens this right to be absolved of any allegeiences with such a monarch .… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

I’m always a bit surprised by the disclaimers of admiration and the concession that the bishop is “a good man.” God only knows, but at best a “good man” who publicly and hypocritically opposed the ordination of a celibate gay priest to the episcopate, which even the most ultra-conservative stance cannot justify unless you think that gays are somehow inherently dirty regardless of whether they do anything about it. Then, his goal accomplished, he attacked the same priest for expressing an entirely fair and reasonable critique of penal substitutionary atonement that any Christian not a denizen of the middle ages… Read more »

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

Forgive my cynicism, but isn’t this all about the Bishop of London hoping he’ll get the gig? He obviously cares a whole lot more about what the Royal Family think of him, than about the pastoral care of the clergy in Willesden and Stepney area who are now without a Bishop.

RJ
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RJ

“Surely you don’t expect two 28-year-olds to be virgins?” Why is that a particularly unreasonable expectation? It is not as if it has never been heard of in human history, and it would seem a pretty orthodox idea that people who aren’t married don’t sleep together. Of course, since the only respect in which they are not married is the lack of a ceremony as yet, this is not the most heinous of sins. But on the narrow point of the impossibility of 28-year-old virgins… I was appalled by Bishop Broadbent’s comments, and I find republicans who opt for the… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Geoff I haven’t actually seen the comments Bishop Broadbent made so I can’t check them. But I seem to remember that they were comments about the Royal Wedding, not about the legitimacy of the monarchy. That he is a Republican is well known and hasn’t bothered anyone until now, so I think we can set that aside. What we are left with are some particularly ill-chosen comments for which he has apologised. That should be that. If anyone, anyone at all, has the right to say that it is insufficient it’s the people the comments and the apology were aimed… Read more »

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

It is none of our business that the couple are living together. It is sheer hypocrisy to condemn them. Another example of the “imperial model” of hierarchy and how it is NO LONGER WORKING.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Ahh! Thank you Peter.
I feel a (pro)motion coming on ……..

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Cohabitation before marriage is now pretty well universal in Britain …but our bishops dont say much about it. Probably their own children are cohabiting or did so. Clearly they know they cant really do much about it.Nor can they reverse the growing trend to abandon marriage altogether in many sections of British society. Again re-marriage after divorce has been liberalised, operates more or less at the parish priests discretion and the clergy have to use the original marriage rite rather than one that has a different preface to publically acknowledge that a second marriage is happening..although as Lady Openheimer has… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

That no Church of England bishop has spoken out on the issue of the couple living together…is to me more scandalous than the crass but honest opinion of Bishop Broadbent.

Laurence
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Laurence

“It is sheer hypocrisy to condemn them” Chris Smith

I’m guessing that those who criticise the ‘royals’ for living together before marriage were themselves virgins on their wedding nights. I agree – none of their business, but not necessarily hypocritical.

Kimberly
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Kimberly

I am amazed that in country where there is “freedom” of speech that Bishop Pete should be treated in such a manner. He has already apologised so why does the Bishop of London feel he needs to apologise….on whose behalf. I have seen the Christian faith ridiculed on tv, in the press, etc. Where was the “church”? Where is the forgiveness? What about the poor? The unemployed and those to be? I am offended further by the notion that Prince Willam will be the Bishop’s boss in the future. Get real there is only one “boss” just in case you… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

If my marriage were put under the media spotlight, would it survive? If the greatest sin we can commit is telling the truth as we see it in public, what help is there for the integrity of public life of our nation? Most of what Bp Pete is reported to have said seems to have been extracted from its original context. Some of what has caused shock-horror offence is no more than he has said before. He’s apologised for the rest. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves … If we expect our Bishops to have no… Read more »

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Let’s be clear: this storm is entirely of Bishop Pete’s own making and many of us are very unclear of what he must have been thinking, although the Bishop of London now seems to know ‘how his comments came to be made’. This is a rare episode of the press running a story which was given to them ready made; they didn’t even need to edit or spin. I wish him well and am very willing to hold him in my prayers as he does the happy Royal couple. The offending FB thread, to which I contributed, was the most… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
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Gerry Lynch

Yes, the Bishop of Willesden’s comments were a little churlish but so was the Bishop of London’s hysterical over-reaction. Should he not have suspended himself for suggesting that redundancy in the middle of a recession was a blessing? Various Church of England Bishops have said much more offensive things about all sorts of people – Graham Dow, anyone? – and no-one has been suspended. I must admit that I’m amused to recall all the comments I’ve had over the years from members of the Church of England that establishment doesn’t really matter, not to mention those from Englishmen on the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“The fact that he apologised unreservedly is important; what his bishop needed to do about it is another”

As in the well-known Christian doctrine: You will be forgiven if you say sorry but I’ll punish you anyway?
And there I was thinking that the strongest thing Jesus ever did in this respect was to say to the woman taken in adultery that she shouldn’t do it again.

Now, do we follow the ways of the world of the ways of Christ?

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

The ‘suspension’ helps the Bishop of London to look ever more like the Tudor Monarch. A joint statement of regret/apology/hand-wringing would have been quite enough to make +Willesden feel deservedly ashamed and +London contented that he acted decisively. No doubt +London will now be adding confirmations and parish visits in the willesden Area to his busy schedule.

Perhaps more importantly, we also beginning to see clearly that we do not need so many bishops in London if we can manage without Stepney, Willesden and Fulham at the same time?

Fr Mark
Guest

Gerry: I don’t think it is having republican views that is the issue, it is the fact that 1) the bishop expressed them very rudely (I was surprised to discover subsequently that he is actually a Cambridge English graduate, and so one could expect a better grasp of what is appropriate language from him – calling the son and heir of the person he has sworn allegiance to “Big Ears” is hardly an intelligent or kind thing to do, is it?); 2) he was very judgmental about the marital future of two evidently pleasant young people (“I give their marriage… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Is it true that the Province of the Southern Cone might be needing a sympathetic Bishop in the Near future? I would like to propose Bishop Pete!I think he might do very well down there.

pete Hobson
Guest
pete Hobson

Yes, Pete was intemperate and ill-advised in (some of) his comments – which next to none of those commenting here, let alone the world at large, would have heard about apart from the Daily Mail deciding to make story of it. They must be rubbing their hands with glee! He apologised fulsomely – and was slapped down for his pains. So, as Erika asks, precisely what understanding of Christian doctrine is Richard Chartres new seeming to promulgate? And what to make of the energy with which several Thinking Anglicans seemingly delight in now putting the boot in? I wonder if… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“A diverse, open, society deserves a diverse, open, national Church.” – Gerry Lynch on Wed. –

But not, Gerry, I suggest, an openly abusive bishop within its ranks. There is such a thing as decorum – not to mention, charity.

Gareth Hughes
Guest

Dear Bishop Pete, don’t let the bastards grind you down. It’s only a bit of celebrity gossip anyway, and the monarchy fanatics overreact as usual. I’ve heard similarly heated debate over the X-Factor results. Isn’t it about time we dump that oath to the queen anyway?

Fr Mark
Guest

Gareth H: “don’t let the bastards grind you down” Why are anti-monarchists so prone to expressing themselves rudely? I was brought up to believe it unChristian to use bad language, and sometimes wonder whether I’m the only person left who tries to avoid it. The Bishop’s “Big Ears” and “Porcelain Doll” comments are similar cases in point. Making fun of people based on their perceived physical differences is a particularly nasty form of humour, and belongs firmly in the past, as I would have thought a right-on family values-type bloke would realise – Fatty, Four Eyes, Spastic, Poofta are formerly… Read more »