Comments: Will there be a cull of bishops in the Lords?

There should be a Referendum, whether the people of England want an established Church.

There should be no Lords, but a Senatorial chamber...with the title only lasting the length of the office,and no honours to the spouse.

It should be fully elected chamber and not nominated.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 13 May 2011 at 6:34am BST

Most Americans are meritocratic in spirit but when it comes to England, we admire the differences.

Do not be too quick to dismiss the House of Lords. You may get a Senate but then have people like Mitch McConnell as (Republican) Minority Leader and Harry Reid as (Democratic) Majority Leader. Wouldn't you rather have Rowan Williams and John Sentamu?
Real British democracy has worked well for more than a century and a half. Be careful.

Similarly, the Established Church has served you well. We have none and do not want one, but instead we have a huge proportion of the population belonging to "mega-churches" which preach a materialistic evangelical fundamentalist literalist theology. Some forty percent of the US population believes we are in "end times" and some of them are now expecting final day will be May 21, 2011.

Posted by Andrew at Friday, 13 May 2011 at 9:26am BST

Well they wont have to wait long ,Andrew!!!!!!

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 14 May 2011 at 8:40am BST

"There should be a Referendum, whether the people of England want an established Church." - R.I.W. -

I think we are all aware of your thoughts on this, Robert, as a neophyte Roman Catholic. However, one wonders what would be your opinion if R.C. Bishops were give seats in the House of Lords?

By the way our Bishops perform on behalf of the provenance of the C.of E., one wonders whether your Church would be any better or worse off - by having it represented in the House of Lords.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 3:56am BST

The Anglican bishops record is an abysmal one..they opposed parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation. In recent years they have given respectability to some anti Christian pieces of legislation.

They get £300 of taxpayers money a day for nothing.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 9:11pm BST


And the record of the Papacy over the same period?

Posted by Lister Tonge at Monday, 16 May 2011 at 1:08am BST

But, Robert; what makes you think that the performance of your own (RC) bishops would be any improvement on this lot? They may be even more disdainful of the human rights of LGBTs.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 16 May 2011 at 11:42am BST

The Syllabus of Errors, Robert? and what about the state of the Papal territories before 1870?

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 16 May 2011 at 1:15pm BST

Our bishops aren't that brilliant as pastors ,let alone at being statesmen.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 16 May 2011 at 10:25pm BST

The 26 episcopal seats represent the number of C of E dioceses in the 19th century. When, in that century, new dioceses were created to meet the demographic change of the industrial revolution, the number of episcopal seats in the Lords was frozen at 26 rather than increased, and a system of obtaining a seat by episcopal seniority was introduced.

Bishop John Gladwin makes the observation that defending the 26 episcopal seats would be wrong. It's quite a straightforward observation, but he doesn't go into the reason why it would be wrong. Obviously, digging in would look terribly reactionary and reinforce ideas that the church lives in the past. I'm sure that Gladwin sees it more as moving with the times. However, the White Paper itself is a rather conservative document, presenting long overdue reform to an anachronous body.

I wonder what the prophetic thing would be to do — understanding that the church's politics should be prophetic. Perhaps rather than moving with the times, our episcopal shepherds might look to the future. Since the freezing of the number of seats for bishops in the 19th century there has been a political consensus that episcopal representation is the past and not the future — frozen, reduced, removed. So, is it the slow road to being removed entirely, making little concessions to moving with the times along the way, or is it a prophetic move for our bishops to come up with their own reform proposal. I would suggest that they remove themselves entirely from the Lords and look at new ways ("Fresh Expressions") of doing politics as a church, perhaps engaging other religions in this. After all, I'm sure our bishops could do far more good leading campaigns than snoozing on red-leather benches.

They Work For You gives details of the attendance, voting and speaking of our Lords Spiritual here:

Posted by Gareth Hughes at Friday, 20 May 2011 at 2:17pm BST
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