Comments: Life peerage for Richard Chartres

A well deserved ennoblement for the best ABC we never had. He'll be a hard act to follow at London - a rare thing - a bishop with gravitas.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 15 October 2017 at 6:03am BST

I fully agree with Father David. One of the five new ennoblements is problematic, though, namely Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, especially having regard to the excoriating report by Sir Richard Henriques on the disastrous Operation Midland - an operation that occurred on Hogan-Howe's watch.

Posted by David Lamming at Sunday, 15 October 2017 at 2:47pm BST

Before I form an opinion on Richard Chartres, especially on whether he's the best Archbishop we never had, can someone tell me about his voting record on women priests and bishops, and on lgbt inclusion?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 16 October 2017 at 9:49am BST

I am sure that Bishop Richard's voting pattern on these issues were all thoroughly orthodox and fully in line with catholic doctrine. Praise God that such an authoritative voice as his will continue to be heard in the High Court of Parliament.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 16 October 2017 at 12:00pm BST

Father David,
in which case I am hugely relieved that we did not have him as an Archbishop. In the House of Lords he can do less damage as he will be bound by the Equality Act.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 16 October 2017 at 3:00pm BST

Thank God that we have the privilege of "Free Speech" in this land - even in the House of Lords.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at 5:09am BST

Oh yes, I'm glad that there is free speech.
But laws cannot contravene the Equality Act, with the exception of church opt-outs.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at 11:40am BST

I have read very recently that +Richard Chartres is very approving of the ordination and consecration of women but decided to ordain all deacons but no priests when at London in the interests of unity.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at 12:00pm BST

As I recall Bishop Richard was very adept at absenting himself from various votes. His way of exercising free speech and gravitas is often to remain silent. Though he was one of nine non-retired bishops in the House of Lords to vote for the unsuccessful "wrecking amendment" to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. [Five abstained, and all the rest were absent.]

Also, he only ordained deacons. By never ordaining anyone priest, he was able to sidestep the question of whether he would or wouldn't ordain women.

I don't quite understand in what sense the House of Lords is bound by equalities legislation...and of course because of parliamentary privilege both Lords and Commons can say things that would be illegal or actionable if said elsewhere. But on current form I don't expect Lord Chartres will be a very active speaker.

A more interesting question which will run and run until House of Lords reform is why, since we have bishops (and other religious leaders, such as Lord Sacks and Baroness Neuberger) who are individually ennobled, there is any need for the ex officio seats for Bishops as well. If you go on a tour of the House of Lords, the guide will tell you that we are the only country other than Iran that has places in the legislature reserved for religious leaders.

I also note that Lord Carey of Clifton is still an active member, even though he has resigned his licence as a priest and bishop.

Posted by BS at Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at 8:47pm BST

Always good to go to the public record:


Posted by Grumpy High Churchwoman at Tuesday, 17 October 2017 at 9:45pm BST

Obviously the powers that be have seen something special in the former Bishop of London and wish to see him continue to contribute his wisdom and insight in a national setting within the House of Lords. It is a very rare honour for a diocesan bishop in retirement to be given such a privilege as membership of the Upper House. ABCs seem automatically to be ennobled on their retirement but I can only think of David Sheppard, formerly of Liverpool and Richard Harries, formerly of Oxford to be awarded this honour. David Hope the former ABY also has a seat in the Lords. So, I for one wish to congratulate Bishop Chartres and I look forward to his enlivening the Lords with his wit and his sagacity.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 18 October 2017 at 5:26am BST

The complete failure of recent Governments to reform the House of Lords means that the status quo prevails for now with regard to the Lords Spiritual. Lord Hope was ennobled when he retired as ABY in 2005, but he retired from the Lords in 2015. The other senior Anglican bishop in the Lords is Lord Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh, a hugely active and much respected crossbench peer. Another church leader in the Lords is Baroness Richardson, former President of the Methodist Church, although she has not been active recently. I look forward to Bishop Chartres' contributions but, if his attendance at General Synod is a guide, these are likely to be highly selective!

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 18 October 2017 at 9:21pm BST

Of course, until his successor is appointed (whomsoever that may be?) Bishop Richard remains Dean of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal. We wouldn't want to let that post slip into the wrong hands, now would we?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 6:18am BST

Given his acting successor's publicly expressed views on the Royal Family
I would imagine Bishop Richard will want to hang on to that role for the moment.

Thanks, Grumpy, for the prompt. Both Lord Carey and Lord Harries have recently spoken in the Lords, on important topics. Perhaps someone should set up a "they work for you" for the General Synod...

Posted by BS at Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 9:42am BST

Erika Baker may find it hard to analyse Richard Chartres' voting record on womens' ordination measures in the General Synod. This is simply because he was always, curiously, absent from the Synod chamber whenever voting took place. Inscrutable to the last...'Beloved.' As for Richard Ashby's recent reading material, I doubt it can be an authentic expression of the mind of Richard Chartres on the subject. That will remain a private matter between him and the Almighty.

Posted by Graham Steel at Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 11:22am BST

Re: the claim that Chartres did not ordain priests at all — rubbish. He ordained a handful of men as priests over the years (I know one of them personally, and I'm sure the Chimes archives would reveal the rest.)

Posted by DBD at Tuesday, 24 October 2017 at 11:15am BST

I see that the Bishop of Chelmsford has grown a sort of a beard. Is this in anticipation of a move next door to take over from another bearded one?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 8:10pm BST
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