Updated Friday morning
The Telegraph has a report about what the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, has written in this week’s Church Times about the row following the article published last week in the New Statesman by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Tim Ross wrote this: Baldry: Archbishop must stop ‘shouting’ at ministers
The Archbishop of Canterbury should stop “shouting” at the government like a noisy protester in Parliament Square if he wants Church of England bishops to keep their seats in the House of Lords, a senior Conservative MP has suggested.
Here’s an excerpt:
Writing in the Church Times newspaper, he said that “dismayed” Tory MPs and ministers “simply feel monumentally misunderstood by the Archbishop”, who they believe has failed to grasp the scale of the financial difficulties that the coalition inherited from Labour.
Mr Baldry said that when he was appointed to be commissioner last year, he hoped it would be possible to avoid the “disintegration” of the relationship between the Church and Parliament.
“I am disappointed that, less than a year into this Parliament – a Parliament almost certainly of a five-year term – the perception of many MPs sitting on the Coalition benches is that the Church of England is shouting at us from the other side of the street,” he said.
“Later in this Parliament, the Church of England is going to want the understanding of MPs, not least when they debate the place of the Church of England in a reformed, mainly elected Second Chamber.”
He suggested that a further source of friction could develop over plans to consecrate women bishops, which have already caused an internal rift and led hundreds of Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism in protest.
Some MPs want the government to strip the Church of its exemption from equality rules and force traditionalists to accept women bishops.
The original is now available to all
subscriber-only for one week, but here is one sentence from it that may explain why it is not the substance of the NS article but the reporting of it that is the cause of this response:
They [government ministers] simply feel monumentally misunderstood by the Archbishop. Lambeth Palace took care to circulate the full texts of the Archbishop’s New Statesman editorial to every MP; but, so far as my colleagues are concerned, it is no good responding to criticism by saying that that is not what the Archbishop said. In public life and politics, it is what is heard that matters.
Further update The full text of Baldry’s article is available via this page.