Thinking Anglicans

Welsh MPs write to the Bishops of the Church in Wales

The following letter has been sent to the Bishops by Members of Parliament from South Wales constituencies.

Dear Bishops

Election of a Bishop of Llandaff

It is with some reluctance and regret that we find ourselves needing to place our concerns relating to recent events within the Church in Wales on the public record.

We had heard from many quarters of concerns and allegations relating to homophobic comments made during the election process for the appointment of a Bishop of Llandaff.

We are aware that neither homosexuality nor civil partnership are a bar to appointment within the Church in Wales. We are strongly of the opinion that leadership, scholarship, compassion and communication skills are the primary qualifications for the tasks facing a Bishop in Wales.

We are sorry to hear the allegations, the distress and the acrimony recent events surrounding the appointment of a new Bishop of Llandaff have created within the Church.

We are of the opinion that ‘exhaustion’ cannot be acceptable as a reason not to appoint someone eminently qualified and what we are informed was the unanimous choice of the electors of Llandaff.

We feel that the present process has been flawed and has let to considerable disharmony, anger and confusion. We respectfully recommend that there is a pause in the appointment process to allow emotions to cool and sound council to be heard. It would then appear appropriate that a new election is called, open to past and new candidates to apply and an open and transparent decision be made. There is now a need for healing and rebuilding of trust and confidence in the legality and moral leadership of the appointment of a much needed new Bishop of Llandaff and we hope this will soon be possible.

Yours

Madeleine Moon MP Bridgend

Co signatures
Stephen Doughty MP (MP for Cardiff South and Penarth)
Carolyn Harris MP (MP for Swansea East)
Nia Griffiths MP (MP for Llanelli)
Chris Elmore MP (MP for Ogmore)
Chris Bryant MP (MP for Rhondda)
Chris Evans MP (MP for Islwyn)
Wayne David MP (MP for Caerphilly)
Gerald Jones MP (MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

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Gwynne WatkinStanley ShawAnthony ArcherSteve MorganSimon R Recent comment authors
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Chead
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Chead

Gosh, MPs teaching morality to a bench of Bishops. That is “interesting”!

Marian
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Marian

Pity that MPs now cannot spell properly. (Unless it is a mistake on the part of TA.). ‘Council’ should be ‘counsel’.

David Lamming
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David Lamming

It is apparent from this letter that the MPs who signed it (or, at least, those who drafted it) need to go back to school! Leaving to one side their views on the ‘primary qualifications’ for the tasks facing a bishop in Wales, I draw attention to these three points: “We are aware that neither homosexuality nor civil partnership are a bar to appointment within the Church in Wales.” This should be “IS” a bar. “We are of the opinion that ‘exhaustion’ cannot be acceptable as a reason not to appoint someone eminently qualified and what we are informed was… Read more »

cathy
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cathy

Chead – my thoughts exactly. Between this and the Philip North debacle, the church is fast losing those dregs of moral authority we still had. It is so sad.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What a wonderful and Godly response by these Welsh politicians to the ‘uncertainty’ of the Church of Wales hierarchy in the appointment of a Bishop in that Church.

We moan when governments seem to overlook the mission of the Church, yet here is an example of the world leading the Church in a mission of justice and credibility in Christ! Bravo!

DBD
Guest

A bit of trivia: Chris Bryant MP is a priest.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The letter as published here was cut and pasted from an email without any editing.

Stanley Shaw
Guest
Stanley Shaw

Having thanked David Lamming for his correction of the English, can I ask if he would favour us with some comment on the content or the substantive issue?

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Once again MPs are telling the church what Christianity is.

The bishops should be ashamed of themselves.

Malcolm French
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Malcolm French

Are these all Labour MPs?

Father David
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Father David

My word, it only took a letter from one Yorkshire Labour M. P. Louise Hague, the sitting Member from Sheffield Heeley (with a little help from the Dean of Christ Church) to help bring about the downfall and withdrawal of acceptance of the see of Sheffield by Philip North. Now, here we have no less than nine Labour M.Ps expressing concern over the handling of the succession at Llandaff following the retirement of Barry Morgan. They write “leadership, scholarship, compassion and communication skills are the primary qualifications for the task facing a Bishop in Wales” – I wonder who they… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

Am I right in thinking that the Church in Wales is disestablished, and has been for quite a long time? What business do these servants of the secular state have in dictating to the Church how it ought to go about its business? Are they writing as concerned private citizens and members of the church, or are they stating their ‘recommendations’ in their capacity as Members of Parliament? Do they think that Parliamentarians ought, as a rule, to influence decisions about appointments to sacred offices in the church and in other religious bodies? Do they think that where the mechanisms… Read more »

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
Guest
Fr John Emlyn Harris-White

The college of Bishops of the Church in Wales should take note and act upon this letter, for the benefit of the church, and the folk of the diocese of Llandaff.

Lent is a period of reflection and penance, hopefully the College of Bishops will make personal use of this time !

Fr John Emlyn

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

In his St Patrick’s day sermon, the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, referring to another abuse scandal in Ireland, said “This has been sustained over decades as a society, both dealing with and failing to deal with its own phobias about the realities around sexuality, has found itself serving human hypocrisy in the service of the mirage of moral monopoly. The prospect of it is incredible; the facts of it are incontrovertible; the evil of it is inescapable. For all the churches, these events have hardened and sharpened the deep antagonism now felt towards churches around betrayal because of our… Read more »

Steve Morgan
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Steve Morgan

So relieved to see that TA correspondents Marian and David Lamming have their priorities in order: never mind truth and justice and naked homophobia – get your spelling and grammar right!

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

I am no expert on the Church in Wales but it is unusual in that although the Welsh Church Act 1914 gave the appearance of full disestablishment, it still retained certain legal responsibilities to the community, expecially its status for marriage law, highly germane to this debate. It is the reason it got into a muddle over the application of the quadruple lock, which applies to it under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and which can only be removed by the Church in Wales petitioning Government to make an Order (likewise the CofE) but without the same Canon… Read more »

Stanley Shaw
Guest
Stanley Shaw

Whilst grateful to David Lamming for his dissection of the MP’s English I should be grateful for his opinion of the content and the substantive issue

Gwynne Watkin
Guest
Gwynne Watkin

We need no lessons about the election of effective leaders from the Labour Party.