on Wednesday, 21 October 2020 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Andrew Graystone Surviving Church What do we mean by Redress?
Alan Wilson ViaMedia.News World Without End…?
Richard Scorer National Secular Society The Church of England’s culture of entitlement has to end
Some of Richard Scorer’s piece does not stand up to scrutiny. As others have pointed out on recent threads, elevation of retired Archbishops of York to the peerage has not been automatic. Clergy may not engage in political activity, and thus could never become MPs unless there were a radical change to the CDM which I would have thought unlikely in that specific matter. Richard Scorer is expressing his personal views, to which he is entitled, of course, but clearly without detailed knowledge some aspects of the C of E.
My second point concerning C of E clergy MPs has been corrected by Froghole’s post below.
If the Church of England had more bishops with the honesty of Alan Wilson then I suspect the response to survivors would have been sensible rather than appalling
Would that Britain’s bishops were as gutsy as Iran’s mullahs. The secularists would be running for the hills.
That’s quite a radical concept Evan but if the bishops were similarly “gutsy” would that also mean not only the secularists running for the hills but also, Queen Elizabeth II, like the late Shah of Persia, seeking exile in a foreign land?
Gutsy needn’t equal theocratic haha
Sections 8 (3) and (4) of the CDM 2003 (as amended) touch on the political activities of the clergy. Section 8 (3) permits clergy to engage in ‘lawful political activities’, but Section 8 (4) bars them from involvement in activities effectively banned by the House of Bishops in connection with matters touching upon the Equalities Act 2010 (in other words, they cannot agitate for a party which is perceived by the bench as racist). Clergy in the Church of England and Church of Ireland can now sit in the house of commons pursuant to the Clergy (Removal of Disqualification) Act… Read more »
Sorry, Equality Act 2010.
Thank you for that clarification and correction concerning MP eligibility for clergy. I was aware, e.g., that the late Dr Ian Paisley was an MP, but hadn’t appreciated the restrictive effect of the CDM provision, and that the House of Commons (Removal of Clergy Disqualification) Act 2001 applied to C of E clergy.
As a matter of interest, are there C of E clergy MPs in the House of Commons?
Chris Bryant is an MP. I think he resigned his orders, but I am very willing to be corrected.
If one takes the “once a priest, always a priest” line, then at least one. But probably we shouldn’t count those who’ve renounced their orders.
Many thanks, Mr Wateridge! Chris Bryant (Lab., Rhondda) was in orders, and served in the Oxford diocese (in High Wycombe), but executed a deed of resignation in 1991 under the Clerical Disabilities Act 1870 (as amended). Some might argue that his orders are indelible, however. I can think of no other Church of Engand/Ireland clergy who have been returned in any election since James MacManaway, rector of Christ Church, Derry (UUP, Belfast West, 1950). As you may be aware, the MacManaway case was interesting, because he argued in the privy council that the 1801 statute came into force after the… Read more »
In my working life I had the privilege of receiving a letter from Lord Denning, by then retired (my colleagues expected to receive one almost daily). You will recall that he claimed to have “all of the virtues except resignation”, on the grounds that he was in office and had already passed the age of retirement before the relevant judicial retirement legislation was enacted.
Froghole—Stephen Green (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint). Not like you to miss something like that!
Of course ministers of other Christian denominations have been in the House of Lords eg Lord Soper (Methodist) and George McLeod (Church of Scotland). Incidentally, George was my ‘boss’ at one time in London and I was present at his installation.
Sorry – I forgot that the 1801 statute also applied to RC clergy and to the Kirk (Section 1); the original text of the statute is proving elusive.
Section 2 (4) of the Welsh Church Act 1914 stated that clergy in Wales and Monmouthshire could be returned to the house of commons: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/4-5/91/enacted
I seem to remember Chris Bryant had to resign his orders to stand for Parliament. I think things have changed since then.
I had an ancient copy of Crockford (from the 1930s) which had in the appendices a list of those who had resigned their orders. There were quite a lot of names in it.
Was “Dr” Ian Paisley actually “clergy” in any useful sense of the word, or to which the CDM or any other legislation would apply? He was the leader of a church he founded himself, so any religious titles he held from that were essentially self-awarded. His “doctorate” was honorary (it’s usually regarded as extremely poor form to dub yourself Dr on the basis of an honorary doctorate, although we allow John Cooper Clarke) and from the Bob Jones University (which would not, in most countries, be regarded as a legitimate degree-awarding institution),
In his case the CDM is a red herring. He was around long before the 2001 Act but might have scraped in within its very wide definition of “a minister of any religious denomination”. I mentioned him solely because he is the only MP known to me who was conventionally referred to as “the Reverend”.
I don’t think the doctorate honorary. I remember coming upon it many years ago in a university library. It was on the Ulster Revival of 1859. But it could hardly be taken as a serious piece of historical research. It was mainly about the power of the Holy Spirit beating back the forces of Popery and Unitarianism !
I note that some people have complained about the size of the house of lords on this and other threads. Even the lord speaker, Norman Fowler, has protested its size, and has argued for a reduction in its membership. It had, almost a year ago, 812 members, with 793 being at least notionally ‘active’: https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/lln-2019-0161/ However, in the last year prior to the House of Lords Act 1999 it had 1,210 members (of whom 647 were hereditary). Of course, a significant proportion of its membership prior to that reform would attend only very occasionally, if at all. After the removal… Read more »