Archbishop of Canterbury ‘deeply embarrassed’ at bishop’s ‘never trust a Tory’ tweet
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is “deeply embarrassed” after a Welsh bishop tweeted “never, never, never trust a Tory”.
Justin Welby has written to the Secretary of State for Wales to apologise for the tweet by the Bishop of St Davids Joanna Penberthy.
She had written her tweet in response to another Twitter user who had alleged that the Conservatives were planning to abolish the Senedd or Welsh Parliament, formerly known as the Welsh Assembly.
Earlier this month, she deleted her account and apologised, admitting that it was not the policy of the Conservative Party to close down the Senedd.
Dr Penberthy, who wrote that she held strong political views, also said: “I, of course, trust and have trusted many Conservatives and know there are many honourable people in that party.”
At the time of her apology Dr Penberthy received support from many people including former leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood and politics and free speech organisation Ekklesia.
We agree completely with @ElinCeredigion here. The attempt by an MP to have Bishop Joanna Penberthy sacked over an unwise tweet is cheap, nasty, opportunistic and shameful. We hope and trust that the @ChurchinWales will give this nonsense short shrift. #WeStandWithJo pic.twitter.com/nbCBXe3xrG
— Ekklesia (@Ekklesia_co_uk) June 17, 2021
But in a letter sent to the bishop, English West Dorset Tory MP Chris Loder accused the Church in Wales cleric of holding “divisive views” and called on her to stand down.
The Church in Wales has also apologised for offence caused by the tweets.
In his letter to Conservative Preseli-Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart, in which Ty Ddewi or St Davids is located, Mr Welby said the language used was “absolutely unacceptable” from a church leader.
The BBC reported that Mr Hart had previously written to Mr Welby saying that although citizens, including clergy, had a right to engage with politicians, Dr Penberthy’s comments “seem to fall well wide of that objective”.
“It’s disappointing that Dr Penberthy does not seem to appreciate or respect the fact that many of the Church in Wales’s staunchest supporters may have political views that are at odds with her own,” the Welsh Secretary said.
“They . . . do not take kindly to being collectively abused online for so doing.”
Mr Hart pointed out that St Davids is in the Tory-held Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency and he highlighted another message in which she criticised people voting for the Conservatives.
Dr Penberthy, who became the Church in Wales’ first woman bishop in 2016, had also tweeted: “A very sad indictment is that so many still want to vote Tory. Absolutely appalling. I am ashamed of each and every one of you.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to Mr Hart and said he was “truly sorry.”
“I am especially sympathetic because I am very well aware of what it is to be trolled in this way (including by people of all shades of political opinion),” he said.
“It is intolerable, and I am determined to work with my sisters and brothers to find better ways to express disagreement.”
The Archbishop of York has also spoken to the Secretary of State for Wales about Dr Penberthy’s comments.
Justin Welby says he is "deeply embarrassed" by a tweet from a Welsh bishop that said "never never never trust a Tory".
The Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy, has apologised and deleted her Twitter account.
Welby’s letter to @Simonhartmp 👇https://t.co/gB51bhMfAH pic.twitter.com/lzBN7E24EC
— Harry Farley (@HarryFarls) June 19, 2021
The UK government wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace because the Church in Wales, which currently does not have a senior bishop since the last Archbishop retired, is part of the Anglican Communion.
Wales’ most senior bishop apologised and added people of all political persuasion are welcome in the Church in Wales.
“I have spoken with the bishop and believe her to be sincere in her apology and that she wishes to improve the way in which her ministry operates in the public domain.
“Clergy have a role to play in holding politicians and others to account in their public office. In order to do this effectively, clergy need to be respectful and robust in both their delivery and discourse,” he said.
“I regret the impression that has been formed that we favour one political viewpoint over another.”
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Not THE Arch Oilman Welby…Be Strong and of Good Courage Joanna Penberthy.
I agree. We need religious leaders who speak their minds. My uncle was J. C. Wansey, the highly principled and frequently embattled Rector of St. Mary’s Woodford and I’d rather see the occasional foot in mouth than slavish adherence to politeness. Don’t you dare resign, Bishop Penberthy.
What has it got to do with him anyway?
Because there is as yet no Arch Bishop for Wales he thinks he can pull rank on a ‘woman’ Bishop!
Whoever goes to Welshpuddle on Monday all the best, they are a good bunch in ‘Sheeptown’, good market too…
The Church in Wales does have its own Archbishop who John Davies, it is an independent church in the Anglican Communion.
He retired 2 May 2021
The post of Archbishop of Wales has not been abolished and replaced by the Archbishop of Canterbury as far as I know.
but not embarrassed by lies from the chief Rabbi about Corbyn – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/03/academic-quits-c-of-e-body-over-chief-rabbis-labour-antisemitism-comments
yes, the Arch Oilman ran his colours up the mast that time Pwl, now we see how low he can crawl…Is there no one at the head of these English Organs of State there by merit? Guess not…
This looks like an ideal opportunity to insert a puppet bishop into this increasingly self-aware country.
How can clergy be robust in both their delivery and their discourse if they are not free to speak openly?
And finally, knowing some reasonably moral (if misguided 😉
) Tories, I suspect Dr P merely accidentally omitted the word ‘politician’.
Apologise!!!??? For stating a manifest truth?
According to the book, Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple. Investment bankers are the modern equivalent and the Tory party is very much their party. The Church has invested in all sorts of money making schemes without being too fussy about who does the money making for them. I suspect JC himself would be censured by the Archbishop (and I don’t mean Jeremy Corbyn!).
I quite agree. I left the Anglican communion and became a Roman Catholic several years ago because the Anglican church was still “the Tory party at prayer”. It’s nice to see a bishop standing up for Christian values.
And humanitarian and community values which Wales prides itself on.
I quite agree, and if you express your faith properly then those values are part of the package 😁
I think you’re somewhat mixed up. Her job is to promote Christian teachings, including “Love your enemy” — which has to start with civility and avoidance of sweeping generalisations about the character of ‘your enemy’. I steer clear of organised religion myself, but I have to admit that Jesus made a good point when he said “Love your enemy”; and Dr Penberthy is being criticised for forgetting that particular teaching. Your use of the word “woketopian” seems to be especially muddled. Given the meaning of “woke” (in its adjectival sense), you are presumably hostile *either* to vigilance against bigotry, *or*… Read more »
Nice to see at least some in the C of E is prepared, to tell the TRUTH the Tories
The Church in Wales is not part of the Church of England, has not been for over a century.
The arch bishops of tories, he is as bad as any of them- as the lady said correctly “never trust a Tory”
I strongly support bishops engaging with political issues. But naked political tribalism is not appropriate.
But the Church in Wales has ceased to be subject to the authority of Canterbury for more than a century. It is not Welby’s place to stick his nose into a matter that is outside the Church of England’s purview.
The Church of Wales is disestablished so it’s got nothing to do with him in any case.
I stand with Joanna! At least she had the courage to tell the truth about the Tories. And who does Welby think he is, sticking his oilman’s rich nose into what does not concern him? The Church In Wales and and the C of E are completely separate bodies.
The Tories have just cut overseas aid to the poorest and most deprived people on the planet whilst sending an aircraft carrier full of American war planes on a world tour, what would Christ have to say about that? My sympathy is with Bishop Joanna, she is just expressing what she thinks her faith is about.
Well done Bishop Joanna.
The Archbishop of Wales is chosen by electoral college from the diocesan bishops of Wales, holding the Archbishopric in addition to their own diocese. It is not an appointment of the Prime Minister or the Queen as the Archbishop of Canterbury is. It is not in the gift of Lambeth Palace. Bishop Joanna was appointed by Archbishop Barry Morgan who was a great supporter of women priests, same sex marriage and other “radical” positions. Justin Welby has no authority over the Church in Wales.
How depressing to think that the head of the Church of England could stoop so low as to deceive his congregation to further the ambition of a would-be dictator…a man that corrupts all who side with him…
Any man dressing up in those expensive frocks should not be trusted, never ever.
C of E full of moral misfits, just like Tory politicians !
So high commissioner Hart went whinging to a cleric in another country? (see reference to letter received by Welby). He would be better employed trying to conjure a measure of charity and empathy in the bowels of the Tory hoard. Difficult I know.