Telegraph accuses Welsh Bishop of ‘pushing Church to brink of ruin’ over ‘never trust a Tory’ tweet
The Telegraph have attacked the Bishop of St. David’s after she tweeted that readers should ‘Never, never, never trust a Tory’.
The newspaper said that “out-of-touch bishops” such as Joanna Penberthy were “pushing the Church to the brink of ruin”.
The Rev Dr. Joanna Penberthy apologised on Thursday after the two month-old tweet was picked up by the British press and politicians, drawing condemnation from parishioners in an institution once characterised as ‘the Tory party at prayer’.
In the Telegraph, religious correspondent Emma Thompson said that Anglican bishops seemed to be “on a mission to alienate their flocks, run down their parishes and ultimately give up their special place in British public and spiritual life”.
“How else to explain the actions of the Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy, who has been forced to delete her Twitter account and apologise after tweeting, ‘Never, never, never trust a Tory’?” she asked.
“I am not theologically trained, but I cannot remember Jesus telling us to love our neighbours unless they are Tories.”
On Thursday Jenny Penberthy put a statement on the Diocese of St David’s website apologising for her tweet.
“On March 25th 2021 I put out a private tweet about Conservative Party supporters which has caused offence and for which I sincerely apologise,” she said.
“The tweet was in response to another tweet which claimed that the Conservative Party was planning to abolish the Senedd. I acknowledge that while there may be those within the Conservative Party who oppose Welsh devolution, it is not the policy of the Conservative Party to abolish the Senedd and I should have checked all the facts before tweeting.
“I, of course, trust and have trusted many Conservatives and know there are many honourable people in that party.”
Among those who criticised her tweet was Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies who said: “The many divisive and intolerant views pushed out from this very public account by the Bishop of St Davids will be troubling to many of her parishioners in West Wales.”
The Spectator’s anonymous gossip columnist Steerpike was also critical, saying that ”the poor people of South Wales are stuck with frothing political hackery in the place of spiritual enrichment”.
She however drew support from former Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Leanne Wood, who said it was “such a shame she felt the need to apologise. She is right and was speaking the truth.”
Jenny Penberthy became the first woman to become a bishop in the Church in Wales after being consecrated in 2017.