Michael Nazir-Alir: 'Don't look to Bishops for moral lead'
After a discussion on global capitalism, Mr Dale said: 'I was very impressed by the Bishop of Rochester. In fact, he came out with the quote of the lunch...
If you want a moral lead, don't look to the bishops. I certainly wouldn't.'
And one of Mr Dale's more insightful and discerning communicants adds in the comment thread:
"Always excepting the excellent Cranmer of course!"
The spiritual decline and political fall of the Church of England is rooted in Bishop Michael's observation. The reality is that the moral lead in the UK now comes from the Roman Catholic bishops who also happen to be rather good at attracting and using the media. The archbishops who head each church are now somewhat polarised, and Cranmer is hard pressed to find areas of agreement between Rowan Williams and Vincent Nichols. While the latter ascends to the stratosphere, the former is mired in a religio-political morass of perpetual compromise. The via media has been 'enhanced' with a via sinistra and a via dextra and all roads no longer lead to Rome (though the via dextra might some day soon).
Perhaps Bishop Michael should go into politics?
Bishop Michael has clarified his words to Church Mouse:
'What I said was that you cannot leave giving a moral lead to the Bishops. The discussion arose because of a remark about something Harold MacMillan had said. I said first that ‘giving a moral lead’ and ‘behaving morally are not the same thing. Some (including bishops) may be called to give a lead, but everyone is expected to behave morally. Secondly, that giving a moral lead should not be left to bishops. I certainly would not leave it to them.
'This is, more or less, what I said to Paddy Ashdown at a pre-election breakfast some years ago. There were two bishops at the lunch giving a moral lead and I am, myself, not known to be unwilling in this respect, however modest my contribution might be.
30 April 2009'