Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, must resign
That's precisely what the Established Church needs: generous, humble and optimistic shepherds of the sheep who set their minds on all that is noble, pure, lovely and of good report.
He really ought to read what the Bible has to say about soothsaying.
Apparently, on his Facebook page, he described the Royal Family as ‘philanderers’ with a record of marriage break-ups who ‘cost an arm and a leg’. He also referred to the Prince of Wales as ‘Big Ears’.
Well, these are simply statements of fact: there have been and are ‘philanderers’ in the Royal Family, and they do cost an arm and a leg. And Prince Charles does apparently possess prominent auditory apparatus, though His Grace is no expert in cranial proportions.
But Pete omitted to tell us that there are also sincere, devoted and committed Christians in the Royal Family who take their wedding vows before God very seriously; they understand fully the meaning of fidelity and faithfulness, duty and honour, loyalty and service.
And Pete also forgot to tell us that, while they do indeed ‘cost an arm and a leg’, they supply the Treasury with an entire torso of revenue and provide the nation with a head.
And Pete should also know that it is wrong to judge by appearances or to mock the afflicted: judging by his beer-swilling picture, he’s no looker.
But Pete is a judgmental bishop, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those whom he hates. He describes himself as a ‘Christian Socialist’, so he is of the Gordon Brown school of economics: perhaps one ought to pity his myopia and forgive his ignorance of fiscal probity and economic morality.
Yet it is one thing spitefully to give the Royal couple just seven years, or to liken them to ‘shallow celebrities’ and talk of their wedding as ‘nauseating tosh’ or ‘national flimflam’. But it is quite another to assert that the hereditary principle – the very bedrock and foundation of the Monarchy – is ‘corrupt and sexist’.
Media reaction to this story has focused on the Bishops ‘cruel’, ‘disrespectful’, ‘absurd’, ‘ridiculous’, ‘childish’, ‘extremely rude’ and ‘un-Christian’ comments: in the words of Nicholas Soames, they are ‘not what one expects from a bishop’.
The Bishop of London could not be reached for a comment, and Clarence House said it did not wish to comment.
Bizarrely, rather than censure the Bishop, Lambeth Palace said: ‘(He) is entitled to his views.’
His Grace begs to differ.
The views he is entitled to express are the views of the Church of England. He is a leader within the Established Church of which the Queen is 'by God's Ordinance’ Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor.
And, God willing, Prince William will inherit those titles and responsibilities when he becomes King.
But Bishop Pete is a self-confessed republican. Apparently, when news of the Royal engagement was announced, he tweeted: ‘Need to work out what date in the spring or summer I should be booking my republican day trip to France.’
Being all with-it and media savvy, Pete has his Twitter feed directly linked to his Facebook, and this tweet elicited one of his friends to ask: “Isn’t the Queen your boss?”.
To which Bishop Pete replied: “I think you’ll find that God and the Bishop of London are my bosses. I am a citizen, not a subject!”
This is curious, and the Bishop is guilty of a gross hypocrisy.
All who are ordained into the Church of England swear an oath of allegiance. Bishop Pete has said:
“I, Peter Broadbent, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law, so help me God.”And so he became a curer of souls.
Has the Bishop become a hypocrite? A liar? Even a philanderer?
Do these vows have so little meaning that they are as easily disregarded as the marriage vows of Prince Charles and Diana, whom the Bishop so evidently disrespects and despises?
And what of Article XXXVII: Of the Civil Magistrates?
The Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other her Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.Does Bishop Pete uphold the traditional doctrine and teaching of the Church he purports to serve, or not?
Where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen doth most plainly testify; but only that prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evildoers.
When he ordains deacons and priests, does he cross his fingers behind his back as he asks ordinands to swear allegiance to the Queen and her heirs and successors?
Why would he demand an allegiance of them that he repudiates for himself?
Is his ministry just an act, a pretence, a façade of Christian ministry and ecclesial leadership?
When approached at his home by The Mail on Sunday yesterday, Bishop Pete is reported to have said: “I’m not speaking to you. I really am not speaking to you. If you want to run a gutter story, run a gutter story. Bye.”
His Grace has asked Bishop Pete to become a Facebook friend.
He patiently awaits the decision.
But if His Grace has in any way misrepresented or misquoted Bishop Pete in this article, the errors will be corrected, false attributions retracted and an apology will be forthcoming.
For such is the probity and integrity of His Grace’s ministry, his love for the Church and the authenticity of his faith.