Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bishop on the brink

Am I the only person to have detected shades of the Ron Davies affair in the current controversy surrounding the Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler? The former Welsh Secretary, who was forced to quit in 1998, initially claimed he had been the victim of a straightforward mugging. In fact the truth turned out to be rather more complicated.

Likewise the Rt Rev Butler, who initially put his black eye down to having been mugged on the way home from a Christmas Party, has been forced to change his story after the emergence of witnesses who saw him throwing childrens' toys out of the back of someone's car while apparently the worse for wear for drink.

If this blog by Times Religious Affairs Correspondent Ruth Gledhill is anything to go by, Butler is toast. La Gledhill is an influential figure at Lambeth Palace and while giving the appearance of an objective summary of the facts, in reality her piece is a ruthless hatchet-job.

I doubt if many tears will be shed over him. Having lived in Southwark Diocese for six years I can testify that he has not been a particularly good Bishop, having generally failed to uphold Biblical teaching on personal morality issues and attempted to frustrate the efforts of churches who did so by refusing to ordain their clergy.

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Turbulent Cleric said...

Sorry Paul but I think all of this is a storm in a tea cup/ wine glass. I don't know if he has been a particularly good Bishop but those whom he did not ordain would seem to be linked to the sort of homophobic stance taken by Akinola who seems to be sowing seeds of schism.

If he was unduly exercising a censorship policy I would be concerned but I do not see the evidence for that.

On the basis of what I have seen, I think there is an overreaction going on. He is not the first and nor will he be the last clergyman to get legless. Indeed it is often the ones who rarely drink who get in this state (I'd better be careful!. I hope that grace will accordingly be shown to him unless there is something I have missed.

Anonymous said...

by 'Biblical teaching on personal morality' are you referring to the bit about stoning people who put a foot wrong, or the bit about not stoning them after all?

Paul Linford said...

Turbulent cleric

It may not surprise you to know that I have a different perspective on Bishop Akinola.

Tall and Lonely said...

In my personal opinion I think The Bishop Of Southwark is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I heard him speak on Thought For The Day recently and it was inspired.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it a bishop's job to have a good tipple and be controversial?