[18 June 2021] The Senior Bishop of the Church in Wales has apologised for offence caused by tweets published by the Bishop of St Davids concerning members of the Conservative Party.
In a statement, Bishop Andy John, the Bishop of Bangor, also reassures people of all political persuasion that they welcome in the Church in Wales.
Bishop Andy is the Church’s Senior Bishop following the retirement of the Archbishop of Wales in May.
Senior Bishop’s statement
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. The Bishop of St Davids has apologised for the hurt she has caused as a result of her posts on Twitter and the Church in Wales has welcomed her statement.
I add my apology on behalf of the Church in Wales; I regret the intemperate language that she used and the hurt it caused. 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. It is clear to me that bishops cannot make distinctions between personal and public statements when both are publicly available. It is also clear that bishops require advice and support which enables us to be effective in our ministry and it is my intention to secure this in consultation with my colleagues.
The Church in Wales seeks to be welcoming to everyone in the nation of Wales, regardless of whether or not they share our Christian faith. We do not discriminate and I regret the impression that has been formed that we favour one political viewpoint over another. All members and supporters of all mainstream political parties are welcome in our churches. The Church in Wales shares with our political leaders a longing for a better, fairer, more just society where discrimination and poverty are consigned to history.
- The Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy, has previously apologised for offence caused by her tweets.
Following an apology from the Bishop of St Davids, Dr Joanna Penberthy, for offence caused by her Twitter posts, the Church in Wales has issued the following statement:
“The Church in Wales expects all its clergy to engage robustly in public life. However, they need to do so in a way which is respectful, responsible and fair, acknowledging the breadth and diversity of political opinion within the Church. We do not support intemperate claims or poorly informed commentary and we urge all clergy to recognise that, as public office holders, there should be no expectation that personal views will be regarded as private.
“The Bishop of St Davids’ strong political views are well known. We recognise that she has apologised for causing offence and are pleased she has acknowledged the hurt and damage she has caused and deactivated her personal Twitter account.”
Bishop of St Davids’ apology
Wednesday June 2nd 2021
On March 25th 2021 I put out a private tweet about Conservative Party supporters which has caused offence and for which I sincerely apologise. 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.
I further apologise for other tweets I have posted which have caused upset and offence. While I hold strong political views, I have expressed them on Twitter in a way which was both irresponsible and disrespectful and I deeply regret this. I have now closed my account down.
Bishop Joanna Penberthy