Bishop wrong to send out letter

YOUR front page (Herald, March 9) reported allegations of offences committed by local clergy.

Last Sunday (March 11), all clergy in the Horsham Episcopal Area were, according to my parish priest, instructed by The Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Acting Bishop of Chichester, to read a letter written by him about these events to their assembled congregations.

But, like many others, I do not go to church on Sundays to be read a self-serving, sanctimonious diatribe by the Head of the Church of England in this area.

If intended as damage limitation, it was clumsy and ill-conceived.

The Bishop is fully entitled to express his views publicly. But using the pulpit to make his comments and strictures known to people who have come simply to worship God, in their own way, should never be one of them.

Such action belongs firmly with authoritarian regimes where it is not unusual for church leaders to use their faith, and places of worship, to make politically-correct statements with the intention of lecturing those who find themselves in the position of having no alternative but to listen.

It is the manner by which this letter was ordered to be publicised which appals me, not the content.

In this country, we live in a democracy. By his action, the Bishop has joined the Ayatollahs.


Church Path, Hellingly.