Yesterday evening, the Right Reverend Joanna Penberthy, Bishop of St Davids issued a mea culpa for a social media post saying “Never never never trust a Tory’, writes Chris Harries.
Initially, the Bishop sought to distance the social media post from the office that she holds with an explanation that the post was in a personal capacity, yet hours later an apology was offered.
Now when considering the apology, it is worth remembering that offence is something that is taken, not given. Irrespective of the good Bishop motivations when posting her opinions on social media, it is on Conservative activists whether they should take offence from the content.
As an apology has finally been offered, you would suspect that the Bishop acknowledges having fallen short of the conduct you would expect of a member of the clergy.
However disingenuous that apology may come across and for those aggrieved at the posts should heed this passage from the Bible:
But if you do not forgive others theirs sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
It is accepted across Christian denominations that life is a journey where we err and stray, forgiveness is thus part and parcel of Christianity. The crucifixion of Jesus for those of us who believe was not just fulfilment of scripture but also the point where God incarnate of man is sacrificed in the ultimate act of forgiveness.
This debacle should be cause for reflection by the Bishop. Instead of seeking to spread the gospel and foster goodwill, Joanna Penberthy Twitter account appears to be driven by division. Are such social media posts in keeping with the Christian life that the good Bishop will implore others to pursue?
Let us hope that the Bishop of Saint Davids reflects on events and turns her back on division, instead, focusing on the gospel.
Chris Harries is a Welsh Conservative Party activist.