Pete Broadbent, a suffragan bishop in Willesden, who wrote a series of posts on Facebook, where he said the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William would last seven years and described the wedding day as being surrounded by "nauseating tosh," has been suspended indefinitely.

His comments incurred the anger of politicians and fellow clergy, with the outcry forcing him to apologise for his language, which he described as "deeply offensive". But his apology failed to appease his superior, the bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, who said he was "appalled" by Broadbent's comments.

In a statement today he said: "In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.

"I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice.

COMMENT: Bishop Broadbent is a cad and a bounder. He should apologise profusely for the ad hominem comments he made about William and Kate and Charles and Diana. He should not have to apologise for his republican views or his distaste for the pomp and celebrity flim flam.

And he should be reinstated immediately.

His suspension is yet another example of the dictatorial powers that have been assumed by those who (wrongly) consider themselves superior in our church. Broadbent is a bishop. Doctrinally there is no separate office of suffragan bishop. The only authority above a bishop is a council of all the bishops of the province.

Those who still need convincing that the Covenant is not an instrument of control and punishment should meditate on the sad case of Bishop Broadbent. Because, if you give bishops an inch they will take a mile.



  1. Amen.

    I have just left a message for him at facebook. I agree with your course of action.

    I agree with his sentiments. I need to hear a prophetic voice that does not fawn and kowtow.

    Yes his language may be intemperate. All of use language like that, but he has said ‘sorry’. Reinstate the man now!

  2. It should have read ‘all of us use language like that’… a Methodist I am barely literate.

    Hmm… there was self interest in my call as well..

  3. FWIW I think the Bishop of London has acted very sensibly by allowing everyone a “breathing space”, which should be seen as a neutral act, so effectively preventing the Press pack from hounding Bishop Pete throughout this week’s General Synod.

    OCICBW, but surely a senior churchman of Bishop Pete’s standing should have known better than to have stoked the fires started by his original comments on the forthcoming Royal Wedding by posting further remarks containing personal abuse clearly directed at other members of the Royal Family.

    I am also very saddened that Bishop Pete, for whom I have a great deal of personal regard, isn’t content to let matters rest but is continuing to post messages on facebook. IMHO he should disappear “on retreat” for a couple of weeks in order to let the storm blow over. Least said, soonest mended, as they say.

  4. While I agree with you theologically, a bishop is a bishop, most of us do subscribe to the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. So bishops suffragan, assistant bishops and for that matter bishops coadjutor, could likely fall into the realm of the episcopate “locally adapted to its means of administration.”

  5. I have never met anyone in Britain, including myself, who would have the faintest idea what the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral is. And why should we – it’s obviously some foreign thing?

  6. Yes, that would be perfectly acceptable, Boaz. It is permissible to decapitate a serving bishop – what you can’t do is sack them without due process.

  7. I have emailed Richard Chartres to tell him he is an idiot, in the politest language I could muster.

    Mad Priest, Pete Broadbent isn’t a cad or a bounder – just tactless and opinionated. Which is a good thing, in my book. One thing’s for sure, he’s clearly no careerist. Also a good thing.

    PS How can you have a quadrilateral between only two organisations? Don’t you need four?

  8. Well, I don’t agree. I think his distaste was largely for the slavish media coverage and I share his distaste. Anyway, who’s to say they are in love? No one knows apart from the parties involved.

  9. No, I’m really not. People get married for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just fancy the pants off each other, feel great affection for each other, get on incredibly well, and think they can really make a go of it. Maybe she strikes him as sane, unlike the rest of the women in his family. Maybe she deep down just can’t resist the idea of being a princess. Who knows?

  10. It was tactless, but I like his tactlessness, and I understand his cynicism. Anyway, he’s profusely apologised. He can’t take the remarks back, so that’s all he can really do. And at least he’s obviously not machiavellian, calculating and political – which seems to be something of a change of pace for the CofE hierarchy, from what I can tell.

  11. I said he should be reinstated. I said his republican remarks were valid and acceptable. But he was a cad and a bounder for saying such nasty things about two young people who have never done him any harm.

  12. Susan S, they are public figures, and the media coverage has been relentless – that makes it everyone’s business, whether they want it to be or not.

    Mad Priest, we disagree.

  13. Well, you come from a different culture where there is a different understanding of what is rude and what is not. I expect most English people would say that I am being over generous to the bloke. But then I’m a priest and that is sort of expected of me.

  14. Yes, I know they are public figures. But if he wanted to blow off at anyone, it should have just been the press he picked on. They really deserve it. The lovely couple, and I am not being snide here, should have been left out of his tirade.

  15. Susan S (and Mad Priest), I don’t think they are a lovely couple particularly and I totally share his opinion, on Wills and Kate as well as Charles and Di (although of the four the one I most respect is Charles). The whole thing is slightly off-putting and to be ignored as far as possible, in my opinion. I agree his language was intemperate, but he has said he’s sorry and, again, that’s all he can do. I know quite a few English people who are either totally indifferent or think the same.

  16. He broke my rules, and probably even Mimi’s! And you know that’s the worst he could have done! He should feel lucky that the Voodoo Juice doesn’t travel well!

  17. I don’t give a shit what he thinks. I expect many people agree with him. But in England, and in Christianity, you do not say the personal things he said about someone who has not offended you first unless you want to be seen as crass (England) or downright nasty (Christianity).

    To be honest, I don’t know why you are arguing on this particular point, Cathy, as you would be extremely ashamed if you did such a thing. In fact, you would never do it as you have far better manners, especially since you’ve been living here and have learnt how to behave properly from people who just do so instinctively.

  18. You’re right, I wouldn’t, but I have on the other hand been known to make friends with English males who use intemperate, rude, critical, offensive language about others on a more or less daily basis, quite deliberately 🙂

    He is irritated by the fuss and said so, and that’s his right. He disagrees with the system of upper-crust privilege that exists in this country and the sycophantic way the media and some of the public kow-tow to it, and sees that as offense enough. I agree.

  19. PS Why you are defending the system of privilege that exists in England I do not know. You’ve often enough argued it wrongly governs the CofE and is what excludes people of your working-class background from being a priest.

  20. I never attack people who haven’t attacked me or my friends first. And my insults always refer to the offence. I would never make such comments about the love life of others unless they kept telling me how to go about my love life. As far as I know William and Kate don’t give a toss about Broadbent’s love life – at this moment in time I expect they are far too caught up in their own.

    JCF may not be the sole judge but he is the lowest common denominator.

  21. Yes, Susan. It must really piss him off that it was the Queen who personally offered him his job. people don’t get to become bishops until she has approved their nomination.

    Of course, she always does. But that’s because she has better manners than he has.

  22. The class system in this country makes life worse for us all. Therefore, why not attack an example of a non-event being glorified into something important simply because the two people concerned happen to belong to a privileged caste? Therein lies the offence. Whether they’re interested in anyone else’s sex lives is neither here nor there. I expect most of the people you attack don’t take an interest in your welfare. That’s not the point.

  23. I do not regard the royal family as privileged. They are prisoners living under virtual house arrest. It does not matter how much money they have as they can’t spend it. They can’t do what they want (William is not even allowed to fight for his country like he wants to). They have the most boring job in the world. They have no power. And they have to put up with people like you who have no understanding of their position in regard to national identity. I wouldn’t want their job for anything. They do it without complaint.

    But the aristocracy beneath them – bring on the guillotine!

  24. Mad Priest, I don’t think the Queen approves bishops’ nominations because she has manners – it’s at a guess because she doesn’t particularly take an interest!

  25. Mad Priest, how you can argue what you just argued about the Royal Family I do not know. And I understand their position. I don’t think all English people do share your opinion on it, though.

  26. It’s not good manners in the Queen’s case. She is just indifferent to most of the names put before her. Why would it be otherwise?

    BTW, I don’t know if the royal family are particularly bored. Not compared to, say, someone who has to work at the till of a petrol station, or in a factory.

  27. Hear, hear, MP, you just said a mouthful! “Not taking an interest is, in many circumstances, just good manners”
    Not taking an interest slides one over some sticky wicket situations (unless, of course, they rise up and bite you :>)

  28. Observing from a long distance and with all information second hand (and most likely distorted) I would say William has suffered more than most people in England. Not more than anyone of course, since he’s always had food in his belly and a roof over his head, but only the bottom 20 or 30 percent of the population would be advised to swap their life for his.

    As MP says, he’s been given a mediocre hand at best and a bad hand in my opinion.

    Moreover, anyone who looses their mother at a delicate age needs to be given a lot of encouragement and pats on the back. William is not above criticism, (no one is) he simply has not done anything to deserve public criticism, and neither has his girlfriend from what I can see.

    I hope they are getting it on as we speak, while the Bishop should be put in the stocks and made to watch “GLEE” over and over.

  29. Boaz, he is a spoiled Hooray Henry who materially speaking lives an absurdly comfortable life and gets far more than his fair share of attention. Yes he lost his mother, which entitles him to the same consideration as any other child who suffers a loss at that age (of whom there are countless numbers). The fact that the royal family has little privacy in public puts them on a par with all other famous people and does not entitle them to special consideration.

    And if they put Bishop Broadbent in the stocks, I would think most people who turned up would a) rescue him and b) hand him a bunch of flowers. I would. And so would everyone else I know.

  30. One might also point out that if the royals’ lives are that miserable the best thing for them would be to drop the public glare and let them have more privacy. Ie, Bishop Pete Broadbent is entirely right to point out that the degree of media coverage they get is wrong – for their sakes as well as everyone else.

  31. which entitles him to the same consideration as any other child who suffers a loss at that age


    does not entitle them to special consideration

    Agreed. If Bishop Broadbent had made the same nasty comment about any other couple in the public eye who were getting married he would be a bounder and a cad.

  32. Cathy, I will say it again, as it has obviously not sunk in yet. I am only condemning Broadbent’s ad hominem attacks on the couple, not his perfectly valid arguments against an established monarchy.

  33. Mad Priest – your comments have been much wider-ranging than that. My comments are in answer to Boaz, and also your own argument earlier in the comments starting “I do not regard the royal family as privileged”.

    Broadbent has already apologised for his remarks about Kate and Wills, as I have pointed out, and he can do no more. But he was voicing an opinion that a lot of people that I know share.

    Re bounder and cad, the class of people who generally use that sort of language just see you (and everyone else who congregates on this blog probably) as a total peasant. Again, I don’t know why you’re buying into a system of values that excludes and belittles you.

  34. your comments have been much wider-ranging than that

    Not in respect of my condemnation of Bishop Broadbent, they haven’t. It’s the only beef I have with him on this occasion.

    Re bounder and cad, the class of people who generally use that sort of language

    Yes. I’m a writer and I’m employing a literary device where I assume the voice of those about whom I am writing. It’s for comic (look it up in a dictionary) effect.

    I don’t know why you’re buying into a system of values that excludes and belittles you

    I’m not buying into the monarchy. I own the monarchy.

  35. You commented on the (as you see it) difficult lives led by the royals in general and that is what I was addressing in my previous comment.

    I don’t get the impression Pete Broadbent uses the language of the privileged classes. That’s what got him into trouble. Which makes “bounder” and “cad” even more incongruous. If you’re using it on behalf of the royals, they wouldn’t see you as being high enough up the social ladder even to register as a “frightful oik” – you’d have to go to Eton for that.

    As far as I can see there is no sense in which you own the monarchy (!).

    You have not used any terminology so far which I have needed to look up in a dictionary. You need to try a lot harder 🙂

  36. It doesn’t matter what you can see, Cathy, as I do not wish to change your mind. I have merely been defending my point of view on which I have received much assistance from ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY ELSE.

    But then that’s how you like to fight your battles and I’m glad to have kept you amused. That is, after all, my function as a blogger.

  37. Mad Priest, it’s okay if you have three or four people who agree with you, since all the right-thinking people in this country agree with me.

    You do keep me amused 🙂