MP says CoE 'overcome with political correctness'

|PIC1|A Conservative MP has criticised the leadership of the Church of England for being “overcome with political correctness”.

Henry Bellingham, a practising Anglican, praised some members of the Church of England leadership but said on the whole it was too timid.

Bellingham was speaking during Friday's parliamentary debate on the 1701 Act of Settlement – the law which prohibits the monarch from marrying a Catholic.

During the debate Bellingham, who is also the shadow justice minister, said that the Church was in “no fit state” to take part in the debate because of its internal weakness, low morale and declining attendance.

Bellingham claimed that senior Church leaders were lacking in self confidence and added that their thinking on some issues was muddled.

He was quoted by the BBC as saying, "I think one of the reasons why Church morale is low is because of the way in which the leadership in my Church is, at the moment, distinctly lacking. I only wish that they would stand up more proudly and put a stronger case for Anglicanism."

He continued: "When it comes to standing up for basic Christian beliefs, all too often again, all we see is a deafening silence … It just seems to me that too many bishops are overcome with political correctness, they are riven by a feeling of guilty about speaking up for anything which might even cause remote offence to minority religions and they are obsessed with multiculturalism."

However, the MP praised some “great men” in the Church, such as Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, and the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester.

He said, "I just hope that other bishops will follow in their footsteps."

The Church of England responded by saying that it does not recognise “the picture” of the Church that was painted by the MP, according to the BBC.

A Church of England spokesman said, "The Church of England is in good heart, with attendances broadly stable over the past five years.

"We have two inspiring archbishops and they and other bishops regularly champion the cases of individuals facing injustice and also speak out on issues ranging from the economic crisis to family life."