Disestablishment

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27 January 1997.

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Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Cleethorpes 12:00, 27 January 1997

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. However, does he agree that whatever the costs, they would be well worth paying to enable the Church of England to renew itself? For example, the diocese of Lincoln, which covers my constituency, has become a laughing stock because the bishop, for whom I have the greatest regard, is unable to preach his Christmas sermon in his own cathedral. Does my right hon. Friend agree that as many vicars—two thirds, so it is said—are unable to remember even two or three of the Ten Commandments, there is a case for allowing the Church of England to go its own way, to renew itself and to take part in political debate without politicians criticising it when it does so?