How to Apologise

The Diocese of London have just published this press release.

A statement from the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden.

“I have conveyed to Prince Charles and to Prince William and Kate Middleton my sincere regrets for the distress caused by my remarks and the subsequent media attention about the forthcoming Royal Wedding. I recognise that the tone of my language and the content of what I said were deeply offensive, and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused.

“It was unwise of me to engage in a debate with others on a semi-public internet forum and to express myself in such language. I accept that this was a major error of judgement on my part.

“I wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a happy and lifelong marriage, and will hold them in my prayers.”

I’ve written before on this blog about apologies. Pete’s apology is great because he doesn’t pussy foot around. He apologises not just for the upset caused but also actually for saying the things that caused offense (which as I noted earlier this year are two entirely different things). His apology is directed to those who it should be directed to (the royal family) and not to the chattering classes and Mail readers (who seem to forget that the very paper that lambasted Pete described the Royals as “most dysfunctional” only a few days before).

He has confessed, he is forgiven, grace abounds and we move on. Pete is one of the top suffragans in the country and he should be allowed to get on with the great job he does. If you don’t like the fact he’s a republican, well you need to get over it.

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7 Comments on “How to Apologise

    • Sue:

      People often ask this question, or a variant thereupon, and I'm not sure I really see the point of asking it. I think as Christians we are under an obligation to accept an apology at face value unless there are compelling reasons to think that the person is not genuinely repentant.

      And even if it were true that he wouldn't have been sorry if he hadn't been found out, this doesn't necessarily affect the integrity of his apology. Often the shame or embarrassment we feel as a result of exposure can be a spur to real repentance.

      • It sometimes it takes an incident like this one to make us realise what our behaviour actually looks and feels like to someone else. And when we see that, our sense of remorse and our apology can be perfectly genuine.

        I think that for +Pete to keep a low profile for a while might not be a bad thing in the circumstances. Being a bishop isn't ALL about being in the public eye.

        • I think the issue is now not that he is keeping a low profile (as you suggest this is a wise course of action) but rather that the Bishop of London acted in such an ungracious manner after the apology was made.

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