HC Deb 01 November 1993 vol 231 cc12-3
27. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what submissions the Church Commissioners have had concerning proposed pay and allowances for bishops with extra-territorial jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Alison (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

The Act of Synod will provide for the appointment of up to three new suffragan bishops to act as provincial episcopal visitors. Their remuneration will be the same as that of other suffragan bishops. Housing and a car will be provided and working expenses will be reimbursed.

Mr. Greenway

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance to the House that the Church Commissioners will bear in mind the great concern expressed by the House in last Friday's debate that priests and congregations committed to a male priesthood be properly looked after when females—ladies—are ordained as priests in a few months' time? Will he give an assurance that the Act of Synod measure which deals with the matter will give proper moral and real authority to those bishops committed to protecting those congregations and to serving them?

Mr. Alison

I am delighted that my hon. Friend has underscored the need for the co-called Act of Synod to have real teeth and real moral authority. I shall convey the anxiety that my hon. Friend has expressed to the General Synod when it meets at Church house next week to discuss the very point that my hon. Friend has raised. The Synod will underscore the need for an Act which is adequate. If it is not adequate, the House will insist that a Measure be brought before the House to create a statutory provision.

Mr. Frank Field

What action does the Estates Commission intend to take on the line in the Lambeth report about the scandalous loss of Church Commissioners' assets which said that the fastest growing area of expenditure was bishops' residences?

Mr. Alison

The bishops, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, have launched a first diagnostic analysis of the funds and finances of the Church Commissioners. The New Testament utterance, "Physician, heal thyself, will be only too readily applied by those who have initiated this physicians' diagnosis.