On 30th March 2023 the House of Lords held a short debate on a Motion from Lord Naseby: To ask His Majesty’s Government what plans they have to introduce new economic policies to address the challenges of climate change in developing countries, particularly those that are members of the Commonwealth.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, for tabling this Question. In his travelogue, he mentioned, to my alarm, the areas for which I am directly responsible—I suppose because they could not go anywhere else—notably, the Falkland Islands, Antarctica, Sri Lanka and Bermuda; I do not know what is going to happen to Kent.
The OECD’s most recent States of Fragility report found that, in 2022, 23% of the world’s population were living in fragile contexts, often linked to climate change, but 73% of the world’s extreme poor were. This figure is projected to rise to 86% of the world’s poor on the lowest incomes by 2030. For the Anglican Communion, within 165 countries over 150 of them are affected by such changes.
The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 1st March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the government of Israel to prohibit Palestinians under the age of 22 from entering Israel to participate in organised peace-building activities and the impact that this will have on UK-funded cross-community peace building work in the region.
On 25th February 2022, the Archbishop of York made a speech in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, urging prayers for peace and swift action to support peacemaking:
The Lord Archbishop of York: My Lords, noble Lords may have seen that my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury and I have already spoken about the unprovoked attack on Ukraine as a great act of evil. This is indeed a dark hour for Europe. We have called on Anglican churches to make this coming Sunday a day of prayer for peace and on Tuesday encourage parishes to join the Anglican diocese in Europe in prayer at 6 pm, especially for those who minister and witness for peace in Ukraine itself, where we have chaplaincies and minister alongside other denominations and faith communities. We are all invited to join Pope Francis in making Ash Wednesday—next Wednesday—a day of fasting and prayer for peace.
Perhaps in the West we have taken peace for granted. The horrors being visited on Ukraine must be a wake-up call for us that peace is something you need to work at. What is happening in Ukraine is truly shocking but, sadly, it is not surprising. We have seen it coming. Ukraine now stands alone, unprotected by the treaties that protect us and allow us to believe that peace is a normal state of affairs—but it is not. Peace is a choice, a decision that we make each day about the way we live and about our responsibilities to and with our neighbour, be that in our family, in our community or between the nations of the world. We need the policies, the wisdom, the tenacity and the international resolve that will deliver it.
The Bishop of Coventry echoed calls from the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury to pray for peace, and highlighted the need to coordinate in support of refugees, following a government statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, while weapons of war reduce people and property to ash, will the Leader join me in commending the Pope on calling for a day of prayer and fasting for peace next Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and in commending the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury on calling us all to join in that world movement of prayer and calling all churches of this land to set aside Sunday as a day of prayer for peace? Also, would she care to expand on her answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, on the humanitarian response, especially in terms of how we are co-ordinating our response with European partners to the predicted refugee crisis? The Leader may be glad to know that Coventry City Council has assured me that it stands ready to do its part should that be needed, as it has been in the past.
On 20th May 2021 the Bishop of Southwark asked a question in the Lords about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: Some of your Lordships may be aware that I returned from Jerusalem yesterday evening, where I attended the very joyful installation of the new Anglican archbishop there. From an earlier answer given by the Minister, I take it he agrees that, until the underlying causes that gave rise to the clashes on Temple Mount, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where I was staying, and the conflict between Hamas and Israel, are addressed, Israelis and Palestinians will not enjoy security, experience justice or build a relationship of mutual respect and regard? Does the Minister agree that, for violence to permanently end, Israel’s occupation must also end?
On 19th May 2021 the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke in the House of Lords on the fifth and final day of the debate on the Queen’s Speech.
My Lords, it is a privilege to speak in this debate on the Gracious Speech after the Noble Lord, Lord Hannay with his vast experience and knowledge, and I have learned much from his speech and agree with what he’s said.
The Integrated Review of Global Britain in a Competitive Age has much to be welcomed, including especially the thoughtfulness about the security implications of climate change, the strong commitment to Freedom of Religion and Belief and the commitment to restore the 0.7%. However, to speak of security, defence, development and foreign policy without a developed section on peacebuilding and peace-making, especially with competitors, is like speaking of the pandemic without mentioning vaccination.
On 25th November Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked the Government “further to the ratification by 50 countries of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, what plans they have to review their policies towards nuclear weapons.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, recently I and a number of other Bishops issued a public letter welcoming the important ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Can the Minister comment on the moral inconsistency, whereby we have rightly taken a stand on outlawing cluster bombs and landmines but not outlawing nuclear weapons, which, as we know, are far more destructive when they are used? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for nuclear weapon prohibition”
On 9th November 2020 the House of Lords debated and voted on the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill during its Committee stage. A cross-party group of Peers had tabled motions that all the clauses of Part 5 of the Bill, which covered Northern Ireland, international law, and executive powers, should not remain in the Bill. These successfully passed by large majorities across two votes.
The Archbishop of Canterbury had also sponsored an amendment with Lord Eames that Ministers report on the effect of the Bill’s provisions on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, which he spoke to during the debate:
The Archbishop of Canterbury [V]: My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 161*, to which I have added my name, alongside the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, the noble Lord, Lord Hain, and the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick. The previous speeches have all been both moving and deeply eloquent, and I shall therefore be very brief.
As the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, so powerfully explained, the purpose of our amendment is simply to put on the record a concern that this Bill in its current form fails to take into account the sensitivities and complexities of Northern Ireland, and could have unintended and serious consequences for peace and reconciliation. The noble and right reverend Lord spent 20 years as Archbishop of Armagh, between 1986 and 2006, and the force of his words was most remarkable. He has experience of everything from the funerals in small churchyards of those caught up in the Troubles through to negotiations behind the scenes for the Belfast agreement. He speaks with the integrity and authority that those 20 years have earned him, and I trust that the House will listen carefully. Continue reading “UK Internal Market Bill – Archbishop supports amendments on Northern Ireland impact”
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