Bishops of the Church of England want all Britain's Christian leaders to get together in public to say sorry for the war in Iraq and its aftermath.A couple of questions. (1) Who do they, the bishops, represent? (2) Since, as the report also tells us, they 'strongly opposed the war in Iraq', what exactly are they saying sorry for? It wasn't in their name, after all. So, equally, their apology will be theirs and no one else's - except for those choosing to associate themselves with it.
The bishops say that the Government is not likely to show remorse so the churches should.
The proposal for a public apology comes in a new report published today. In the report, the bishops plead for more "understanding" of what motivates terrorists. They criticise Western democracies as "deeply flawed"...Naturally, I haven't seen the report, but if that accurately captures the balance of it, then the bishops might try extending their powers of understanding: like towards the good reasons for getting rid of Saddam Hussein and his regime; and towards the non-flaws in Western democracies as compared with some of the alternatives favoured by aggrieved terrorists; and towards the flaws in the motives of terrorists along with the motives themselves.
The four bishops - of Oxford, Coventry, Worcester, and Bath and Wells - are talking of a 'public act of institutional repentance'. Well, it may be public, but it isn't on behalf of any larger public than the bishops can legitimately claim to speak for. (Hat tip: RB.)
Update: See now here.