Michael Buerk, chairman of BBC Radio’s Moral Maze
On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed the moral authority of organised religion.
A report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has described a culture of deference in the Church of England which meant that perpetrators were allowed to hide and, when exposed, were often given more support than their victims. On the Maze, we asked whether Britain’s churches have lost all moral authority as a result of such scandals, or whether this has occurred as a result of a more profound decline in religious faith. Can such authority be repaired by good works? Some think the decline of religious authority is nothing to worry about or even something to celebrate, since individuals can make up their own morality. Others think that religion is essential for moral rules, and that its decline means a moral free-for-all and social disintegration.
My fellow panellists were Giles Fraser, Mona Siddiqui and Andrew Doyle. Our witnesses were Dr Ed Condon, canon lawyer and Washington DC bureau chief of the Catholic News Agency; the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley; Francesca Stavrokopoulou, professor of Hebrew Bible and ancient religion at Exeter university; and the Rev Stephen Trott, vicar of Broughton and Pitsford in the Peterborough diocese and a Church Commissioner.
You can listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer here.
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