Bishop sorry for "political" funeral sermon

A bishop has apologised after relatives of a soldier killed in Afghanistan criticised his sermon at the funeral.

Bishop Tom Burns said sorry "without excuse or reservation" for any distress caused last Friday in Carmarthen to the family of Bombardier Samuel Robinson.

His father, Dennis Robinson, said the bishop made "political points" about funding and a lack of equipment" which in this case were "irrelevant".

Samuel Robinson's sister has also written to the bishop to complain.

Bishop Burns, of the mid and west Wales Roman Catholic diocese of Menevia, said in a public statement: "If what I said in my sermon added to Mr Robinson's distress, which I did not intend, I ask him to accept my apologies, without excuse or reservation."

Bombardier Robinson, aged 31, of 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, was killed in an explosion in the Sangin district of Helmand on 8 July.

He made four operational tours in Afghanistan, and played an active part in Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther's Claw, a major assault against the Taliban in Helmand ahead of Afghan elections.

Bishop Tom Burns made the remarks during his sermon
At least 300 friends, well-wishers and family members attended his funeral last week.

In his sermon, Bishop Burns asked when "will those who take us to war ever learn?"

He said: "Cuts in funding and personnel, equipment, vehicles, helicopters, strategic planning and better military intelligence on the ground; these are cuts that are not the answer.

"For the military covenant implies a moral imperative.

"In return for a soldier's commitment and dedication, even unto death, a government will ensure that when it sends a soldier into conflict he will have everything he requires to complete his task."

Dennis Robinson told BBC Wales: "It was more the fact that he was making political points in terms of the funding and the lack of equipment which in this case was completely irrelevant.

"My son unfortunately was on foot patrol when he was caught by an improvised explosive device.

"No amount of funding and no amount of extra equipment would have saved him."

Mr Robinson added: "Because of what's happening in Afghanistan at the moment, I don't think it's unreasonable to say there are going to be more Welsh boys coming home as with Sam, and I think it's an absolute travesty for the bishop to trot out the same tired speech again and again".
Poor old Bish.

He would have been criticised no matter what he said, by the sound of the gnashing of teeth from Bombardier Robinsons family.

R.I.P. lad.
The anguish, sadness and anger of the Robinson family is understandable.

I also, with every respect to the memory of Bombardier Robinson, and to his family and friends, believe the bishop was right to criticise the dreadful record of the previous government regarding its 'management' of the military.
I think the family felt there was a time and a place for criticism and that doing at his funeral service was inappropriate.I tend to agree with the family,although I do share the bishop's point of view.
I always thought a funeral speech was to extoll the virtues of the person getting buried and to soothe the distress of the bereaved,getting on a soapbox and winding the congregation up seems a bit selfish as he´s pushing his own views to a paying audience.

Maybe a simple vicar would have done a better job and not a prat who wants a bit of publicity or promotion,piss poor drills IMHO!
I agree with the family, why start making a speech at a funeral? I also find it rather odd that the Bishop chose to apologise through the media rather than in person. Did he speak to them before the funeral service, or did they unfortunate young man just provide a handy peg on which the Bishop could hang whatever speech he felt like making at the time?
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