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Home News Bishop Nicholas Speaks on Violation and Forgiveness in TV Interview

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Bishop Nicholas Speaks on Violation and Forgiveness in TV Interview

by glynch — last modified 22 Mar, 2018 08:02 PM

Bishop Nicholas interviewed by South Coast TV legend Fred Dinenage on Skripal attack aftermath

In a major interview with ITV Meridian News, the Bishop of Salisbury has expanded on his comments that the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal was a ‘violation’.

In the interview with legendary South Coast TV reporter Fred Dinenage, which was broadcast this evening, he also spoke of the resilience of the city of Salisbury, his concern for the victims of the attack, relationships with Russia, the importance of Christian faith in challenging times, and the challenging nature of forgiveness.

Video of the interview is available via the ITV Meridian News website at

A transcript of Bishop Nicholas’ comments in the interview follows:

“It is a violation of our community because this happened in a public place. It’s also a violation of international conventions. When spies are swapped, there’s meant to be the drawing of a line.

“This stuff must go on all the time in our world, yet we aren’t that aware of it. Something has become visible which causes all of us to be anxious, not about the locality, but about the trust we have in one another.

“The whole city has been impacted by this, and the city is a very resilient place as well. So, I have no doubts that we’ll recover. We’ll get through this and people will come here again.

“There are two people in hospital whose lives have been so badly damaged they’re still in intensive care, the policeman who came to their aid, they’re the people I care about most at the moment. The city cares about them too, the hospital cares about them.

“The city will recover. It will take some time, but actually I feel very confident about Salisbury being resilient.

“Church is part of the way we build community. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Church in Russia, and wondering about the relationships that we can have – not with the Russian state, that’s not my business, that’s the business of government – but with Russians. With people who are like us, who also want to live in a world where we belong together.”

When asked by Dinenage if this incident had shaken his faith, the Bishop Nicholas replied:

“Why? This is a moment where Christian faith really matters, because what shows through is a God who loves us. We’re not here because we’re good but because God loves us and cares for us, and we have a responsibility to care for one another. Love God, love your neighbour as yourself.

“Who is my neighbour? Actually everybody is your neighbour. We have a duty and a responsibility to each other.

“What happened was a disgrace. That it happened publicly and endangered others, there’s a very clear line about the right and wrong of this.

“Is that the end of the story? Of course it’s not. We all have to work out how to live together once again.

When asked if he could honestly forgive the perpetrators of a dastardly act, Bishop Nicholas replied:

“It’s quite difficult in human terms, isn’t it? I think our job is to build a society that is just, where people are held to account for their actions, and where there are opportunities for building new life. Forgiveness is complex. Some judgements have to be God’s hands rather than ours.”

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