Acting Bishop of Sheffield Peter Burrows says social media contributed to Philip North’s resignation

The acting Bishop of Sheffield has expressed his concern about the criticism of former Bishop-designate Philip North which appeared on social media.

Mr North withdrew his nomination to become Bishop of Sheffield earlier this month, after weeks of criticism from parishioners and fellow clergy about his views on women in the Church.

Peter Burrows, the Bishop of Doncaster and interim Bishop of Sheffield, said this weekend that the reaction to Mr North’s appointment had been “difficult and painful”.

“Much of the hurt and pain caused has been through the use of social and other media outlets,” said Mr Burrows.

“Perhaps that was inevitable, but it has meant that we have lived out our deeply held disagreements and concerns in the full glare of the media which has raised the temperature and tensions.

“A number of the emails and letters I received have been concerned about this most public airing of our differences.”

Mr Burrows said the Church needed to remember its commitment to the “mutual flourishing” of clergymen who could not accept female bishops.

The Church voted to allow women to become bishops in 2014, a decision which Mr North opposed.

Downing Street says a new Bishop of Sheffield will be nominated in due course.