Thinking Anglicans

respect for the Archbishop of Canterbury

Updated again Friday evening

The Lead has published Williams won’t allow Robinson to function as priest in England in which it is said that:

…the Archbishop of Canterbury has refused to grant Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the right to preach or preside at the eucharist in England. Robinson received the news in an email yesterday morning.

Sources familiar with the email say Williams cites the Windsor Report and recent statements from the Primates Meeting in refusing to grant Robinson permission to exercise his priestly functions during his current trip to England, or during the trip he plans during the Lambeth Conference in July and August…

In the Church of England, the legal position on preaching is not the same as the position on “exercising priestly functions” and it appears that an overseas bishop would not necessarily need permission from anybody but the incumbent of the parish in order to simply preach there.

Nevertheless Bishop Robinson is respecting the wishes of the archbishop and is declining all invitations to preach in England.

Such respect is not to be found everywhere. The Lead continues:

Sources familiar with the email, which came to Robinson through a Lambeth official, say Williams believes that giving Robinson permission to preach and preside at the Eucharist would be construed as an acceptance of the ministry of a controversial figure within the Communion.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who gave his support to a failed legislative attempt to limit the rights of Nigerian gays and their supporters to speak, assemble and worship God collectively. Akinola has yet to respond to an Atlantic magazine article which suggests he may have had prior knowledge of plans for retributive violence against Muslims in his country that resulted in the massacre of more than 650 people in Yelwa, Nigeria.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Bishop Bernard Malango, the retired primate of Central Africa and one of the authors of the Windsor Report. Malango dismissed without reason the ecclesiastical court convened to try pro-Mugabe Bishop Nolbert Kunonga for incitement to murder and other charges.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, who has now claimed as his own, churches in three others provinces in the Anglican Communion (Brazil, Canada and the United States). Nor has he denied permission to preach and preside to Archbishops Henry Orombi of Uganda, Emanuel Kolini of Rwanda, or Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, all of whom have ignored the Windsor Report’s plea not to claim churches within other provinces of the Communion.

Ruth Gledhill has elaborated on the “banning” question in Bishop Gene ‘banned’.

The Living Church has an article about this also, No Pulpit Ban for Bishop Robinson by George Conger.

Episcopal Café has a quibble about this.

The Guardian had an item about it also, see here.

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pam
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pam

I cannot tell you how insulting this is to me – a straight, middle aged member of the TEC. I am so angry. I only pray that I can have half the generosity of spirit the +Robinson has displayed in the face of unremitting insults from the Archbishop of Canterbury. I fear that I am not as good as he.

andrewdb
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andrewdb

If this report is true, it sounds like TEC is no longer in communion with +Cantaur – or according to his logic, New Hampshire isn’t. I cannot begin to tell you how insulting this is to this member of TEC.

Gareth Morgan
Guest
Gareth Morgan

I had the pleasure of being at an event in London last night to mark the launch of +Gene’s book “In the Eye of the Storm”. What is remarkable – in the face of such public hatred and repulsion on the part of conservatives and the unnecessary humiliation and rejection from the ABC who should know better – is the Christ-like patience, humility and generosity of +Gene. Here is a man who walks more surely than most with the Spirit and what do those at the helm of the Communion do at such a critical time? Shun him and send… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Sounds to me as if the ABC were a school master, and a child came and complained of being bullied, he would punish the child being bullied for ‘telling on’ the bullies, and would commend the bullies for being forthright and strong. What a mess.

The saving grace for me is that every time the ABC pulls something as small and mean as this, he shrinks another foot in stature, and +Gene grows.

Soon, the ABC will be compelled to crawl on his belly like a snake.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

If bishop Gene is that bad….please take his name as Bishop of New Hampshire out of the Church of England Yearbook and Crockfords.
Stop running with the hare and the hounds.

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

hi pam, as a straight, middle aged person i also am angry and disgusted. i don’t think i can call myself a member of the c of e in the same way you call yourself a member of tec. after forty years of nearly daily attendance at the eucharist i have not attended for over a year now. rowan williams is more of a disgrace to his orders than gene robinson ever has been or shows sign of being. i’ve seen coggan and carey at canterbury, both duds, but williams is worse than a dud. he’s a bully.

counterlight
Guest

I think the bumbling Archbishop in his quest to avoid conflict has only inflamed passions further.

What is more, this will make +Robinson even more the star of Lambeth than he was before. He started out as the Gay Bishop. Now, he’s the Officially Silenced Gay Bishop. The only thing sexier than a rock star is a banned rock star.

In addition, there is no surer way to arouse nationalist passions among Americans than to have English bishops address them in the tones of an irritated headmaster. They’ll be throwing the HP sauce in the harbor.

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

If the ban on preaching and celebrating the Eucharist were extended to all gay priests, some dioceses in the C-of-E would be hard put to hold Sunday services.

Pluralist
Guest

What’s all this about better bishops? Any chance of a better Archbishop?

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/04/fear-in-warped-confession.html

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

At least the ABC knows enough to inhibit someone who will respect his request. Akinola, Venables and the others would just come and preach anyway.

BIGDAN
Guest
BIGDAN

“Those who claim to be in the light but hate a fellow-believer are still in the darkness”(TNIV)
1 John 2:9

Very, very sad situation.

Lois Keen
Guest

Feh. What Pam said at the top, from a 62+ year old lifelong Episcopalian in TEC. Why doesn’t Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury but not the whole world, know what it is he is doing? In fact, just what IS it he thinks he is doing, bullying us and one of our bishops, and at the same time cossetting the bullies of the communion? I used to admire him. I was thrilled when he was made archbishop. Feh. That’s all I can say now.

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

Question and answer time at Lambeth is going to get rough for +Rowan, I’m guessing.

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

Rowan Williams can go on an ill thought out crusade for Shahira law, but he can’t show minimal courtesy to a duly elected and consecrated bishop in TEC. The man is truly amazing.

Lois Keen
Guest

Now that a little – a very little – time has passed, I have a question, Simon. Regarding the title of this thread, do you mean to say we ought to respect the archbishop, or does the title mean to say, “This is how the archbishop views respect and acts respectfully”? Trying to regain my sense of humor, I am respectfully yours, Lois.

Josh Indiana
Guest

The fact that Robinson has been banned while Akinola, Kolini, Malango et al. have not tells me that Williams regards Robinson as the more controversial figure; I take it that is Williams’ reading on the current political reality in the C of E; that the anti-Gay, anti-women parties are currently stronger than their opponents. If so, that is much more a commentary on the state of things in the C of E than it is on Williams. There are not enough well-organized progressives to support Robinson. This makes me recall the many reports we get in TEC of closeted Gay… Read more »

robroy
Guest
robroy

Someone asked at Stand Firm why the ABC chose to act now. I pointed out that this is the second action against Gene Robinson, the first being the leaving him off the early invitation list. Lambeth 08 is clearly Rowan’s baby. RW rightly surmised that VGR would make a circus of Lambeth if invited. What VGR has done is demonstrate is that he will still make it a circus, and this is RW’s response. I would agree that it is hypocritical of Rowan Williams. Gene Robinson didn’t tear the fabric of the Communion by himself. The consecrators abetted in the… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Three cheers for +++Rowan…there is a backbone in there after all!

Ashpenaz
Guest
Ashpenaz

I notice that Bishop Robinson says “monogamous” and not “sexually exclusive.” Many gay writers believe that monogamy can exist in an open relationship if the two people are emotionally committed–so, I am not sure if Bishop Robinson is, in fact, aligning his relationship according to Christian values. Which is the problem–I am gay, and I am working for gay acceptance within the communion–but I don’t trust Bishop Robinson. I trust someone like Jeffrey John who is very clear about sexual exclusivity. For some reason, Bishop Robinson seems to me, and apparently to a lot of people, as someone who is… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Lois
I do not seek by headline writing to ask readers to do anything (other than read the article!) This headline is simply describing what the Bp of New Hampshire is doing. I think it is worthy of notice.

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

I’m struggling to see anything new in this story. As I recall, Archbishop Williams set out this position in October 2003 that Bishop Robinson was not able to function in the C of E.

Does this match with your understanding, Simon?

Neil
Guest
Neil

+Gene’s respect for the discipline meted out by +Rowan comes from a very Christian place. However, he might like to reconsider, in the light of heartfelt pleas from the wider Church who wish to hear his contribution, that a higher vocation than the scraps which Rowan refuses to offer him, awaits. The CHURCH awaits his prophetic voice. And the Archbishop of Irrelevance will fade into obscurity.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Andrew

Yes, I do not think there is any change from 2003 and more specifically from 2005 (see links to the event at SMitF) in the position taken by the Archbishop (or indeed in the position being taken by the Bishop) on this matter of officiating in England as a priest or a bishop.

Simon

Dan
Guest
Dan

Naughton’s article makes no sense. Did the GS archbishops ask permission and receive it from Canterbury to preach or celebrate? It is a straw man argument. And if permission wasn’t needed, why did he ask? So he could shine the spotlight on himself?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Patience, patience! Gene meekly obeys when the Primate of England asks him not to exercise his sacerdotal ministry in England. Venables is asked to do the same, and what happens? He is so convinced of his own righteousness that he disobeys. Gene does not condemn or deride those who are willing to split the Church over him, despite the fact that they deride him and his supporters at every opportunity. In his actions, he heaps coals on the heads of his opponents. Oh sure, there’s no good row, no great fight, no slinging. There’s just good, meek Christian behaviour. It’s… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

No change from 2005, but another underlining, when Putney wanted him, and another chance to see indeed respect in return without needing reciprocity and without loss of the making of the argument. Now I wonder where that model of non-reciprocal respect and yet still making the argument comes from? I particularly like the comment already made about priests and Levites on one side of the road, though they only passed by.

Lois Keen
Guest

Simon, thank you for helping me with the title of the post. Now I get it. Sorry to be so dense sometimes.
Lois

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Lois and others,

What do we do when people are shown clearly to be wrong? In the light of what Andrew and Simon have said above about RW, what do you think after the way you went on, would it not be really encouraging if they had the backbone to acknowedge it?

Ben W

Derek
Guest
Derek

I do agree that +Gene is being respectful and there are several stenches here. The one we want to avoid but seems implicit is clericalism.

To tell a Christian not to preach is tantamount to telling a Christian not to breathe. The importance of a man (in this case) is not just what he does in churches but outside of them as well. No archbishop can make him +Gene not be a loving, Christ-like example to all he encounters; +Gene’s the only one who can do that.

And the same goes for the lot of us too…

Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico

To a very dangerous world and to the not-so-pastoral world of ++Rowan Williams, “May I wholly inadequately apologise to my sisters and brothers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered for the cruelty and injustice that you have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of us, your fellow Anglicans, I am sorry. Forgive us for all the pain we have caused you and which we continue to inflict on you. Gene Robinson is a wonderful human being and I am proud to belong to the same Church as he.”* Desmond Tutu Capetown, South Africa *a quote taken from… Read more »

Ley Druid
Guest
Ley Druid

Is Dr. Williams not obligated to afford Gene Robinson due process in preventing him from preaching? By what mechanism and under what authority is Williams acting and can his decisions be appealed?
Canon 333 § 3 says, “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.” Is this also true of Dr. Williams? Or is he simply making things up as he goes along?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon and Andrew
Does “preaching” come under the heading of “officiating as a priest”?

David Walker
Guest
David Walker

A number of contributors to this thread have sought to identify inconsistency (or hypocrisy) in ++Rowan excluding +Gene Robinson whilst not similarly acting against ++Akinola, ++Venables etc. The test that the Archbishop has consistently applied is whether a bishop was consecrated in open defiance of the publicly expressed wishes of one or more of the Instruments of Communion. The comparison is not with ++Akinola but with +Minns and the other extra-territorials. None of these are invited to Lambeth and I would expect none of them to be given permission to function as priests within England. I’m sure a number of… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

David Yes, but IIRC others, e.g. Kunonga, were also excluded from the Lambeth invitation list for a different reason. So there is more than one category of non-invitation as far as Lambeth is concerned. Not giving permission is normally something that isn’t done unless/until permission is requested. In the case of Robinson, my recollection is that the archbishop made a public statement about it back in 2003 or so, before any request had actually been made. I am happy to be corrected on this. Erika It appears that the answer to your question is “No”. In legal terms, the rules… Read more »

Jacob Hurst
Guest
Jacob Hurst

My thoughts are with Rowan Williams. It must be difficult dealing with so many people that are so sure that they are right. Not quite sure who is being bullied. The self righteous tone of commentators from either side, depresses me.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I’m sorry, but I cannot in any way feel sorry for ++RW. Although I don’t consider him a bully, he has certainly let the bullies shove him and his communion around, and it is most certainly a lack of leadership skills that have allowed this to occur.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

++Rowan does not appear to have issued an inhibition to +GR. This would suggest that there is likely to be no problem in inviting him “to address an open meeting of the Mothers’ Union” or whatever, but should avoid the Reform Tendency holding marches and vigils (if Bible Churchmen approve of vigils). It isn’t a gagging order, and avoids the absurdity into which Charles Gore fell headlong a century ago when he inhibited Hensley Henson from speaking in a public hall in Birmingham, and was ignored for his pains.

Jacob Hurst
Guest
Jacob Hurst

Can’t really win can he. Tries to exert some mild control of the situation and he gets called a bully, if he does nothing he has weak leadership skills. I personally think where he has gone wrong is that he has expected too much from either camp.

John B. Chilton
Guest

Some in this thread are trying to explain away the issue by saying Akinola et al. are not seeking to preach and Robinson is. You’re missing the point. Let’s try this for an analogy: You go to the boss to complain that the person in the next cubicle talks loudly on the phone with his friends. The boss solves the problem by giving him a private office. Or, a teenager is being bullied by other students at school. The principal solves the problem by isolating the teen or telling the teen to stay at home saying the bullying is disruptive.… Read more »

Doxy
Guest
Doxy

Ashpenaz—that has got to be one of the most bizarre charges I’ve ever read. “Monogamous” *means* having only one partner. Why can’t you accept that +Robinson uses the word like any other normal human being, rather than making up nonsense and justifying it by waving your own sexual orientation around as an explanation for your brand new definition of a word? +Robinson is not Big Brother, and it does you no credit to try to paint him as such. In fact, I’d say it puts you in the same league as +Williams, +Akinola, et. al, who keep trying to insist… Read more »

christopher+
Guest
christopher+

Archbishop Williams has practically written and delivered Bishop Robinson’s forbidden sermon for him, bless his heart.

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

If Archbishop Rowan had said nothing about Gene Robinsons visit; he would have been wrong. If Archbishop Rowan had said that Gene could celebrate and preach; he would have been wrong. The Archbishop could not win in any situation and I think we need to have a little more respect for a man who, against all odds, is trying to hold the fragments of our communion together in the face of two very strong groups of people. Surely it is best that GR simply comes to Britain and offers his talk and goes home, instead of celebrating the Eucharist in… Read more »

Bob Webster
Guest
Bob Webster

Ashpenaz,
Why do we [GLBT] have to use different language from heterosexuals. Monogamous means monogamous. No one would challenge a straight person who used that term to add sexually exclusive. If there are those who want to claim open marriage as a form of monogamy then please challenge them, not those of us including +Gene who try to speak clearly about our faith and affections.

BIGDAN
Guest
BIGDAN

May God help the Anglican Communion.

Ashpenaz
Guest
Ashpenaz

I think if you read the writings of such gay theorists as Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, Camilia Paglia, and even Andrew Sullivan, you’ll find that “monogamy” is a code word for “committed open relationship.” Many gay couples believe they can be faithful and loyal and still create space for each other to have different sexual partners. This is actually pretty commonplace in the gay world. So when I hear a gay man say “monogamous” instead of “sexually exclusive” or even “forsaking all others ’til death do us part,” I suspect he is talking about an open relationship. I don’t have… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I am sure that supporters of GR would not like to attend the Eucharist with Placard waving protesters baring their way to Church, and if GR had celebrated, I think this was a huge possibly.”

Translation: “I might riot, so thank goodness my excuse to riot has been taken away”?

When it comes to our simple human dignity, we LGBTs have become used to being Victims-to-be-Blamed…

…but it still hurts. 🙁

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon, can I, just for once, be totally and completely off topic please? Many of you here know that my nearly 14 year old daughter has leukaemia, and you have supported us with prayers. Well, today was her last day of treament and she has now been released into normal life! Tomorrow she’ll be going to school bearing a banner: “I BEAT CANCER”. I have been particularly moved by the fact that so many of you have been praying for us, regardless of whether we share views about faith and the Anglican Communion. Man of you who have expressed concern… Read more »

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Ley Druid wrote: ‘Is Dr. Williams not obligated to afford Gene Robinson due process in preventing him from preaching? By what mechanism and under what authority is Williams acting and can his decisions be appealed? Canon 333 § 3 says, “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.” Is this also true of Dr. Williams? Or is he simply making things up as he goes along?’ I *think* you’ll find that the relevant authority is canon C8 (5). If I am right, +Rowan Cantuar: is not “making things up as he goes along”… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Ashpenaz’s comment is nothing short of bizarre. One frequently sees this technique from “conservatives.” If you can’t find anything suspect, immoral or heterodox in some comment from a liberal, then parse the words and make it up. “What if monogamous doesn’t really mean monogamous?” “You criticized donatism and docetism, but you didn’t criticize patripassionism. That proves you are a patripassionist heretic.” “Yes, what +KJS said was perfectly sound, but she didn’t really mean it.” Frankly, if I were a real conservative, I think I’d be wishing the “conservatives” would shut up and stop making the entire side of the issue… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

I am sorry but those who try to defend +Rowan as a poor victim trying to do his best I think miss the point. We are not talking about celebrating the Eucharist but speaking – preaching – which +Gene has been banned from doing. This is intolerable and unjust, and I do not think the ABC represents the wider Church which is why +Gene should reconsider taking up the offers to at least speak or preach in a CofE church.