Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth: more Saturday news

I said earlier that news was scarce yesterday. The Bishop of Durham leapt to the rescue, and gave interviews to all the journalists he could find, who happily quoted him at some length, but apparently didn’t ask any questions.

The longest quotes were in the Telegraph where Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote Anglican communion a ‘train wreck’, says bishop.

“All sorts of forces have built up over the years in the communion through misunderstanding and people doing things differently without really consulting,” he said.

“Sooner or later this was all going to meet and hit the buffers. It’s been like a slow-moving train wreck.”

The bishop, who is highly respected and a close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, told The Sunday Telegraph that the presence of American bishops involved in the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop, was proving divisive.

“A lot of people here have a lot of questions about why the American bishops are here,” he said. “Those questions are in the room.”

…Bishop Wright said that there was mistrust between the different factions over who was going to make the next significant move. “It’s like a very odd game of cards,” he said. “We’re all being very civil and talking politely, but people are wondering who is going to play which card next and hence what responses may be possible.”

Bishop Wright added that the summit was lacking direction and questioned how effective it would be.

“There’s a sense that we’re all not quite sure where this is going. That’s the mood of the conference. It is gloriously confusing at the moment and slightly worrying in that one has no idea what’s actually going on.”

But he also spoke to either Victoria Combe or Ruth Gledhill who wrote Gay bishop’s ‘row ‘like Iraq war’ for the Sunday Times.

One of the Church of England’s most senior bishops has compared the consecration of a gay bishop in America to the invasion of Iraq.

Tom Wright, the bishop of Durham and the fourth most senior in the English hierarchy, said both events showed Americans were prepared to act “how they please” with disregard for the rest of the world…

…Wright, who represents moderate conservative clerics who, rather than schism, want provision within the church for conservatives opposed to gay clergy and women bishops, said: “George Bush said he was going to invade Iraq. Everyone told him not to because there would be consequences, but he did it anyway.

“The Americans floated the balloon in 2003 when they consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. They knew exactly what they were doing then and they know exactly what they are doing now. They knew it would be unacceptable to the majority of the Communion. They are doing exactly as they please.”

He continued: “Either the rest of the world caves in or someone has to stand up to them.”

And he spoke to Riazat Butt whose article for the Guardian was mainly about Church of England unrest threatens to harm links with Vatican.

As a consequence of all this Jim Naughton had a dream nightmare of an interview with Bishop Wright, as reported at Live: a lesson in moral reasoning on the Episcopal Café.

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Canon G
Canon G
12 years ago

I think Bishop Wright quite insightful but his comparing the consecration of Gene Robinson to the Iraq war streches. According to Reuter’s we long ago passed the 1,000,000 deaths in the Iraq war and as far as I know, there are none in the Robinson controversy.

John Omani
John Omani
12 years ago

Jim Naughton’s piece was great. The more +Wright blathers, the more he comes across as a narcissitic imbecile. He should stick to writing books. God help us if this man ever gets an archbishopric.

Richard
Richard
12 years ago

Does Bp. Wright remember that, after the US, Great Britain was the largest component of the Coalition of the Willing, and Tony Blair’s support of the war was one of the chief arguments the administration used for saying that the invasion was not unilateral? There are those who can say that “George Bush decided” etc. but an Englishman cannot be in that company.

john
john
12 years ago

Almost unbelievably irresponsible.

In one respect only is Tom Wright a force for unity: in his home diocese (where I live) practically all shades of Anglican opinion are united in considering him a rotten bishop.

Hopper
Hopper
12 years ago

Sadly, some will do and say just about anyting to justify their own personal prejudice … be it against women, gay men, Americans, and — I’d imagine — a host of others.

What a truly irresponsible comment for a man of Bishop Wright’s rank.

Pluralist
12 years ago

I knew of the suggestion that the job of Archbishop makes the holder go mad but I didn’t think it applied to the see of Durham. Clearly this guy cannot keep his counsel.

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

This merely demonstrates that some souls can only comprehend gatherings in terms of conflict and power play. Maybe some are having withdrawal symptoms as the usual ringleaders of conflict aren’t there to set the agenda, and they were quite happy to play along on someone else’s plans. Typical dodging of responsibility. Some souls might not start the fight but don’t mind cheering and egging on when others were having a go. Such lovers of conflict and violence are suited to warring neighbourhoods where hoodlums take out vendettas and traumatize the weak and vulnerable. Hardly the kinds of souls who bring… Read more »

Katie
Katie
12 years ago

John, I live in Durham diocese as well and I *used* to think very highly of +Tom having spoken to him several times at the Cathedral. I don’t understand why he voted against women bishops the other week and as a woman considering ordination found it rather hurtful but this comment about +Gene takes the biscuit. I can’t believe a man of his learning and holiness could actually make such a crazy comparison. I can only assume that the power of being the bishop of Durham and the way it means people tend to listen to him is going to… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
12 years ago

“The bishop, who is highly respected and a close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, told The Sunday Telegraph that the presence of American bishops involved in the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop, was proving divisive. ““A lot of people here have a lot of questions about why the American bishops are here,” he said. “Those questions are in the room.”” They are there because they were invited. By your pal the ABC,who seems to have a middling better grasp of reality than you do, which is not saying much, because he can’t see +Gene,… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
12 years ago

Grandstanding, goofy grandstanding…very shabby stuff from his Durhamness.

Göran Koch-Swahne
12 years ago

I quite a d o r e the comments on the link!

MRG
MRG
12 years ago

For whom does Tom Wright speak? Jonathan Wynne-Jones, who proposes that +Dunelm is “highly respected [questionable] and a close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury” seems to imply that the good Bishop of Durham represents the “official” C of E line. But N.T. Wright has been extraordinarily – and indeed suspiciously – promiscuous in his media appearances over the last few months. Had he not managed to ram his foot with such unerring accuracy right into his flapping episcopal gob on this occasion, I would suggest that this looks, on the surface, like pretty transparent attempt to torpedo the efforts… Read more »

Wierdfish
Wierdfish
12 years ago

I guess the unintentional truth to be found in +Tom’s Iraq analogy, is the obvious bit he left out… that a flawed invasion and occupation lead to the rise of a fundametialist dominated insurgency intent on creating an authoritarian theocracy as created in their image!

john
john
12 years ago

Katie,

Thanks.

‘Maybe if he spent more time in his diocese and less time jetting here and there he’d be a bit more considered about what he says to the media…’

That’s the point EVERYBODY agrees on.

Hope we meet sometime. I’m at St Margaret’s (which, of course, he’s never visited).

badman
badman
12 years ago

N T Wright reminds me of Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army, shouting “Don’t panic” when the only person panicking is him.

He’s a person of intelligence and learning, but absolutely no judgment and a fatal smidgeon of arrogance which has been increasingly to the fore lately.

But this casual anti-American racism is really particularly unpleasant.

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

Bishop Wright’s remarks are out of date, as if he is recycling last year’s expostulations. Even his sophomoric way of referring to the Iraq War savors of hasty newspaper scanners in 2003-4. He should tune in a bit more to what seems to be going on at the Lambeth event right now. A bit of silence would be good for him.

FrDavid
12 years ago

There was a time when Durham Diocese got positive and lively publicity under Bp David Jenkins.
Alas, it’s now a laughing stock.

Mr. Arabin
Mr. Arabin
12 years ago

Um – I believe that Mr. Naughton’s piece on Bishop Wright was satire…

I am no Wright fan, but I don’t believe he said the things attributed to him. Go back and reread the article.

Nom de Plume
Nom de Plume
12 years ago

Let’s seen, now… Lambeth 1978 called for “deep and dispassionate study of the question (sic) of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research.” Lambeth 1988 called for further study, “such study … to take account of biological, genetic and psychological research being undertaken by other agencies, and the socio-cultural factors that lead to different attitudes in the provinces of our Communion.” Lambeth 1998 called for listening and for sharing of resources with respect to previous studies of homosexuality. Now, thirty years after the beginning of repeated calls for study… Read more »

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