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more views of the Times interview

Updated Wednesday evening

Two American views:

BabyBlueOnline has reproduced a significant extract from the recent interview in The Times , linked it to remarks made during the Lambeth Conference in 2008, and added further commentary. Read all this at Rowan Williams tells The London Times: “It’s a question about a particular choice of life.”

… in this interview from The Times he articulates that he is not a political activist, he is the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is resisting the politicization of his office on this matter, instead taking the position that it is a matter of theology, not purely a matter of rights. He does not fall for the tactic of aligning women’s ordination with the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals since he states quite clearly, “the question about gay people is not about their dignity or the respect they deserve as gay people, it’s a question about a particular choice of life, a partnership, and what the Church has to say about that.” He does not agree that homosexuality is like another gender or race (as in the case of suffrage and civil rights), but that we all have choices about our behavior and as far as the church is concerned at this point, those choices have consequences in the matters of ordination and marriage…

Walking with Integrity has Integrity Leader Challenges Archbishop: “Enough, Double Talk”

…Maybe the Archbishop doesn’t actually think that gay (and lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people deserve respect, or that God really loves them. Or maybe, against mountains of scientific evidence, he thinks that people choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The most common way of making sense of the Archbishop’s argument, at least among the people who pay attention to Integrity, reflects rather badly on him as a moral leader. Perhaps he really has nothing in particular against gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender) people, but he simply doesn’t think that their freedom to live in loving, intimate, and committed relationships is as important as keeping the Anglican Communion together. Keeping the party going with its current guest list is the important thing, even if it means that some people need to be blocked by bouncers at the door…

And now more views from Changing Attitude in Gay bishops still don’t exist in the public domain (except in the USA)

“Gay bishops are all right by me, says Archbishop” was the front page headline in The Times on Saturday. More accurate but far less enticing might have been the line proposed in a comment on Thinking Anglicans – “Single, celibate, preferably virgin and never-once-promoted-gay-equality bishops are all right by me.”

…If there is no problem with a celibate gay person being a bishop, why are none of the 3 gay Primates in the Anglican Communion able to be open about their sexuality and why are none of the 10 to 13 gay bishops in the Church of England able to be publicly open? Some are married, some or single and celibate, some are not, all are closeted. The recently published survey estimated that 1.5% of the UK are gay or bisexual. Eight percent of Anglican Primates are gay and 10% of Church of England Bishops…

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Bill DilworthColin CowardTobias HallerFather Ron SmithSimon Sarmiento Recent comment authors
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Mary O'Shaughnessy
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Mary O'Shaughnessy

Since getting involved with a secular disaster relief organization a few years ago, I have lost nearly all interest in the church’s structure beyond my diocese. I see nothing worthwhile in Anglican communion structures. These committees and offices do nothing to help people in genuine need, that can’t be done more effectively by other groups. I certainly don’t gain any spiritual sustenance to continue in my following Jesus. Listening to all the hot air just gets me irritated and depressed, and convinces me that bureaucracy has nothing to do with the Gospel. These people don’t want me or any gay… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Abp Williams staked out his position long ago and has explained it clearly many times. It is one designed to infuriate both sides on the issue, but it is also one that is designed to keep the conversation open between both sides. “Perhaps he really has nothing in particular against gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender) people, but he simply doesn’t think that their freedom to live in loving, intimate, and committed relationships is as important as keeping the Anglican Communion together.” Lambeth 1998 forbids him to stress that freedom irrespective of what the wider church thinks, and he said… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I see babyblue believes that Jeffrey John was the preferred name of the Crown Nominations Commission.Evidence?

Jonathan Clatworthy
Guest

Rowan is a child of the Oxford Movement. First it exalted the status of bishops way above anything before. Call them ‘My Lord’ and put them on a high pedestal, lower only than the one reserved for archbishops. I was brought up like this. But then what happens if you become an archbishop yourself? I was never given the chance to find out, but I can quite see how it leaves Rowan thinking he should suppress his merely human (merely professor of theology) opinions and play the role. His job is not to care for the well-being of gays and… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

‘but it is also one that is designed to keep the conversation open between both sides.’

Conversation ? — What conversation ?

I am aware of none.

For myself I am long past ‘conversation’.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“If there is no problem with a celibate gay person being a bishop, why are none of the 3 gay Primates in the Anglican Communion able to be open about their sexuality”

Uff da! (Trans. roughly “Say it like it is!”)

****

Aw, you won BabyBlue’s stamp of approval: happy now, Rowan?

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Spirit of Vatican II said, “Lambeth 1998 forbids him to stress that freedom irrespective of what the wider church thinks.”

Really? Does the Lambeth Conference dictate what the Archbishop of Canterbury can or cannot do or say?

News to me.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“(1) a divinely revealed truth
(2) proclaimed as such by solemn church teaching
(3) hence binding now and forever on the faithful.”

I’m sure RW agrees with this account of dogma, as indeed Newman did, but he certainly is open to development and change, as is seen in his attitude to the evaluation of gay relationships (not that these come under the precise rubric of dogma).

MarkBrunson
Guest

Babyblue is okay with Williams’ statement?

Can the Devil be far behind in publicly expressing his support?

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“keep the conversation open” — better, “keep both sides from walking away from the Communion”.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

In his letter to the Primates on the day of him appointment, Rowan Williams said that ‘the Lambeth resolution of 1998 declares clearly what is the mind of the overwhelming majority in the Communion, and what the Communion will and will not approve or authorise. I accept that any individual diocese or even province that officially overturns or repudiates this resolution poses a substantial problem for the sacramental unity of the Communion’. So whether or not Lambeth 1998 objectively forbids Rowan to be a drummer for liberal views, it is clear that from the start he has regarded it as… Read more »

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

I think Colin Coward’s comments are very much to the point. Although the ABC surely knows that there have (always) been and are clergy and bishops in the C-of-E (and elsewhere in the AC) who would define themselves a gay (etc), when Los Angeles nominated a partnered-Lesbian, he was on the telephone within just a few hours to say ‘Don’t elect her’. There is some deep tradition in England, and perhaps in Europe, which favors hypocrisy over honesty and not only so far as sexual orientaion is concerned. I have already told the story here of Cardinal Kasper who said… Read more »

badman
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badman

Mary O’Shaughnessy, I think most people in the pews think as you do – they go to church, they worship, they do their best to live the gospel. The Anglican Communion isn’t very important. It has got increasingly self important since George Carey’s time, and it is arguably, and on balance, no longer a force for good. I am grateful for those who fight to make it better, or at least against its tendency to do its worst. I take Spirit of Vatican II’s point. But I think Rowan exaggerates the value of the Anglican Communion. It’s just not worth… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II
Bill Dilworth
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There are three gay Primates?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

” Keeping the party going with its current guest list is the important thing, even if it means that some people need to be blocked by bouncers at the door…” – ‘Integrity’ Statement – Then, if one can believe the latest ‘hot news’, from the ‘virtue-on-line’ web-site; there is soon to be a ‘party-pooping’ fiasco before the next Primates Meeting. Several Global South Primates have said they will not attend if the Presiding Bishop of TEC is invited. Whereas, the admirable Rt. Reverend Katherine Schori has expressed her intention of attending (if invited). This will undoubtedly cause a kerfuffle in… Read more »

MrsBarlow
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MrsBarlow

Bring back the Royal Supremacy I say, and let Elizabeth II sort it all out.

Deacon Charlie Perrin
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Deacon Charlie Perrin

“Rowan Williams said that ‘the Lambeth resolution of 1998 declares clearly what is the mind of the overwhelming majority in the Communion, and what the Communion will and will not approve or authorise. I accept that any individual diocese or even province that officially overturns or repudiates this resolution poses a substantial problem for the sacramental unity of the Communion’.”

Overwhelming majority of the Communion??? Really??? That assumes that all the Primates speak for the people of their Sees. This assumption is dangerous. I think these prelates have neither a clue as to what their people think nor do they care.

clairejxx
Guest
clairejxx

As someone who is researching gender and sexuality for my PhD study I find ABp Rowan’s statement, “the question about gay people is not about their dignity or the respect they deserve as gay people, it’s a question about a particular choice of life, a partnership, and what the Church has to say about that.” He does not agree that homosexuality is like another gender or race (as in the case of suffrage and civil rights), but that we all have choices about our behavior and as far as the church is concerned at this point, those choices have consequences… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“That assumes that all the Primates speak for the people of their Sees.”

Well Lambeth ’98 would measure bishops, not Primates, Deacon Charlie, but your point still holds.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Yet again Rowan knowingly and one must presume, intentionally with clear premeditation, sidesteps the real modern empirical point: queer folks choose and do not choose their sexual orientations in pretty much the same ways that straight folks do. Accept that shifted direction as our working frame, and the questions shift: Why do we then distinguish so categorically, queer folks vs straight folks? I also read Rowan sidestepping again the vexed contradiction, wherein one is pledged to believe any number of particular horrid things about queer folks (Their sexual orientation does not in fact genuinely exist, but is always presuppositionally reduced… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

I am interested to know if there is some secret list of Bishops and Primates who happen to be gay. I have no problem believing it, but it seems rather flippantly thrown into the conversation without much to back it up.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Mary O’Shaughnessy – I try to separate my life in the parish and community from my views of the global church. I worship and serve, but cannot be a Episcopalian and pretend that the plight of my LGBT brothers and sisters isn’t important. I am a cradle Episcopalian, and have that look, breeding and education. People count on me to express my views, and I do. Feeding the homeless at the shelter is a different way of serving those in need. I beg you to stop hiding if you support our brothers and sisters who love others of the same… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

clairejxx, the “choice” he is talking about it the choice to live one’s sexuality in a partnership, but it is true that he should have been aware of the bad resonances that word “choice” has because of its use by homophobes who claim that homosexual orientation is a “choice” (ditto for his use of the word “wound”).

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“I think Rowan exaggerates the value of the Communion”. As long as he has the job of being an “instrument of unity” for the Communion he has to ascribe to it a very great value. Gay rights will sort themselves out as soon as Anglicans generally make up their mind about them, but in the meantime learning to live with an unresolved disputed question and to bear patiently with those with whom we disagree is a far more Christian behavior than impulsive resort to schism.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

There is not a shred of evidence to show that she was in charge of the Abbey… founding and leading are two different things. Read Butler’s lives of the Saints. Go to the primary sources and stop side-tracking.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Rowan is a product of modernism and not the Oxford movement.

He approves re-marriage after divorce, contraception and women’s ordination. There is a very good review of his theology just published by the Latimer Trust…Shadow Gospel.

MarkBrunson
Guest

“Read Butler’s lives of the Saints. Go to the primary sources and stop side-tracking.” I think that’s probably mistakenly posted to this thread, but it’s too silly not to point and laught at. Really?! *Lives of the Saints* as *primary* source? Tell me, do you consider the *Blue Fairy Book* to be a primary source for historical context, as well – an accurate representation of life in the Middle Ages? How about *Das Kapital* as a balanced view of capitalist economics? I’m sure *Mein Kampf* provides a realistic and entirely reliable take on both German history and the Jewish race.… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes please keep the historicity of Butler’s Lives on the SSWSH thread only, please.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

To get back to the Times interview which (R.I.W.) is the real subject of this thread: comments have rightly pointed to the fact that The Archbishop of Canterbury has both a private and a public view about the incidence of homosexuality – as a phenomenon – both in the Church and in the World. In his opinion stated here, the ABC cites the long-standing tradition of the Church that clergy (including bishops) are expected to exercise their ministries without attracting the alarming possiblity of any scandal attaching to their public office. This, on the face of it, is a quite… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Thanks Fr. Ron. Equally important to the social / scientific data is the presence of the signs of the Spirit, which, _pace_ Dr. Seitz (see his confused essay on Acts 15 in _Figured Out_), includes other things than glossolalia. Arguably more important are the signs of peace, fidelity, love, unity, and prophecy — which is to say, truth-speaking.

Colin Coward
Guest

I’ve picked up the comments by Bill Dilworth – are there three gay Primates?

and Doug: “I am interested to know if there is some secret list of Bishops and Primates who happen to be gay. I have no problem believing it, but it seems rather flippantly thrown into the conversation without much to back it up.”

on the Changing Attitude blog, which is more an explanation of why I’m not able to give an answer at the moment. It certainly wasn’t thrown into the conversation flippantly but with deadly serious intent: http://changingattitude-england.blogspot.com/2010/10/do-gay-bishops-and-primates-exist.html

Bill Dilworth
Guest

Colin, my comment wasn’t “Are there three gay Primates?” (indicating doubt) but “There are three gay Primates?” (which, at least in my mind, indicates surprise). I wasn’t asking your to back up your assertion so much as to explain something I’d never heard before.