Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Welby at Greenbelt

There is a report by James Macintyre in Christian Today of an interview conducted at the Greenbelt Festival by Church of England priest and British television personality Kate Bottley. The headline under which it appears is: Justin Welby: ‘I am constantly consumed with horror’ at the way the Church has treated gay people.

The part of the interview to which the headline relates is this:

…Asked by an audience member who was due to enter a civil partnership when the Church would be in a position to bless the union, the Archbishop simply said that he did not know. “I don’t have a good answer to it,” he said. “If we were the only Church here and [there were] no other Churches, and if division didn’t matter it would be much easier to answer”.

Welby said that the inclusion of gay people and safeguarding against abuse were the two issues which he lies awake thinking about at night.

“Do I know when there will be a point when the blessing [of the civil partnership] will happen? No. I don’t and I can’t see the road ahead”. He added that the Church started from a traditionalist position, moved on to out of touch and then “vicious” and “now we just look odd”.

He said “we have to find a way to love and embrace everyone who loves Jesus Christ” but he added that this included people who feel – or come from societies which believe – that same-sex relationships are “deeply, deeply wrong”.

Welby talked of an “incredible clash that is so important to so many people and goes to the heart of the identity of so many people”. He added: “There isn’t a simple solution… I haven’t got a good answer.” To applause, he said “I am constantly consumed with horror” at the way in which the Church has treated the gay community…

The article reports what he said on a variety of other topics too. I do recommend reading the entire article. If further detail becomes available I will add links here.

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Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

I think the Archbishop actually said that the C of E had gone from out of touch, to vicious, to toxic and is now just seen as plain odd.

I think he ought to know that as far as many people in England are concerned it has not yet outgrown its toxicity. When things become odd they can become beloved again. I fear we are a long way from that happening to the established church yet.

June B Butler
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June B Butler

If I did not know better, I’d think Justin Welby’s quote was from satirical website. He said “we have to find a way to love and embrace everyone who loves Jesus Christ” but he added that this included people who feel – or come from societies which believe – that same-sex relationships are “deeply, deeply wrong”. Embrace them, indeed. People who believe same-sex relationships are “deeply, deeply wrong” should definitely not enter into same-sex relationships. Why must people who believe same-sex relationships can be deeply, deeply right suffer for the beliefs of others? When will Justin advise bishops in the… Read more »

John S
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John S

I agree with Jeremy above in that I also don’t think that the church’s toxicity has peaked yet; but I also believe that Justin’s observations need to be extended: the CofE started as more inclusive; it was then prophetic (contra societal norms) in its stance on LGB people; it was then inclusive in a different way (providing a slightly hidden ‘safe’ subculture,) before it then became ‘traditionalist’. One of the interesting paradoxes that I continue to reflect upon is that the Communion barely existed as a self-conscious entity until the consecration of Gene Robinson; if you accept that analysis, it… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

‘Asked by an audience member who was due to enter a civil partnership when the Church would be in a position to bless the union, the Archbishop simply said that he did not know. “I don’t have a good answer to it,” he said. “If we were the only Church here and [there were] no other Churches, and if division didn’t matter it would be much easier to answer”… ‘He said “we have to find a way to love and embrace everyone who loves Jesus Christ” but he added that this included people who feel – or come from societies… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

I’d also add that the issue of Justin’s misrepresentation of the outcome of the Anglican Consultative Council was no small matter. In my opinion that was cynical politicking in an attempt to control the meeting’s resolutions within his own spin, out of fear that the Primates’ anti-gay initiative would start to unravel. I’m afraid I think Justin was disingenuous on that occasion. It led to the outgoing council members and Standing Committee (including the Chair) repudiating Justin’s spin and misrepresentation. As he was there, it is pretty obvious that he knew the Primates’ threatened consequences had not been accepted (even… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

When did the church move from teaching people what is right according to Scripture to trying to find ways to accommodate opposing views within the same church? As Welby realises, it doesn’t work. The church needs to get off the fence and either say “As we understand Scripture same sex sex is ‘deeply, deeply wrong’ and our position on that isn’t going to change. “ Or “As we understand Scripture, there is no difference between same sex marriages and any other marriage. The church will not support discrimination.” Welby is looking for a way in which he doesn’t have to… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“To applause, he said “I am constantly consumed with horror” at the way in which the Church has treated the gay community…” But not sufficiently consumed with horror as to actually do anything about it, sadly. Martin Luther King had Welby’s number, of course. “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted… Read more »

scooper
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scooper

Thinking someone rose from the dead used to be traditional…… Now it’s just odd…

Father David
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Father David

What else did Archbishop Justin have to say at the Greenbelt Festival on other issues? I’m sure he didn’t confine what he had to say to this single issue alone. It would be refreshing if TA were to give a fuller and more comprehensive report on the Archbishop’s address in its entirety.

Kate
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Kate

@Interested Observer – a very well-chosen quotation

mdav
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mdav

That King quote is just devastating. What a beacon of justice he was.

Andrew Lightbown
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Andrew Lightbown

Justin is carrying both the cross of tradition and expectation. I think he wants to move forward but will not really be able to do so, until some provinces walk and ‘we’ can then face up to the fact that the Anglican Communion is a busted flush allowing ‘us’ to stop pretending its a global denomination. ‘We’ can then focus on C of E issues.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Who is the “we” that you refer to? ‘We’ are the members of the Church of England, and we believe a diversity of things about human sexuality. It is not either/or when it comes to the truth of what ‘we’ believe. It is both: “As we understand Scripture same sex sex is ‘deeply, deeply wrong’ and our position on that isn’t going to change.” AND “As we understand Scripture, there is no difference between same sex marriages and any other marriage. The church will not support discrimination.” Personally I suspect that the Church of England is divided almost exactly 50-50… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

The Church of England is not the only church, but it’s the only church that ought to matter when the Church of England is deciding whether clergy in the Church of England can marry under the canons of the Church of England.

I could say “Church of England” a few more times, but that would belabor the point.

The Archbishop of Canterbury needs to stop worrying about the Communion so much.

Come home, Canterbury!

Kate
Guest
Kate

Susannah, can you see Mandela saying we should move from Apartheid being mandatory to it being optional? That’s your suggestion in a nutshell. Instead of the Church as a whole saying “same sex couples not welcome” which at least looks like important principles of theology imposed nationally, we replace that with individual parishes saying “same sex couples not welcome” which just looks like institutionalised prejudice. In PR terms it is a disaster and I think Welby is astute enough to recognise that. Inevitably you would get a tabloid running a story that a gay couple were not allowed a blessing… Read more »

I_T
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I_T

Consider how things are in the US TEC. Most dioceses are aboard with marriage equality; the General Convention has agreed. But no individual priest or parish can be forced to participate. The unfriendly dioceses are encouraged to find a solution for LGBT couples wanting to marry (it’s not clear how graciously they do this). So, it’s not completely uniform, there is still dynamic tension, which can be unsatisfactory to both sides. Still, I would argue to be able to live in that dynamic tension is an example of “good disagreement”. It can be done. Now, many conservatives did leave, at… Read more »

john holding
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john holding

I’ll be honest: Justin cares about Africa: he doesn’tcare about Canada or the US or Scotland or…ot… In effect, he cares about people he agrees with, and he doesn’t care about people like me — who have been Anglican longer than he’s been alive. Bluntly, I simply don’t believe in his anguish or his tortured nights or anything else he says on occasions like this. He’s said things too often that turn out to be outright false or are, at best, “massaged” — as the PR people say. If he weren’t ABC, then it would be his business, or perhaps… Read more »

William Tighe
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William Tighe

“When did the church move from teaching people what is right according to Scripture to trying to find ways to accommodate opposing views within the same church?”

In England, 1559.

Susannah Clark
Guest

William, how did the Church of England draw back from the more exclusive Protestantism under Edward VI? To what extent did Elizabeth and her advisors consciously set out to hold onto catholic-inclined subjects? Where was the dividing line between deliberate prayer book ambiguity in its wording, to provide catholics with a conscientious let-out, and the undoubted persecution of catholics that continued during her reign? It’s a subject that fascinates me, because the genius of Anglicanism seems to me to be its operation of grace and love through inclusion, and I feel that genius could be operative again today in a… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What is it about Archbishops in the Anglican Church that gives them the propensity to speak with ‘forked tongues’ on anything to do with sexuality? Do you think it’s the GAFCON influence? Or is it the mistaken idea that you cna actually fool some of the people even half of the time? Words spoken at the liberal gathering of GreenFest need to be backed up with more than a sorry admission of fear of offending a group in the communion who have, after all, already assembled their own ‘Primates’ Council; issued their own manifesto: ‘the Jerusalem Statement’; and refused to… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“William, how did the Church of England draw back from the more exclusive Protestantism under Edward VI?” Elizabeth and her advisors (Cecil primariy? Who knows?) – I don’t know to what extent the queen was “calling the shots” or balancing out the varied urgings she must have been receiving from those whom she trusted and respected – seem to have desired a Settlement (a) that was fundamentally Protestant (and more Reformed than Lutheran), (b) that would not gratuitously offend those of conservative predilections (cf. the changes made in 1559 to what was basically a restored 1552 Prayer Book) and possibly… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“To what extent did Elizabeth and her advisors consciously set out to hold onto catholic-inclined subjects?” I think that this motivated them to a considerable extent; and also, there was the Queens own preference, not exactly for a more “ritualistic” settlement than most of her new bishops (including Jewel – who thought that Zurich under Bullinger was the purest and best church seen on Earth since the days of the apostles, and a model for England to follow), but one that was more ceremonious and especially “music-friendly” than anything to be found in Reformed Switzerland. The Queen once told the… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“Where was the dividing line between deliberate prayer book ambiguity in its wording, to provide catholics with a conscientious let-out, and the undoubted persecution of catholics that continued during her reign?” I think that the Queen would have insisted that she persecuted/prosecuted Catholics for traitorous or seditious violation of the law (and she authorized, later on in the reign, the prosecution and execution of a few seditious separatist “Puritans” as well) while for many of her councillors the words of one of her judges at the treason trial of a Catholic priest – I forget whom or when – “your… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

Of course, in much of what I have written in these comments I am merely “channeling” the views of Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch. You might wish to read, especially, his Prothero Lecture of 2004 (published in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society in 2005 with the title “Putting the English Reformation on the Map”) and his essay “The Latitude of the Church of England,” which (if the link works) you can read here:

http://www.anglicanism.org/admin/docs/latitude_2.pdf

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Fr. Ron,

Because they are afraid. I have become convinced that some of the Christians with the least faith or trust have the titles “Bishop,” “Archbishop,” “Metropolitan,” and even “Archimandrite.”

As soon as there is much investment of self-image, there is much failure of faith.

Susannah Clark
Guest

William, Thank you very much for that fantastic link on the Elizabethan Settlement and beyond. Very helpful, and I commend it to anyone else interested in the subject, and the early evolution of the Church of England. It’s fascinating for the ‘stasis’ Elizabeth seems to have imposed (and brakes on further change), and her instincts for latitude; along with Hooker’s later championing of ‘probabilities’, rather than scriptural certainties. It’s mainly interesting as a thesis, for the way it demonstrates the primary struggle going on *within* Protestantism, rather than with Catholicism. Calvinism, and puritanism, seemed more acute threats to the Settlement… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

It’s pretty rich to hear how horrified Justin is when he is engaged in persecuting his LGBT, married clergy. It’s also hard to forget how he tried to spin the word “received” to deceptively suggested that ACC’s Executive Council had accepted, agreed with, and/or supported the rant by the Primates, inappropriately demanding “consequences” on TEC. One of the things revealed by ACC16 in Lusaka, and the Anglican Women’s “Walking Together” statement, is that the grass roots level of the communion is completely disinterested in the sabre rattling and tension being created by the all-male primates. So let’s remember that when… Read more »

Fr William
Guest

I genuinely think that Welby has an awful job. He could make it easier for himself by concentrating on the job title and ditching much or all the communion stuff, but even so it would be challenging. He says, as I would expect, some things that I think are spot on, and other stuff that i think is misguided or wrong. Having said all that, the stuff he comes out with in this interview makes me cringe with embarrassment. It doesn’t somehow ring true. There’s a dissonance between what he says to this group that group, the other group, and… Read more »

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

William Tighe, very many thanks for your extremely interesting and helpful posts and for the link to Diarmaid MacCulloch’s article The Latitude of the Church of England. I’ve not yet managed to locate the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, not even in the Bod, but I shall keep on trying. Fr Ron and MarkBrunson: Yes I suspect that fear is at the root of the problem with conservative Evangelicals, though I’m not sure I would agree with MarkBrunson’s comments re Bishops etc, self-image and failure of faith. You may be interested in an article in the Journal of Abnormal… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“We achieve more as a team, as a body of many parts, as a community of diverse minds… Where there is diversity, we are compelled to fall back on the grace of God, where we are divided by dogma. And I think God can make us grow through that.” Very well (lovely—and lovingly) stated, Susannah…with this one proviso. As humans—as the Imago Dei, the kin of Jesus Christ—we are not just diverse “minds”. We’re diverse bodies, too: diverse in race, in gender, in physical abilities, in sexual orientation (what arouses our bodies) and in gender identity (the *most basic &… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Anne Lee, I don’t know that you were specifically directing me to the psychological study, but I wasn’t actually addressing the question of homophobia. I don’t think Justin Welby *is*, in fact, a homophobe, simply a politician. Nor is homophobia relevant to why it is so important, even to homophobic bishops, et al., to keep telling lies about accepting gay people – Fr. Ron’s forked tongue. It’s about power. If people leave, that’s lesser numbers, less money, less power. They have no faith that there is God with them in suffering loss and humiliation for standing for the truths they… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

I attempted the other day to respond to Anne Lee and to other readers who might be interested in Professor MacCulloch’s articles on the English Reformation and “Anglicanism.” Perhaps because the response contained three links it didn’t get through; so in this attempt I shall divided it in two. First, here are two links which may assist in accessing his 2004 Prothero Lecture, “Putting the English Reformation on the Map:”

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4193848

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3679363?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

Secondly, here is a link to a third article of MacCulloch’s on the same subject, an article which takes a side-swipe or two at Anglo-Catholic historiography, “The Myth of the English Reformation,” from the January 1991 issue of *The Journal of British Studies: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8846381&fileId=S0021937100024230 The article begins, “The myth of the English Reformation is that it did not happen, or that it happened by accident rather than design, or that it was halfhearted and sought a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism; the point at issue is the identity of the Church of England. The myth was created in two… Read more »