Monday, 21 July 2008

Lambeth: Monday news reports

Riazat Butt reports on Sunday’s events in the Guardian Church crisis: Simmering dissent, pleas for unity and grass skirts in the aisles as Anglicans meet

Ruth Gledhill reports them in The Times Archbishop of Canterbury says: ‘Now we must work out what is really important’ and Joanna Sugden wrote The shindig begins with nerves and half-naked dancers

George Pitcher in the Telegraph has Bishops boycotting Lambeth Conference ‘are weakening church’s efforts to resolve crisis’

For the BBC Nick Higham asks Will the conference bring communion?

And the Radio 4 breakfast programme Today had Theo Hobson and Nick Baines discussing the conference, go here for the 6 minute segment at 0840.

James Macintyre in the Independent has Bishops back plea for ‘inclusive communion’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 July 2008 at 9:54am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Lambeth Conference 2008

I'm a liberal American who continues to be not impressed with Riazat Butt. There is certainly more going on here than she reports.. I thought the Guardian was liberal? Apparantly not?

Posted by: Phyllis on Monday, 21 July 2008 at 12:22pm BST

R. Butt (Guardian): "The Right Rev Bob Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, could be deposed because he is unhappy with the progressive agenda pursued by the US Episcopal Church."

Come now, Ms. Butt: you're swallowing Duncan's Kool-aid. There are a significant number of TEC bishops who are (in your terms) "unhappy with the progressive agenda pursued by the US Episcopal Church". They, unlike Duncan, are NOT facing deposition.

No, Duncan may well be deposed, ***because he was found to have abandoned communion*** w/ TEC, and its House of Bishops (to whom he has made oaths, at his consecration). He has done this, through instigating (illegal) changes to his diocesan canons, and through *open conspiracy* with foreign bishops violating TEC's boundaries.

This ISN'T about Duncan's "happiness" (or lack thereof). It's about his canon-breaking ACTIONS.

I really expect better from you, Riazat.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 21 July 2008 at 7:10pm BST

Apart from her guess that the bishop of Colombo was a "liberal" - I have to say the report from Ruth in the Times is very good.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 21 July 2008 at 9:09pm BST

Riazat Butt's piece in the Guardian is surprisingly poor. The headlines scream 'Crisis!', and at every point she (and the headline and caption writers) contrive to slant the story in the direction of TROUBLE.

The photograph below the headline shows several bishops, including (I think) Mary Gray-Reeves nearest the camera, leaving the Cathedral or chatting together outside the doors. The caption reads, "A female bishop leaves the Cathedral after the Lambeth Conference service." As though the sight of a female bishop were so bizarre as to render her colleagues invisible or not worthy of mention.

Emphasis is laid on the Archbishop of Canterbury "clapping determinedly out of time" to the Melanesian music and leaving the Cathedral via the wrong door at the end, causing embarrassment to "officials". Together with the sermon's reference to discord in the Communion, these were taken as "inauspicious" signs for the work of the Conference.

More omen-reading and opinionating further on in the piece:

"But the 90-minute sermon confirmed the liberal direction of the Anglican Communion and was the strongest sign yet that the US Episcopal Church would not be punished for consecrating Robinson.

"The liberal tone of the sermon, and its insistence on inclusivity and equality, upset some in the pews as did the more multicultural, politically correct aspects of the service."

The sermon cannot, first of all, have lasted 90 minutes. It also cannot be assumed to reflect the entire direction in which the Communion is moving. A sermon is a sermon, one priest's or bishop's views, and not a policy statement.

To state that aspects of the service were "politically correct" reflects blatant prejudice on the part of the reporter. She could have said, "Some in attendance regarded aspects of the service to be motivated by 'political correctness' or multicultural ideology." Instead she gives her own opinion as though it were fact. What is missed here is that the service went some way toward reflecting the actual range of cultural richness across the Communion, and most of the Bishops who have commented on their blogs seemed to find it very affecting, worthwhile and liturgically appropriate. That the Bishop of Pittsburgh thought he was listening to a Buddhist chant, and characteristically chose to take offence, shouldn't warrant this much notice.

Posted by: Mary Clara on Monday, 21 July 2008 at 11:08pm BST

Yes, Mary Clara good thoughtful reflections on Ms Butts work. I hesitated myself having slagged off her last piece - quite "off the wall" misleading in its inaccuracies. In trying to find a voice distinct from Mr Bates she seems to have abandoned good sense and careful judgment for a basin of bitch, stodge, and shallow opinions.

Other religious correspondents do this line with much greater panache than she - they have years of experience – her early promise as a fresh independent voice seems to have faded.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 at 12:18am BST

How many times do I have to remind you that reporters have no control over headlines, and in this case over picture captions?

It turns out by the way, that the words chanted to the Buddhist music were in fact Christian, Trinitarian words. One needs to be cautious when criticising something sung in a foreign language.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 at 7:20am BST
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