Saturday, 21 November 2009

Rowan's Roman visit

Today The Times has a leader, Ecumenism rebuffed.

It includes this:

…In the interests of his own authority and the integrity of the Anglican tradition, he should give the pontiff two clear messages.

First, the Anglican Communion is not an arrangement of convenience among disparate parties. In creating the new structure, known as an apostolic constitution, the Vatican acted precipitately. Second, there is an impeccable case for the Church to welcome women priests and homosexual clergy. On these issues that have sharply divided Anglicans, Dr Williams is clearly liberal by temperament. Stating that position openly, regardless of its effect on Anglican-Catholic relations, is overdue…

The Independent also has a leader, Heavy hand of Rome. It says:

…Last month saw one of the most divisive acts by the Catholic Church in decades. The Pope unveiled an “apostolic constitution” which would allow practising Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Under the new arrangement, Rome would even admit married Church of England clergy and allow entire congregations to continue using their traditional liturgy and prayer book. The Archbishop has been quietly criticising the Catholic move in recent days. But behind closed doors he ought to be more direct…

In the same paper:

It is the best and worst of times for Anglo-Catholic relations by Paul Woolley

A warm welcome from the Pope sows Anglican unease by Simon Caldwell

The Church Times website has an update to the printed version, Archbishop takes the argument to Rome by Paul Handley.

Andrew Brown wrote Graphic confusion in Rome at Cif belief yesterday. He links to this helpful flow chart from The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley.

A detailed critical analysis of Anglicanorum coetibus comes from Australia, where Charles Sherlock has written Pope skips language of love in Anglicans manifesto.

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Comments

I think Dr. Williams hit the nail on the head as he described the Ordinariate as “an imaginative pastoral response to the needs of some”. So who are these 'some'?

Well it's hardly the writers of the articles "Ecumenism rebuffed" and "Heavy Hand of Rome". Nor is the atheists who have denounced the Ordinariate as a 'power-grab' and who have clearly revealed themselves to be 'Protestant' atheists.

I am fascinated how the debate has been repeatedly shaped by the words 'liberal' and 'conservative', a division that hardly existed 200 years ago. This injection of political rhetoric is a sad indicator of the coverage which religious issues get in the secular press.

There has hardly been a mention about truth, or the Truth, writ large. Indeed the Ordinariate is the imaginative pastoral solution to those Anglicans who believe that the Truth is not on the path trodden by the leadership of CoE. Without the last fifty years of ecumenical dialogue such a solution would not have been posible. This fruitful outcome lays the foundation for further unity - not schism - while still allowing the different faiths of both Dr. Williams and of Pope Benedict to flourish and embrace the consistency of their respective starting points.

Posted by: Jakian Thomist on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 2:52pm GMT

I think some comentators misunderstand an important aspect of the Ordinariates. They will not be allowed to "continue using their traditional liturgy and prayer book."

The Vatican has previously approved an Anglican use book of worship of their own devising. It is in current use in the US in the 4 or so Anglican use parishes from the previous dispensation under JP2. It is called the Book of Divine Worship. They are not about permitting whatever the Anglicans want. They are not about reinventing the wheel. These folks will shortly learn that it is all about Vatican control. They will soon miss the freedom to which they are accustomed.

Posted by: David | Dah•veed on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 4:43pm GMT

In the Guardian today under the heading 'Catholic leader's conversion warning to Anglican rebels' the Archbishop of Westminster says that Anglicans should not become Catholics to protest against female clergy or sexual ethics and warns against adopting a 'pick and mix' approach to religion. '...it must centre round the understanding of the role of the office of the Bishop of Rome'.

Those Anglo-Catholics who want to 'pope' for precisely these reasons and who have always adopted a 'pick and mix' to religion (like many of us I would venture to suggest and why not) are faced with a stark choice. This is not an easy way out for them and nor should it be.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 4:48pm GMT

What a LAME and embarrassing editorial from the Independent. Whoever wrote it could have said all this about 3 weeks ago. Can't they get somebody rather more senior and who can move things on rather more than this lamentable 6th form comment? All things to everybody...and saying sweet F A.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 5:23pm GMT

Simon Caldwell is much more on the ball...pity they did not ask him to write that editorial.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 5:27pm GMT

Well from a USA situated off shore angle, all this looks like news that is hardly news. How many Anglicans are now super suprised that the current Vatican-Pope B16 are determined to talk away, undermine, and rollback Vatican II Council gifts, all in favor of dominance, control, and a clearly backwards/closed church life agenda? I'd say, common sense tells us that anybody who goes about predicting otherwise is the passing surprise news, Man Bites Dog?

I'm glad yet mildly surprised to read the Times coming out so directly on WO and the hot button gay stuff. I'd built up a loose impression they were more against all change than not; maybe I've gotten confused trying to keep up with UK media and press?

How can a progressive USA believer not agree with the Times? Yes, Canterbury should come right out and pass on the good word - deep, careful ethical and theological work has now been done on ordination of women. Yes, deep, careful ethical and theological work on key aspects of the queer folks stuff has been done, and don't forget, a huge continuing body of updated human sciences either disconfirms the traditional negative beliefs and/or supports some initiative that is more open, more welcoming, more equal towards real, live queer folks.

Will Rowan Williams be able to come right out and say it? Could he even write down those two distinct, related clear cases in ethics or theology? Many doubt it, including me at this point, though one of the nice things about being a progressive Anglican these days is that life proves your worst expectations/predictions wrong sometimes. So far right now, though, RW seems clearly bent on sitting in Ptolemaic Cosmology trying to get his poor, keen, wizened head wrapped around Galileo, Bruno, and Copernicus when it comes to embodiment, human nature, sexuality, and some other hot button change topics.

Okay, now back to praying that Ugandan Anglicans and Ugandans in general grow more informed and well-read minds and hearts and even a whiff of common sense global citizenship decendy towards their own queer folks.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 8:21pm GMT

"today's meeting should be the occasion for a tougher tone. The Vatican has driven a wedge into the Anglican Communion. The Pope's decision has undermined Dr. Williams' authority. Dr. Williams has made valiant attempts to keep Anglicans united, partly for the sake of relations with Rome. He should recognise when effort is unavailing. There is every good reason, in theology and natural justice, for the Church to embrace the ministry of women and homosexuals. Anglicanism will be richer for it. Dr. Williams will be a bigger man for espousing it unreservedly" - Times Leader -

A very insightful and thoughtful editorial in the Times. Today's Feast of Christ The King would be a very good day to proclaim the inclusive Gospel of Jesus, whose acceptance of all people, without prejudice, is one of the hallmarks of his GOSPEL.

The Vatican needs to take this inclusive message on board, and today's meeting will offer an opportunity for the Archbishop of Canterbury to inform the Bishop of Rome of our intention to carry out the Great Commission, to bring the love and mercy of God to all the world.

Rowan has, as the article rightly points out, up until now held back on the emancipation of gays and homosexuals in our Church, in order to not antagonise the RCC. With the Pope's initiative of ignoring the ABC in his proclamation of a hostile take-over bid, Archbishop Rowan now has license to proclaim the gospel in the Anglican Way. This will set us free from obligation to please Rome.

May the Light of the Holy Spirit be brought into today's meeting of these Heads of the Church, to bring Christ's Reign into perfect focus in the life of our Anglican Communion. God Bless Rowan!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 8:39pm GMT

"The Vatican has previously approved an Anglican use book of worship of their own devising. It is in current use in the US in the 4 or so Anglican use parishes from the previous dispensation under JP2. It is called the Book of Divine Worship."

But to be fair, it's based on our BCP.

I think that permission for its use must follow the priest, rather than the congregation. Not too long ago I went to Mass at my neighborhood RC parish, which is not Anglican Use. I was struck by their use of Prayers of the People from the '79 Prayer Book, and the fact that the celebrant crossed himself like an Episcopalian. Later I learned that a priest attached to them is the former rector of my (Episcopal) parish, who poped some years ago.

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 9:57pm GMT

BillyD, I am genuinely curious....how does an Episcopalian cross themselves differently than a Roman Catholic??????

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 12:10am GMT

"May the Light of the Holy Spirit be brought into today's meeting of these Heads of the Church, to bring Christ's Reign into perfect focus in the life of our Anglican Communion."

I venture to add the Roman Catholic Church to your prayer, Father Smith, and indeed, all churches. Amen

Posted by: anthony on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 3:05am GMT

" Indeed the Ordinariate is the imaginative pastoral solution to those Anglicans who believe that the Truth is not on the path trodden by the leadership of CoE.' - Jakian Thomist -

Not so difficult to see where you're coming from, Jakian, with this little bit of jingoism. You may indeed be correct here, when you suggest that those who go along with the Pope's invitation to desert their alma mater are seeking their own version of 'The Truth'.

However, many of us believe that the Church of England, once the dust has cleared about the real intentions of Rome, will be free to move away from the restraint that the climate of faux ecumenism has engendered, to a place of reality: where the Anglican Communion can move into it's rightful place as a reformed, catholic, and outward looking branch of the Body of Christ in the modern world. Dissenters, moving to either left or right of the Via Media, will find they have not left their problems behind.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 6:37am GMT

"BillyD, I am genuinely curious....how does an Episcopalian cross themselves differently than a Roman Catholic??????"

Some don't.

RCs tend to cross themselves forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder. But I was taught in what was then the Diocese of Dallas (and is now Fort Worth) to do it forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder, back to the chest at the end.

Posted by: BillyD on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 12:59pm GMT

> Rowan has, as the article rightly points out, up until now held back on the emancipation of gays and homosexuals in our Church, in order to not antagonise the RCC.

Nonsense. All Judas Williams cares about is sucking up to Evangelicals and fundamentalists. He seems to have some sort of attraction towards fundamentalism of various kinds, as shown by his wish for elements of Sharia law to be adopted in the UK.

The man is a disgrace and a disaster. I'd prefer to see even Peter Akinola or Henry Orombi as ABC. At least they believe in something, are honest men and have the courage of their convictions.

Posted by: Robin on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 4:09pm GMT

"The man is a disgrace and a disaster. I'd prefer to see even Peter Akinola or Henry Orombi as ABC. At least they believe in something, are honest men and have the courage of their convictions."
- Robin, on Sunday -

Then, Robin, if you would actually prefer to see 'even Peter Akinola or Henry Orombi' as ABC - over the likes of Rowan Williams - you cannot possible fit into the category of 'Thinking Anglicans', so one does wonder why you bother to spill such acrimony onto this site.

Anyone who even thinks that either Akinola or Orombi would ever get within a bull's roar of occupying the historic seat of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, would need to understand their hatred of the LGBT community - to the extent that they have actively encouraged their governments to consider the prospect of imprisonment of and/or execution of gays, but also punishment of members of the families of gays who refuse to deliver them up to the authorities for imprisonment.

Archbishop Rowan, whatever else he may be, is not an advocate of imprionment and execution for anyone. In fact, his personal holiness of life, and his acute theological wisdom, is probably unique amongst the bishops of the Anglican Communion. He has certainly, at last, stood up for the ordination of women in the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 1:47am GMT

Re: Crossing question

Hmm... I've also seen a distinction in fingers. I was taught index-middle, but I see Roman Catholics using more fingers.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 2:54am GMT

Thank you BillyD, never really paid much attention to it, but to think of it have seen both (not sure were) and another variation (especially by Latin Americans) of ending with the kissing of the thumb and two forefingers at the end. I started crossing myself surreptitiously at the blessing at the end of a service untold years ago, and have noticed somebody crossing themselves when our choir started on the Magnificat at evensong the other day (??)

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 3:06am GMT

"Hmm... I've also seen a distinction in fingers. I was taught index-middle, but I see Roman Catholics using more fingers."

Don't know about this - I was taught to use the full hand.

"and another variation (especially by Latin Americans) of ending with the kissing of the thumb and two forefingers at the end."

It's just the thumb and forefinger, I think - it's supposed to form a little cross itself, which the person ends up kissing as an act of devotion.

"...have noticed somebody crossing themselves when our choir started on the Magnificat at evensong the other day (??)"

Right. If you had been at Matins, this same person might also have crossed themselves at the start of the Benedictus. It's customary at these "Gospel canticles."

Posted by: BillyD on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 11:02am GMT

Thanks again BillyD, but remember, I come from a diocese where crossing oneself is basically unheard of, and ministers are still call "Mister" (or the more horrifyingly incorrect "Reverend") I'm in NYC this week and was a dep (sub) for a suburban church and the sermon yesterday centered on "Christ the King Sunday". The preacher joked that he'd been raised in the south where it was called "The last Sunday of Pentecost". I whispered to one of the other singers and said I grew up calling it "The last Sunday of Trinity". LOL

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 2:01pm GMT

> Anyone who even thinks that either Akinola or Orombi would ever get within a bull's roar of occupying the historic seat of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, would need to understand their hatred of the LGBT community

Better their open hatred than the sly, backstabbing hatred that's been shown towards the LGBT community ever since 2003 by Rowan Williams. I have more sympathy for Peter's honest mistakes or Paul's well-meaning intransigence than for Judas's blatant treachery, sealed with a kiss.

I don't know how Rowan Williams can sleep at nights.

Posted by: Robin on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 2:21pm GMT

"Better their open hatred (Orombi, Akinola) than the sly, backstabbing hatred that's been shown towards the LGBT community ever since 2003 by Rowan Williams. I have more sympathy for Peter's honest mistakes or Paul's well-meaning intransigence than for Judas's blatant treachery, sealed with a kiss. I don't know how Rowan Williams can sleep at nights.
- Robin on Monday -

Robin, all I can say is that you must have a very deep personal hurt that calls for some form of healing - if you consider Archbishop Rowan to be the 'enemy' of the LGBT community. What the ABC has consistently held to - in the light of the continuing stand-off in the Communion by those who actually are homophibic - is to agree with their insistance that the RULES, on the position of the Bishops of the Communion at Lambeth 1998, have not changed. He is not saying that he agrees with them personally - only that they happen to be the Communion's official stance at the moment.

When the Communion can come to a common mind about the acceptance of members of the LBGT community as candidates for ministry in the Church, then I believe Rowan will be able and willing to go along with that determination. As ABC, he has certain constraints upon the expression of his personal understanding of what ought constitute the official dogmatic statement of the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Communion has already come to a reasonable consensus on the ordination of women. It has not yet reached the necessary consensus on the ordination of gays. And until there is a more cohesive statement to that end by a Lambeth Conference, the ABC has to stay with status quo - whatever his personal opinion might be.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 10:24pm GMT

"I come from a diocese where crossing oneself is basically unheard of..."

Where's that?

"...and ministers are still call 'Mister' "

When I first moved to the Diocese of Texas "Mr." seemed to be the default title for priests. I was met with puzzlement when I asked the UT chaplain's secretary if "Fr. Hines" was in.

Posted by: BillyD on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 12:49am GMT

"As ABC, he has certain constraints upon the expression of his personal understanding of what ought constitute the official dogmatic statement of the Churches of the Anglican Communion. - Fr. Ron Smith

It would be of great benefit to me as a newcomer to locate some sort of compendium or catechism of the official dogmatic statements of the Churches of the Anglican Communion. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Posted by: anthony on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 9:03am GMT

> Robin, all I can say is that you must have a very deep personal hurt that calls for some form of healing - if you consider Archbishop Rowan to be the 'enemy' of the LGBT community.

It's the same personal hurt I feel when I think of Judas's betrayal of Our Lord. In 2003 Rowan Williams deliberately, cold-bloodedly and cynically betrayed his friend, Jeffrey John. Then in 2008, like Caiaphas, he again deliberately, cold-bloodedly and cynically deemed it right that one man should die for the people - in this case, the duly and canonically elected Bishop of New Hampshire.

I should happily kneel at the altar rail to receive Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist from Archbishops Akinola or Orombi. I believe them to be honest men, badly mistaken. I should not, however, be able to receive Our Blessed Lord from Rowan Williams, whose actions show him to be cruel, deceitful, sly, self-centred, uncaring and untrustworthy.

Posted by: Robin on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 10:33am GMT

Anthony. The doctrinal disipline of the Church of England used to be centred around the catholic creeds and the 'Thirty-nine Articles. However, since the advent of the Anglican Communion, with the proliferation of self-governing Provinces, Anglicans do not 'do' the culture of 'dogmatic statements' in the same way that Rome does. We have no quasi-papal decreees, simply because, so far, we are not a Roman-style Magisterium-based Communion.

As far as the subject of homosexuality is concerned, the particular 'semi-dogmatic' statement made at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, was that agreed to by the gathered bishops of the Communion in a Resolution called *Lambeth 110*, whose details may be found on the web-site of the Anglican Communion. This document, still stands as the official 'mind' of the Anglican Communion, although it's strict observance has been a matter of some debate within the member Churches.

As the Anglican Communion is a collection of separately governed Provincial Churches, there is, at the moment, no central body which has the disciplinary powers of the Roman Magisterium. If the proposed 'Anglican Covenant' is put in place by the 'Instruments of Unity' (you can read about these on the web-site), then there could be some centralisation of authority in the Communion which will look to apply discipline on the whole of the Communion. This will be resisted, in all probability, by those Provinces which see Lambeth 110 as repressive, and unjust.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 10:55am GMT

> When the Communion can come to a common mind about the acceptance of members of the LBGT community as candidates for ministry in the Church, then I believe Rowan will be able and willing to go along with that determination.

How prophetic. For "members of the LBGT community", try substituting "members of the black community". Would you be impressed by that?

> He is not saying that he agrees with them personally

Like, "I am innocent of the blood of this just man: see ye to it", you mean?

> As ABC, he has certain constraints upon the expression of his personal understanding of what ought constitute the official dogmatic statement of the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

There are no such statements. To quote Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher in 1951: "We have no doctrine of our own – we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock”.

> And until there is a more cohesive statement to that end by a Lambeth Conference, the ABC has to stay with status quo - whatever his personal opinion might be.

Nonsense. In the 1950s Geoffrey Fisher supported the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee. In the 1960s Michael Ramsey took the lead in the House of Lords in supporting the legalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults. Now Rowan Williams has gone back on what both those men fought for, stabbed the LGBT community in the back (remember Chaucer's phrase, "the smyler with the knyfe beneth his cloke"?) and is working hard along with the homophobes in the Anglican Communion to return us to the Dark Ages - doubtless for the same reasons as he supports the introduction of elements of Sharia law into Britain.

Posted by: Robin on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:04am GMT

Anthony:

Lots of luck on that one. Some might point to the 39 Articles...except that the Episcopal Church in the US, one of the founders of the communion, rejects and/or seriously amends quite a few of those (see the current US BCP).

I am reminded of a comment by comedian Robin Williams, himself an Episcopalian: "Whatever it is you believe, there's another Episcopalian who believes it as well."

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:30am GMT

As much as I would like to give ++Rowan the benefit of the doubt, I have to agree with Robin, as his actions speak louder than words. Jeffrey John, the prohibition and non-invite of +Gene Robinson of saying communion and to Lambeth respectively, his interview this week in Rome about the AC not changing it's stance on LGBT matters and now, his latest foray into co-dependence, the snubbing of a new bishop in Sweden.

The man has no guts.

BillyD, the southern shore of Lake Erie.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 1:37pm GMT

Thank you Fr. Smith, Pat O'Neill, and Robin. I am going to have to do some more studying. Anthony

Posted by: anthony on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 2:13pm GMT

I think that Jakian Thomist has been let off lightly by nodding Anglicans.

His Brimstone-rich thoughts are so unbalanced as to be hurtful.

What a travesty to refer to "the atheists" who have denounced the Ordinariate as a 'power-grab.'

I so denounce it. I am not an atheist (Heavens to Betsy, it would be easier if I were!), and, as an Anglican I am not to be written off merely as a 'Protestant.'

As all such commentators do (perhaps as all of us do?), he thinks he knows the Truth, writ large, where others are blind. That kind of arrogance is surely a deadly sin?

But it is arrogance overlaid by naivety. On the known facts of Pope Benedict (nee Joseph Ratzinger)'s career to date, there is little hope that the grandchildren of those now so seductively called to cross the Tiber will be allowed to have any idea of the different "faiths" (another outrageous remark) of Dr. Williams and of Benedict XVI, let alone that these differences will flourish and "embrace the consistency of their respective starting points" (whatever that may mean.)

Surely this is about power. No more no less. And the Vatican seeks to justify its attack on the Anglican communion by brandishing the motto "Ut Unum Sint."

Yet we are Christians. Our Faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we believe and trust in God, tell me why all the talk and all the moves have to be so utterly nasty?

Posted by: William on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 3:18pm GMT

"I should happily kneel at the altar rail to receive Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist from Archbishops Akinola or Orombi. I believe them to be honest men, badly mistaken. I should not, however, be able to receive Our Blessed Lord from Rowan Williams, whose actions show him to be cruel, deceitful, sly, self-centred, uncaring and untrustworthy." - Posted by Robin

I could receive from any of them: I'm not a Donatist. (I might well excuse myself to be elsewhere at sermon time for the first two, however!)

***

"I am reminded of a comment by comedian Robin Williams, himself an Episcopalian: 'Whatever it is you believe, there's another Episcopalian who believes it as well.'" - Posted by Pat O'Neill

Ditto on whatever you DISbelieve! ;-)

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 3:28am GMT

JCF, I'm not a Donatist either, although Rowan Williams obviously is because he refused to recognise Gene Robinson either as a bishop or a priest. I don't for a moment deny Rowan Williams' orders or the validity of the sacraments he celebrates. It's just that my contempt for the man's words and actions on LGBT issues is so great that I couldn't bear to be in his presence; I would not, as the Prayer Book says, be "in love and charity" with him.

Posted by: Robin on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 11:07am GMT

"It's just that my contempt for the man's words and actions on LGBT issues is so great that I couldn't bear to be in his presence; I would not, as the Prayer Book says, be "in love and charity" with him.
- Posted by: Robin on Thursday -

Whatever you may personally think of the actions (or what you perceive to be the 'in-action') of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he is still a fellow Christian and, as such, a member of the Body of Christ and fit to share the Eucharist.

It is precisely this sort of intemperance, where Christians declare themselves to be 'out of Communion' with fellow Christians - by dint of profound disagreement with their theology - or whatever - that allows people like the Archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda to refuse to share the Eucharist with fellow Bishops at various meetings of Bishops in the Communion.

It is this very 'apartheid' that leads to the sort of schismatic action that has led to the formation of ACNA and A.N.i.C - and, one might add; to 'Flying Bishops' and the new Roman Catholic Ordinariates.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 11:56pm GMT

Fr Ron, surely "schismatic" action is sometimes a lesser evil than complicity in unrepentant cruelty? I am ashamed to belong to a Communion headed by a man like Rowan Williams, who shows no sign of contrition for the wrong he has done but, instead, continues to propagate homophobia and (in the case of Uganda) condone judicial murder. As I said before, someone like Archbishop Orombi is in my opinion an honest and sincere man, grievously mistaken, whereas Rowan Williams is dishonest, insincere and obviously unrepentant.

Posted by: Robin on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 11:34am GMT

I would think that Jesus' parable about just who is our neighbor would have to inform any concern about being in "love and charity with [our] neighbors."

Posted by: BillyD on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 3:54pm GMT

Fr. Smith-I don't like attitude at the altar rail than you do, and yes, one shouldn't succumb to it...but by goodness, can you blame Robin?

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 4:33pm GMT

I wouldn't put it quite so strongly as Robin has -- it takes all kinds, even the weak of spine, to make a communion -- but I'm sympathetic to Robin's view.

If the Anglican Communion must come to a "common mind" on every controversial matter for the Archbishop of Canterbury to get off the fence, then the Church of England will be led not by a leader, but by a follower.

As for a set of Communion-binding "RULES" that bind the Communion . . . there is no such thing. The various churches descended from the Church of England are juridically independent of one another. Thank God!

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 8:04pm GMT

"I am ashamed to belong to a Communion headed by a man like Rowan Williams, who shows no sign of contrition for the wrong he has done but, instead, continues to propagate homophobia"
- Robin on Friday -

Dear Robin,
I think that, in your heart of hearts you do not really believe that Archbishop Rowan 'continues to propagate homophobia'. The truth is that he has felt bound to uphold (until/unless it is rescinded) the Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference, which specifically argued against the ordination of gays. This is understandable - because of his putative leadership of the whole Communion and Host of the Lambeth Conferences which have proclaimed the semi-doctrine of Resolution 1.10. He could hardly - until that Resolution is rescinded, act in any other way. Don't blame Rowan, blame the Lambeth Conference which put 1.10 on the Books.

Rowan Williams, as theologian and pastor, is known to have supported the LBGT community - but as a theologian and local Bishop. He was not, at the time, the Archbishop of Canterbury. What he can do as a private individual, does not always necessarily equate to what he can do in his position as ABC. Let's be scrupulously fair to a person who has special responsibilities to all the Bishops, and 'All the Churches', not just the Church of England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 28 November 2009 at 8:35pm GMT

Dear Ron
" What he can do as a private individual, does not always necessarily equate to what he can do in his position as ABC. Let's be scrupulously fair to a person who has special responsibilities to all the Bishops, and 'All the Churches', not just the Church of England. "


Isn't it precisely Lambeth 1.10 that speaks of appropriate pastoral approaches to lgbt people?

So if that particular Christian leader could publicly criticise TEC with reference to Lambeth 1.10, why should it be absolutely, politically and morally beyond him to cite the same resolution to comment on the Uganda Bill?

And that's leaving aside the astonishing claim that politics should ever stop any Christian from speaking out against violence, especially when it's done in the name of Christianity!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 29 November 2009 at 3:15pm GMT

Thanks, Erika. You say it better *and* more temperately than I could! And, Fr Ron, whether or not Rowan Williams *intends* to propagate homophobia, that IMO is the *effect* of what he's doing, and effects matter to me much more than intentions.

Posted by: Robin on Monday, 30 November 2009 at 9:52am GMT

Leave aside the question of whether or not Archbishop Williams is an effective leader. Scapegoating him (guiltier than Akinola? really?) simply isn't on.

And I hate hearing that this focus on the minister of the sacrament that we're all familiar with from the Global South ("Are you good enough for me to take Communion from, or with?") is now being excused in "progressive" quarters.

Far better for us to focus on ourselves when it comes to the Sacrament, rather than on others.
The EOs have a pertinent prayer before Communion that reads "I believe O Lord and I confess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, *of whom I am first*..."

Posted by: BillyD on Monday, 30 November 2009 at 8:56pm GMT

> guiltier than Akinola? really?

In my view, yes. Akinola acts and speaks honestly, even though I think he's mistaken.

Posted by: Robin on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 3:54pm GMT

"Akinola acts and speaks honestly, even though I think he's mistaken." - Robin, on Tuesday -

Well, Robin, not according to the statement just released by the Candanian Anglican House of Bishops, which states that Akinola. Orombi, and others at the 2005 meeting of Bishops at Dromantine all signed an agreement that the *persecution of homosexuals was to be condemned* -Is this not a DIS-honest stance on the part of Akinola and Orombi - whose honesty you here affirm and champion?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 10:38pm GMT

If that is so, then I agree - it is a dishonest stance. However, it disturbs me far less than that of Rowan Williams, who after all his earlier fine words has cold-bloodedly and cynically betrayed the LBGT community and stabbed them in the back just to suit himself. Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi have never disguised their opposition to homosexual acts. They have been absolutely consistent in this and they give me the impression of being men who actually care about something and believe in something, even though I don't share their beliefs on the subject and, indeed, deplore them. But what are Rowan Williams' beliefs on the subject? Does he have any? Does he care about this, or about *anything* except for himself? Has he got any feelings or integrity at all?

Posted by: Robin on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 at 11:27am GMT

" But what are Rowan Williams' beliefs on the subject? Does he have any? Does he care about this, or about *anything* except for himself? Has he got any feelings or integrity at all?"- Robin -
Now, Robin, you have got to the real heart of the matter - the reason why Rowan Williams is not able to 'speak his mind' - as if his opinion were that of the whole Anglican Communion. In the Anglican system of government - unlike that of The Church of Rome, which could have the Pope over-ruling any edict of the College of Cardinals, the Archbishop of Canterbury has no such official prerogative of 'Infallibility'.

Being Primus-inter-pares does not make him Solo Magister - as is the Petrine Bishop of Rome. The other Instruments of Unity in the Communion, it would seem, have equal rights of governorship, both in their own territory and in the Communion. Therefore, the ABC is not, and never can be, the 'Infallible Voice' of the Anglican Communion.

Now, either we go along with that, and don't accord blame where it is not due; or we want the ABC to be an Anglican sort of Pope - with the same right of jurisdiction on matters doctrinal as Benedict of Rome. I, personally, could not accept that sort of role for the ABC, and nor, I suspect, could most Anglicans.

As Head of the Church of England (under the Queen's patronage, it might be added) the ABC can only officially speak on behalf of that Body. So that he has to go along with the majority call on any issue - whether of women bishops, same-sex blessings or gay ordination. Also, as Head of the C.of E., his situation is rather different from that of any other Primate within the Communion. There are - like it or not - certain political responsibilities which go along with that, which are unique to the C.of E.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 December 2009 at 12:05am GMT

Fr Ron,

I don't want Rowan Williams to be a 'Solo Magister'. I'd just like him to be an ordinary, decent human being. He never hesitates to speak in favour of women bishops and he quite properly invited them all to the Lambeth Conference, even though there are many in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion who don't accept them as bishops or even as people in Holy Orders at all. From this I have to conclude that he is a Donatist who believes that +Gene Robinson is not a Bishop despite his having been canonically elected and then duly consecrated as one, and that he cares so little for the rights of gay people that he is happy to see them imprisoned and hanged in Uganda.

There is a good old Latin tag, "Qui tacet consentit"; "he who is silent, approves". What else are we supposed to deduce from Rowan's silence?

Posted by: Robin on Saturday, 5 December 2009 at 1:17pm GMT
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