Monday, 12 March 2012

Archbishop prays with the Pope

Anglican Communion News Service reports: Roman vespers unite Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury in prayer.

Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a somewhat turbulent history, but differences were brushed aside March 10 when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI prayed together during an ecumenical vespers service at San Gregorio Magna al Celio in Rome.

The service marked the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy’s Camaldoli monastic community, which includes a presence at San Gregorio, a site of major significance to the origins of the Church of England.

Both Christian leaders, who held a private meeting earlier in the day to discuss human rights issues and concerns for the Holy Land, delivered a homily during the vespers and lit candles together in the chapel of St. Gregory…

Lambeth Palace has these texts:

Archbishop’s homily at Papal Vespers, San Gregorio Magno al Celio

Monastic Virtues and Ecumenical Hopes - Archbishop’s address at San Gregorio Magno

Archbishop’s sermon at St Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome

Monks and Mission: a perspective from England address at the Abbey of Monte Cassino

Episcopal News Service has Video: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Rome’s Episcopal church

Vatican Radio has these:

Full text: Pope Benedict XVI at ecumenical Vespers

Pope and Archbishop Williams discuss human rights, evangelisation and Middle East

And there is a transcript of the Vatican Radio interview here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 12 March 2012 at 6:12pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

I'm looking forward to the day when Archbishop Rowan Williams prays with his fellow bishops, Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool.

Posted by: Eleanor Braun on Monday, 12 March 2012 at 6:59pm GMT

Rumour has it Benny dislikes the ring-kissing business. Maybe Rowan restrained himself this time?

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Monday, 12 March 2012 at 9:17pm GMT

Has the Archbishop of Canterbury been kissing the Pope's ring again? ... that clearly is a mark of deference to a bishop he (RW) considers a higher authority and it won't wash with the majority of Anglicans.

How did it all end like this? Back in 2003 when he was first appointed hopes were so high, now many are thinking that he's done a Lambeth and his ten years are up next year. He has sacrificed or possibly reneged on most of his dearly held views ... so where would he be most comfortable? Does the ordinariate beckon?

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 12 March 2012 at 11:06pm GMT

I'm with Eleanor Braun. Thanks, Eleanor.

Posted by: Lois Keen on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 12:08am GMT

No doubt Papa Benedict is as keen as ++Rowan on the Covenant ethos in the Anglican Communion. He might think it could speed up the reconciliation process.

However, even without the Covenant, the Pope's invitation does augur well for signs of a willingness to continue in dialogue with Anglicans - despite the deep differences between us on matters of ministry and gender and sexuality.

Perhaps the Anglican Churches can help our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers to bridge the gap between patriarchy and the modern world. God does work in mysterious ways God's wonders to perform!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 12:46am GMT

Jazz Vespers have become very popular, but I'm thinking not in this case, right. I just don't see B-16 and His Grace swayin to the wailin.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 1:16am GMT

Hear, hear, Eleanor! (Pre-announced and in public---in an English cathedral. All fully vested.)

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 7:12am GMT

"Has the Archbishop of Canterbury been kissing the Pope's ring again?" - 'concerned Anglican -

Well, if it was good enough for Saint Francis of Assisi to embrace a leper.....! Rowan's kissing of the Pope's ring might just be a sign of common brother/sisterhood in Christ, don't you think? At least, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 10:03am GMT

Hear, hear, Eleanor Braun -- and JCF at 7:12 -- with all the formalities normally deployed for the occasion.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 7:41pm GMT

It appals me to see Archbishop Williams consistently vilified by so many disloyal, mediocre Anglicans. His tragedy is that from the moment of his appointment he has been buried in the squalor of the problems of the Anglican Communion and has consistently been publically compromised. He had the makings of being another Michael Ramsey, being a man of prayer and an orthodox theologian of great distinction. He is far too good for the job and I wish he would return to academia. He does not deserve the Church of England in its present rebarbative form.
There is nobody of real distinction to succeed him.

Posted by: John Bowles on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 8:53pm GMT

Rowan seems to be in Rome, more than my bishop...its rather like an extended ad limina visit.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 9:46pm GMT

There is nobody of real distinction to succeed him.¨ JB

Maybe we will see the candidates better if they shave...look for the unwooly ones who will offer not only a fresh FACE but a fresh GRACE!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 3:57am GMT

"His tragedy is that from the moment of his appointment he has been buried in the squalor of the problems of the Anglican Communion and has consistently been publically compromised."

No, his tragedy - which has become all our tragedy - is that he *is* a mediocre Anglican, a mediocre priest, and a self-serving technocrat. As with most such appointments, a man with no particular talent other than self-promotion got the job.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 5:27am GMT

I've much sympathy with John Bowles' comments. ++Rowan has made mistakes, not all out of ill advice, but he did inherit a nest of vipers, an impending financial crisis and the very heights of muscle-flexing by the ConsEv fringes. I dread to think whom we'll get next.

Posted by: david rowett on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 8:52am GMT

Mark, I think we are ALL mediocre Anglicans....

But those who were unimpressed by the amount of effort that went into organising this Roman visit will no doubt be even less impressed by this announcement

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 9:02am GMT

I'm not a mediocre Anglican . . . I'm an Episcopalian. That's my denomination. Anglicans belong to the Church of England, and that's one of the reasons I dislike that remnant of Empire, the "Anglican" communion. Roman Catholics can be Roman because they are under authority to the bishop of Rome. I am not, nor is anyone outside the CofE's structure, subject to the authority of Canterbury.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 10:32am GMT

Simon Sarmiento

Why are you unimpressed by the Pope's invitation to Archbishop Williams to give an address on evangelisation in Rome? I would interpret this as recognition of his theological distinction. Theology occupies a minor place in Anglican discourse these days which is,I suggest,one reason why the Archbishop is not valued or understood. Petty politics have taken its place and the Archbishop is forced into a net from which he is unable to escape. I am thankful that he continues to write and lecture to the benefit of the few who are able to appreciate his work. I suggest that the Pope, as a major theologian, recognizes the Archbishop's theological merit which is why he has been invited.

As for Mark Brunson's ravings, there is nothing about Archbishop Williams that remotely resembles his libellous caricature. It is only since the development of the Internet that enables such unpleasantness to be placed in a public forum.

Posted by: John Bowles on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 3:26pm GMT

I did not say that I was among the unimpressed. I referred specifically to "those who were". Clearly from some of the comments here, such people do exist.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 4:30pm GMT

How long before this is renamed Vile and Vituperative Anglicans? I see less and less evidence of "thinking" here, more and more anargued personal abuse.

Despite my complete solidarity with its position on the substantive presenting issue, I am growing ashamed of my sacramental roots in PECUSA as I read these constant ad hominem attacks on Rowan. I had hoped that Simon K's remarks on a previous thread had silenced these, but alas, no. Relax, we're anglicans not papists, and therefore the stance of even the ABC does not finally matter.

The great arguments in the anglican communion about important issues: the status of same sex partnerships, how we handle changes in the tradition, the exact status of scripture, how far an individual church/province can distance itself from the norm and still be reckoned "anglican" are in need of resolution by the classical anglican tools. They are not going to be resolved by abusing Rowan our (although perhaps not your) Archbishop for praying and talking with and listening to the Bishop of Rome, who - like it or not, and there are times I am completely sedevacantist - is charged with the petrine ministry, the care of all the churches.

Posted by: american piskie on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 5:58pm GMT

Your outrage indicates that I've struck a nerve, John Bowles.

Rowan Williams' actions speak for themselves. If you can show my "libel" - please do so. He has been absolutely ineffectual at keeping the communion together - which he claims is his primary task - thus, a mediocre ABC. He has failed - utterly failed - to minister to those in a position of the outcast by excluding gays and lesbians and insulting them ham-handedly at every turn, at the same time alienating the African contingent with a seemingly patronizing attitude. Thus, a mediocre priest. He has constantly held up the Roman model and the Orthodox model as the Anglican communion's model - thus, a mediocre Anglican. He has used public appeals to uphold his goals - thus, a self-serving technocrat.

It would seem I've actually *thought out* my position.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 4:01am GMT

American Piskie,

See above.

The things you argue as important issues are handled better without ecclesial involvement, as the AC has muddied and obstructed, rather than aided - or you may, of course, prove otherwise - in these issues; or are issues which are "important" only subjectively, and bring no advancement to either human transformation or understanding.

I understand the points of your argument - though it may be considered vile and vituperative in its own right (how liberals turn on their own while bending over backwards to the right-wing!) - however, these are points which *you* hold as important, and are certainly not universally shared as valuable. For instance, your views on the "petrine ministry" are entirely rejected in most non-Roman traditions. Peter was given Peter's ministry. Carrying on an office is not carrying on a particular individual's charism. Whether or not "anglican" applied was only ever of interest to those with a particular interest in a sort of loose RCC model; a church universal with no binding laws. Most of us never cared. To be identified with the ecclesial structure revealed as extant in England during this manufactured crisis has proven deeply disturbing and embarrassing to many in TEC; we value a degree, however imperfect, of lay governance and transparency, and that has been shown as lacking, while a sort of aristocratic privilege has prevailed in CofE. It is unfair to expect the CofE to change to our model, but, we cannot say the two are compatible as it stands.

Your passion seems less for The Church, and more for "the communion."

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 4:13am GMT

Listen, I know what I'm saying to you is painful, but life is pain. I don't have the time to dance sideways, sideways, ever sideways and maybe make my point in a few decades. I understand the anger and hatred directed at me for saying things as I do, but I don't have the time left for it. You want me to tell you what you want to hear, to give you the polite, considerate answers you want, to lie to you and tell you it will all be allright.

It won't, and I can't make shipwreck of my soul either by telling you the lie or failing to tell you what I know.

Polite has been the problem - a long history of denial of our differences. We "overlooked" these differences - politely - and scrubbed along. Now, these differences have been made core issues, the trivial elevated to soul-crushing dogma, and that *cannot be undone.* The differences that were once simple quirks in family members are now insurmountable obstacles by virtue of being irreversibly recognized, and things said that cannot be unsaid. Once legalism overcame affection, the bonds of affection were broken, throughout the communion for all time - this is because communion is all or none, and affection, once broken, cannot be mended. It may be reforged in a new form, but it will always be brittle after, even then, and cannot simply be repaired. To say other is simply a self-deception, because the trust is gone when affection is broken. Forgive and forget is a foolish platitude, because if it can be forgotten, there was nothing done to forgive. Even the Risen Christ still had his wounds.

Whatever Williams may be able to "save" - the Anglican Communion is gone. He may call it the Anglican Communion, but that will just be a name.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 5:40am GMT


The comments on your site shame your blog, and to be honest, call the usefulness of your site into question.

For Eleanor, I couldn't care less about your Episcopalian bishops. This isn't meant as a slight, but they have no impact on my ecclesial life.

I am a member of the Province of Canterbury, and like many of those who have gone before me, I care profoundly about the restoration of visible unity and communion with the Sees of East and West - a hope that has shaped the actions of many Archbishops of Canterbury, including Michael Ramsey.

Posted by: Tristan on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 7:49am GMT

"I couldn't care less about your Episcopalian bishops. This isn't meant as a slight, but they have no impact on my ecclesial life."

There you go, American Piskie.

Though I had a much longer, well-reasoned response that got lost, apparently, that pretty much shows you right there - this divorce is finalized.

ED NOTE: I rescued your earlier comment from the Junk file.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 8:48am GMT

How any intelligent individual with access to the history of the politics that established and strengthened the papacy can rabbit on about the bishop of Rome's being "charged with the petrine ministry" is utterly beyond me.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 1:25pm GMT

Mark Brunson wrote:


"I couldn't care less about your Episcopalian bishops. This isn't meant as a slight, but they have no impact on my ecclesial life."

There you go, American Piskie.

I have no idea why this is addressed to me, I am not conscious of having expressed a view here on any of the bishops of the US Episcopal Church.

I had attempted to reply to earlier posts so:

Mark Brunson has explained why he thinks Dr Williams is a mediocre Archbishop of Canterbury, a mediocre priest, and a self-serving technocrat.

I am not clear why he thinks it matters. We are not papists, so even if this harsh judgement were true, it is not relevant when discussing issues facing the C of E or the anglican communion.

"If thou, Lord, shouldest marke iniquities: O Lord, who shall stand?" How on earth do we expect church leaders to exercise their ministry if we subject them to such relentless scrutiny and scornful criticism?

I know that my views on the petrine ministry (which I do not identify with the current way the papal office is exercised) are not those of most non-Roman traditions. They are, however, entirely in accordance with the ARCIC statements on the gift of authority, and I am surprised to find them controversial on Thinking Anglicans.

Tristan in his last paragraph has put the position and aspirations of some of us very clearly. And not so long ago they were the aspirations, too, of other fragments of the pre-Reformation West such as the Episcopal Church of Scotland; and indeed of many in its daughter church in the US. I am sad indeed to realise that this is no longer so, at least in the US, and perhaps I begin to understand more what Jeffrey Steenson was driving at, when he suggested that his fellow bishops no longer saw themselves as bishops of the universal church but bishops of TEC.

Posted by: american piskie on Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 4:05pm GMT

Here in less than 400 words is a rejoinder John Bowles defense of Archbishop Williams.

Williams is clearly an incredibly bright lad with a first rate education. He appears indefatigable in his commitment to Christ’s Church and The Communion. I have quoted him (not often mind you) on my own small parochial scale, for example, from his address on The Day of Prayer and Action for Children. (One hope Williams will raise his concerns about vulnerable children with His Holiness).

At St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Williams describes the temple that the irascible Jesus confronts as a place where priests were at work “making religion”. The rather patronizing preacher assessment of the Second Temple of Judaism aside here, Williams is correct in exhorting all Christians, to confront the institutional over burden in the Church that obscures access to the God of steadfast Covenant Love.

The ABC preaches a space creating Christ who demands a place “where all feel at home, where God is at home, where all human beings are at home.” It’s a great insight; but coming from the Archbishop it is something of a latent hope wrapped in disappointing irony.

One may rightfully ask about the manufacture of religious consent represented by the proposed Covenant. One may rightfully ask about attempts at unrequited love directed towards the Vatican while female colleagues in his own communion are asked to place their miter firmly under their arm. One may rightfully question if the vision of The Communion the ABC is working for so tirelessly for is one where GLBT people are “at home”?

Does raising these issues constitute a personal slam against His Grace? I don’t think so. Rather, it raises legitimate questions about the judgments rendered to The Communion by one in a significant position of leadership. Even the erudite can be mistaken, off side, suffer from tunnel vision on occasion—their erudition simply allowing them to go big when they go. Perhaps the les erudite among us, especially those who have been made to feel like we need to clear the sanctuary, may therefore be forgiven for our irascibility.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 16 March 2012 at 1:08am GMT

It is most unpleasant experience ever in TA site with this thread. As an Episcopalian, I feel ashamed with some rude episcopalians here to humiliate ABC.

I don't agree with ABC in all things and even am very critical of his dealing with the Anglican Covenant and others, but still he is one of most prayerful persons and great teachers in our Communion. We all are not perfect yet, but God will make us on someday. Till then, we all pilgrim and need to respect our brothers and sisters in the road to God's perfection.

Some rude episcopalians' attitude consequently again ABC here only agitates closed mind and hate, not leads to openness to God and others.

Please stop, and look into yourself. We are in Lent!

Posted by: An Ashamed on Friday, 16 March 2012 at 4:05am GMT

Then you need to decide who of us you want *out* so you can have the Romans *in*, okay?

Because they are not compatible, and you won't have this glorious one world church, ever. Sorry. Simply the facts.

Tell us to leave so you can get with Rome and the Orthodox. I, personally, would be glad of the honesty, and I think it would be the bitter medicine that most of us in the gay spectrum and those seriously supporting us would need to realize what I have found growing confirmation of for years - we are not wanted in the religion that calls itself christianity.

It was addressed to you because of your rather harsh words about those of us who believe that ABC, having held himself to a higher standard and failed, is no longer capable of serving as any sort of instrument of any sort of communion for anyone anywhere. The standard of holding priests and bishops to a higher expectation is both part of scripture and the tradition of the mythical Universal Church you hold so dear. If they can't live up to them, they have no business leading.

This whole hoopla about the ABC visiting the Roman bishop is a fantasy. It is mere diplomacy, like the careful veil that has now been irrevocably and violently destroyed that formerly allowed us to believe we were ever a communion, rather than a set of entirely different churches. The oohs and aahs are, frankly, comical. You might as well say that, since Cameron and Obama went to a basketball game together, the US is one step closer to rejoining the British Empire.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 16 March 2012 at 4:06am GMT

I submitted a comment on this set of articles, including a comment on the Sermon at St. Paul's within the Walls, but it seems to have disappeared into hyper-space. The gist of it was posted this a.m. over at Epsicopal Cafe.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 16 March 2012 at 1:10pm GMT
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