Saturday, 11 May 2013

Lunch with the FT: Justin Welby

Lucy Kellaway has interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Financial Times: Lunch with the FT: Justin Welby. “The Archbishop of Canterbury talks to Lucy Kellaway about baiting bankers, trusting God over Google and having pizza delivered to Lambeth Palace.”

It’s well worth reading.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 12:04pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
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Mostly a delightful portrait.

When asked what the celibacy required of clergy within a civil union might actually mean, however, the Archbishop gets rather starchy:

“I’m not going to go into all the sort of intricacies of what it might or might not mean specifically, not least because we’ve just had lunch and it’s a bad post-lunchtime conversation. I’m not going there.”

This is rather sad.

One cannot hide behind the coffee forever.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 4:06pm BST

“I’m not going to go into all the sort of intricacies of what it might or might not mean specifically, not least because we’ve just had lunch and it’s a bad post-lunchtime conversation. I’m not going there.” Welby

The inference being that the subject is so icky that it might cause him to vomit up his lunch. I do hope it's not too long before his delicate little system - apparently robust enough to tackle pizza - is able to face the disgusting subject of gay sex.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 5:41pm BST

It's ridiculous. Why shouldn't the ABC answer the question? It's a perfectly valid one but one which exposes the ludicrous position the CofE has got itself into. Surely he has done his homework and has, at least, some answer, even if only a holding one. To refuse to answer the question because it's after lunch and then to get irritated is just stupid. But then the whole situation is ridiculous anyway and completely indefensible. Why try to defend it?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 6:15pm BST

I am inclined to think that I wouldn't want to go into anyone's bedroom intricacies after any meal at all. And that is because they are none of my, his or anyone else's business so long as they are between two consenting adults.

Perhaps JW's reluctance might lead him to the blindingly obvious conclusion that it is not anyone's business to be poking about in other people's bedrooms. Then he could relax and enjoy his coffee.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 8:35pm BST

Entirely agree with Richard and Jeremy x 2. And I think 'not least because we’ve just had lunch and it’s a bad post-lunchtime conversation' strikes a positively unpleasant note.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 11:02pm BST

The Churches have spent too much time trying to interfere with adult relationships,while neglecting the sex exploitation of children by clergy.

Shameful dereliction of duty.

Cf TA thread below - 'C of E accused of cover-up over child abuse'.

The new archbishop is an improvement on the last two - but to say that, is to say very little.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 11:36am BST

Whilst Justin Welby seems content to
opine at any time on the 'safe' subject of finance - he
can't go on indefinitely procrastinating after
meals regarding the difficult questions of sex, etc.
He is Archbishop and sooner or later he must
address them - otherwise he'll get indigestion or
start putting on weight!

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 4:47pm BST

'...we’ve just had lunch and it’s a bad post-lunchtime conversation.'

This is like the Lady Bracknell approach to moral issues which are embarrassing to the speaker. It reminds me of a lecture given by Prof Oliver O'Donovan at Oxford when I was in ordination training in the 1990's. It was a time when what we would now call gender issues were becoming more important and I see from my notes taken at the time that Prof O'Donovan referred in passing to gay marriage. However, my abiding memory of that lecture was how coy the Prof was about talking about gay relationships, appearing rather to be embarrassed by it and not wishing to engage properly with the subject, dealing instead in generalisations which on re-reading seem terribly trite and now superseded. It was a lecture that petered out and he seemed glad that the bell had gone for the end of the hour.

I'm afraid that the new ABC is carrying on in the same vein, but now we would (justifiably in my view) call it hypocrisy, i.e. that the church can issue generalised, so-called normative, statements but ignore the realities in its own life.

Posted by: Roger Antell on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 7:09pm BST

I don't get it. Celibate means 'unmarried' which surely all homosexual C-of-E are (unless married heterosexually) since homosexual marriage does not yet exist in UK. 'Chaste' is something else again, depending of course on how you define that ('casti sposi' is something even RC hierarchy agrees with)

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 8:14pm BST

Did he talk about anything else in the interview apart from not talking about sex? Or was that the only interesting bit?

Posted by: David Keen on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 10:44pm BST

The solution to the church's problem is obvious. (1) install CCTV cameras in all clergy bedrooms. (2) appoint diocesan pleasure police to monitor them. (3) draw up a list, like the Table of Kindred and Affinity, of those anatomical structures which may be apposed in the pursuit of delight and pleasure without occurring episcopal displeasure. Simples as the meerkats say. We need a coherent theology of delight, and one that takes account of evolutionary biology.

Posted by: rambler on Monday, 13 May 2013 at 10:37am BST

So much confusion rests on the difference between 'celibate' and 'chaste'. As a happily married heterosexual person, I am sure I am called to live a life of chastity, by which I mean living within a context of sexual purity and personal integrity. If I lost my wife, I would hope to continue to live a life which was both chaste and non-celibate. That is to say that I would live with the possibility that perhaps I might once again find a soul-mate with whom to intimately share my life. I do not believe that you can both live in a covenanted partnership (marriage or civil partnership) and also be celibate. The suggestion that clergy might live in civil partnerships and be celibate is (to my way of thinking) bonkers. As a member of General Synod said in a speech: 'True celibacy is a glorious vocation, but enforced celibacy withers the heart'. It is therefore our policy to wither the hearts of clergy in same-sex partnerships, which not only serves to dehumanize them but also to degrade their priesthood. What a mess this all is!

Posted by: Nigel LLoyd on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 at 11:59am BST

Oh dear... 'we’ve just had lunch and it’s a bad post-lunchtime conversation.' Methinks our ABC's language betrays him. Time 'to taste and see that the Lord is good'. I wonder what is so unpalatable around his table?

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Thursday, 16 May 2013 at 3:34pm BST
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