Thursday, 10 April 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Canada and USA

Updated Thursday evening

The Archbishop of Canterbury is this week visiting Canada and the USA.

See Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Canada and the USA

From Canada, the Anglican Journal reports: Welby explains gays and violence in Africa remarks. An extract:

…Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn’t use the word “blame”— that’s a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.

Q: So what exactly were you saying?

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action. What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing…

The Anglican Journal also reports Welby & Hiltz discuss issues of sexuality, reconciliation

When Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met with the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, he was “very interested” in the work of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon because of the reality that the Church of England will have to wrestle with the issue of same-sex marriage following its legislation in the U.K.

“Notwithstanding the declared position of the Church of England at this moment, he [Welby] is very conscious, of course, that there’s going to be a fair amount of pressure from within the Church of England to at least have some discussion around that [same-sex marriage],” said Hiltz in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “He hoped that we would stay in touch over the work of the commission, [because] inside the Church of England, they will need to have the same conversation.”

Welby was also very interested in the issue of reconciliation as it relates to the history of the Canadian church’s relations with indigenous people and its involvement in the Indian Residential School System. “As he said now, in the Church of England, things are coming to light in terms of abuse in church schools…they’re kind of at that early stage,” and Welby wanted to know how the Canadian church responded. “They’re compelled [to respond] and they will not stand in anyone’s way,” said Hiltz, adding that Welby was interested in the church’s 1993 apology to former residential school students for the harm and pain inflicted through the schools.

On the issue of the marriage canon, Hiltz said Welby was “very appreciative” that the commission will conduct a broad consultation across the Anglican Communion and with its ecumenical partners on the matter of changing the Canadian Anglican church’s marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage…

The archbishop then moved to Oklahoma, where he delivered this speech: Archbishop Justin’s speech at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference, Oklahoma, USA

ENS reports:

Archbishop says church must ‘join its enemies on their knees’

VIDEO: Archbishop explains comments made to LBC radio

…During the news conference, Welby noted that he had made similar comments in the past and that he was trying to say that “at its heart is the issue that we’re a global church.”

“The Anglican Communion is a global church. And that wherever we speak, whether it’s here or in Africa, or in Asia or in any of the 143 countries in which we are operating, in which there are Anglicans, we never speak exclusively to ourselves but we speak in a way that is heard widely around the world,” he said. “And so the point I was making, because the question was essentially about why don’t we just go ahead and do gay marriages, we have a profound disagreement within the Church of England about the right thing to do, whether to perform gay marriages or have blessing of same sex marriages where the marriage has taken place in the civil system.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales on March 29. Parliament by a comfortable majority passed The Marriage (Same-sex Couples Act) in July 2013.
The Church of England is “starting two years of facilitated conversation about this and we are not going simply to jump to a conclusion, to preempt that conversation in any direction at all but we need to spend time listening to each other, listening to the voices around the communion,” Welby said.

The example he gave during the call-in program of his experience at the site of the mass grave “was of a particular example some years back which had had a great impact on my own thinking,” he said during the news conference…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:12am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | ECUSA

Well, as one of those who was most critical of the Archbishop last week, all I can say is that yes, I did listen to what he said very carefully - replaying it several times to make sure I'd heard him clearly. And now he has confirmed in this interview that I heard what he said correctly.

I don't think this interview is going to make this go away. People did hear the Archbishop, did listen, and didn't like what he said.

I think that those who are gay who are up to speed on legal developments in some countries in Africa tend to have quite a strong consciousness that what is said in one part of the world, and the way it is said, influences another.

People die because of homophobia. Even if violence in Africa or elsewhere can be linked to changes in marriage law, the ordination of certain bishops or the policies of the Church of England, it is still homophobia that kills people.

Notwithstanding the very welcome reminders from the Archbishop about the "anathema" statement in the Dromantine Communiqué, there is little sign yet that the Archbishop understands this.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:55am BST

Well said Justin, a perfectly reasonable justification and one in the eye for those who heard what you didn't mean or say and, as usual, gave a complete misinterpretation of the situation. Sadly, Archiopisocpophobia is all too common within the Church of England and the past three ABCs - Runcie, Carey and now, Welby - have suffered and have been on the receiving end of the same.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:59am BST

The more he explains, the more it sounds like "gays under the bus."

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:32am BST

And the consequences of anti-gay legislation in parts of Africa being supporteed by the Anglican church there is that it makes western Christians look homophobic and makes it harder for us to get a hearing in our society.

Posted by: Charles Read on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:43am BST

Yes, m'Lord. And every remarked you make has to be heard in context with other things you've said--or not said--on the same subject. Since your words haven't been conspicuously hospitable toward gay people - and now, toward gay clergy - I think you needn't be surprised that your words were taken as they were.

And we're STILL waiting to hear your summary condemnation of the church's deeply sinful treatment of gay people - historically and at this moment.

But it seems that you and the rest of the Bench don't quite have what it takes to address events in Africa falsely dressed in the Gospel.

It's time, m'Lord, and Anglican and other Christians all over the world--gay and not--are waiting.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 11:54am BST

…Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

If the answer to this question was "no," then perhaps the Archbishop could have said "no."

"What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally."

In other words, gays shouldn't get married because homophobic murderers might murder.

He's just digging the hole deeper.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 1:36pm BST

Archbishop Welby, or any one else for that matter, can perhaps be excused for muddled remarks off the cuff in an open line radio program. However, Welby has had time and opportunity to clarify his remarks. Lacking in his "clarification" is a clear statement placing the blame for sectarian violence squarely and unequivocally where it belongs.

Notice as as well his reply to the question regarding Canada's proposed canonical amendment to allow same gender marriage in the church. One reads the usual pitch for consultation. When one stresses "consultation" with sectors that are strongly radically opposed to a course of action, then there is a message in that.

Welby is flagged as an expert in reconciliation. He may well possess a skill set in that area. However his stated views on same gender marriage, his unfortunate remarks on open line radio, are such that a role as mediator on the issue is no longer open to him--at least in terms of North America.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 3:39pm BST

I agree with +Kelvin (by the way, I'm an EFM grad), Jeremy, and others here.

We heard Justin correctly then, and hear him now. His message is not the Good News to African LGBT people, and I don't see how it is the Good News for either the murderers or their victims. The Good News is the message of justice, compassion, and love. Africa needs much more of that, not for us to do less of it.

He bought into a false premise and it is encouragement for the murderers and homophobes. The homophobia of African Anglican leaders, enabled and affirmed by Western Christians, is definitely contributing to violence against LGBT people. So how about addressing that injustice?

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 4:40pm BST

Well if that is all the Archbishop said then he said absolutely nothing at all. It was vapid and pointless. My sense however is that he said more than he claims he said and actually does expect the pro-gay voice to moderate/censor itself for the sake of those at risk of persecution in Africa and elsewhere. I gather that this is a line both Archbishops will be trying out quite regularly - and it remains one I find deeply difficult to swallow, especially as there is simply no willingness to seriously challenge the African church in the same terms.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 5:24pm BST

He comes across as evasive and perhaps lying because he refuses to say where the incident is supposed to have taken place. The C of E already informally celebrates civil partnerships. For some Africans, the distinction between a civil union and marriage is meaningless. They already think the C of E is liberal.

Where did the massacre take place? How many victims? What was the motivation? Was anyone punished?

He comes across as a coward who will not stand up for human rights. He seemed very poorly prepared for an interview in which he should have been able to frame the issues more to his advantage. Blaming the media for his poor performance is unacceptable.

And what is his position on same-sex relationships? I suspect the problem is more his own homophobia.

What is the relation of the Episcopal Church to the Church of England exactly? How much money is going to support a homophobic and misogynistic institution?

Even the antigay Roman convert Ann Widdecombe, who voted against repealing the infamous antigay Section 28 when she was a member of parliament, had a point when she said that the C of E has waffled for too long on many issues.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 5:41pm BST

"What is the relation of the Episcopal Church to the Church of England exactly? How much money is going to support a homophobic and misogynistic institution?"

Exactly. How much money flows from the US to the Compass Rose Society, for example?

There's courtesy and giving the benefit of the doubt. There is also such a thing as enabling bad behavior, and supporting homophobia and misogyny.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 6:14pm BST

Has Archbishop Welby, since becoming Archbishop, said one word about the Uganda and Nigeria anti-gay laws, and the local province churches' enthusiastic support of same?
Has he said one word about anti-gay violence?
He seems to think gay people just need to "stop being uppity", and the goons will stop their rioting.
How very 1950s southern USA of him.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 7:29pm BST

Welby's had several days to reflect. He knows the pain his words have caused to lesbian and gay Christians, and how unfairly they're viewed. He's chosen to entrench, not apologize. Very well. He's made his choice.

While he bears responsibility for it, the support of open evangelicals shouldn't be forgotten. Like Welby, they saw the pain this caused to their LGBT sisters and brothers in Christ. They had an opportunity to stand on the side of justice. Whether out of evangelical tribalism or blinkeredness, they blew it.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:27pm BST

Gary: +Justin HAS told us where the massacre took place.

It took place in (wait for it)... (drum roll)....'Africa'.

That strange and mysterrious land where weird, atavistic, primeval things happen.

The land of which Toto sang.

There is a Facebook page called 'Africa Is A Continent And Not A Country.' Perhaps I should suggest ABC as a friend to that page.

Posted by: Sam Roberts on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:30pm BST

Could the Old Etonians please stop playing imperial games?

Justin Welby tells us that "The Anglican Communion is a global church."

This is manifestly false. The Anglican Communion is a global family of churches. Nothing more.

But why does Welby say this false thing? Because as Archbishop of Canterbury, he wants to be the "head" of a "global church."

He's not. The Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority outside England. Outside his own province, he is a foreign prelate.

And in case anyone missed the allusion: The principle that foreign prelates hold no authority outside their own provinces is the very principle on which the Church of England was founded.

The Archbishops of Canterbury need to stop pretending that London is Rome. It's not. And nothing could be less Anglican.

Furthermore, because he gives credence to the lie, people assume a degree of uniformity and agreement, across Anglican churches, that does not and simply cannot exist.

Lambeth should give it up. Its imperial aspirations are causing dysfunctional behaviors in England and elsewhere.

Let's remember the key point. The Anglican Communion is a global family of independent churches. All that Canterbury gets to do is host the family reunion.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 12:08am BST

Sadly, though the ABC has pointed out the fact that what one Anglican Church is doing in one country has an effect on Anglican elsewhere; he doesn't seem to realise that what the Nigerian and Ugandan Churches have supported in their countries - homophobic persecution and criminalisation - also affects what people think of the local Anglican Church in other countries of the Anglican Communion. This is not a one-way street of responsibility.

Murder is till murder, by whomever it takes place and those responsible need to accept that this is no-one's fault but the perpetrators.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 1:29am BST

" One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said. "

It was exactly what he said. And now he's all like, hey, it didn't really happen, don't go all examining it, dude, it's not exactly what I meant or something.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:16am BST

A deeply moving account by Archbishop Justin of what happened to Coventry during the Second World War and the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness that followed thereafter. Hopefully that same spirit will be evident in the forthcoming facilitated conversations. Would that similar attention be paid to what the Archbishop said about Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace as is currently being given to his words on the wireless phone-in.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:31am BST

His comments on the African massacres were doubly shocking. 1. He used these deaths to score a cheap debating point, please with his "insight" which he should have carefully checked. 2. He made light of gays and of their quest for stable loving relationships (with the implicit undertone that gays should just stick to what they do best -- casual sex). That is, he played lightly and blithely with two sets of human beings with no real empathy for either. His constant sloppy use of the adverb "incredibly" in his radio talk suggest someone who is not really the careful, empathetic listener he pretends to be, someone rather who is trapped in smug simplistic categories.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:34am BST

Yes, Sam Roberts, It was in Africa, with all the Orientalist stereotypes that this incident is supposed to have happened. Episcopal Cafe has a nice piece on how Welby spread a rightwing talking point and won't back it up with any evidence. His statement is like a counterfeit bill. or

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 8:44am BST
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