Comments: more on the Catholic Herald interview

I've blogged my thoughts on the topic at

http://davewilliams-random-thoughts.blogspot.com/

Posted by dave williams at Friday, 17 November 2006 at 5:49pm GMT

I am so glad to see Rowan responding to being misquoted.

My concerns about the reforms being rolled back unless there are strong theological underpinnings still stand. There are still highly organised, highly misogynistic dioceses and groups that would do so. There needs to be the counterweight or they will simply erode away reforms over time.

Thank you Simon for this posting, I'd actually come onto TA to link in the Ekklesia article, but you had already done it. :-)

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 17 November 2006 at 9:01pm GMT

I think a clue to understanding RW's controverted remark is the moral pressure he is under from Rome to reconsider the issue of women priests. Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a speech at RW's enthronement, was invited to comment on the Windsor Report (which he did: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/card-kasper-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20041217_kasper-arch-canterbury_en.html), and also gave an invited lecture stongly stressing the non-ordainability of women and the ecumenical problem created by women priests. Against that background, RW's remark means: "You, in Rome, say we must reconsider women priests -- and to be sure such a possibility is not entirely beyond the bounds of imagination, enormously difficult though it would be -- but why should we even contemplate it unless you can give us solid theological reasons for doing so, and, frankly, the reasons you have so far given quite fail to convince".

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 8:28am GMT

"Ecumenical obstacles"?

What obstacles? The churches are different; they have different ecclesiologies and different ideas about a lot of things.

This is the raison d'être of Ecumenism.

But "obstacles" - don't they mean "veto"?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 9:22am GMT

Well said, Goran. Unity can mean control and submission. I would rather that we were building models that enabled mutual respect. Acknowledging the validity of "the other" without demanding that it be "like us" to be legitimate.

After all, woman can not be man, no matter how hard she tries, the plumbing is simply different. Yet God made woman so that man was not alone. God wanted us to be able to find respect for the other, not make the other like us.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 3:19pm GMT

'What obstacles? The churches are different; they have different ecclesiologies and different ideas about a lot of things.' (Goran quote, see above).

Vive la difference !

Well said Goran !

If I go to an ecumenical meeting, I do not expect to be the covert subject of a hidden agenda, to subvert my identity , my sense of self, my me. My sensibility, spirituality and any 'beliefs' I may happen to have, are all part of this identity along with my (hidden) history.

Presumably, I am not alone in this respect, and we would all like to be treated with similar consideration and respect.

And surely this would hold true WITHIN denominations, as well as between them ? E.g. protestant and Catholic anglicans. Or sacramentalists and non-sacramentalists. I have found the RC denomination is not momumental, either. I have experienced RC evangelicals, humanists and Charismatics. The mass in the humanistic setting was a house mass with greatly simplified ritual and an emphasis on sharing and togetherness. The charismatic prayer group made eucharist from time to time, and at the eucharistic prayer a paragraph(epiklesis, anamnesis etc) was said in turn by each woman and man present --all having said the 'Words of Consecration' together.

And who can forget Dr.Orchard the Congregationalist minister years ago, who conducted high mass each Sunday ?

I refer to these tangible things as they make explicit the diversity & richness within denominations, better than quoting the varying christologies, soteriologies, ecclesiologies and what have you.

I do not know how my faith-life journey will end, but I do wish to be free to continue to grow organically, without let or hindrance

(from the diktats of Rome, Lambeth-Windsor or any other alleged authority in faith & morals).

Posted by laurence roberts at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 8:03pm GMT

Robert Pigott did make a good fist of telling how this story came about. I had said to him that he would not try, and I was wrong.
Simon points to the "pigs might fly" editorial from the Herald and it is revealing. Here we see the issue as they see it:
"You won't be going to Rome to ask the Holy Father to reconsider having women priests will you?" - the bit about pigs!
"You are the ones who have to reconsider your decision!"
Well, of course if Rowan is expecting them to change their mind, he can't close off the possibility of Anglicans also doing that - Can he?
And the crunch line, we didn't do it to invigorate the church or for any other reason other than as baptised Christians we thought it was the RIGHT thing to do no matter how painful.

Who knows the RC's might evolve, sprout wings, and do the right thing too one day -

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 8:34pm GMT

The principle of theological conviction, of ordaining both sexes as priests, applies not only between the Roman, Orthodox and Anglican Churches, but also within the Anglican Churches and on other issues too. But this is where Rowan Williams makes a change of strategy, where he is reluctant to follow through, that The Episcopal Church has the right too regarding theological convictions and that they cannot be marginalised. Indeed they may well be right, to be followed, and a Covenant cannot be a means to in effect exclude them or freeze any signatory if its prime purpose is institutional rather than theological.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 18 November 2006 at 9:23pm GMT

Yes, the Roman Catholic take on "that they may be one" (Jn 17:11) is narrowly predicated on institutional unity, whereas the idea of a communion of churches, each with their differing structures, theologies and traditions, would be a fuller and richer representation of the body of Christ. It is Rome that perceives women priests as an ecumenical obstacle -- because it perceive ecumenism as oriented toward fusion of the different structures of the two churches -- but Canterbury need only stress its own right to express the Gospel as its best theological wisdom dictates and should lodge a firm protest against condescending judgments from Rome (as well as against actual interference in the inner debates of Anglicanism, as happened when Card. Ratzinger addressed a letter of support to the traditionalist Anglicans in the US). Such a protest should clear the air of ecumenical encounter, making it a fraternal dialogue rather than a "negotiation".

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 19 November 2006 at 6:10am GMT

Cheryl / Goran - someone prayed for unity.....not "respect" or "diversity" - we need to look at his words, his agenda,to represent him truthfully.

- and the one who prayed for unity clearly meant real unity (he would not have died for ambiguity and space to think!)

-he did not mean Anglican fudge which has allowed some people to become bishops even though they deliberately and knowingly contradict so many of the his words....but then he warned about wolves disguised as sheep too!

we need to get back to his words if we are to use his name!

Posted by NP at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 5:26am GMT

NP said:
"Cheryl / Goran - someone prayed for unity.....not "respect" or "diversity" - we need to look at his words, his agenda,to represent him truthfully.

- and the one who prayed for unity clearly meant real unity (he would not have died for ambiguity and space to think!)

-he did not mean Anglican fudge which has allowed some people to become bishops even though they deliberately and knowingly contradict so many of the his words....but then he warned about wolves disguised as sheep too!

we need to get back to his words if we are to use his name!"

NP, if your point on 'Anglican fudge' refers to female or gay bishops, perhaps you could point us to the words of Jesus that these bishops 'contradict'? And the recorded travels of Jesus through the non-Jewish lands of Samaria and others surely show an agenda of 'respect' and 'diversity'?

Posted by Richard at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 10:56am GMT

Nersen dear, what makes you think there isn't "ambiguity" in the Good Book?

And didn't Jesus die exactly because of "space to think"? Wasn't his space to think un-approved thougts the very reason both the Romans and the Sanhedrin wanted Him out of their ways?

And what if the Wolves signifies the agents of disrespect and certainty?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 20 November 2006 at 9:10pm GMT

NP,
Glad you're back, you haven't been posting for a while, and I wondered where you'd gone. As to Jesus' prayer that we all might be one, I think perhaps you're missing a nuance. How are we, fallible humans that we are, to accomplish this unity? Well, we need to pray, not asking for what we want, but that we might want what God wants. Thus, we need to be humble enough to put aside our own wants and ideas and needs and listen to what God wants, and to each other. It requires the humility to see God in everyone, no matter how far from us they are. It is only when we show true Christian self sacrifice that we can recieve from God the gift of unity. As long as we shout at each other about what's true, and what's "in the Bible" and how we know better than someone else, and how we're "orthodox" and someone else is a "revisionist", or how we're Liberals and defending justice while others are "conservatives" and oppressing people, we will never be unified. And Protestants have gone to the "plain word" of Scripture for the past 500 years, yet even the Fundamentalists can't agree on what it means, so I don't think unity is to be found in adherence to a printed word when our fallible human nature and our pride make us unable to agree on its meaning.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 3:06pm GMT

I still cannot see the problem with having women priests. Nobody has ever explained to me why it is that nuns cannot "say" mass.

Posted by Old Father Thames at Monday, 27 November 2006 at 7:26pm GMT
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