Comments: General Synod - press reports of Archbishop of Canterbury's presidential address

Profound apologies huh? Sorry you didn't invite a legally elected bishop of the AC to the tea party a couple of years ago or sold your buddy over at Reading down the path..

As my mother would say...actions speak louder than words, and he's got a lot to catch up for my forgiveness. God's may be forthcoming, mine's going to take a long while.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 7:07pm GMT

Having read the text - I hardly think The Times can report some great change of heart from RW. He would clearly STILL block the appointment of another Jeffrey John - and this is a little more than the poor thing 'getting the rhetoric wrong'. His performance maybe should be compared to Tony Blair's in the Iraq Inquiry in also stubbornly refusing to go back to the drawing board in the ill-thought out and ill-judged Covenant. Just like Iraq there seems to be no planning about what the outcome is likely to be after the post-Covenant skirmishes begin. Sorry to say, the man may be well-intentioned, a kind sweet man too, but a fool.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 7:17pm GMT

Archbishop says, "Sorry" for words on lesbians and gays in the church

This sounds like the old Rowan -- the one we thought we were getting some years back ....

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 9:04pm GMT

Archbishop seems to be reaching out to us

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 9:39pm GMT

Nobody could say that this was a negligible speech. Obviously, there are things for 'liberals' to disagree with, but personally I am very glad that RW is still fighting a gallant rearguard action on behalf of FiF (many of whom really do not want to leave). All true liberals should support him.

Posted by john at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 10:04pm GMT

'(Abp.) Orombi, an ally of the American breakaway faction, insisted in a statement directly at odds with (Abp.) Williams' remarks:
"Homosexual practice has no place in God's design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation or His plan of redemption."

Once again, like his conservative US bedfellows, this haughty Ugandan prelate is displaying his woeful ignorance of the etiology of difference in human sexualty - as it has been revealed through decades of scientific research and social observation. His lust for ritual purity has completely overcome his common sense and REASON - one further indication of his unsuitability as a Bishop in the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Orombi's un-Christian intolerance of the LGBT community has notably extended to his blood-lust for the lives of Gays within his own Church and nation. This, surely, cannot be seen to accord with the ethos of Anglicanism. Nor can it be given the authority of Christ in Scripture. If ever there was a need for a more spiritual and Godly attitude towards a significant minority in the Church and the World at large, then our own day and age is the time and the context.

Orombi's colleague Bp. Scott-Joynt is not exempt from the discriminatory venom of those who would exclude homosexuals from the ranks of the Church. His lack of enthusiasm at the ABC's call for respect for the LGBT community already part of the Church's ministry and flock was noted - even by hard-headed journalists present at the ABC's opening address to the General Synod.

Let's all pray that the Holy Spirit will guard and guide the deliberations of this session of the G.S of the Church of England, so that Truth and Justice may prevail as the outcome. My hope is that Archbishop Rowan will yet prove himself the advocate for LGBTs that was evidenced in his earlier statements as a respected theologian.

If there is to be a 2-tier Communion. I'm with those who champion the inclusivity of the Gospel

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 10:21pm GMT

Nice to have RW speak the words, say he is sorry about the bad habits he has picked up for dehumanizing queer folks - now nearly a global matter of established Anglican culture? Then, oh well ... what about metanoia? Change of mind? Change of heart? Real changes in specific behavior?

Three areas where I dearly would pray to hear and see and cherish improvements are:
A) habits of presuppositionally dissing the queer folks whenever possible by simply starting off with working presumptions of deep human incompentency and church life inferiority - usually expressed overtly or implicitly in some typical narrative of dirt plus danger?
B) mealy-mouthing all around every single time it comes to customary Anglican global habits of being able to agree to disagree while engaging in common prayer - big tent stuff which never sounds committed or convincing when RW even hints about our global big tent (except to hint or even bray that it must collapse, alas, on his watch?)?
C) RW's outright refusal to identify and confront the flat earthisms - in detail and depth - which believers have sadly received as our shared negative legacy mis-understanding of queer folks and everybody related to queer folks who isn't dissing and preaching false witness against them as obvious global neighbors?

Alas, Lord have mercy. I'm caring less and less if the holier than thou conservatives want to hitch up their skirts - no women bishops ever, of course - and hie off to a special conservative Anglican global tent where Anglicans just let loose as whole hog flat earthers period. TEC led the way for founding and gathering the global communion in the first place; now it exists solely to trash talk and seek innovative ways to police-punish? A pox on all their houses?

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 10:54pm GMT

Sorry, Rev L, but I believe Ruth Gledhill over-read into the Archbishop's speech. It is only "sacrificial" gay and lesbian people he welcomes into his Church -- those who remain celibate and closeted because they feel nothing but horror and self-loathing for their sexual beings. There's nothing new there, and nothing to celebrate, either.

I suppose it's a measure of the burdens and abuse the Church of England heaps on gays and lesbians -- the fact that what the Archbishop said could be construed as a supportive and kind remark!

Posted by Charlotte at Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 11:53pm GMT

""Homosexual practice has no place in God's design of creation..."

Wow, where does he think gay people come from, if God didn't make us? I mean, if we're not part of God's Creation, then we must be--"



Never mind.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 1:27am GMT

I agree with Charlotte - this is not an apology that results in change of policy of heart.

Instead, it is a kind of public handwringing, and is the moral equivalent of the celebrity apology: "I'm sorry if anyone took offence at what I said/did" instead of, "I was wrong. Please forgive me. I will make it right"

What a weasel - and I expect he thinks he has made a generous and Christian apology.

For being so supposedly smart, author of many books, he is humanly dumb as an ox. No. I slander oxen. An expression around here is "dumber than a mud fence."

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 4:16am GMT

"Profound apology?!"

The only way he could make amends is to publicly disavow all support for ACNA, Orombi, the Lords Spiritual, and those blocking women's ordinations, issue a public and personal apology to both Gene Robinson and Jeffrey Johns, a public and personal rebuke to Uganda and Nigeria, to Whatsisname in Durham, to Scott-Joynt and to the silly woman who brought the whole ACNA recognition thing forward.

Then - if he resigned immediately and retired from public life entirely - he *might* have made a good start on fixing the damage he's done.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 5:37am GMT

Anglican bishops in Malaysia have been known to say that homosexuality is foreign to their culture. The human rights situation in that country bears some resemblances to that in Uganda:

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 6:10am GMT

No writing on the wall there...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 8:41am GMT

If one ought to restrain oneself here in the CofE because of FiF's concerns, as Rowan suggests, bending over backwards to keep a truly welcome space for this minority, even eschewing a good for their sake, why does he not call for the communion to allow the Episcopal Church the same sort of room to hold and act on what is officially a minority opinion in the Communion? To be fair to RW, he is calling for inclusiveness in terms of churches in the Communion, but there still seems to be a massive imbalance in what he asks of the liberals in contrast to what he asks of the conservatives (to use those usually unhelpful terms).

Perhaps this points to what has happened in other churches. I think it fair to say that conservative forces are more likely to be schismatic than liberal ones, and so to hold things together one has to placate those conservative forces. I think this holds true for the RC Church, but I suspect it may hold true for others as well. It does however mean that maintaining unity comes at a heavier price for those who are more liberal....

Posted by Joe at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 8:54am GMT

I remember Mervyn Stockwood going out of the country to take part in the ordination of a woman to the priesthood well in advance of the legislation allowing it here. If RW gets his way, after a short period of calm, there will be a counter-move from within the C of E. Bishops here will take part in ordinations of active homosexuals in TEC and/or Canada. Visiting bishops and clergy will be offered pulpits and altars here against the legislation. The C of E 'top tier' status will be frequently and fatally compromised out of existence. African bishops will demand punishment which cannot be carried out and then they will cease to recognise the provinces of Canterbury and York as part of their club. Like it or not in this country we are part of the western liberal world. Pandering to Reform and F in F for while will not change that. We might as well legislate for women bishops and gay clergy now and get the trouble over with rather than die the death of a thousand cuts that the Covenant will bring.

Posted by toby forward at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 10:09am GMT

I think we ought to give Rowan credit as a human being (even if he is inept as a leader) - he clearly has no personal animus about gay people. I think it would be fair to say he is deeply saddened at throwing us LGBs under a bus for the sake of the unity of the communion - that, unfortunately, doesn't mean he isn't going to do it.

Rowan's message to us (at least those of us in countries where we're lucky enough to be able to live free without legal or social penalty) seems to be "hey, come on, not being a bishop isn't that big a deal - you get to do everything else and the unity of the communion is far more important". And on one level I can see his point - although that's easy for me to say because I am not being called to be a bishop. But his problem is the pace of change in attitudes to homosexuality in the West. And no-one is going to put up with sitting in the back of the bus anymore.

Rowan comes from a generation where he understands all gay people to have some sort of expectation of unequal treatment - where being treated decently is enough even if you're not treated the same. That was really radical in about 1976. My generation - whether we're LGB or our straight friends - expects equality. The kids 15 years younger than me coming up demand it, and don't take no for an answer.

Rowan's political dilemma is that parts of world Anglicanism are forcing him into a position which is uncreasingly untenable in England - one of the most liberal countries in the world on attitudes to homosexuality. What would I do? What about asking what would Jesus do?

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 2:37pm GMT

Jesus was known to offer predictions about the way things would go in the next generation. Perhaps that's what he would do in this case, too. Perhaps preserving the Communion intact for the next generation, when the balance of world public opinion has moved decisively toward gay inclusion, is ++Rowan's goal.

Trouble is, public opinion has moved faster than he (and others) may have allowed for. For example, it is no longer possible to support, or even be silent on, the Ugandan anti-gay laws and still be considered morally credible, as ++Rowan has now discovered to his cost. The British Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who is likely to be the next Premier, has called on ++Rowan and the Church of England to do the hard work of rejecting their inherited anti-gay attitudes. When both major parties reject the position of the Church of England on gay inclusion, it should give the Establishment food for thought. One can always claim to be above mere secular society but an established church has some trouble credibly making that claim.

Yet the campaign to discredit, discipline, and expel the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion grinds on, and on, and on. The Church of England still refuses to allow women to become bishops, and this, too, grinds on and on. Both are kept alive in part by ++Rowan's refusal to come down on one side or the other. Great and lasting damage to the Churches of the Communion is being done by this.

Posted by Charlotte at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 5:57pm GMT


On the particular issue, I don't think RW was arguing for indefinite, or even any lengthy, suspension of women bishops: rather, for 'statutory provision' (whatever) for those opposed to it. I do think that the lesser evil. Most of FiF don't seem to want to 'pope', some of them (OK, late in the day) seem to see positive merit in the traditional 'broad church' version of the C of E. Some of them are obviously very distressed. You and I think they are deluded, but I myself am not in a particularly strong moral position, and many of these people are (otherwise) very virtuous. They run good and successful churches. Nor are they misogynists (or homophobes). So I think they should be cut a bit of slack. One of RW's great recent 'insights' (it's staggeringly obvious, but difficult for a church leader or theologian to admit) is that it is just impossible to impose uniformity, that these disagreements will always be with us, and that it's really quite pointless and futile to keep breaking up into different denominational permutations just to maintain one's 'integrity'. It's actually (in one sense) a very Protestant point of view.

Posted by john at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 7:49pm GMT

Well said, Gerry Lynch.

Ruth is putting forward the headline she knows her readers would love to hear: profound apologies from a churchman about the teaching of contempt. This has never happened yet, so RW's vague apologetic mumble might be hailed as innovative.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 10:19pm GMT

Well if RW is our finest hour example of somebody in leadership who has no palpable animus towards queer folks, yet still is completely willing to throw them under the bus in an attempt to placate the conservatives who overtly do live that animosity - what in the world can an Anglican believer make of it?

The leader who is first among equals will do the dirty work, then? RWE has fallen for Sophie's Choice, as if conservatives were holding a real gun to his real head, when in fact they are just the worst and meanest of nasty lobbying groups, priding themselves on what they have the chutzpah to keep calling, gospel.

Not a lovely witness Anglicans should be so busy making, in this day and age. It will stand out like the bishops voting to support slavery, not all that long or far into the generational British future.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 12:48am GMT

"Sorry, Rev L, but I believe Ruth Gledhill over-read into the Archbishop's speech. It is only "sacrificial" gay and lesbian people he welcomes into his Church -- those who remain celibate and closeted because they feel nothing but horror and self-loathing for their sexual beings. There's nothing new there, and nothing to celebrate, either."

Sadly, I read the word "sacrificial" and thought the same thing, Charlotte. He's not talking about the sacrifice that ALL LGBT clerics---and many if not all LGBT laity---make, in the face of a homophobic church and/or society.

No, he's talking about the sacrifice a Noble (Savage) Few make, to "sacrifice their same-sex attractions" (in the current BS phrase of the bigoted, Bible-misreading 'phobes).

The fact that Rowan Cantuar probably does not *personally* believe the BS, only makes his capitulation to it the MORE execrable.

Denounce Orombi, Rowan, and THEN get back to us!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 2:20am GMT

"The Church of England still refuses to allow women to become bishops, and this, too, grinds on and on." - Charlote, on Wednesday -

Not so, Charlotte. The principle of women bishops has already been accepted by the General Synod of the Church of England. The problem at the moment is deciding when and how to put this into practice in the C.of E. Abp.Rowan in his Opening Speech to G.S. affirmed that most Anglicans are in favour. What is holding up the process at the moment is that the Revision Committee, charged with the taks of drawing up the plan for proper reception of women bishops, has the difficulty of getting any agreement on the accommodation, or otherwise, of those in opposition. The very next meeting of General Synod (July?) will have to discuss a relevant plan of adoption.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 3:58am GMT

Sorry, but Rowan's done too much damage and brought too much chaos for my trust or to extend the benefit of the doubt.

What I believe is we've seen a man who now realizes that, contrary to his previous belief, he does not have the American churches by the bishops, but is dealing with a different polity, completely that takes into account the laity and parish clergy, both of which groups are becoming increasingly angry. Even some of the more moderate or actively-AC-supporting voices are starting to ask why, in light of support from just about all corners but Canterbury, we have to continue to maintain a communion *through* Canterbury.

Couple this with the cold-water shock of a Lambeth shortfall which Canterbury had to rely on North American goodwill to make up, and he realizes that, while numbers might give him a warm feeling, dollars give him a firm footing. He needs American moolah, so, he's playing the fuzzy, eccentric, forthright but ultimately-loveable old academic, who really hasn't realized he said and did something deeply insulting.

I've come to see a technocrat, a man playing both ends against the middle, to keep both of the AC's major players - the Americas with their cash and Africa/Asia with their numbers - at each others' throats while he centralizes and takes unprecedented power and authority to himself and CofE. He's rebuilding empire.

Do not trust Rowan Williams, either side.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 5:21am GMT

john (whoever you are), perhaps I wasn't clear in my last contribution here. I meant to say that the Covenant just won't work. It won't work because it's wrong and people won't put up with doing wrong for ever. They'll ignore it and it won't be enforced. And, as any prefect knows, you can't enforce rules that are not respected.

Posted by toby forward at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 9:03am GMT

You give ++Rowan too much credit Mark Brunson, he's just an old dodger who has realized too late that the direction he allowed the AC to head is the trash can ('rubbish bin') and is trying to give himself some credibility by 'apologizing'.

LGBT's like you and I might sit back and, we do have things better than the Stone Wall riot days, but the future of the church is are the teen-agers today, and they won't take "second-tier" lightly, they'll just laugh at the decaying old building on the corner of the town square until it's torn down and a parking lot put up in it's place. Meanwhile, what's left of Christianity will be in that new gymnasium-like structure out on the edge of town that promotes thinly-guised hate (go look at all the anti-Obama statements on Face Book) that is spreading across the U.S. like wild-fire.

++Rowan could have used his position to nip something in the bud like this in the AC, and he has failed miserably. Is it any wonder he sits dumbfounded while Uganda and the like legislate ethnic cleansing in the name of Christ, and their equals over here plan the same for future generations.

The AC could have taken a stand, but instead it bickers about women bishops and whining for exemption in a country's laws to discriminate. No wonder the organization is going to the dogs.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 2:15pm GMT


I agree concerning the Covenant. I was focusing on the one thing: accommodation of FiF people.

John Moles.

Posted by john at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 7:25pm GMT

I should have thought that 'FiF people' have very livable accomodation. Time to get on with it now, quietly and faithfully. No will foist woman bishop on them, their usual bishops will fly in for the Confirmations, Chrism mass and so forth. What more could be expected being in a church with women in ministry ( it's called the C of E) ?

I have a feeling nothin will halt the decline of Christianity of the Church going variety in UK., so we had all better get on with it.

On the other hand, the 'Christianity' apparently thriving in Africa (an admixture of tribal practices and belief) and in the USA- an admixture of rightwing tribal belief and practices -- make me wonder truly, if 'Christianity' has an institutional future.

And yet what of the Basileia Jesus spoke of in the parables and similies ? Was that all wrong ? Or was he on to something ?*

or other. If so does It really need something like the C of E, the Southern Baptists or Telly evangelists to sponser It ?

May be we need a thread here for expression of

visions of the 'kingdom'

images of the 'kingdom'

kingdom (best) practice

Is there a less problematic word now than kingdom I wonder ?

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 5:48pm GMT
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