Comments: Papal visit: Westminster Abbey

The Pope addresses Rowan Williams as The Archbishop of Canterbury. Isn't this a sin? Isn't this willfully misleading people into believing that the A of C is a legitimate bishop with all the powers of a bishop, i. e. conferring orders, forgiving sin, etc.? If the Pope considers him a fellow bishop, why am I in mortal sin for thinking the same thing?

Posted by Ashpenaz at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 7:51pm BST

Nice to see the ABC wearing his mitre. And the use of incense during the Magnificat. Interesting implications.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 10:28pm BST

[@Ashpenaz: watching the event on EWTN ("Global Catholic {i.e., Popoid} Network") I noticed that the announcers first called him just "Rowan Williams". Only AFTER the Pope called him "Archbishop", did the announcer relent and call him "Archbishop Williams", too! ;-/]

I think Rowan Williams has been a horrible ABC---complicit in much evil---and wish he would resign, ASAP.

That said, I thought his evensong comments this evening were very commendable (in an ecumenical context).

I couldn't help but feel, however, that his remarks were rather elegaic: the ecumenical convergence that COULD have been (had JP2 really acted on/in the spirit of "Ut Unum Sint"), instead of what really happened (a Roman Church evermore retreating into a *reactionary* fortress). [In a fortress "Europe, Europe, Europe, Europe": has His Holiness not noticed that, since Pangaea broke up, there are a bunch of *other* continents now? Geez! (says the Yank)]

Back to the evensong: I did enjoy pointing out/explaining "the Pope's boyfriend" to my father, however. ("That's Monsignor Georg Ganschwein: there to the side, in the black and magenta!") *LOL*

Posted by JCF at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 11:01pm BST

You use the word 'willfully', suggesting that the Pope has some sort of agenda rather than rejoicing in the fact that he acknowledges Rowan Williams as a fellow Bishop in the church of Christ. Today, i saw unity and was glad in it.

Posted by Damien McGrath at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 11:26pm BST

Ashpenaz. You will note that the Pope does not address Archbishop Rowan as the 'Catholic' Archbishop of Canterbury. Perhaps this is his own subtle way of differentiating between what Rome considers authentic, as opposed to the rest of us.
Remember, the Pope is a guest here and certain protocols are 'de rigeur'. Titles are just titles.

In the same way, Rowan might address Benedict as 'Your Holiness', with a similar regard for ecclesiastical protocol - whereas Jesus once asked a bystander "Who are you calling 'Good'? One alone is Good" - indicating an attribute of his Father, God. It is highly unlikely though that the ABC would address the Pope as 'Bishop of Rome', which is what he actually is.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 11:43pm BST

Well, Ashpenaz, The Archperson of Canterbury just doesn't have the same pizazz to it.

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 17 September 2010 at 11:55pm BST

I think an Anglican could call the Pope "Your Holiness." ARCIC doesn't reject the Pope or the Papacy. We just don't agree with claims of infallibility or universal jurisdiction. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the Vicar of Peter and plays the same role of being a symbol of unity for the Church as Peter did for the Apostles. But Peter didn't have any powers the other apostles didn't have, and Peter didn't have any immediate jurisdiction over any other apostle. Nor was Peter personally infallible.

If the Pope stands next to the Archbishop of Canterbury and they are both wearing the signs of being bishops and they refer to each other as bishops, isn't the Pope sinning against the solemn declaration of Apostolic Curae? Isn't he suggesting, by his actions, that Anglican orders are valid? Isn't he leading me into mortal sin by suggesting I can receive valid sacraments from the one he calls the Archbishop of Canterbury? What if because of the Pope's misleading gesture, I never leave my fake church for his One, True Church and go to hell? Isn't he responsible for losing one of the faithful because of his false and misleading gesture?

What if he leaves the impression in England that Anglicans can remain Anglicans and still be saved? Think of all the mortal sin he will be responsible for!

Posted by Ashpenaz at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 3:38am BST

Being pleasant to a person, doesn't necessarily mean you believe they are who they claim. As St Paul said, I became a Jew to the Jews,and a Greek to the Greeks. That is why he shook Canon hedges hand and by the way the Pope's have met female clergy before.

The Pope recognises Rowan as the leader of a substantial Protestant federation of churches.That is why at Lambeth he greeted his" brother Catholic bishops" and the Anglican bishops.

If he met an American Methodist bishop he would greet him as such.He would greet the leader of the Salvation Army as General.

I felt Rowan was wrong when he said at Lambeth , "we have no desire to dominate." If he was being inclusive of Cathoolics ... we actually we believe the Catholic message is the the gospel for a world dying in its trespass and sin.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 7:19am BST

Having viewed some of the coverage on the papal web-site, I noticed the particular caring way in which 'Gorgeous George' looked after the papal dignity. It was nice, too. to see he wears a purple cincture; it goes well with the boss's immaculata white outfit.

Now, seriously; Pope Benedict did express a proper fatherly love for the children presented to him. I always think that's the measure of a truly human being - which, of course, he is.

Solemn Evensong in Westminster Abbey was really something to behold. It was good to see the joint ceremony of putting incense onto the coals. At least, the ABC and the Pope have a common love of dignity in worship.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 9:53am BST

Ashpenaz, aren't you being a little free with the idea of mortal sin?

In order for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions:

Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter
Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner
Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner

This means that mortal sins cannot be done "accidentally." A person who commits a mortal sin is one who knows that their sin is wrong, but still deliberately commits the sin anyway. This means that mortal sins are "premeditated" by the sinner and thus are truly a rejection of God’s law and love.

I'm not sure these things qualify...

Posted by Balaam's Ass at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 2:24pm BST

Ashpenaz, in diplomacy (which is what this is) people often say things they don't really mean, and everyone knows this and is just happy people are speaking to each other. There is enough "on the books" to serve as a corrective to anyone mistaking this act of courtesy for a formal recognition.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 4:12pm BST


Posted by bobinswpa at Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 9:41pm BST

Of course the measure of full knowledge is also linked to culpable ignorance.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 19 September 2010 at 9:16pm BST

RIW: I've got to give credit where credit is due. I agree completely w/ what you've said in re the natural behavior in the way greetings where conducted at Westminster (Abbey). Now if we could just transpose this behavior to Lambeth and the Vatican.

And yes, a little incense is nice at long's at up there at the altar and away from us doing the work in the stalls....

Posted by evensongjunkie at Sunday, 19 September 2010 at 11:42pm BST

I agree with those who advise not to read too much into the diplomatic acts. Pope Benedict also greeted the female canon of the Abbey, vested in her cope; one can be sure that the Holy Father recognizes her as neither canon nor priest.

Posted by Ceremoniar at Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 7:10pm BST

The service for the papal visit to Westminster Abbey was not only stunning for its history, but the music was some of the best I have heard. I tried desperately to find a copy of the service, but the BBC copies were not available in the US. Can you help?

Dr Richard B. Gilbert

Posted by Rev. Dr. Richard Gilbert at Thursday, 4 August 2011 at 2:54am BST
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