Thinking Anglicans

Roman election

The election process to fill the vacancy in Rome begins today. The Conclave will meet for mass and the doors will be locked and they will be left alone to their deliberations.

Geza Vermes writes in the Telegraph, Let’s hope Vatican politics do not hinder the Holy Spirit in which he hopes for a more liberal, thoughtful Roman Catholic Church, less wedded to dogma and closer to Vermes’s view of Jesus of Nazareth:

To judge both the legacy of John Paul II and the problems facing the new papacy, there should be one sure criterion – the teaching of Jesus. Is conservative Catholicism based on the gospel?

It would be presumptuous for an outsider to offer advice to the conclave, but may he be allowed a dream? In this dream, the new Pope is urged by God to revitalise Catholicism from within by concentrating on the authentic gospel of Jesus, on the message conveyed by him to his disciples, and not on the doctrine about Jesus developed by St Paul and two millennia of Christianity. This is a simple and moving message, which Jesus formulated in his own language for his simple Galilean audience, about God, the heavenly Father, the dignity of all human beings as children of God, a life turned into worship by total trust, an overwhelming sense of urgency to do one’s duty without delaying tactics, a sanctification of the here and now, and, yes, the love of God through the love of one’s neighbour.

If made prominent, and not concealed under verbiage about sex, rituals, mass canonisation of saints and Mary worship, the authentic gospel would concentrate on the true essence of religion, an existential relationship between man and man, and man and God.

Reconstructed with the tools of 21st-century historical and biblical scholarship, and perceived by 21st-century minds in 21st-century circumstances, it would appeal to thinking people all over the world, who have left the Church in droves, and feed a genuine ecumenical spirit among religious groups outside Catholicism.


Developments in Connecticut

The AAC and NACDAP have issued two statements concerning the dispute in Connecticut between the bishop and six conservative parishes.

First, this one announces that six prominent NACDAP/AAC clergypersons will preach this Sunday, one in each of the six parishes.

…Bishop Smith accuses the six of “abandonment of communion,” even though he has failed to provide evidence to support his charge and ignored the plea by Anglican Church leaders for restraint and latitude on the part of American bishops in conflict with their priests on fundamental issues of Anglican theology. Bishop Smith supports theological innovations regarding human sexuality embraced by the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church that are contrary to Scripture, to the traditional teaching of Anglicanism, and to positions firmly supported by the leadership of the Anglican Church comprising over 70 million members worldwide. The six Connecticut clergy and congregations targeted by Bishop Smith are biblically orthodox and remain faithful to apostolic faith and order upheld by the worldwide Anglican Communion…

Second, this one is an open letter from a total of seventeen NACDAP/AAC-related bishops (12 of them diocesans) addressed to the bishop and the standing committee of the Diocese of Connecticut.

…What are we to do? We have agreed as bishops not to cross diocesan boundaries. But was not this moratorium based on other moratoria being observed as well, and on the maintenance of status quo as regards actions against the conservative minority? Were not the commitments we made to one another at the March meeting of the House of Bishops also based on the assumption of the functioning of the Panel of Reference, called for by the Primates in February 2005? And was it not notification of their intent to appeal to the Panel of Reference by the six parishes, given by letter to the Bishop of Connecticut, that immediately precipitated the threat of inhibition and deposition of the clergy of those parishes?

We also ask: was Title IV, Canon 10, intended to be used against clergy who have resolutely maintained their commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, as these clergy have? What about due process and right to ecclesiastical trials, both of which are denied when this Canon on Abandonment of Communion is used in this way? Who is it that has abandoned the Communion?

This is a painful letter for us to write. We pose much of this letter as questions. Is there some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops? Please know that we are more than eager to be part of the resolution of this crisis in every appropriate way.

“The whole world is watching”, as we used to observe in the sixties. We do not seem to be commending the faith that is in us in any way that the watching world can appreciate or fathom. Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?


ECUSA decides about Nottingham

Yet Another Two Updates

The Bishop of Pittsburgh doesn’t like it either. He has issued A Statement from the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network.

What the response of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council to the 2005 Primates’ Communique gives with one hand, it takes away with the other. While it gives an appearance of complying with the Primates’ request, in actuality it does not. The Primates asked the ECUSA delegation to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council (AAC) – the only appropriate response is therefore to stay at home.

The American Anglican Council doesn’t like it at all, see this statement which includes:

The Executive Council’s letter to the Anglican Consultative Council is manipulative and deceptive. The Primates were clear and direct in their call to the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada:

“…we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion.” (cf. paragraph 8)

While the language of the Communiqué is gracious and diplomatic, the intent is crystal clear—the American and Canadian Churches have been told to stand down from the Anglican Consultative Council. In addition, they have been presented with a clear choice to permanently walk together or walk apart. The parameters for “walking together” are also definitive: the Episcopal Church must repent of its heretical actions and embrace once more in word and in practice the faith and order of Anglicanism. We cannot accept that the Executive Council does not understand what the Primates have requested, and therefore we must assume that this is a deliberate plan to circumvent and ignore the full intent of the Communiqué.

The Executive Council is setting up an opportunity to lobby and influence the ACC meeting. Given the fact that ECUSA is insisting on such a presence, it seems a matter of justice and fair play that those who are excluded from ECUSA and isolated because they stand against revisionism should also be present and “available for conversation and consultation”. We call upon the Anglican Consultative Council to deny the Executive Council’s request; however, if the ECUSA delegation attends, we believe it is critical to include voices that offer a very different perspective, one that is consistent with Scripture and the accepted faith and order of the Anglican Communion.

No mention at all by the NACDAP Moderator or by the AAC of this paragraph in the communiqué:

16. Notwithstanding the request of paragraph 14 of this communiqué, we encourage the Anglican Consultative Council to organize a hearing at its meeting in Nottingham, England, in June 2005 at which representatives of the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, invited for that specific purpose, may have an opportunity to set out the thinking behind the recent actions of their Provinces, in accordance with paragraph 141 of the Windsor Report.

Clearly a significant disagreement then between both of them and the ABC:

Further Update
Archbishop of Canterbury commends Executive Council letter

In a communication to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams extended thanks to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council for its decision to withdraw its three American members from official participation in the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham, England in June.

“I have just received the news of the decision about ACC. Thank you all,” Williams said. “I can guess how hard it will have been, but you have acted very generously and constructively and I hope this will bear the fruit that it should…”

The Executive Council of ECUSA has decided to withdraw its representatives from official participation in the ACC at Nottingham this June. The full statement is published by ENS here. The key paragraph is:

We are mindful that Christ has made us members of one body, and that no part can say to any other “I have no need of you.” At the same time we wish to express our openness to the concerns and beliefs of others. In the spirit of the Covenant Statement recently adopted by our House of Bishops, we voluntarily withdraw our members from official participation in the ACC as it meets in Nottingham. As an expression of our desire “to bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), we are asking our members to be present at the meeting to listen to reports on the life and ministry we share across the Communion and to be available for conversation and consultation.

Update Press coverage of this:
Associated Press Episcopalians accept no-delegates request and also this squib
Knight Ridder/Chicago Tribune U.S. Episcopal Church to sit out council over issue of gay bishops
Reuters U.S. church withdraws from key Anglican body

New York Times (This report also deals with another current American story) Connecticut Episcopalians Defy Bishop Over Gay Issues

Living Church Observers Will Attend ACC Meeting

Anglican Journal
U.S. church will bow out of international meeting

A first-hand account of the meeting on a blog


Sunday papers

Sunday Times
John Cornwell Fight for the soul of the church
Bryan Appleyard The world bids farewell

Independent on Sunday
Peter Popham Show of devotion sways cardinals’ choice
Lucy Lethbridge Rome clears up after the millions who came to take part in a piece of history

Sunday Telegraph
David Willey (of the BBC) Behind the elaborate protocol, a naked power struggle begins
Kevin Myers Two, four, six, eight: time to transubstantiate

David Aaronovitch A papal morality tale for a moral age
Peter Beaumont Now the search begins

Well, can’t link to it, but GetReligion has this:
Let’s elect a British pope


Pope: funeral reports

John Hooper The final farewell
Stephen Bates Close encounters of a diplomatic kind

The Times
Richard Owen Faithful demand instant sainthood
Ruth Gledhill Commentary: the cult of John Paul will ensure his sainthood

Jonathan Petre Make him a saint the people cry as, watched by the world, Pope John Paul II is laid to rest

Peter Popham Sea of mourners bid farewell with tears and cheers

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan WIlliams talked, on the Today Programme yesterday to Edward Stourton of the Pope John Paul II. Real Audio required. Listen here

Bishop John Flack’s diary for the week
other related material


Pope: weekend opinion roundup

Newspapers writing about the Pope:
Leader in the Guardian Pole of Poles
Leader in The Times Power of faith
Leader in the Telegraph Christianity in a Godless age

Christopher Howse The Victorian way of death
Jonathan Sacks John Paul’s blow against a virus of the soul

The Tablet has an article by the Italian commentator Marco Politi
A man ill at ease in his own century
More Tablet articles here


Nigerian primate issues two statements

Two formal statements were issued on 7 April 2005 by Archbishop Peter Akinola the Primate of All Nigeria.



In the first of these he says:

I now write to you in response to the recent Covenant statement from ECUSA’s House of Bishops during their spring meeting in Camp Allen, Texas and also because there have been a number of misleading reports about the recent Primates’ meeting in Northern Ireland.

While the statement issued by ECUSA’s House of Bishops expressed a desire to remain in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion, I was disappointed that the only regret offered was for their failure to consult and the effect of their actions instead of an admission that what they have done has offended God and His Church. As was pointed out in the Primates Communiqué issued in February ‘the underlying reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity is obscured, and the effectiveness of our common mission severely hindered.” ECUSA has yet to grasp this reality and still appears to be chasing shadows. Until this is recognized there can be no hope of meaningful reconciliation.

The statement answered the call for a moratorium with regard to the ordinations of non-celibate homosexuals with a pledge to withhold consent to the consecration of any bishop until 2006 – I find this response to be disingenuous since it holds the entire church to ransom for the sin of a few. While they have claimed to answer the call for moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions we know that there are Dioceses where the clergy are still continuing the practice of blessing same-sex partnerships with the Bishops’ explicit permission. I find this duplicitous and I would point out that the underlying issue is not a temporary cessation of these practices but a decision to renounce them and demonstrate a willing embrace of the same teaching on matters of sexual morality as is generally accepted throughout the Communion and described in Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

With regard to the Primates meeting in Ireland I find it highly offensive to hear claims that a group of us were influenced by external forces into taking stands that we would not otherwise have taken. There is absolutely no merit to these claims and I am saddened that there are those who wish to perpetuate this malevolent falsehood. Our actions and agreements were the result of prayerful deliberation and principled conviction. The idea that orthodox Americans manipulated us is an insult – in truth we in the Global South have been challenging them to stand firm. And there were a number of us who felt that the recommendations did not go far enough but out of respect for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury we were willing to leave space for serious reflection and genuine repentance.

I was appalled by statements claiming that the devil was wandering the halls of the Dromantine Retreat Center – perhaps those who make such observations should first look within themselves before they accuse others. Many of us believe that what we achieved in our time together was due to the work of God’s Holy Spirit and to claim otherwise is blasphemous.

I have noted with disappointment that there are those in ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada who are suggesting that these Provinces should defy the Primates’ request that they voluntarily withdraw their members from the next meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council. I would urge the appointed leadership of these Provinces to weigh seriously the consequences of such actions if indeed there is to be any hope of the reconciliation and healing that we all seek. Moreover I believe that it is an accurate sense of our meeting to say that the Primates do not expect ECUSA and the Canadian church to participate in ANY of the structures of the Communion until they have chosen to respect the mind of the Communion. Until they decide to return – something for which we earnestly pray – the sad truth is that they have walked away from the Communion.

Finally, I need to address the important matter of provincial and diocesan boundaries. As I have repeatedly reaffirmed maintaining good order is important for the work of the Gospel but it can never be used to silence those who are standing for the Faith and resisting doctrinal error. It was our common understanding in Newry that the extraordinary pastoral relationships and initiatives now underway would be maintained until this crisis is resolved. If, however, the measures proposed in our Communiqué to protect the legitimate needs of groups in serious theological disputes prove to be ineffectual, and if acts of oppression against those who seek to uphold our common faith persist, then we will have no choice but to offer safe harbour for those in distress.



Pope: Friday

Stephen Bates 2bn to watch service and Pope’s will reveals he thought of resigning

From 5 April, and not linked here previously, Stephen Moss on Keeping the faith

Bruce Johnston and Jonathan Petre Burial will be marked by solemnity and splendour and Pope’s will tells how he considered resigning
Tom Utley Weddings, funerals and elections need ritual to give them dignity

The Times
Ruth Gledhill Now retirement at 80 seems even less likely

Alex Kirby John Paul II and the Anglicans


Pope: Church Times coverage

Today’s Church Times has the following:

Leader A pontificate in the true line

Bill Bowder The world remembers a ‘lived sermon’

Bill Bowder and Alexander McGregor John Paul II to be buried after a million file past

Jonathan Boardman ‘A family affair without fuss’

There is also a full obituary by Rupert Shortt and a Diary column from Rome by Jonathan Boardman, but these are only available at present to paid subscribers. Links will be added here when they become public.


Church in Wales meets

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales has been meeting in Aberystwyth. This is the Welsh equivalent of a General Synod.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, delivered a presidential address which can be read in full here and there is a press release giving highlights here:

In his Presidential Address to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, presently meeting in Aberystwyth (University of Wales Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Penglais Campus, 6 th and 7 th April) , Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan , Archbishop of Wales has warned his fellow Anglicans about the dangers inherent in the present harsh tone of the debate being conducted within the Anglican Communion.

In his address, delivered today (Wednesday, 6th April), Archbishop Barry makes reference to many of the key events which make 2005 an important year in the life of the UK – the UK holding the Presidency of the both the G8 and the EU, the 20 th anniversary of Live Aid and 10 th Anniversary of Comic Relief, the publication of the Commission for Africa’s report later this month, World Environment day in June, and of course the UK General Election called yesterday for May 5 th .

However, the key point he makes is that while Anglican Christians, should have much to say on many of these key issues, it is difficult for us to be taken seriously when the present debate within the Anglican Communion has been couched in harsh, confrontational tones. In his address the Archbishop says:

If the church of God can’t conduct a debate in a civilised way when it claims to be a reconciled and reconciling community – what message does that give to the world? We cannot as a church call for compassion, peace and justice in our nation and in our world, if we as Christians do not exemplify those virtues in our own lives and in our dealings with one another.

… Referring to the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, due to meet in Nottingham in June, Archbishop Barry says

What is needed at the ACC is not a theological rant or a throwing of verbal grenades at people who happen to disagree with our own particular positions, but a reasoned, balanced, discourse of some of the issues involved and the giving of space and time to every kind of viewpoint. It would be better not to have a hearing at all in June if it is going to degenerate into some kind of verbal slanging match… What we need is not confrontation but a willingness to engage in discussion.

Earlier, the Church in Wales issued its Response to the Windsor Report. You can read this press release or you can read the full response here.

From the press release, in answering one of the four questions posed to the provinces:

What in the description of the life of the Communion in Sections A (The purpose and benefits of communion) & B (Fundamental Principles) can you recognise as consistent, or not, with your understanding of the Anglican Communion?

the Welsh response says:

a) The Anglican Communion is one that witnesses to the Kingdom of God … The Windsor report is a document which is in our opinion is a milestone in Anglican ecclesiology. It seeks to develop an understanding of the Church as an embodiment of God’s purpose. It is not simply a human construction. Instead it is how God seeks to heal and restore the world for his kingdom.

b) the dynamic nature of the Anglican Communion – Windsor report paragraph 9 expresses the care of Anglicans for each other, and we would want to add for the world … There have been many challenges to injustice, in ways which combine an ecclesiological reality of our common life with a challenge to oppressive political or social practices. It is not at all as though we are confronted with a static institution which has suddenly been destabilised by the actions of a few of its member churches. One of the ways in which that dynamism is expressed is the existence of inter cultural dialogue. One member of our working party who has worked in Uganda said – ‘It is important to recognise that these cultural factors of themselves neither validate nor invalidate traditions of Scriptural interpretation. None of us can or should offer a reading of Scripture free from cultural values. What is important is that the willingness to acknowledge these values.’

c) the authority of scripture in the Anglican Communion – we are glad to recognise in the report and affirmation of the importance of authority of scripture for Anglicans. However we felt that WR 61 in its description of shortcomings in Scriptural interpretation becomes a caricature of itself. We do not believe that those who have pressed for change have sought “to sweep away sections of the New Testament as irrelevant”. There is also the important issue of inculturation (discussed briefly at WR 85) when considering the interpretation of Scripture. Traditionally the Western church has set the theological agenda. That this is being challenged is a welcome sign of Anglican vitality. It is clearly important within the Anglican Communion that both African and Asian readings are heard respectfully and accorded the dignity of being received as valid contributions to theological discussion.

d) The Anglican Communion is one bound together by bonds of affection – we felt especially that that autonomy-in-communion was a fruitful concept for future discussion. Nevertheless there are times when we feel that the report feel that the Report tends to equate diversity with opinions, rather than a diversity of people, forgetting how the Report addresses this issue when discussing inculturation.


InclusiveChurch appeals to ACC and ECUSA

The Executive of InclusiveChurch has published on its website
An Appeal to the Council of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America from InclusiveChurch.

While we recognise that the Primates, meeting at Dromantine in February, sought to prevent the fracturing of the Communion and to promote reconciliation and unity through their recommendations, we do not believe that these purposes are best served by all of the actions they commend. In particular we do not believe that the cause of unity and reconciliation within the Communion will be served by you deferring to the Primates request for your withdrawal from the Anglican Consultative Council…

…We are appealing to you directly because we believe we represent a substantial body of opinion in the Church of England that has had no opportunity to speak through our formal structures, but that would, had it opportunity, call for greater engagement and dialogue not less. We believe that it is by engagement and dialogue that our Communion will in the end be strengthened and enabled in its work of combating the ravages of poverty, war and disease that so beset our world. We therefore hope that you will continue your participation in the Anglican Consultative Council.


Pope: Thursday

Jonathan Petre and Bruce Johnston British attitudes to Roman Catholics have mellowed
Jonathan Petre and Bruce Johnston Cardinals will shun media ahead of election conclave
Patrick Bishop Safety fears as pilgrims swell population of Rome to three times its normal size

Stephen Bates UK cardinal may hold key to papal election
John Hooper Row over plan to downgrade UK embassy
John Hooper Flood of pilgrims swamps Rome

Peter Popham Presidents kneel and pray before the Pope

The Times
Queue to end all queues
Richard Owen People of Rome urged to open doors for faithful


Pope: Wednesday

It’s getting more difficult for journalists to find something interesting to say as the funeral preparations continue. Read Media descend on Rome for Pope’s funeral from the Guardian to see how reporters are coping. As before, a small selection from the British newspapers and the BBC only:

Jonathan Jones Admire the stage instead
Stephen Bates Expert believes dignity is preserved

Peter Popham As the mourners queue, Cardinals begin secret deliberations to choose a new Pope

The Times
Richard Owen and Ruth Gledhill A subtle campaign of handshakes, hints and huddles

Ferdinand Mount He was a great pope. . . but he deserted the search for truth
Jonathan Petre and Bruce Johnston Cardinals disagree over vow of silence

Saving souls in cyberspace
Head-to-head: Challenges for new Pope
and there is a video clip (Real Player required) featuring Emily Buchanan discussing Choosing Pope John Paul II’s successor


Pope: Tuesday

Photos of Rowan Williams and other Anglicans at yesterday’s Westminster Cathedral service can be found here

Press release from Lambeth Palace: Archbishop of Canterbury to attend Pope’s funeral

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has accepted an official invitation to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome on Friday. He will be the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a Pope’s funeral.

An invitation was received through the Papal Nuncio; Dr Williams said he was ‘pleased and honoured’ to accept.

Dr Williams has confirmed that he will be wearing the ring presented to his predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, by Pope Paul VI.

Dr Williams will travel to Rome on Thursday; he will be accompanied by the Revd Andrew Norman, Archbishop’s Secretary for International and Ecumenical Affairs and by Mr Jeremy Harris, Archbishop’s Secretary for Public Affairs.

The Archbishop will return to the UK on Friday evening.

British Newspapers

Jonathan Petre and Bruce Johnson Rumours sweep Vatican of plot to hide Friday death and Royalty and world’s political elite join river of pilgrims for the final farewell
Christopher Howse Cherie Blair strikes note of formality with lace mantilla

another leader The limits of autocracy
Stephen Bates Vatican grottoes to be final resting place of John Paul II
Mark Almond The strange death of Protestant England
Martin Kettle It’s as if the Reformation had never happened

The Times
Andrew Pierce and Ruth Gledhill Prince chose to postpone the wedding after VIPs pulled out to go to Rome
Mary Ann Sieghart The Pope was not pro-life
another leader Time and place

Peter Popham It was like an antechamber to the afterlife, as if directed by Fellini


Pope: British newspapers Monday

John Hooper and Stephen Bates Battle begins for soul of church
Stephen Bates A last message of love and hope
Guardian leader Radical authoritarian
Peter and Margaret Hebblethwaite, and Peter Stanford Obituary
more Guardian coverage

The Times
Ruth Gledhill The steps an incoming Pope must take to modernise the Catholic Church and Millions mourn man who changed papacy forever
Times leader Faith and hope
More Times coverage

Jonathan Petre Conquering apathy is biggest challenge
Damian Thompson World has come to expect a charismatic religious leader for a 21st-century Church
Charles Moore An inspiring journey out of the heart of darkness
Telegraph leader John Paul II breathed life back into a divided Church

Peter Popham In the Roman sun, the cult of John Paul II is born
Paul Vallely He was both thoroughly modern and deeply feudal. Which will prevail?
Clifford Longley After the drama, the Church must return to the real world

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Pope: additional links

The Archbishop of Canterbury: a further press release has just been issued: Archbishop: Pope’s last days a ‘lived sermon’.

A video clip in which the BBC’s Robert Pigott interviews Rowan Williams can be viewed from this page (scroll down).

The BBC Sunday radio programme for Sunday 3 April was devoted entirely to the Pope, and includes an interview with George Carey.

Other BBC coverage can be found from here.

Official Vatican documents appear here.

The Tablet has a special papal website here.

The National Catholic Reporter has much useful material, start here.


tributes to the Pope

Archbishop of Canterbury
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
British Prime Minister

British Newspapers

Guardian Clifford Longley The best and worst of times

Guardian Stephen Bates The pope who showed the church to the world

Observer Christina Odone The man in white who changed the world

Observer editorial The man who loved humanity

Observer Peter Stanford Who will now lead one billion souls?

Independent on Sunday AN Wilson The defenders of the faiths

Independent on Sunday Catherine Pepinster He was simply the world’s most charismatic Christian

Sunday Telegraph Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor ‘John Paul II will leave us all orphans. I shall miss him’

Sunday Telegraph Clifford Longley How does the Catholic Church follow John Paul? It doesn’t

Sunday Telegraph Christopher Howse The visionary who changed history through sheer force of moral will

Sunday Telegraph editorial The meaning of suffering

The Times William Rees-Mogg A truly great holder of this highest of religious offices

The Times editorial Man and mission

Sunday Times Mary Kenny John Paul’s final gift: to share his last hours with the world

Sunday Times Leading article: A hard act to follow

Sunday Times John Cornwell Death of a titan

Sunday Times Christopher Morgan ‘Bishop of Gatwick and the panzer cardinal’ prepare for nine days of mourning – and the horsetrading of votes


opinion columns

In The Times Bishop Basil of Sergievo writes the Credo column: His presence in Man can make gods of us all.

Richard Chartres writes in the Guardian about Bonhoeffer: a martyr for our collective soul.

Two views on the Pope: in the Independent Catherine Pepinster editor of the Tablet asks Do we really need this spectacle of the dying? and in the Telegraph Christopher Howse has Warm embrace for Sister Death.

The Guardian also has Colin Morris on Jerry Springer – the Opera in Jerry’s last judgment.

Another Times column discusses the forthcoming memorial service for Gypsies: Shunned victims of the ‘forgotten Holocaust’.

Keith Ward writes in the Tablet about Resurrection and Science in The quantum leap.

The Church Times editorial this week reminds us about Jim Callaghan’s gift to the Church of England, but last week’s Easter leader. should also not be missed.

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Anglican Communion update

Updated thrice – see below

First, two items concerning the story reported earlier here about the Ugandan diocese of South Rwenzori.

The Church Times covered it in Ugandan diocese rejects US funds. This includes a reference to the Washington Post column reported earlier here, and discussed at some length by Andrew Brown in this week’s Press column, not yet online, but here are two quotes:

NO ONE seems to have reported Dr Williams’s complaint in Holy Week that the press was ignoring important things the Anglican Communion was up to. A story in the Washington Post should entirely justify the press’s bias…

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to over-estimate the damage that these stories do. One indicator is Stephen Bates’s largely hostile profile in The Guardian of Dr Williams, whose reputation on the paper seems never to have recovered from a lunch he attended there, where, every time he attempted to say something interesting, he allowed himself to be shushed by an aide. Versions of this story have come to me from several of the people present, on whom it made a lasting impression.

Meanwhile, the Living Church reports the response of Michael Creighton Bishop of Central Pennsylvania to all this in Bishop laments break with Ugandan companion diocese

In an interview with The Living Church, Bishop Creighton said “It felt like a Good Friday nail in the compassion of Christ.”…

Bishop Creighton said he was perplexed by the decision to break relations as the Windsor Report had encouraged “consultation” and not confrontation. “Our Gospel understanding,” he said, is “when people were labeled as ‘sinners and wrong doers,’ Jesus invited himself into relationship, not out of relationship.”

Bishop Creighton said he had written to Bishop Tembo noting “our dismay that our consent to the election of a bishop in New Hampshire appears to be more important than the compassionate ministry we have shown with his own people who are struggling with and dying of AIDS.

Since the diocese began its companion relationship with South Rwenzori in 2001, Central Pennsylvania purchased a truck for the diocese and provided tuition for medical students, medicines, and other funds to assist the diocese and the Bishop Masereka Foundation—a Ugandan NGO—to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, Bishop Creighton told The Living Church.

“The total of this support exceeds $65,000,” Bishop Creighton said, but he disputed that the Ugandan diocese had requested $352,941 as was stated in Bishop Tembo’s letter.

Update This further Statement from Bishop Jackson Nzerebende Tembo on the relationship of South Rwenzori Diocese, Uganda, to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, USA has just appeared on titusonenine.

Further Update And shortly after that, two letters to the editor of the Washington Post, one of them from David Anderson of the AAC, also appeared on the web.

Another Update
This article in the Lancaster Sunday News Local, African churches split over gay issue contains further detail.

The same Church Times page also contains (scroll down) two other Communion stories: Bill Bowder on Griswold rounds on ‘evil’ detractors and a brief report on Scottish statement. The first of these includes:

TACTICS used by conservatives to influence the Primates’ Meeting in Newry in February have been branded as “evil” by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), the Most Revd Frank Griswold.

At the US House of Bishops meeting before Easter ( News, 18 March), Bishop Griswold is reported to have named a group of US clergy, including the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Revd Robert Duncan, accusing them of misrepresenting what was happening in ECUSA.

In an interview with Deborah Caldwell for Beliefnet website, the Presiding Bishop said that evil had been “pressing” on the meeting of the Primates in February.

“There were notices put on the tables in Ireland describing ‘acts of oppression’ within the Episcopal Church that were highly inaccurate. . . I said my sense is – and I don’t assign it to any particular people – I feel that there is evil pressing on this meeting.”

Bishop Griswold argued that overseas Primates had been recruited into ECUSA’ s internal struggles. “Various groups related to the Episcopal Church – well-funded, to be sure – have engaged the disapproval of the Primates around homosexuality in order to portray the Episcopal Church as grossly unfaithful and unbiblical, and in every way reprehensible…”