Thinking Anglicans

Teenagers interview Archbishop

Updated

Three teenagers from Oi! magazine recently interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury at home in Canterbury and the text is online: Tea and Toast with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Update: This is now available on the Archbishop’s own website here.
A pdf file of the interview as it will appear in the print version of Oi! can be downloaded from here.

If the comments we receive are anything to go by TA readers may be most interested in what the Archbishop said about gay clergy but do read all of the interview.

Ruth Gledhill reproduces most of the interview in today’s Times: Family and God keep me going – even if they all think I’m an idiot.

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Abp Williams: “Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.”

And yet, if same-sex marriage were permitted, the question as stated by the archbishop would be resolved, wouldn’t it?

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Much ado about nothing.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Or perhaps I should say (looking at the post above) When signs do not signify…

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

You wonder how many of those kids will be flocking to a church nearby as a consequence of this!
That we can call this “Good News” makes you want to weep!

Margaret
Margaret
13 years ago

Pat

Why?

He says nothing about marriage — just about acting on their sexual preference.

Marriage doesn’t have anything to do with it.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

Pathetic. 🙁

Your Majesty (Elizabeth), Gordon Brown, HELP US!!! New ABC ASAP!

MJ
MJ
13 years ago

Oi Magazine have themselves put it up as a PDF: http://www.creativeuksolutions.co.uk/archbishop.pdf This differs from the other versions (including the one on the ABC’s website) which quote: “Our jobs mean we have to ADHERE TO the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.” But the Oi version reads: “Our jobs mean we have to TRY AND LIVE BY the bible…” So much for ‘direct quotes’. It appears that this interview wasn’t recorded, or else why the confusion over what the ABC actually said? Although if the ABC was completely misquoted… Read more »

MRG
MRG
13 years ago

I do try to defend +++++++++++++++Rowan from his many detractors on this side of the Church, but he makes doesn’t make this easy by coming out with mealy-mouthed, gnomic statements widely at variance with comments he has issued in the past (and yet, privately, I am assured by all who know him that Cantuar insists his beliefs are unchanged). The mystery of the archbishop’s missing convictions only seems to deepen…

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

Yes, you will always here as many versions (at least) as those present at any conversation or event.

I was struck that when asked what he thought of breathers, the His Garace, replied that he has no problem with them, as long as they don’t inhale.

Erica bach they’re not worth crying over. You are worth so much more….

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“Why?

He says nothing about marriage — just about acting on their sexual preference.

Marriage doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away.

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

For those of us not present at the Clergy Consultation recently, perhaps someone can tell us whether his address on ‘present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the church’ is consistent with his response to Oi that partnered gay clergy do not adhere to the Bible, even though they make good parents!

Is watching ‘The Simpsons’ more biblical?

david wh
david wh
13 years ago

Pat O’Neill wrote “Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away.”

No. It doesn’t matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong..

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

Rowan Williams may well go down in history as the Archbishop of Canterbury who achieved total irrelevance.

Pluralist
13 years ago

It does rather spoil it, “the try to adhere” bit in the way it is all stated so bluntly, as is his “Not everyone in the country is a Christian, so the law has to compromise to reflect different aspects of the discussion, for example if a rape was involved.” This supposes that if everyone was a Christian we’d agree, and sounds like rape is part of a compromise. He is trying to state more complex matters simply and briefly, and personally I think that his warmth and humanity comes through, and his care. His interviewers were impressed, and he… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
13 years ago

“Why? He says nothing about marriage — just about acting on their sexual preference. Marriage doesn’t have anything to do with it.” Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away.” – observes Pat O’Neill Absolutely correct, Pat; a committed monogamous relationship should be sealed in marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Flitting from tryst to tryst, whether straight or gay, is the moral issue, not one’s sexual orientation. As a heterosexual husband, and father of three, and grandfather of one, and a committed… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

“acting on their sexual preference” He makes it sound like gays and lesbians are just foolishly ‘prefering’ sexual partners of the same gender. Do you prefer milk or sugar with your tea? It’s not preference. It’s how we are made by God. It is innate, not chosen, like handedness. Is ++Rowan right handed or left handed? When did he settle on one preference rather than the other? Is this just careless language or is he that ignorant? Neither possibility is particularly pleasant to contemplate. When did he discover his preference for females rather than males? I wish someone would ask… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Margaret you have listened to people on this site for a long time and you say you are working at a high level in the church. You therefore know that this is not about “acting on sexual preferences” but about living our long term faithful loves. If that is a problem because we’re not married then conservatives should stop campaigning against same sex marriages and do everything they can to stabilise our lives. The children who asked Rowan know this and Rowan knows this too. With his reply he has given one group of people the option of love filled… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Is it permitted to ask who these “teenagers” are? Where do they come from? Exactly h o w is a magazine made “b y teenagers for teenagers”?

A youth “mission” of some kind???

Quién paga? as we used to say in Madrid back in Franco´s time, when talk fell upon the ETA and the famous grupo GRAPO…

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

It is interesting that Margaret doesn’t see how much her definitions (and refusal thereof) is part of the problem…

georgie
georgie
13 years ago

i was one of the students lucky enough to interview him i must say i am shocked at the level of publicity this article has recieved and i am currently beaming from ear to ear

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Care to answer some questions?

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

For example the difference between quoting “adhere to” against quoting “try and live by”???

MJ
MJ
13 years ago

Georgie – Well done on the interview, but can you explain why a direct quote from the ABC differs in the version of the interview in the Times and on the ABC’s website (‘adhere to the Bible’), and the version to be published in Oi! (‘try to live by the Bible’)? I’m sure you understand that in regards to an issue which is causing such distress within the Anglican Communion, and placing such an onus on the ABC, it is important that he is quoted accurately and in context. Did the ABC approve the article before publication?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“Pat O’Neill wrote “Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away.” No. It doesn’t matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong.. “ Then why do you keep making those judgments? Is it impossible for you to imagine that the translations and interpretations of a handful of biblical verses are either wrong or misunderstood? Is it impossible for you… Read more »

georgie
georgie
13 years ago

we come from kent, our magazine is organsied and created by teenagers we say what we would like to read about we then do all the research etc.
it is a non profit magazine and is distributed to local schools in our area, we are currently attempting to get some shops to hand them out also.
hope this answered your question.

mily
mily
13 years ago

I am another teen which was involved in interviewing the Archibishop of Canterbury, i can not answer your question with regards to ‘adhere’ and ‘try and live by’ however some texts do difer from our original piece which is a problem which we are currently adressing

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

georgie
brilliant interview, well done! My girls are so envious! No wonder you’re still beaming.

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

It doesn’t matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong..

Posted by: david wh on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:58pm GMT

No, the bible is silent on the matter –unless you read of (another) David and Jonathan.

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

Great Geogie !

Good for youse !

What will be the next project, I wonder ?

david wh
david wh
13 years ago

Pat O’Neill, sexuality can’t be innate – many people experience different attraction “orientations” at different life stages. Changes happen especially in teenage and in mid-life. (hence the George Melly example – who went from exclusively homosexual to preferably heterosexual – though still rather promiscuous by biblical standards!) Anyway, just because you don’t choose the desires you have doesn’t necessarily justify acting on them. People have all sorts of desires.. The bible’s rejection of same-sex sex isn’t just down to only a handful of verses that might be mistranslated or erroneous. It is consistent with the whole thrust of biblical morality.… Read more »

david wh
david wh
13 years ago

ps The Bible doesn’t make a distinction between clergy and laity when discussing what is right and wrong. And it says that none of us are sinless. However, it does demand that church leaders live up biblical moral and ethical standards, and that they are disciplined publicly for lapses. I presume that is why ++Rowan said it like he did.

peter w
peter w
13 years ago

At the risk of opening a whole can of worms … what difference are people trying to see between ‘adhere to’ and ‘try to live by’? I’m not sure I can see one. Unless, of course, some editor with a low view of teenage literacy thought people mightn’t know the word ‘adhere’ and substituted ‘try to live by’. But honestly, why are we getting bogged down on this point? The central thing is that Rowan does seem to have said, without qualification, that any non-celibate homosexual is not adhering to Scripture. That does seem to me to be a significant… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Yes DWH, we hear clearly of both stability-persistence, and some change in sexual orientation across the longer and longer modern human adult life cycle. Clearly, so far, the percentage who experience radical changes are a bit of the great empirical mystery of sexual orientation as temporary or developmental or enduring feature of human personality and persondhood. We do need further best practices empirical research. The larger group of humans by far continues to experience stability and persistence in basic sexual orientation. They too are getting further investigation, and a whole truck load of basic human competencies (citizenship, partnering, parenting, …… Read more »

MJ
MJ
13 years ago

peter w – “what difference are people trying to see between ‘adhere to’ and ‘try to live by’? I’m not sure I can see one.” The point is really that this is meant to be a direct quotation by the ABC. If the interview was recorded there should be no ambiguity. If it was based on notes, then we must be sure that this paragraph is exactly what the ABC said (and no more or less) because as you say it has ramifications. One of the interviewers has here said that “some texts do difer from our original piece which… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Peter W

What I can’t work out is whether he means that only gay clergy have to adhere to (his new view of / the current official church position on?) Scripture, or whether this implies a condemnation of all same gender love.

It’s telling that he also mentions an example of excellent same gender parenting. That does not speak of outright condemnation and lack of understanding what we’re talking about.

Even more intersting is that the excellent parent in question is also a priest, and although the teenagers may not have known this, most of us following this debate do.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“And it says that none of us are sinless.” But there are certain sins that are considered quite acceptable. Remarriage after divorce was once considered sinful. Not any more, a privelege happily indulged in by many who then decry TEC as trying to make something holy that the faith has always said was sinful. It should be obvious why such an argument is not credible, and that’s not the only example of conservatives happily doing things Scripture calls sinful when they derive from benefit from such actions. The thing is that those who accuse ‘liberals’ of picking and choosing the… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Georgie and Myly,

The interview says one of you is a Baptist. Is that true for the others also?

Who provides the know-how? Who provides the technology?

Who pays the bills?

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
13 years ago

David Wh: I was in Rowan Williams’ lectures when he was L Margaret Professot at Oxford, and I can assure you his theology had quite a different thrust then. In fact, I can’t really believe he could have changed his premises so much.
Also, you say Geo Melly was “rather promiscuous by biblical standards.” I think you might be another Evangelical who hasn’t read much of the Old Testament…

revkarenm
revkarenm
13 years ago

RW: “As a Christian I could never advise anyone to have a termination. Personally I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back – would you?” This in response to a teen aged girl who tells him that she is pregnant. Again: “Our jobs mean we have to try and live by the bible, gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.” God help the C of E. Why would we pay any further attention to what this man says? My New Year’s resolution will… Read more »

georgie
georgie
13 years ago

just to help clear this up in our original interview the terminology used was ‘adhere’ hope this helps.
oh and with regards to goran’s question holly is the christian, and to answer your other questions im not entirely sure what you mean.

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

‘But honestly, why are we getting bogged down on this point? The central thing is that Rowan does seem to have said, without qualification, that any non-celibate homosexual is not adhering to Scripture. That does seem to me to be a significant shift in his position … and one which begs an awful lot of questions about how Scripture shapes lives that I would normally expect him to be a lot more alive to. It is the lack of nuance in this which is really distressing, the sense that there might be different takes on what fidelity to Scripture means.’… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
13 years ago

Two of Williams’ statements, when placed against each other, give me pause: First: “There are two things that keep me going though and my family are one of them. Having support and love from those closest to me is hugely important.” Second: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.” It comes across to me as this:… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“Pat O’Neill, sexuality can’t be innate – many people experience different attraction “orientations” at different life stages. Changes happen especially in teenage and in mid-life. (hence the George Melly example – who went from exclusively homosexual to preferably heterosexual – though still rather promiscuous by biblical standards!) Anyway, just because you don’t choose the desires you have doesn’t necessarily justify acting on them. People have all sorts of desires..” Sexual orientation is not a gay/straight, either/or, switch on/switch off thing…any more than, say, skin color is. Rather, like skin color, it comes on a spectrum, fading from completely heterosexual through… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

ABC chooses his words carefully. Note the response to the question containing a number of issues: coming out, homophobic bullying, a happy gay partnership and gay adoption. He only answered the bit about adoption.

What are we to infer from his reply to the next question on gay clergy? Just as the Vatican imposes a celibacy condition on its clergy, so Anglican gay clergy are required to be celibate (or appear to be), to avoid scandal. Not because being in a gay partnership is intrinsically wrong, but because conservative interpretations of biblical morality determine Communion orthodoxy.

Blair
13 years ago

Hello all, OK, riot gear on and ready to post 😉 at the risk of being terribly bland – I think it should be remembered that RW was asked a question about gay clergy/bishops, not partnered gay people in general. It’s quite clear that his words only apply to clergy – this shouldn’t be read as ‘what the ABC thinks of gay relationships’. Also, surely he gave the answer he did because that’s the current official C of E position – an ABC can’t diss / contradict current teaching. However daft / painful current teaching may be, until it’s officially… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

KarenM:

Thanks for pointing this out…I had missed it–

“Personally I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back – would you?”

I believe sexuality–of whatever orientation–is ALSO a gift from God. Why would he not want us to use it as intended?

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

This is yet more reason to leave the Church. Once you move outside, its instructive just how risible it seems, and how quickly one comes to realise that it isn’t necessary or helpful.

david wh
david wh
13 years ago

drdanfee, I don’t think that many people would argue with the view that life is usually much easier for “heterosexuals”. In fact it is usually easiest for monogamous heterosexuals. Their partnership is by nature the most integrated – both with who they are physically, and as human beings, but also in its relationships with other individuals, couples and families. But people who love like that also have struggles and sacrifices of what each individual wants; as Pat O’Neill says, sexual attraction is on a spectrum (in fact I’d say it is a multi-dimensional spectrum). Our sexual orientations are not the… Read more »

Terence Dear
Terence Dear
13 years ago

Nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury is NOT the “Head of the Church of England”.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

The impression given by the teenagers involved (well done on the interview by the way) was that both easy acceptance of abortion and easy acceptance of homosexual practice belong to the same package of (I won’t call them beliefs, as that would suggest reasoned argument – but) trends.

Surely this is liable to be the point at which good or honest people stop listening? If one wanted to press claims for homosexual equality, the last way of gaining credibility would be to show one had not grasped the first principles of how precious/valuable life is.

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