Thinking Anglicans

ABC interviewed in NS

The New Statesman has an interview, or rather a report on a series of interviews, with Rowan Williams in its latest issue.

See Interview: Rowan Williams by James Macintyre.

This interview has provoked quite a lot of comment in the Telegraph , The Times and the Guardian.

Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury: Disestablishment would not be ‘end of the world’ by Martin Beckford.

The Times Archbishop: disestablishment of Church of England not ‘the end of the world by Ruth Gledhill and Archbishop of Canterbury: Not ‘end of world’ if Church disestablished on Ruth’s blog.

Guardian Riazat Butt Church and state could separate in UK, says Archbishop of Canterbury online yesterday afternoon, and Archbishop backs disestablishment (and the Muppets) in this morning’s newspaper. But today’s newspaper also has How Williams changed views on splitting church from state by Stephen Bates and Comment is free has Reading between Rowan’s lines by Giles Fraser.

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Andrew Brown
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The garnudia’s front page headline is now more accurate.

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

The tone of the comments from the public on these newspaper articles is very interesting. Right across the spectrum, from Guardian to Telegraph readers, there is an increasingly sharp and anti-CofE tone prevalent amongst the public. This is a highly significant change in Britain, which was, in the past, spared the anti-clericalism of the Continent. It is a monumental change, because it means that church leaders can no longer amble along on the assumption that they incarnate English morality in some ex officio and effortless way. I would suggest that this change, which heralds a very chill wind sweeping across… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Stephen Bates is probably quite right, as usual ;=)

Chris Tyack
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Chris Tyack

After Riazat Butt’s excellent reporting of GAFCON and Lambeth, her article “Archbishop backs disestablishment (and the Muppets)” is really disappointing. I find it dishonest and tabloid.

Rowan did not back disestablishment. He was saying that although it had merit in certain respects, it was not acceptable presently because it would play into a (neo-)liberal strategy of consigning faith to the private sphere.

Why bring some lampoon about the ‘muppets’ into it at all? It’s really disreputable.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

I’m too Canadian! When I read the title, I thought, “When was the ABpofC in Nove Scotia?”

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Not that Canadian, though, since it should be Nova Scotia!

JPM
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JPM

Fr. Mark, perhaps many people in England are not keen on their state church being a fundamentalist purity cult run by Nigerians.

JCF
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JCF

“The gay issue may turn out to be the point at which English society definitively parted company with an ancien regime institution apparently not up to the task of presenting either a coherent moral philosophy or even a kind welcoming face.” Posted by Fr Mark The scary irony of it is, though, that a disestablished CofE could then sign the Anglican Covenant, and become even MORE homophobic. Sigh. Maybe it really is time to found a world-wide Episcopal Communion, w/ those Anglicans (parishes, dioceses, national churches) who want to *keep Anglicanism* w/ all its traditional charisms (see re The Quad!),… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

As an American, whether or not the Church of England is disestablished is something I have no influence in and am not affected by. So I hope any Brits here pardon my indulging in commenting anyway. I find the notion of a national church quaint. To me, it smacks of bygone eras where being a national church meant “believe our way, or you will be roasted to death (before 1600s) or denied job and political opportunities or any real involvement in community life (1700s, 1800s)”. I know that’s not true anymore, but that’s only because, looking from the outside, the… Read more »

AlaninLondon
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AlaninLondon

Fr Mark, you are spot on. Whilst the catastrophe of the last few years may have given heart to conservative Anglicans and their allies from my own personal experience it has alienated most people I speak to outside the Church and bemused those who remain in it. I find this is especially so amongst the under 40’s. One can feel the cooling of the atmosphere amongst none churchgoers when one discusses these issues with them. It has effectively made conveying the good news of the gospel to the people of England that much more difficult. Perhaps in a strange sort… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Maybe it really is time to found a world-wide Episcopal Communion” Not at all. We have survived the Exodus of the Uberpure several times before this. My God, the Puritans even crossed the ocean, so afraid were they of the taint of the unrighteous! This Exodus is a bit noisier, and perhaps a bit more numerous than previous ones, but what we’ll be left with is the world-wide episcopal communion you describe, and one that can pay attention to the unimportant things like loving neighbour and God while the Uberpure tackle the really important issues, like who’s boinking who, who… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

JPM: I think you could have hit the nail on the head there.

JCF: Quite. I’m up for being part of it.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

How odd that establishment in these contexts has in passing become part of the challenged bulwark against evangelical and anglocatholic conservative religious trash talk with its targeting, its scapegoating of women or progressive believers or queer folks or nearly everybody who bothers to ask modern questions outside a close penal framework, and all the evangelical conservative realignment likes. There is fire in the Elizabethan Settlement boilers after all. Though of late Rowan Williams has done a rather poor job of making clear that he offers anything but facile lip service to the queer communities, especially those of color and/or of… Read more »

Andrew
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Andrew

The sad aspect is that this Archbishop, of formidable intelligence, naively does his musings in public. The role of sharia law, and establishment of the Church are issues he should discuss privately with people of his own standing, not with journalists so it ends up in the tabloids. These half-baked ideas then become the punctuation marks of his reign, along with gay politics, women bishops, and others that have little to do with the message of and faith in Jesus Christ. He needs better political advisers so that he can use his talents as one of the chief pastors of… Read more »

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

Aren’t questions in interviews like this part of the ritual of being the ABC?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Church of England churches are not religious clubs run for the benefit of members. We are – at best – a focus for the entire community. We serve religious and non-religious alike. We bury you or marry you, even if your faith is pretty hard to find. Those church groups that back disestablishment often do so because they want the church to take a more sectarian turn away from integration in the life of the community and towards a concentration on full-blooded evangelism and conversion.” – Giles Fraser – I think both Giles Fraser and JPM have it just about… Read more »

ettu
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ettu

The sooner churches shake the dust of politicians off their shoes the sooner they will be able to teach the gospel in an unfettered free and clear fashion. Mingling religion and the state is foolhardy.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Modesty is one of his defining traits. Rowan Williams, whom both critics and allies agree is marked by a rare humility – and even that most elusive of qualities, “holiness” – is said by those who know him to be something of a reluctant Archbishop of Canterbury, called to service by faith, not ambition”. – James McIntyyre. N.S. – Despite the reservation of many of our commenters on this blog, I feel compelled, like J. McIntyre, to defend the ABC against those who feel his leadership of the Co.of E. in particular, and the Anglican Communion in general is in… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

ettu: “Mingling religion and the state is foolhardy.” In some ways, I agree with you here. The aspect of church-state cosiness which involves churchmen in thinking it is their right to exercise power or wield social influence is, I think, contrary to the values of the Gospel, and merely produces church leaders who are lower calibre than other social movers’n’shakers, who have to earn their place in public discourse. However, there has always (for nigh on 1700 years with Christianity, and before that with the state-sanctioned cults of the Roman Empire) been a close relationship between religion and the state… Read more »

Andrew Brown
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IN answer to Kieran Crichton: yes of course these questions are part of the job; and I thought that Rowan did quite a good job of producing answers which offered no newsline at all. Certainly, the idea that he was in favour of disestablishment was flat out untrue and wrong. He was about as clear as he can be that he wasn’t. Two problems then arise. Journalists need news lines; and ever since the sharia thing Rowan has been regarded by news editors as an idiot. So he was rolled over. The trouble is that disestablishement sounds like a story… Read more »

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

But come on, folks, is there really anything worth discussing here? Every ABC has been asked about their views on establishment. To a man, all the ones that have answered publicly have come out in favour of the idea **but NOT the reality**. Then a stack of articles musing on what this might mean come out and the story dies in 10 minutes — maybe a little longer in this blog-ridden age. It’s a ritual answer about establishment to what amounts to a ritual question about disestablishment. Perhaps it has a sharper focus in view of all the goings-on around… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“gay politics, women bishops, and others that have little to do with the message of and faith in Jesus Christ”

I think the discernment of what constitutes sin as opposed to being a potentially holy state of life, the possible implications of that for our understanding of sacrament, and whether slightly more than half the population has a vocation in the Church that has been denied or whether that group of people is called in other ways to serve have a great deal to do with the message of and faith in Jesus Christ.

ettu
Guest
ettu

Fr. Mark – As one who was a close student of Talleyrand at one point I am amused that the President of France presents clerical honors. The celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on the site near the present Eiffel Tower by Talleyrand as main celebrant and then the picture of his deathbed acceptance back into the RC Church were scenes of high drama and one can only imagine the reality. The fact that he was one of the prime movers of the state sequestering church property etc. — all of which, to my mind, emphasize the risks… Read more »