Saturday 12 December 2009

At Last, A Sign

So, at last, after others have come public, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has used a press interview to say something about Uganda and other matters. Personally I think this little episode of criticising silence can be halted now. Here is the relevant section, with George Pitcher of the Daily Telegraph:

"Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can't see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades," says Dr Williams. "Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible - it seeks to turn pastors into informers." He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, "has not taken a position on this bill".

What saddens me, as a bystanding friend-of-Anglicanism reader, is that the terms of which an Anglican can and cannot support this is by what the Communion has said in recent decades. He really is lost in his job. Surely the matter is just, simply, of "shocking severity" and that's it. He doesn't seem to get, anymore, that it is singling out a class of people for special, harsh treatment, for no more than these people are who they are. So it is revolting.

About Mary Glasspool and inclusivity, in the context of this George Pitcher interview:

"It confirms the feeling that they're moving further from the Anglican consensus," he tells me. Can there ever be a consensus in which biblical traditionalists can be in communion with homosexual bishops? The man who has committed his archbishopric to unity pauses: "I'm not holding my breath."

Again it is all within bureaucratic speak. Then there is Benny and the Pope's Finger. There is a sense in which Rowan Williams has come clean on this too, beyond the diplomatic language, as says George Pitcher:

...he does concede that the hastily convened press conference, at which he sat uncomfortably alongside the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, was a big mistake.

"I think everyone on the platform was a bit uncomfortable ... I know the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the whole doesn't go in for much consultation - we were just on the receiving end of that."

Anyway, the papal offer is not a solution for traditionalist Roman Catholics, Williams thinks.

..."A great many Anglo-Catholics have good reason for not being Roman Catholics. They don’t believe the Pope is infallible. And that’s why they’re still pressing for a solution in Anglican terms, rather than what many of them see as a theologically rather eccentric option on the Roman side."

He still wants formal Anglican protection, and the process of facilitating these Anglo-Catholics and women as bishops is only half way through.

Papal authority is "treading water at the moment" and he would like the discussion on that revived, as he hudged in Rome in his lecture. He suggests that Reformation wounds are healing in the Roman direction, in a kind of recurrence of its second spring as in Cardinal Newman's imagery. Pitcher, however, interprets the manner of Rowan Williams's speech to suggest he doesn't think this will actually come about. Well, what they think doesn't bring it about or prevent it. For Rowan Williams another indication of his view is that he thinks it's a small miracle that ecumenical talks will continue.

What we get, here, is a leaning towards Catholicism, and thus, as he has compromised gay people, he will compromise women in authority. In any case, Anglican Catholicism stretches from the Gore type (of which he was once one) through to the Romanesque. Sometimes decisions are made that cross a bridge: the Romanesque can now achieve what they wanted anyway, the Gore Catholics are not troubled and the only people affected are the Pusey types who would rather be Anglican high Catholics - but the Roman offer is rather made for them. It isn't a bad offer, considering the fact that a bishop in a diocese ought to be that, female or male.

He dislikes the marginalising of religion in government legislation, but has a high view of the political leaders including Nick Clegg's declared atheism because he takes it seriously.

So what of ordinary people in all of this? He thinks that in smaller communities outside London people behave more humanly, and that Kent reminds him of deprived Gwent but with an English accent.

Oh dear, it is such a restricted view of the world. Where is the contact with the world as it is and ordinary humanity?

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