Monday 21 December 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful: 1, 2, 3

Diarmaid MacCulloch has three reasons to be thankful for Rowan Williams and the Church of England (though he does extend it a bit) in The Sunday Telegraph.

He wants to "give public thanks for the Church of England's bumbling liberalism" because "the church has become an icon of diversity and plurality for the nation" where people can express their doubts as well as their faith (I thought faith included doubt). He knows that "the English church is afflicted by humourless, tidy-minded souls who want everyone in it to think just like them" but draws on the model of Neil Kinnock who flushed out the entryists of Militant in the 1980s. Secondly the Anglican Church has gained "riches" since women were ordained from 1994 despite facing some "some extraordinarily childish behaviour" from party extremists but notes, regarding women clergy and their behaviour, that there is:

a general reluctance to join in the theological party strife so common among male clergy, who like nothing better than to line up as Anglo-Catholics or evangelicals, as if they were a set of football hooligans out on the streets after the match.

His third reason to be cheerful, Ian Dury style, is because of "the election of a bishop in a diocese of the American Episcopal Church in California who happens to be a lesbian". This is very mature, he thinks.

Oh dear. This Archbishop is definitely no Neil Kinnock in the face of Militant. Rowan Williams rolled over and asked for his tummy to be tickled by them. He even used their biblical fundamentalism for his own Catholic centralisation project. A Church recognises another Anglican Church as valid according to its biblical literalism (remember the Advent Letter of 2007). Then he was infamously unsure about women priests, that here was something under testing - and he had to back pedal in the face of the noise as if the Church of England under him might revisit the matter. The reason women priests are less party orientated, incidentally, might be because so many of them are trained on non-residential courses and many end up as volunteer Non Stipendary Ministers. They don't get the grounding in one residential party college or another. And as for the election of a lesbian, overseas, Rowan Williams was soon into the media against that one while remaining silent over Uganda and its intended persecution of people like Diarmaid MacCulloch.

No; I think the reasons to be cheerful, one two three, might make some cry.

1 comment:

Erika Baker said...

It is precisely because too many people like him still see Anglicanims and the CoE in this light that the hardliners have got as far as they did. By the time everyone wakes up to the reality of the brave new church it will be too late.