Monday, 5 April 2010

Rowan Williams on Radio 4

Updated Monday afternoon

This morning BBC Radio 4 broadcast a special edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace. This was trailed as follows.

In a special edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace, Andrew Marr talks to the Archbishop of Canterbury about his role combining the history and structure of the church with personal belief. They are joined by Philip Pullman who was inspired by Dr Rowan Williams to write his new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ about religion, truth and interpretation; by Professor Mona Siddiqui who’ll be discussing her new role trying to marry religious values with economic growth and by author and comedian David Baddiel who’ll be talking about religious identity and his new film The Infidel, a comedy about a Muslim who realises he’s Jewish.

The programme is now available to listen to online; the main interview with the archbishop is between 1min 30sec and 8min 45sec from the beginning.

Update As well as the streaming audio linked above, there is a podcast available for download.

The Guardian has a leading article: Rowan Williams: Little cause for regrets. Archbishop has said out loud something that is completely straightforward and thereby provoked an enormous row.

There have been a number of news items in the last few days anticipating what the archbishop was going to say.

The BBC itself carried this report on Saturday Williams criticises Irish Catholic Church ‘credibility’ followed by Rowan Williams expresses ‘regret’ over church remarks and then on Sunday by Archbishop of Canterbury sorry over abuse comments.

David Batty in The Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury: Irish Catholic church has lost all credibility

Ruth Gledhill in the Times Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, regrets Catholic attack
Ireland Archbishop stunned by Dr Rowan Williams’ criticism of Catholic Church
Archbishop on papal offer: ‘God bless them, I don’t’

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 11:21am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | Opinion

Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has lost credibility?

RW regrets the ordination of women, condemns TEC for electing its own bishops according to its constitution, allies himself with homophobic african/american bigots, proposes two-tier communion.

Lost credibility? Mote and Beam, Your Grace.

Posted by: toby forward on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 12:48pm BST

Give +++Rowan credit -- he, of all people, recognizes a loss of credibility when he sees it! ;-)

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 3:20pm BST

Blimey, what a lot of fuss about nothing. It was all entirely unremarkable when heard in the context of his whole interview.

Posted by: Wilf on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 3:57pm BST

I was amused to read Ruth Gledhill's recollection of Robert Runcie's meeting with John Paul II at Canterbury.

"What a contrast with the joyful ecumenical greetings between the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and Pope John Paul II during the last papal visit in 1982, when they entered Canterbury Cathedral together, greeted each other with the sign of peace, knelt in prayer before the nave altar and then moved to the high altar where they kissed the Canterbury Gospels, a gift from Pope St Gregory the Great to St Augustine."

Cambridge legend tells a slightly different story. The Augustine Gospels were on loan from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where they now reside in the Parker Library. They had been brought down to Canterbury for the day - as they are at the investiture of Archbishops - under the watchful eye of the Master and the Fellow Librarian. The venerable book sat on the great Throne of St Augustine during the ceremony, and was duly kissed by Archbishop and Pope. It was only after the service had taken place that it was discovered that some mischievous soul had slipped into the Gospels a copy of the Thirty-Nine Articles, with Article XXXVII heavily underlined: "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England." Perhaps the joyful ecumenical spirit was not quite as pronounced as Ruth remembers.

Posted by: rjb on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 5:45pm BST

Surely Rowan Williams is withholding his allegiance to the Bishop of Rome "pro tempore" - not withholding his blessing from those who leave because they cleave to the Ordinariate.

I admit the quotation could be taken the other way - but surely only by those who tell the world that Dr Williams has joined a Druid Order rather than having been elected to high office in a national cultural society.

Perhaps the mention of druids at the start of this story should have warned all to be careful.

The sad thing is that (and the web reader wont know this) Ruth has managed a couple of front page stories - on the slenderest justification, but not entirely without merit - and then goes and writes this.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 5:55pm BST


There has been discussion on Ed Tomlinson's blog of how RW's key remark should be taken.

Posted by: john on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 7:31pm BST

I read it the same way as Martin Reynolds.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 8:07pm BST

“Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.” from Ruth Gledhill's column, quoting the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic rite for Good Friday.
If I'm being charitable and following the maxim of "assume positive intent", I would say this prayer wishes the Jewish people well as they seek God's path for them.
On the other hand, this petition could also be seen as "old wine in new skins". It certainly is a far cry from "perfidious Jews" and their blindness, but, from a certain Roman Catholic perspective -- or other Christian denominations' perspective for that matter -- wouldn't the "fullness of redemption" be acheived by acknowledging Jesus of Nazareth as Lord? That is, conversion?
And I think I know what Ruth Gledhill means, but I for one hardly see the consecration of Mary Glaspool as a problem. A challenge, perhaps, to the ABC's efforts to keep everyone on the same page of the same BCP through mollifying the conservatives by dissing the liberals, but Mary Glasspool's consecration is a joy. I guess the Holy Spirit, when working its will during the election at the diocesan convention, forgot to consult the ABC.
Probably an oversight on the Holy Spirit's part.

Posted by: peterpi on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 10:49pm BST

So I see John.

Hmmm, you may be right about Andrew Marr and crowd - one would have to ask him, and I am sure that Rowan does not bless this papal enterprise.
But withdraw his "God speed!"? ...... Never!

As I say, he is as likely to do that as he is to join a Druidic cult.

I think Ed should ask him, as others should have.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 11:04pm BST

About Ireland, Rowan Williams is only saying what everyone is saying:

Archbishop Martin should have thanked him for his sympathetic and concerned remark.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 5 April 2010 at 11:20pm BST

Martin, Davis - I read it in the opposite sense that you did. And didn't see anything particularly wrong or shocking about it. But, then, I'm probably a bad person. :-)

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 12:36am BST

"What a contrast with the joyful ecumenical greetings between the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, and Pope John Paul II, during the last papal visit in 1982 (sic).
- Ruth Gledhill, Times article -

I thought that visit was later than 1982. However, at that time the climate between our 2 Churches was somewhat more fraternal. The reigning Pontiff at the time had not invited dissident Anglicans into a specially created system of Ordinariates, in order to 'rescue' them from the prospect of the 'scandal' of women Bishops.

Poor Ruth must find it very hard these days to be totally objective about her reporting - whether of the Anglican scene or that of the Roman Catholic Church. She, like the former Baptist David Virtue at 'Virtue-on-line' must be having a journalistic field-day.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 1:40am BST

"No one can blame (Archbishop) Williams for pointing this out, nor indeed for getting his own back for years of patronising comments and aggressive behaviour from the Roman Church. The official Vatican Observer at the last Lambeth Conference appeared to say that the Anglican Communion was sufferings from Parkinson's Disease."
- Guardian Editorial, on Monday -

In fact, all considered, Rowan has much more reason to speak his mind on the 'disease' that has afflicted the Roman Catholic Church, of which the suppression of details about paedophilea is only a comparitively small part.

The recent Roman press conference in London (to which Rowan had been invited) which gave details of the Roman offer of sanctuary to disaffected Anglicans must have been a source of acute embarrassment to the ABC personally, as well as to loyal Anglicans around the Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 1:59am BST

Quite so Bill, quite so ....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 9:57am BST

I have asked Lambeth Palace to clarify the matter.

If they reply I will advise on this thread.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 10:10am BST

The Catholic Church in Ireland (and other places) has lost *some* credibility over the terrible abuse that *some* priests perpetrated, and the way this abuse was historically covered up.

I guess I feel that ABC's use of the word *all* was non-intentionally casual, and spoken in a conversational context, when he probably dropped his guard over the importance of precision.

I pray that all expressions of the Church may gain credibility, and reclaim grace, and regain reputation for the honour of the name of Jesus Christ. I pray for bonds of charity and mercy between the churches.

Personally, I feel that, historically, and up until this day, there are consequences when church governance is top down or in any way imperial and authoritarian.

The danger lies in the risk that decisions are taken without sufficient grassroots consultation, openness, dialogue, transparency... and that leaders, with all good intentions, fail to get the feedback they would benefit from, and suffer from a kind of organisational and cultural isolation.

In short, I feel there is a problem when leaders get out of touch... and I'm really not sure that the responses to the abuse crisis indicate that the Catholic 'establishment' have completely "got it" yet.

I personally see this as an outcome and consequence of far deeper structural vulnerabilities. To this extent I hope and pray for reform in the future under future leadershipos.

If such reformation took place, the Catholic Church could be amazing in its re-emergence and new energy.

I attend an Anglican Church but I truly pray for the continuing renewal of both my church tradition *and* the Catholic tradition, so that God may be glorified and revealed in a world that so often seems suffering and confused. I believe Rowan Williams would totally share such a hope.


Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 at 11:44am BST

When the Irish court made its determination about the abuse of over 2000 individuals in over 200 institutions over 30 years, they described the abuse as "systemic and endemic".

The abuse occurred because misogynistic and sociopathic paradigms are so internalised that many are unaware that they have such filters, let alone how horrible they really are.

One recent contemplaton is that I've heard many Christians comment it is easier to become part of a church community if one is raised in one, than if one tries to come in as an adult. Perhaps that is because when a frog jumps into hot water, it jumps out, but if it is put in cold water that is slowly heated, it remains there until it is cooked to death. If someone grows up with misogyny and disrespect for this planet and its occupants, then they might not even notice, let alone feel discomfort when they witness/ experience cruel or aggressive behaviour. It's "normal". But someone who doesn't experience that on a regular basis is mortified that "loving" Christians can be so disresepectful or downright aggressive to women, children, the weak or outcaste. They notice the dissonance between the claims to worship a "loving" and "peaceful" god, which are refuted by hateful teachings and abusive behaviours.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Thursday, 8 April 2010 at 3:05pm BST

The Roman Catholic denomination is not the Catholic Church --whether in Ireland or anywhere else.

Don't people know their Creed any longer ?

Posted by: Rev Laurence Roberts on Monday, 12 April 2010 at 8:20pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.