Comments: Rowan Williams criticises the British government


Posted by Joe at Wednesday, 8 June 2011 at 11:56pm BST

If the AbC is a member of the House of Lords, does not that in an of itself make him a political animal? And isn't it appropriate for him to articulate his political opinion at times? I don't find that especially scandalous.

I do suspect he is trying to duck the issues around the Anglican Covenant that are being raised around the globe and that is not surprising either. I would try to hide from the flack of that particularly poor piece of ecclesiology, too.

What is sad is that his rhetoric sounds more 20th cent. rather than 21st and it should give us all pause.

Posted by Muthah+ at Wednesday, 8 June 2011 at 11:56pm BST

Damian Thompson says that the key issue is that guest editing will take the archbishop's mind off the problems of the Anglican Communion. Not for long. And I imagine the archbishop is capable of thinking about (at least) two things at one time.

Posted by Richard at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 12:18am BST

Now this really is the Rowan Williams I remember - one who stands up for the poor and needy, the outcast and reviled. Why does he not then stand by his seminal writing in 'The Body's Grace' - by standing up to the Conservatives of the Communion?

Bring Back the Real Rowan Williams!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 3:50am BST

Good Lord, Damian Thompson is tedious. He provokes in me some sympathy towards Rowan (which has been difficult to do lately).

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:08am BST

Irony is often the spouse of hypocrisy, especially in the public statements of overinflated men:

". . . committing the country to 'radical, long-term policies for which no one voted.'"

Well, thank goodness nobody would try that with the Anglican Communion!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:44am BST

decapitating non-cononical cloth caps...

Posted by A J Barford at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:03am BST

I sometimes wonder how Damian Thompson would cover the ministry of Jesus on his Telegraph blog. "Son of Man resorts to Old Testament sloganising - desperately tries to distract attention from unwed mother rumours; Agree with him or not, at least you know where you stand with Caiphas!"

Posted by RJB at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:34am BST

Three Cheers for the "Bearded lefty"

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 7:26am BST

I just love the comments after the Damian Thompson piece, especially 'The C of E used to condone fox hunting & disown buggery. Now it is the reverse'. If only!.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 9:42am BST

Oh! Come on!!
Damian is a love! Even if he is the Queen-Empress of bitchdom.

I am left wondering, though, if this wonderfully snide attack on Rowan just might have something to do with distracting folk from the rather disastrous launch of the Ordinariate that Damian would have us believe was his idea.

Wales is still waiting for just one person to step forward.

I really think JCF, Richard and RJB ought to take darling Damian more, or less, seriously.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:02am BST

Why denounce the problems of a government when his church uses its position to deprive others of civil rights (e.g. marriage) that aren't convenient to their paradigms.

The courage to speak out now seems to correlate with the penny dropping that the church has used is historical allegiances to deprive non-church members of basic rights.

Better to speak on behalf of civil rights for all, not to posture on behalf of some whilst contriving to deprive others.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:25am BST

Very intelligent commentary re the Telegraph article on the Churchmouse blog. Damian Thompson's piece is ridiculous even by his dismal standards...he should be more concerned with the declining fortunes of his own church in England... its ageing priesthood ( by the way ,why cant he call the C of E CLERGY rather than ministers...that was the proper nomenclature when I grew up ) and dwindling flock esp in the historic heartlands of the NE and NW. As for the Ordinariate....what will that add up to in a couple of years time...

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 11:28am BST

Pastor Rowan voices anxiety and concern from those who don't believe they voted for a government to invent policy on the hoof and joins other critics knocking the 'Big Society' slogan - there's no consensus about what it means, or what it offers that we don't already have. Isn't speaking out on behalf of the suffering what Pastors are meant to do?
There was too little robust 'pastoral' challenge of political discourse prior to the election. Too many Pastors' attention was caught up in playing in-house gender and sexuality games, instead of engaging with wider society in the task of making a road map to take us out of economic and social crisis. That's how the church ends up losing authority and credibility.

Posted by Keith Kimber at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 12:09pm BST

Pot. Kettle. Hopeless.

Posted by toby forward at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 12:42pm BST

Damian Thompson writes:
"You may or may not sympathise with their decision. But one thing’s for sure. When Pope Benedict is confronted by a major crisis in his Church, he doesn’t take time off to guest edit a secular magazine in the hope of impressing his mates."

No sir, the pope wouldn't do that. As he's been confronted with the sex abuse crisis, he's consistently and forcibly told everyone about the evils of womens ordination.

Posted by Doug at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 1:21pm BST

So the archbishop objects to radical long-term structural changes being foisted on an fearful people that didn't vote for them. Doesn't he realize that those in charge know best, and that the end justifies the coercive means?
Anglican 'Covenant', anyone?

Posted by krhull at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 2:48pm BST

I read the article. It was not at all like "Faith in the City", nor did it read to me like a "remarkable attack" (or any of the other journalistic hyperbole). I read Churchmouse commentary, and thought it was just about right.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:05pm BST

He put into words what many feel, not only in Britain. This is a stunningly lucid intervention, and unanswerable. The Government are suddenly in defensive mode, and the witches' sabbath over in Damianland tells its own story.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 4:09pm BST

I am no great fan of Dr. Williams, but Andrew Brown has it about right, it seems to me, in today's Guardian:

That one disagrees with the ABC on many issues does not, should not distract from hearing what he has to say carefully and thoughtfully; we are - I certainly am! - too ready not to hear him,and to jump on the bandwagon of refuting him. But this time, Brown has it right.

Posted by Nat at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:23pm BST

It is ever so much easier to complain about the ill-kempt common than to mow one's own lawn.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:59pm BST

Damian Thompson's 'Anglican meltdown' is more like a little odorous fizzy around the edges. The main generator of prayer and sacrament in this realm is working just fine!

Posted by adeacon at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 9:03pm BST

Hurrah for Rowan's boldness exposing the sham of the Big Society. He knows the cons have no desire to distestablish his he has nothing to lose.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:09pm BST

Though Rowan W's record as ABC has been less than impressive in some ways, it is good he is drawing attention to the fear that the Coalition's policies have triggered among the most vulnerable. He deserves support on this issue for the sake of those who are most affected by the government's draconian policies.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 10:24pm BST
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