Sunday, 25 July 2004

some news items

Top news today is that Rowan Williams will observe the third anniversary of 11 September, 2001 by speaking at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. This was reported today in the Sunday Times by Christopher Morgan.
Williams to praise Islam on Sept 11

Part of the report:

Rowan Williams has accepted an invitation to speak at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He will speak to his Muslim congregation of the common ground between Christianity and Islam with their shared inheritance as “children of Abraham”.

Al-Azhar is considered the most important religious university in the Muslim world and is attended by 90,000 students.

The university, founded in the 10th century, is also thought to be the oldest and contains the most prestigious school of law in Sunni Islam.

Muslim leaders say there is huge significance in the invitation. Zaki Badawi, founder of the Muslim College in London, said Williams’ address would strengthen the links between the two faiths. He said: “It is a very significant moment in the history of our two faiths and especially coming from a man of his stature and learning.

“This will cement the relationship between Christianity and Islam because he will point out those aspects which unite the two religions. The Muslims throughout the world feel beleaguered and a comforting word from Archbishop Williams will assure our people they are not alone.”

Williams will commit himself to extending Christian dialogue with Islam and stress his own belief in the need for a peaceful solution to the conflicts of the Middle East. He is expected to discuss the spiritual relationship that exists among the children of Abraham.

Earlier in the week, in the Telegraph Jonathan Petre reported under the silly headline Bishops plan his and hers Church about plans for dealing with women bishops. The essence of the story is that David Hope prefers an extension of the existing system for dealing with those who oppose women priests to the adoption of the “third province” approach:

Dr Hope is keen to encourage a compromise between die-hard traditionalists and middle-of-the-road Anglicans that will minimise the structural divisions within the Church.

The diehards are demanding a “third province”, a church-within-a-church with its own archbishop, bishops and training colleges operating in parallel with the remainder of the Church, but with no female clergy.

…But Dr Hope prefers a scheme which, rather than creating parallel structures, enshrines the rights of traditionalist parishes that could find themselves in dioceses headed by women bishops or liberals.

Under such a scheme, parishes opposed to women’s ordination would be able to reject the pastoral care of their diocesan bishop if they found them unacceptable.

Such parishes could choose to be ministered to by a like-minded traditionalist bishop, who could visit them, if necessary, from outside the diocese.

Parishes can already opt for “flying” bishops under provisions introduced for traditionalists when women were ordained priests 10 years ago.

At present, diocesan bishops retain their authority over their dioceses and operate a “gentleman’s agreement” that they will not block flying bishops from operating in their territory. Although this system has worked satisfactorily, Dr Hope fears it will come under such strain when women are consecrated as bishops that it will need bolstering. Critically, diocesan bishops would lose their right to block traditionalist bishops if parishes opt for them.

What is confusing about this news report is the suggested extension of the scheme to cover not only “traditionalist” parishes in dioceses that have women bishops, but also those that are in dioceses that have “liberal” bishops whatever that might mean in this context. Unless it relates directly to the issue of women bishops, this is outside the remit of the Rochester commission.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 25 July 2004 at 9:56 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England