Skip to comments.Archbishop tells warring Anglicans "cool it"
Posted on 12/02/2005 8:03:51 AM PST by sionnsar
Britain's first black archbishop, conceding that the Anglican church could face schism over the divisive issue of gay clergy, bluntly urged the warring factions to "cool it, just cool it."
Ordained on the day the racist killer of a black teenager was convicted, Ugandan-born John Sentamu also told people to be vigilant so the scourge of racism can be stamped out.
Interviewed by Reuters at the mediaeval palace that is his new home, the number two in the Church of England hierarchy was brutally frank about the dark clouds gathering in the 450-year-old Anglican church.
Asked if he thought the church could be headed for schism, the 56-year-old archbishop said: "It may happen. I have got to be realistic."
Two years of deepening divisions among the world's 77 million Anglicans were sparked by the ordination of gay American bishop Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex marriages in Canada.
"What I would say to the two sides is cool it, just cool it," said Sentamu, who could be uniquely positioned to act as a bridge between North American liberals and the traditionalists, particularly from Africa.
Almost half of the world's Anglican archbishops, with Nigeria's Peter Akinola in the forefront, have mutinied over the issue, demanding that their spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, act over "unrepentant sexual immorality" in the church.
Sentamu, seeking to soothe bitter rivalries, said: "It is just like a family that has decided to have a mighty row. If you are having a mighty row, it is better to cool it."
"I hope I will allow the two sides that seem to be polarised to be able to listen to one another," he said in Thursday's interview.
FIGHT AGAINST RACISM
Sentamu, who worked as a barrister and judge in Uganda before fleeing the regime of former dictator Idi Amin in 1974, has been in the forefront of the fight against racism in Britain.
He worked with two inquiries probing notorious London murders -- the 1993 racist killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence and the stabbing of Nigerian schoolboy Damilola Taylor in 2000.
The police were accused in the past of "institutionalised racism" but Sentamu believes the situation has improved with racist killings now being thoroughly and speedily investigated.
On Wednesday, the day that Sentamu was being ordained in York's Gothic Cathedral, one of the killers of black student Anthony Walker was convicted in a case that had shocked Britain. The other killer had already admitted his guilt.
Walker's mother Gee said after the trial she was satisfied with the verdict and would forgive her son's killers.
Sentamu, rich in praise of her stance, said: "That is the most powerful thing anybody could say."
Sentamu, who received hate mail smeared in human excrement when his appointment was announced, said of racism: "People have to be vigilant. There is a dark side to all of us."
"May their hearts be turned around," he said of the anonymous letter writers.
"I am an action man. I wish I could know who they are and invite them round for a cup of tea and a proper conversation."
What is this guy, J. J. "Dyno-Mite" Walker?
Wouldn't that more likely be directed at his being in favor of homosexuality, rather than anything to do with "racism"? It's wrong, disgusting, unChristian, etc., etc., but seems pretty much a targeted statement, to me.
"Cool it. Just cool it."
Does anybody stop to think what "Cool it", really means?
What it means is: Calm down and talk and think rationally.
That's all well and good.
But what does it really MEAN, in pragmatic effect?
What it means is that the status quo is preserved while the differences are "ironed out" over time. It means, in other words, that the changes are allowed to stand, and everyone is supposed to be calm and respectable and have a nice debating society debate about it for as long as it takes until everyone calms down.
In other words, the changes stand, and "Cool it" really means "Quietly accept them, because if you keep shouting about it, the Church might divide and the things not stand."
So, let's flip over to an historical parallel.
The Catholic Church, in the 1500s, was nakedly selling indulgences in order to gild St. Peter's. Many people were incensed by this, they saw it as outrage, and as sin. Martin Luther was the most vocal, or at any rate the most effective. So, if we apply the Archbishop of Canterbury's logic, Luther should have "Just cooled it". He should have quietly and respectfully made his point, but when the Vatican refused to yield, he should not have kept on pressing the point until schism erupted. Follow this Anglican Bishop's advice, and Luther would have remained a Catholic Priest who expressed his dissent, but then did nothing untoward about it.
Now, of course, the Catholic Church did indeed stop selling indulgences, because it was a bad practice, plenty of heads saw that, and reasonable order was restored. But query if that would have happened when it did, in the 1500s, or if it would have occurred, instead, in the 1700s...or if it would have NEVER happened...had Luther not simply taken the North of Europe right out of the Church for good? Without the Reformation, the hot-headed Lutherans refusing to "Just cool it", would there have BEEN a Counter-Reformation at all?
Or would we all still be Catholics, and buying indulgences for ourselves?
"Cool it" means: don't divide the church over gay bishops.
It also means that the gay bishops will stay, because nobody is mad enough - like Luther was - to utterly destroy the Anglican Church rather than cooperate with open and flagrant evil.
Was Luther right for going into overt, and finally violent schism with the Catholic Church? Was Henry VIII right? I would say that Henry's motives were really pretty shabby, and he wasn't right, but Luther? The means he ultimately resorted to were excessive, but on the issues he drove to the fore and would not "cool it", he was more or less right. Had he "cooled it", would the Church have ever reformed itself?
In short: "Cool it" is perfectly terrible advice.
Nobody should "Cool it".
Evil is being openly done. People should state that.
Maybe even like this: "Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir!"
My nomination for the Post Of The Day!!
(I've been reading some material from Sentamu, and find myself a bit uncertain about him.)
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