Skip to comments.A Good Man [Archbishop of Canterbury]
Posted on 02/10/2006 5:16:30 PM PST by sionnsar
The current Archbishop Canterbury has few friends.
Those on his far left think of him as a traitor. His personal convictions mirror, to some extent, their own on same-sex unions and womens ordination and yet his fundamental commitment to catholicity prevents him from playing the ecclesial revolutionary of their dreams. ++Williams is determined to fill both the office and the role of Archbishop of Canterbury, seeing it as his primary duty to reflect the faith of the whole Communion despite his personal convictions.
But this has won him few friends among the orthodox who, knowing his personal convictions, have difficulty putting much trust in him, anticipating some future emergence of his supposed inner Spong.
And yet, though orthodox Anglicans can and should disagree with him on a variety of issues, I was struck by his words to the English Synod with regard to the TEA compromise over women bishops:
I think that the problem is for those who are not content with the idea that we should go forward along the line of ordaining women as bishops, the problem is not one of opinion, its rather of obedience. Its one of obedience to scripture, or obedience to the consensus of the Church Catholic. And, while thats not a view I wholly share, I think we ought to recognize that thats where it comes from, that those who hold that are not just thinking this is a matter of opinion and therefore it is rightly and understandably a lot harder to deal with dissent if youre talking what fundamentally comes down to a question of whether you obey God or human authority. Thats why its serious, thats why its difficult. More than opinion.
This is an amazing statement. No implication of sexism; no not-so-subtle references to pre-critical doctrines; no condescension; no pseudo-prophetic plea for liberation; none of that.
Whatever you think of ++Rowan Williams, he gets it. He understands the core of the problem those opposing women's ordination have with the consecration of female bishops.
Hes evidenced the same level of understanding with regard to the orthodox position on human sexuality.
For ++Williams the dissenting arguments (both against WO and blessing same sex sexual relations) are not, as most revisionists desperately want to believe, psychological defense mechanisms concealing latent homophobia, sexism and the fear of change.
++Williams not only attributes honest and honorable motives to his opponents, he grants the moral validity of their position. And with that he sees the necessity of crafting a way forward that does no harm to orthodox conscience.
This is not at all to say that in our present communion-wide difficulties over human sexuality such a way can be found short of the outright repentance or Communion imposed discipline of the North American provinces; it cannot. But, if nothing else, it is encouraging to know that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a good man; that he sees the true heart of orthodox Anglicanism and is unwilling to break it.
Imagine what might or might not have been had this spirit reigned across the pond.
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