Skip to comments.Casualties [Archbishop of Canterbury to resign?]
Posted on 11/26/2006 2:56:17 PM PST by sionnsar
Will the Current Unpleasantness claim the Archbishop of Canterbury?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is privately in despair at the behaviour of his predecessor Lord Carey of Clifton, who he believes has undermined his leadership of the Anglican Church.
Senior clerics are so concerned about the criticisms that they fear the "tired" Archbishop will resign after the Lambeth Conference in 2008, a decade earlier than expected.
A campaign is also being waged against Dr Williams on Anglican websites, with Andrew Carey, the journalist son of Lord Carey, emerging as one of the critics.
Dr Williams, enthroned in 2003, rejects the idea that he will go early but the speculation is widespread that Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, is emerging as the favourite to replace him.
Dr Sentamu was praised for criticising the BBC for an anti-Christian bias this month and for condemning the British Airways ban on employees wearing a cross. Meanwhile, Dr Williams flew to Rome in BA business class.
Dr Williams and Lord Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury for 11 years, have engaged in theological combat since the consecration in 2003 of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop in the United States. But the differences first surfaced in 1998 when Lord Carey as Archbishop blocked Dr Williams from becoming Bishop of Southwark.
Lord Carey denies that there is a break between himself and his successor.
It is a theological point that no one retires from Christian ministry. Once a priest always a priest. So retired Anglican leaders never stop preaching and presiding at Holy Communion and helping out when theyre needed. The only really substantial accusation of interfering with my successors ministry that has been levelled against me is that I have taken up an invitation from the Bishop of Virginia to confirm adults. Yet, like all retired bishops, I have conducted these confirmations with the proper permissions and the full knowledge of Lambeth Palace.
Furthermore, I have communicated regularly with Lambeth, met the archbishop and taken his advice, and have cancelled meetings at some considerable personal cost in order to further his ministry in the Anglican Communion.
It is therefore completely untrue to claim that I am undermining or working against my successor. He has my support and my prayers during a very difficult period in the life of the Anglican Church.
But Dr. Williams, reports Damian Thompson, is increasingly looked on as almost irrelevant.
As for the archbishop, more and more commentators are arguing that he is not the same man who met John Paul II three years ago. In the words of one Church source: "He is so weakened. In 2003 there was only one Archbishop of Canterbury. Now there are effectively three."
Perched uncomfortably on the chair of St Augustine, Dr Williams is constantly aware of two figures on either side of him: his predecessor, Lord Carey of Clifton, and his probable successor, Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York. We do not know whether Dr Sentamu wants the post, but the chances are that he will be offered it, and sooner rather than later.
As Brown notes, [Sentamu] has been "anointed" by the tabloid press for speaking out on topics that his boss has sidestepped or overlooked. It was York, not Canterbury, that issued a long-overdue condemnation of the BBCs anti-Christian bias; it was York that attacked British Airways fatuous ban on employees wearing a cross.
In other circumstances, Rowan Williams could have relied on liberal bishops to come to his rescue. But his equivocation over gay clergy and his private criticism of the calibre of women priests have alienated them.
It's probably safe to say that if Rowan Williams knew then what he knows now, he would have told Tony Blair, "Thanks but no thanks." His major problem, of course, is across the Atlantic. Had the Americans cared about the opinion of the rest of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Williams wouldn't be facing the open rebellion he faces now.
Which leads us to my gracious lord of Canterbury's other problem. His Anglicanism. Dr. Williams knows what needs to be done but hasn't got the stomach for doing it. So for three years, he's been frantically casting about for some kind of formula which would allow him not to have to show the Americans the door.
He's trying to please everyone and make everyone happy; he's pleasing no one at all and everyone is mad at him. So perhaps people are looking to Dr. Sentamu to provide something that has been in short supply at Lambeth since Dr. Williams became the Archbishop of Canterbury. An actual decision.
"Dr. Williams knows what needs to be done but hasn't got the stomach for doing it. So for three years, he's been frantically casting about for some kind of formula which would allow him not to have to show the Americans the door."
We were discussing this in the car today. Abp. Williams is too academic so he sees things from every angle and doesn't want to take a position. He is not a leader. That said, he is stuck between a rock (the Global South Churches with their inclreasing membership numbers and traditional faith) and a hard place, (the western churches, Canada and the US, with their declining membership and smushy faith but numerous $$$). Add to that the Queen's admonition that he preserve the Communion and his own squishy faith and anyone can see he is not the person needed to do the job. I can only pray he will do the right thing in the end, but I fear he won't.
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