Saturday, July 05, 2008

York Lauds Canterbury

(To the cognoscenti, there's a level of pun-ditry in that title that was unintentional, but it's too delicious to remove.)

Rowan Williams has taken flak from all sides pretty much from the beginning of his tenure. He inherited the helm of the Anglican Communion at a particularly difficult time. I've confessed before that I was disappointed at the news of his appointment; I had preferred Richard Chartres--then, as now, Bishop of London. But my estimation for Rowan has only grown as I have watched him handle himself in this ongoing drama.

With a hat tip to Fr Tony Clavier, I quote below the remarks, just given in the C of E's General Synod, of the #2 prelate, John Sentamu, Archbishop of York:

It has grieved me deeply to hear reports of the ungracious personalisation of the issues through the criticism and scapegoating of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams exemplifies that quest of holding together holiness, truth, love and unity.

The accusations and inferences of what has been said by some are not only ungenerous and unwarranted but they describe a person I don't recognise as Rowan. He demonstrates, in his dealings with others, the gift of gracious-magnanimity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the current contested debate on sexuality, is a model of attentive listening, interpretative-charity, and exemplifies a Christian - occupying the seat of St Augustine.

Hear, hear.


Anonymous said...

All this may be true, Rowan may be unfairly scapegoated, Rowan Williams is certainly not entirely to blame, he is a nice guy, good theologian, etc., etc., but the facts remain: on his watch, the Anglican Communion is unravelling. Rowan Williams' actions have frequently undermined efforts to stop the unravelling.

By all accounts, Tsar Nicholas II was a very nice and gentle man. But he is not remembered as such in history - rather he is remembered as a weak and ineffectual leader who did not stand up to harmful influences, and so led to the dramatic collapse of the Russian monarchy.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear! jamesw.


TLF+ said...

His inability to see and announce the breadth and depth of rot in TEC is breathtaking.

He is either so theoretical as to be oblivious to evidence, or so political as to be oblivious to moral wrong... neither of which seems to fit his beautiful preaching and writing.

I've heard him speak several times (in one case, over the course of several days). I've built a Lenten series around his book Christ on Trial . I always came away from his teaching refreshed and inspired, engaged mentally and spiritually. That is why his leadership is such a great disappointment.

Daniel Martins said...

I don't totally lack empathy with those who have expressed disappointment with Rowan's leadership. There have certainly been points along the way when it has seemed (to me) within his power to "fix" things--e.g. by withholding Lambeth invitations to those complicit in +VGR's consecration (thus "enforcing" the Windsor Report) or by exercising his part of the plan articulated in the Dar communique, even though TEC rejected it out of hand. But as I reflect, and talk with others, it occurs to me that Rowan may be exercising a more far-reaching form of leadership. I do not believe he will ever "enforce" anything because he doesn't believe that's his vocation. He is striving for a long-term resolution, not a short-term feel-good fix; a resolution that is organic rather than manufactured or imposed; and one that will create the conditions in which "bad actors" will eventually discipline themselves. It is messy, and requires a great deal more patience than any of us seem to have. I keep coming back to his "Challenge and Hope of Being Anglican" published two years ago. He is pretty much following that script. Also, I'm always aware that he knows more than I do and sees more that I do.