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Tony Grist

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Sorry, Your Grace, I Misjudged You [Apr. 4th, 2010|05:02 pm]
Tony Grist

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for upsetting the Irish Catholic bishops, protesting that he thought he was saying no more than other people have said when he suggested in a radio interview that they'd "lost all credibility". .

Two things here. One, the Irish bishops needed upsetting. Two, I thought it was the job of people like the Archbishop to lead public opinion not reflect it. So much for the prophetic role of the clergy!

I haven't read his Easter sermon, but if the BBC is reporting it properly, it dealt not with anything as troublesome as sexual abuse, but with the one or two recent cases in which evangelical Christians have been disciplined by their employers for wearing dangly crosses in defiance of  professional dress codes. From this he developed a whiney case about Christians being victimised in today's society and their faith set at nought. This was feeble stuff- and in its watery, Anglican way comes from the same culture of self-pity as the sermon the Pope's chaplain delivered to him the other day, in which he likened the suffering of priests and bishops caught up in the child abuse scandal to those of Jews under Hitler

I thought for a while there that the Archbishop had understood the rage in the street. For a scant 24 hours I was proud of him. But the Bishop of Dublin pronounced himself "hurt" and the Archbishop rushed to apologise- the pain of a fellow hierarch weighing so much more in the scheme of things than that of hundreds of raped children.

I also thought that, finally, he'd found the balls to stand up to the Bishop of Rome- who persistently disrespects him and other faith leaders.  Yes, I thought, he's realised that being an Anglican means he doesn't have to kiss that person's petticoats every time they're flounced.  He can criticise, he can express a divergent opinion, he can be his own man.  Sorry, your Grace, I misjudged you. I thought you were something other than the smooth- if not particularly competent- ecclesiastical diplomat your every action to date has proclaimed you to be. I was wrong.


[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2010-04-04 04:14 pm (UTC)
Hear! Hear!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-04 04:25 pm (UTC)
People are hungry for real moral leadership. If the Archbishop had the courage to give us some he'd have people flocking back to church.
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[User Picture]From: litchick
2010-04-04 06:00 pm (UTC)
You took the words right out of my mouth.
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From: mamadar
2010-04-04 04:34 pm (UTC)
His Grace does not (yet) realize that the loss of credibility is spreading and is not confined to the Roman hierarchy....
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-04 04:43 pm (UTC)
And by aligning himself with the Roman bishops he's hastening its spread in his own communion.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2010-04-04 04:52 pm (UTC)
It would be nice to see someone charging through the moral countinghouse bearing a whip and overturning some tables at this time. Especially if it can be done without the customary apologies to offended sensibilities.

Despite the persistent charge that Christianity needs to change with the times or die, there ARE times when the faith needs to change the culture, and not the other way around, if it is expected to have any gravitas. Indulging in milquetoast apology in the face of an evil like child sexual abuse is political correctness run to an extreme, and extremely undesireable, conclusion.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-04 06:10 pm (UTC)
Rowan Williams is a very nice man- too nice. I'm sure he's a sensitive pastor and a fine scholar- but he's the wrong man for the job.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2010-04-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
I agree completely. Why apologise when he only told the god's honest truth? Those Catholic clergy have done enough bullying, they well earned being taken down a peg. They spent enough time bullying us.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-04 07:01 pm (UTC)
What he said was true- and not even particularly controversial. He should have stuck to his guns.
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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2010-04-04 08:37 pm (UTC)
As a Prod, don't agree. There's layers and layers of colonialism and snobbery in an English Anglican belittling the Catholic church. I am shocked and horrified by the revelations of abuse, and shamed to belong to a country that colluded in that abuse, but I would never pass swingeing judgements on the Irish Catholic church or its future. It's not my place.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-04 09:44 pm (UTC)
We're all defined by our history. As an English Prod I still smart from Rome's historic refusal to recognise the validity of Anglican orders- which is silly because I don't believe in the validity of any orders. I guess we have these things in our DNA. I remember the Armada too.

If we Anglicans took it out on the Irish Catholics it's because the Catholic Church had been taking it out on us. You slap the person below you because you can't slap the one above. Ach, it's complicated.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2010-04-04 10:23 pm (UTC)
a whiney case about Christians being victimised in today's society

Why do Christians complain about this? Doesn't the New Testament declare multiple times that they will be persecuted for their faith and that they should rejoice in it?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-05 08:47 am (UTC)
That's a very good point.

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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2010-04-05 11:04 am (UTC)
Well said!

Also, I have no sympathy with the cross-wearing Christians. There is no requirement on a Christian to display a symbol of their faith. In fact I seem to recall Bibilical verses telling the faithful not to vaunt their faith. Likewise re the praying for sick people. If you believe that prayer works and want to pray for someone, then feel free to do so in the privacy of your own home or heart or in church, but don't do it ostentatiously by the bedside.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-04-05 11:46 am (UTC)
I think these people are trawling for martyrdom, deliberately provoking the authorities so they can get to make a fuss about how they're being persecuted for the faith.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-04-05 12:04 pm (UTC)
A plague on both their houses. Any positive feeling I might have for either diocese, Canterbury or Rome, is mere sentimentality.

John Paul II was a stubborn old man with an irrational hatred of Communism so blinding that it bordered on fascism. He had the sort of leadership skills and real-world credibility that might have made a difference when the kiddly-diddling crisis first arose, but he did nothing. It would have entailed speaking the truth and admitting error, and maybe even an act of contrition or two, and that's just not the authoritarian way.

Now, the world pretends that the problem rests solely on Ratzinger's shoulders, when they ought to dig up the last bishop of Rome, anathamatize him, and toss his stinking remains into the Tiber, the bastard.

They're going to hang this whole thing on God's Rottweiler, just so they can canonize his predecessor. I wish I could feel sorry for him.
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