Archbishop Williams on Freedoms and Rights

Here is Archbishop Rowan Williams in an extensive statement on religious freedom, biblical literalism, zealotry, ordaining gays and lesbians (and women), the Christian concept of freedom and social rights, as well as on divisions within the Anglican Communion.  This is from his presidential address to the London Synod on Feb. 9.  It's quite clear and direct.  "The basic conflict was not between a systematic assault on Christian values by a godless government on the one side and a demand for licensed bigotry on the other.  It was over the question of how society identifies the point at which one set of freedoms and claims so undermines another that injustice results."  More:

Something of that ‘tragic’ awareness is hard to avoid when we look at the decisions that face us in our Church.  Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is a good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission.  But that good is at the moment jeopardised in two ways – by the potential loss of those who in conscience cannot see it as a good, and by the equally conscience-driven concern that there are ways of securing the desired good that will corrupt it or compromise it fatally (and so would rather not see it at all than see it happening under such circumstances).  And for both many women in the debate and most if not all traditionalists, there is a strong feeling that the Church overall is not listening to how they are defining for themselves the position they occupy, the standards to which they hold themselves accountable.  What they hear is the rest of the Church saying, ‘Of course we want you – but exclusively on our terms, not yours’; which translates in the ears of many as ‘We don’t actually want you at all’.


Read the rest here.  Listen to it here.

James Martin, SJ


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William Rydberg
8 years 1 month ago
I am puzzled by the cartesian avoidance of Kant with respect to suicide.  Seems to me that much of the Anglican worldview rests heavily on a Kantian definition of Reason....
Molly Roach
8 years 1 month ago
I have concluded that in the Roman Catholic Church, for someone who is not a celibate male, there are no recognized freedoms or rights, only claims.  While I have some respect for the Archbishop of Canterbury (having read the whole presentation) I think it better better to describe the situation he's in and we RC's are in as a malignant impasse.  We need to implore the mercy and assistance of God to find a way out of this very ugly place.


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