UPDATE 1650 GMT:
I understand that Archbp. Williams telephoned Archbp. Martin to apologize for his remark.
In a SKYNEWS story, Williams expressed his "deep sorrow and regret" after declaring the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland had lost "all credibility" over the child abuse scandal.
ORIGINAL POST 1424 GMT
It seems that Archbishop Williams has finally found someone in his own communion he can lash out at publicly.
Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams has withdrawn his "blessing" from those Traditional Anglicans who want to be united with Rome.
Williams made this move with a fairly stern statement: ‘God bless them, I don’t.’
I am sure that will panic them.
Ruth Gledhill has written about this, though she seems to have set reason aside for this piece in The Times.
My E & C.
April 3, 2010
Archbishop on papal offer: ‘God bless them, I don’t’
Commentary: Ruth Gledhill
Like a Druidic emissary from Tuatha Dé Danaan, the mythic inhabitants of Ireland, the Archbishop of Canterbury will lob a spiritual depth charge at Pope Benedict XVI on Monday when he damns the Catholic Church in Ireland as having lost all credibility. [More like a kid tossing a firecracker into a muddy pond.]
Dr Williams also reveals on the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week that [wait for it…] he is withholding his blessing from Anglicans who choose to take advantage of the Pope’s offer of a special home in the Catholic Church for disaffected Anglicans. “God bless them. I don’t,” he says, witheringly. [SAY IT AIN’T SO! No… no… noooooo! What will they ever do without the blessing of Rowan Williams? Maybe they’ll find a blessing in union with Rome.]
What a contrast with the joyful ecumenical greetings between the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and Pope John Paul II during the last papal visit in 1982, when they entered Canterbury Cathedral together, greeted each other with the sign of peace, knelt in prayer before the nave altar and then moved to the high altar where they kissed the Canterbury Gospels, a gift from Pope St Gregory the Great to St Augustine. [For heaven’s sake.]
This time, although Benedict’s visit has the status of a state and not a mere pastoral visit, his welcome from the primus inter pares of the much smaller and itself divided Anglican Communion will be less effusive.
Dr Williams has plenty of problems of his own. Next month the Episcopal Church of the US will consecrate its second openly gay bishop, Canon Mary Glasspool, as a bishop in the Los Angeles Diocese. [Sure will!]
Dr Williams’s efforts to keep Anglicans united have succeeded to the extent [get this…] that none quite knows if schism has occurred or not. [That is merely one of the things hard to figure out about the Anglican communion.] New churches keep being formed, but to the extent that all 39 church leaders are expected to be invited to the next primates’ meeting, they are all still in the same Anglican boat, even if that boat seems barely to be staying afloat.
His difficulties are as nothing compared with the child abuse tsunami that threatens to drown Roman Catholicism. [I am not sure I accept that premise. The Catholic Church has clearly and actually addressed the problem of priest who decades ago harmed children. People will in time recognize that when the MSM turns its attention to a different victim to kick. The Anglican Church – no stranger to homosexual priests they – have a systemic problem that is so bad they can’t even tell who belongs to it and who does not, who will stay in it and who will leave, what sacraments are and what they aren’t.] Yesterday it got a whole lot worse for the Roman Catholic Church when the Pope’s personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, likened accusations against the Pope and the Church in the sex abuse scandal to the “collective violence suffered by the Jews”.
It is difficult to imagine anything that could illustrate more potently the extent to which, like MPs and their expenses, so many Catholic church leaders still just do not get it.
[Now watch this monumental leap…] In identifying themselves [To whom does this refer? "Catholic Church leaders" in the last sentence.] as the victims of persecution, rather than the children that were raped and tortured, they [Catholic church leaders] seem unaware of how they map their own perdition. [And now Gledhill really goes to the zoo. Perpend…]
Any minute now, one is tempted to wonder, will they be blaming the media, or even the Jewish people themselves, for the Holocaust?
Let us not forget what the Church itself preaches. In the prayer for the Jewish people, standard in the Good Friday liturgy worldwide, the Armagh congregation prayed for the people who were “first to hear the word of God”. They prayed: “Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.”
Having liberalised the use of the traditionalist Tridentine Rite in 2007, last year Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications on bishops of the traditionalist movement, the Society of St Pius X. He went ahead even though shortly before, one of those bishops, the English Richard Williamson, was captured on television denying the Holocaust.
The Society of St Pius X then stated it would not use Pope Benedict XVI’s reworking of the Tridentine Rite Good Friday prayer. The Pope had attempted to soften its tone regarding the Jewish people, asking that Jews may “acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men”.
The original prayer from the rite described the Jews as “perfidious” and accused them of being blind. [Is any of this really relevant?]
Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s document on other faiths, rejected the teachings that Jews were Christ-killers, were accursed and were enemies of God, but if Jews today were to sit through a modern or, even worse, Tridentine Good Friday liturgy and hear prayers like the above, they surely would feel pretty uncomfortable. The Vatican has already published 16 volumes of Second World War archives online and hopes this might help to defuse the controversy over Pope Pius XII’s actions during the Holocaust. The complete record has yet to emerge, but it is expected to in due course.
There is no doubt that the older generation of Catholics in Rome [Get that? "older"?] believes that the Church is being persecuted. The younger generation, however, believes that the Church must take responsibility for its past sins and clean up its act.
Surely what Archbp. Williams said was not a gaff or slip. Williams is an intelligent wordsmith. And he is not Fr. Cantalamessa … or Joe Biden at an open mic. You can bet he prepared for that interview with the BBC.
No apologies, or explanations or clarifications. So far. I am not sure what an Archbishop of Canterbury does on Holy Saturday – maybe he is busy – but there has been no statement to clarify his comments.
Irish bishops have reacted to Williams. What he said was noticed. They are shooting back.
It all reminds me of gunslingers standing in a circle and shooting at each other.
I remember that the late Fr. Neuhaus said: The Anglican Church exists to make irony redundant.