Ruth Gledhill throws a little nutty about the little nutty thrown by Archbp. Williams


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.



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Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams has withdrawn his "blessing" from those Traditional Anglicans who want to be united with Rome.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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. robkphd says:

    I believe that Ms. Gledhill makes clear at least part of the Devil’s agenda in these attacks. I am not talking about the abuse scandals – real as they are – I am talking about the surreal, concentrated and unrelenting attacks meant to undermine something. I believe that something good is on the horizon and it has to do with Ecumenism – not the silly sort, but real progress. Bringing the SSPX back fully within the fold, or perhaps more groups of the Anglicans or some move with the Orthodox. Her mention of two of these movements is telling. Whether I am right or not on the motivation, it is clear that the enemy has his soldiers out in force.

  2. shane says:

    Archbishop Williams’ comments have been rejected as ignorant by Anglican bishops in Ireland

    The Church of Ireland’s bishop responsible for furthering Christian Unity has called on Dr Williams to reflect on his comments which he described as ‘careless and reckless’ and ‘extremely unfortunate’.

    Bishop Richard Clarke said he deeply regretted the comment that the Catholic Church was ‘losing all credibility’ because of the clerical child abuse scandals, adding that it was hurtful to all Christians here.

    He said it was ‘thoughtless’ and that the Archbishop of Canterbury had neither experience of Irish life nor any direct ecclesiastical authority in this country.

    Bishop Clarke said that the language used by Archbishop was ‘extremely unfortunate’ even allowing for the fact that the Catholic Church here is facing deep and serious challenges to its authority as a consequence of the scandals.

    Dr Clarke said everybody living here knew very well that most bishops, priests and religious of the Roman Catholic tradition minister faithfully and selflessly under very difficult conditions with the love and support of their people.


    The Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Dublin says he regrets the comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the clerical sex abuse scandal in Ireland.

    Dr Rowan Williams has said that officials in Ireland have lost all credibility because of the child abuse scandal and described it as a “colossal trauma”.

    Church of Ireland’s Archbishop Dr John Neill has extended his support to his Catholic counterpart Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who says he is stunned by the comments.

    Archbishop Neill said he listened to the remarks of Archbishop Williams with “deep regret”.

    “As one who with so many of my colleagues in ministry shares with that Church in a joint proclamation of the Gospel, and who acknowledges the pain and deep suffering of the victims of abuse, I also feel for the countless priests and bishops who daily live out their Christian vocation,” he said.

    He said he supported his Catholic counterpart in Dublin, Archbishop Martin, “as he works for the proclamation of the Gospel and the healing of hurt, including that of the faithful and their clergy whose ministry has been undermined by those guilty of the abuse of children”.

  3. asperges says:

    The Times (of London) leader today: “There is an implicit pain in Dr Williams’s observations about organisational problems within the Vatican. He denies that the forthcoming papal visit to Britain marks any sort of power grab, and he is right. Pope Benedict is an outstanding religious leader who has been at pains to acknowledge the integrity of other Christian traditions and other faiths. Yet the new legal structure under which Anglicans can join the Church of Rome was announced by the Vatican last October with haste and a culpable lack of consultation with Dr Williams. It is little wonder that he speaks with detachment — if a typically courteous one — of Anglo-Catholics who make that denominational journey.”

    Williams made the headlines this morning because of his criticism of the Irish Church which “has lost all credibility.” (see A rebuke by an invalid Archbishop of a bankrupt Church. The nerve of the man! As if the C of E was a model of.. well… anything. This outburst however would appear to be the result of his pent-up anger and frustration over the Pope’s offer to dissenters rather than anything else. In so doing he has upset practically everyone.

    If ever we needed proof of the total waste of time 40 years of false ecumenism over here and the harm it has done, this is it. Of course it simply continues the concerted and systematic attack on the Church and especially the Pope.

    How these people hate a strong Papacy.

  4. JosephMary says:

    This man continues to be a loose cannon and an embarrassment not only to the SSPX but for the Roman Catholic Church with which he is NOT in union. I rather doubt that he ever will be even if relations are normalized between the SSPX and Rome. He will remain outside like a protestant. Indeed he continues to protest and proclaim that he is the arbiter of ‘truth’.

  5. mdillon says:

    Rowan Williams is an expert when it comes to losing credibility.

    “Episcopal Church of the US will consecrate its second openly gay bishop, Canon Mary Glasspool, as a bishop in the Los Angeles Diocese.” No doubt Roland will bless this…urrr consecration, but GOD won’t.

  6. Brian Day says:

    Ruth Gledhill throws a little nutty indeed. Other than what Fr Z already highlighted, two other points struck me.

    1) Father Raniero Cantalamessa, likened accusations against the Pope and the Church in the sex abuse scandal to the “collective violence suffered by the Jews”
    Was she reading the same text that Fr Z posted?

    “I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.
    Where is the reference to collective violence?

    2) In identifying themselves as the victims of persecution, rather than the children that were raped and tortured…
    All of the victims were abused. Some but not all were raped, but lets let the rape charge stand. The word “tortured” I do have a problem with. Oh really. It must be part of an ever increasing definition of the term. Pretty soon I’ll claim to be a victim of torture after being subjected to Obamacare. /sarcasm

    The rest seems to be boilerplate filler. Does mentioning the SSPX and Pope Pius XII and the Jews during WWII really add to the substance of the article?

  7. robtbrown says:

    Losing Rowan Williams’ blessing is every bit as serious as losing the blessing of any other layman.

  8. puma19 says:

    I have seen Ruth G on BBC today and she was quite measured and succinct about the Williams attack on the Irish Church. Also +Martin was on in an interview and was very impressive and said twice he has been so disconsolate about Williams remarks to the BBC on the loss of ‘all credibility’. Martin was firm and determined in what he said. Excellent reposte to Williams who seems, in a rash moment, to have forgotten that the Anglicans are no longer a united communion by any means. They have breakaways in Africa, the Caribbean, the USA and Australia. A more dysfunctional, disunited group you could not find on the planet. And this is not to mention the gay bishop in the USA which Williams has not been able to stop with another one coming.
    The whole fabric of the Anglicans/Episcopalians is torn asunder and Williams has no credibilty whatsover and now he says the Church is Ireland lacks it all.
    He may well regret this, as the good Irish people, the good Irish clergy, the good and faithful Irish bishops (be they only a few) are THE CHURCH that will always be there.
    Did not Jesus call Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him? Does that act of the divine God destroy Jesus’ credibility? Jesus chose Thomas who doubted Him, Peter the Rock, who denied Him – do those choices crush Jesus’ credibility? NO NO NO.
    Look at history and the bad and sometimes evil popes and priests, and bishops. But look also at the saints and martyrs prepared to give their lives and witness.
    Satan attacks the holy, those who serve the Lord, to bring them down and try to bring down the Church.
    That Rowan Williams lamblasts the totaly credibility of the Irish Church is to attack the multitudes of good and faithful Catholics who will not tolerate the filth in the Church and who want them expelled so that the CHurch may move on and strive to be holy.
    The Pope and the good people of the Church need our prayers and support – but the filth and secrecy in the Church, the stubborness of some bishops needs to change.
    The credibility of each one of us is at stake when we deny the Lord and his mission, His death AND, YES HIS resurrection promising us all eternal life for those who repent.

  9. SonofMonica says:

    Father Raniero Cantalamessa did absolutely nothing wrong or controversial. Media-crated, media-fueled nonsense. REJOICE, O MOTHER CHURCH! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you!

  10. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    “His difficulties are as nothing compared with the child abuse tsunami that threatens to drown Roman Catholicism.”

    -Child abuse is horrible. No Christian denies this fact. However, while their are offenders in the Catholic Church, the Church is to be hospital of repentance for the sick. The Church is dealing with this and will continue too. The Church simultaneously maintains the divinely revealed dogmas of the faith. Many in the Anglican communion no longer consider some dogmas, like Jesus being the Christ and the God/Man necessary for salvation. One can even fairly ask the question to some Anglicans, “Are you a Christian?”

    The writer above is mixing apples and oranges. The Church can deal with sinners and even make them saints if She remains faithful to the dogmas and sacred tradition of the Church. Sadly the Anglicans have lost this faithfulness to dogma and tradition because like all protestants, they are outside the Church. Rowan Williams’ position is far worse than the Church’s.

  11. Aquinas says:

    How utterly absurd, blasphemous, ridiculous is the whole perverse notion of having a secular head of the so called Anglican communion, which is invalid anyway.
    The Anglican club takes its lead from the New Statesman and the policy wonks in the labour party. It is virtually devoid of any authentic Christian substance , or belief.
    What a shower!

  12. Aquinas says:

    If Williams has withdrawn his deplorable comments about the Catholic Church in Ireland, hopefully now he will withdraw himself back to Stonehenge with the druids. creep!

  13. Gabriel Austin says:

    Two points:
    Why do you keep referring to Rowan Williams as Archbishop? He is not. [We call him “Archbishop” because we are not rubes. That is his title.]

    The “suddenness” of the Holy Father’s move to welcoming unhappy Anglicans is not sudden at all. In his THE ROMAN OPTION, William Oddie describes how this was the end of a 20 year discussion.

  14. JonM says:

    Okay, first of all as much as Anglicans, conservative or liberal or ‘traditional’ want to believe, their prelate is hardly in the line of succession of giants like St. Thomas Becket or St. Augustine. A spider is a spider even if I call it a cat and name it Mr. Jinx.

    The 1982 meeting was…let’s move along.

    Another opportunity to beat up on SSPX? Really? I mean, REALLY??

    This is so tedious, so stupid, so grating. Bishop Williamson did not deny the Jewish persecutions that took place during the 1940s. He did reject the specific number most people point to (i.e., six million Jews murdered), the particular means (e.g., he rejects gas chamber theory that is generally accepted), and possibly the implicit questioning of how central was the persecution of the Jews to the Nazi’s ultimate designs (did the Nazis exist only to slaughter Jews or was the slaughter of Jews only a means to an end or was it somewhere in between?)

    So, could people get upset about this view? Sure. Many get really upset if you dare say the Armenian Christian genocide was as serious as it really was, but the media does not castigate people over it. Of course, I wish Catholic got so upset when any number of hetetical or world-aping things come out from prelates in ‘full canonical communion.’

    Door shut on that.

    Now regarding Ms. Gledhill’s assessment of prayers for the conversion of sinners and those who reject Christ…

    The prayers in the Novus Ordo require an electron microscope to find the call for conversion. As soldiers of Christ, we under pain of losing our place with Him, must try to bring Him to the world. Not in some sappy pop liturgy manner that holds ‘we are all Jesus’ but in a constructive meaningful way.

    That means converting all to the Catholic Church and living a life of penance, prayer, and reception of the Sacraments, especially Confession.

    Frankly, the prayer is beautiful and people should try to see what it says instead of reacting so defensively. The reaction is most ironic. As an asside, the word perfidious was changed, it is my understanding, because the meaning of perfidious drifted to the point that it is not the best way to convey it in English.

    I freely confess that I was blind prior to my conversion.

    Anyone who rejects Jesus is blind; He is the fulfillment of the Covenant with Abraham. Christ is the beginning and the end, there isn’t any other ‘way’ or ancillary covenant. Just one that was fulfilled and is found in the Church He created.

  15. Ms. Gledhill wrote: “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.”

    I imagine that if a Jewish person were attending the Liturgy of the Passion on Good Friday, it would be because they were either planning on being baptized at the Easter Vigil the following day or were favorably disposed to Catholicism. If they were uncomfortable, it would be more likely because of the Passion from St. John’s Gospel with its constant reference to “the Jews” which someone might not realize means pretty much what the media mean when they say “the Church”, i.e., the leadership.

  16. asperges says:

    Row latest: Williams Apologises Latest according to the BBC:

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his “deep sorrow” for any difficulties caused by his comments about the Catholic Church in Ireland.

    His claim that the Church had lost all credibility because of its handling of child abuse by priests was criticised by both Catholic and Anglican clergy.

    The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said he was “stunned”.

    Dr Rowan Williams later telephoned Archbishop Martin to insist he meant no offence to the Irish Catholic Church.


    Moral: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

    This is also the man who said a year or two back that Britain should adopt Sharia law in some areas and wondered why people were outraged. One has to question either his judgment or his motives.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    I saw the article but I didn’t read it. Imagine Williams–the quintessential essence of credibility loss–calling someone else out for loss of credibility. The article looked unworthy of the electrons needed to post it. So I laughed and read something else. Some news is unintentionally funny–more and more of it as time goes by, actually.

  18. spock says:

    Not worth getting too upset over. Let’s focus more on welcoming our new Anglican Catholic brothers than worrying about what Archbishop Williams thinks.

    As for me, don’t know of any of these new converts around my neighborhood so I’ll just have to settle for praying for them.

    Blessed Easter to All,

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Please try not to worry about the Archdruid. He is well known as a totty-headed academic who is always shooting his mouth off publicly as though he were teaching a seminar (vide the infamous “sharia law” comments). But he never learns from his mistakes, and nobody really takes the things he says seriously.

    This was a particularly stupid remark, though, because the Anglican Communion in general and the American Episcopal Church in particular are full of incidents of homosexual predation. When I was an Episcopalian, everybody knew which clergy were homosexual, and who their boyfriends were.

    The only reason the public at large does not know is because the media ignores it.

    And the media ignores it because (unlike the Catholic Church) the Anglicans are on their side on all the major social issues.

    The worm may turn, of course, in which case it will be highly embarrassing for Williams.

  20. colospgs says:

    Brian Day, I was wondering myself how many different subjects one reporter can fit into one article. It would be easy to forget what the point of the article was by the time one finished it.

  21. steve jones says:

    What is curious is the support offered by the C of I toward the Irish Catholic Church. There is always the suspicion that Irish Protestants hate the British more than the Catholics!

  22. TJerome says:

    The Archbishop of Canterbury comes across as a petty, little man with that comment, kind of “Jimmy Carteresque.” I’d point out to the little guy, while the Catholic Church is in the process of recovering its sanity, his “Church” is melting away before our eyes.

    AnAmericanMother, the media has no problems with gays or gay sex that’s why they have protected the gay Catholic clergy by claiming all of this mischief is caused by pedophiles when in fact the clerical scandals are based on de minimis amounts of true pedophilia and the overwhelming majority is just garden variety gay sex. No point in letting the reading public in on the truth. After African-Americans, gays are the media’s second favorite “victim.” Can’t ruin the agenda, don’t you know?

  23. What the heck kind of analogy is that?

    1. Welsh C of E archbishops don’t have any freakin’ thing to do with the Tuatha De Danaan. English C of E archbishops? Even less.

    2. The Tuatha De Danaan didn’t have druids, that I can recall. That was more of a Fir Bolg and Children of Mil thing. (Tons of inherent magical abilities, but not druids, per se.)

    3. Apparently Ruth Gledhill is sensitive to anti-Semitism, racism, and so forth, but isn’t aware of the 800 or so years of Late Unpleasantness between England and Ireland. Amazing.

  24. William Tighe says:

    It appears that Ms. Gledhill may have added her own ignorant or malicious “spin” to the AbC’s words, for what he really may have meant when saying this:

    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.

    was this:

    “They believe they ought to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome. I can only say fine, God bless them. I don’t at the moment.” — meaning, “I don’t believe I ought to be in communion with the Bp of Rome,” not “I don’t bless them” (which would be a very strange and bitter thing to say, if true).

    Interesting that he should say that he does not “at the moment” believe that he ought to be in communion with the Pope. Perhaps he will believe a different thing at a different moment.

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