|Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams celebrate the Vespers |
at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome (Photo: Reuters)
As a matter of fact the Archbishop of Canterbury is even said to have considered quitting following the last conference in 2008, which was mired by boycotts, rows over homosexual clergy and challenges to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s authority. As Italian author and journalist Vittorio Messori wrote in yesterday’s Corriere della Sera newspaper (in Italian), “The continued mediation between opposed groups is part of the history of this heterogeneous community, but now, as we are made to understand by the prelate, they’re going too far. […] With a half-smile beneath his neat, white beard, he makes us to understand that he retires after nine years as archbishop ‘on grounds of patience.’”
After all, the Anglican Communion has been “unable to resist the hegemonic ideology of political correctness, even though it goes against the Bible,” as Messori himself told Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore back in October 2009, when the Vatican announced a new structure which would make it easier for Anglicans, including married priests, uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops, to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions. By the way, what did Rowan Williams have to say about that? Well, he did not disapprove of the Vatican’s decision, and while admitting he only learnt of it a couple of weeks before the decision was announced, he insisted the move was not meant as “an act of proselytism or aggression.”
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams,
and Archbishop of York, John Sentamu
Photo courtesy: Christianity Today
Sentamu’s standpoint is a conservative one. “A program which is not unlike that of Benedict XVI’s ‘re-evangelization,’” Messori says. “All in all,” he concludes, “it’s not apologetics, it’s a given: five centuries after Henry VIII, the Thames seems to be willing to run towards the Tiber.” Perhaps he is right. At least I hope so.