Category : Archbishop of Canterbury

News about, sermons, letters, commentary by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Pakistan’s Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Pakistan this weekend to show support for its Christian community. During the three-day visit he prayed with Christians, listened to their experiences and offered comfort to those grieving in the wake of attacks. He also met with national leaders to raise the concerns of Christians and discuss protecting freedom of religion or belief for all people in Pakistan.

In a meeting in Islamabad on Monday with the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, the Archbishop informed Mr Khan of his visit yesterday to the city of Peshawar, where a priest from the Church of Pakistan was murdered in a terror attack in January. The Archbishop raised the issue of creating social cohesion and the importance of respecting people’s freedom of religion or belief, particularly in education systems.

During the meeting, the Archbishop also said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was both a tragedy and “an act of great moral evil”, and spoke of the need for urgent efforts to build peace.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Pakistan

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, wrote on Twitter: “We wake this morning to the sickening sights and sounds of war. Praying for all in Ukraine, for all who are fearful of what lies ahead and for the minimum possible bloodshed.

“At a time of international crisis, please join me in praying fervently for peace in Ukraine and especially for the wellbeing of our little Anglican community of Christ Church, Kyiv (which meets in the German Evangelical Church of St. Catherine’s).”

Bishop Robert co-ordinated an online prayer vigil on Thursday evening, including the Anglican chaplain in Moscow, the Revd Malcolm Rogers, and members of the Anglican community in Kyiv if it safe for them to do so. A further vigil is being organised by the Diocese in Europe on Shrove Tuesday (1 March) at 6 p.m.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “This act of aggression impacts very harmfully on a free, democratic European state and on all the nations of Europe. I exhort you to pray for peace with justice for the people of Ukraine.”

In their statement, the Archbishops invited Christians to “make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia, and for peace”, and also endorsed Pope Francis’s call to make Ash Wednesday (2 March) a global day of fasting and peace for Ukraine.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Ecumenical Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Thought for the Day today

To wake up to the news of war is terrible.

To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.

Shakespeare refers to war as chaos – the loosing of the dogs of war – and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.

Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York Appeal for Prayer

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby under fire for comments about ongoing consistory-court case

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been reprimanded for his remarks in the General Synod about an ongoing consistory-court case: whether to remove the Tobias Rustat Memorial from the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. Rustat (1608-94) was a significant benefactor of the college who had financial links with a slave-trading company.

Speaking during an impassioned debate on racial justice last week (News, 11 February), Archbishop Welby asked: “Why is it so much agony to remove a memorial to slavery that sits in front of the Dean of a college — Jesus College, Cambridge – who has to look at it every time she sits in her stall?” He said that the Church needed to change its practices on faculty jurisdiction.

The case is currently being considered by the Deputy Chancellor of Ely diocese, Judge David Hodge QC, who heard evidence and gathered submissions from representatives of the college and objectors in the week before the Synod met.

In a letter to the Church Times this week, a former Dean of the Arches and Auditor, Charles George QC, and a former Chancellor of Derby and Blackburn, John W. Bullimore, write that Judge Hodge “was, and is, preparing his judgment, in which he will give detailed reasons for his decision. His Grace’s clear indication that the result should allow the relocation is a breach of the sub judice rule that forbids discussion of matters under active consideration in the courts.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Catherine Pepinster–Justin Welby claims he’s ‘not the Pope’ – but he’s acting like one

Just who does Justin Welby think he is? In an interview this week the Archbishop of Canterbury declared “I am not the Pope”. But to some Anglicans, there was a hint of The Boss in the way he dealt with Covid-19 in the early days, when the Church of England locked down, shutting its doors not only on churchgoers but on its own clerics, banning them from their altars. The evidence was that this came from the top, though he now says not.

But back in March 2020, Archbishop Welby and the then Archbishop of York, John Sentamu wrote to all priests that they were bringing in measures to shut down churches. It meant an end to weddings, funerals, baptisms and Sunday services – the first time that churches in this country had entirely closed their doors since the days of King John. Services went digital with vicars live-streaming from their kitchen tables or rectory studies – and it infuriated many Anglicans. They couldn’t understand why the vicar could not celebrate at the church altar, alone, with that service live-streamed. After all, that was what Roman Catholics were doing – although decisions about worship came from local bishops, not directed by Rome.

The familiar altar table, with its candles, its altar cloth, and glimpses of the much-loved nave where countless generations had worshipped down the years – all these were banished and invisible for months at a time when they might have brought comfort to those at home.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address to General Synod today

A society that forgets about God, that loses the sense that it needs God (something discussed in the second interview I did), that no longer desires God – for John’s gospel has desire at its heart – such a society loses the profound call to see the wholeness of the individual human person and the call to love, by that person being set free in relationship with others. And without the church, without that community of faith, as the salt and light of that society, that society loses its way. Without God it cannot maintain a determining objective except power. As Nietzsche shows so clearly. Jacques Maritain, the Roman Catholic philosopher, wrote during the deepest darkness of 1942;

‘…deprived of a determining objective, political communion will carry its demands to the infinite, will absorb and regiment people, swallow up in itself the religious energies of the human being. Because it is not defined by a work to be done, it will only be able to define itself by its opposition to other human groups. Therefore, it will have essential need of an enemy against whom it will build itself; it is by recognizing and hating its enemies that the political body will find its own common consciousness.’[1]

Does that not speak to us as much today as it did in 1942? From the individual events like the shocking, disturbing and utterly abysmal harassing of Keir Starmer and David Lammy yesterday, to the threats of war in Eastern Europe, to the actual wars around the world. Do we not see societies forgetting God and therefore existing by the creation of an enemy. Do we not see it in our own society, and I fear do we not see it far to often in our own church?

And so in politics our concern about truth-speaking and truth-acting is not about political groupings – or in the church – but about where we find the foundations for confidence in government, confidence in leadership and above all the confidence in one another which enables us to function as a good society which seeks the common good.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(NC Reporter) Archbishop of Canterbury: South Sudan trip with Pope Francis may happen in coming months

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby may undertake their much anticipated, but delayed joint trip to South Sudan in “the next few months” to encourage peace in a country still recovering from a bloody civil war and a humanitarian crisis.

“God willing, sometime in the next few months, perhaps year, we will go and see them in Juba, not in Rome, and see what progress can be made,” said the head of the global Anglican Communion on Feb. 6, referring to South Sudan’s leaders.

“That is history,” said Welby of the likely trip that will mark the first time the two ecumenical leaders have traveled together in such a capacity.

Francis and Welby had sought to visit the war-torn country in 2017, although the country’s violent conflict and deteriorating conditions had foiled those plans.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sudan

A [front page London] Times article on a possible sweeping change being proposal in How the Church of England organizes itself

Church leaders could be appointed to full-time cabinet-style roles such as “Brexit bishop” or “Covid bishop” under proposals seen by The Times for the biggest overhaul of how the Church of England is run in centuries.

The ecclesiastical map of England could also be redrawn via mergers between the 42 dioceses, the creation of new constituencies for bishops based on cities or counties and the appointment of senior “regional” bishops to oversee large areas of the country.

The church has been accused of wanting to form a “shadow government” because of proposals that some senior bishops could be detached from geographical regions to serve as spokesmen or women on political matters.

A consultation document commissioned by the church’s three top leaders, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London, sets out a wide range of ideas for “significant changes to the shape, structure and number of dioceses and bishops”.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Pzephizo) Ian Paul–On the appointment of senior leaders in the Church of England

The Church of England keeps asking its gay members to go against their convictions and consciences.

Her most recent victim is the new Archbishops’ Appointments Adviser Stephen Knott. He is a gay man who has married his partner in another member church of the Anglican Communion, the Scottish Episcopal Church. He clearly disagrees with the Church of England’s apostolic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman: he has signaled that in what is surely the most public and permanent way possible. And yet the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have asked him to take charge of the process of appointing the Church of England’s most senior leaders (deans, bishops, and archbishops) who are all duty bound to teach that he cannot be married in the sight of God. How can they have asked him to do something that must be so troubling to his convictions and conscience?

Perhaps he feels, or they have indicated, that this situation won’t be for that long. That soon, post Living in Love and Faith, he will be able to help appoint people who will be able to “bless” his same-sex marriage (indicate the Church of England’s half-hearted acceptance of it), or even allow people like him to get married as Anglicans south of the border too. If so, it is my convictions and conscience that the Church of England is going to trample on next – I am a gay Anglican who lives in the light of historic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As a result, I am single and celibate, in the reassuring knowledge that this is what my church has consistently asked of people like me. Am I soon to be told that, somehow, we’ve got it wrong for centuries? At what cost to me and my many spiritual forebears? I’m increasingly uncertain as to whether that matters to the archbishops when they appoint someone like Stephen Knott to such a senior and influential position.

Some will say that neither Stephen Knott nor myself need to worry too much because neither of us are clergy and it is only the ordained, and not lay officeholders, in the Church of England, who need to live in the light of the Church’s official teaching on marriage. This is an idea that has gained traction in recent years as part of an uneasy unofficial settlement that has kept liberals and traditionalists together. The Church of England’s victims this time have been gay clergy who have been disciplined when they have, like Stephen Knott, entered into a same-sex marriage (celibate civil partnerships are permitted). He will now, in theory, be partly responsible for making sure that no ordained man or woman in his position gains preferment in the Church of England – unless his appointment signals a change in the rules. How he can be asked to do this beggars belief, how gay clergy can put up with one rule for him and another for them also strains too many people’s convictions and consciences once again. He, I, may not be ordained but we are both in positions of authority in the Church of England and so surely need to be living in the light of her teaching in all areas of faith and conduct?

What is the solution to this personal struggle for so many of us?

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Church Times) The Anglican Communion is asked: Do you want to help choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury?

An international consultation has begun to ask whether Anglicans from around the world should have a greater say in the choice of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

The consultation, set up by the Archbishops’ Council on Friday, takes up a diocesan synod motion from Canterbury diocese asking it to consider reducing the diocese’s representation on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). The Archbishops’ Council proposes reducing the diocese’s quota from six voting CNC members to three.

At the same time, it has put forward the more radical suggestion of increasing the voting members from the Anglican Communion from one to five.

The new-look CNC would thus comprise: a chair appointed by the Prime Minister; two bishops, including the Archbishop of York if he or she is not a candidate; six central members elected by the General Synod (three clergy and three lay); three representatives from the Canterbury diocese; and five representatives from the Anglican Communion. The total number of voting members will increase from 16 to 17. In addition, there are the two non-voting appointments secretaries (the Archbishops’ and the Prime Minister’s); also the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion is a non-voting member.

The CNC’s task is to choose two candidates in order of preference. Voting is by secret ballot and successful candidates must gain at least two-thirds of the votes.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Globalization

A Church Times Article on the BBC Archbishop Welby Interview–Covid19 vaccination should be encouraged but not compulsory

People who choose not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus should be encouraged to change their minds — but not compelled by law to do so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Archbishop Welby was asked what attitude people should have towards those who do not have health reasons not to be vaccinated but decline anyway.

He replied: “I think we need to be encouraging rather than condemnatory, because condemning people doesn’t do much good. . . Also, it increases the general sense of anger that comes at a time of insecurity and fear and grief.

“I think we need to be encouraging to people to look after their neighbours. Jesus’s great words “Love your neighbour as yourself”: if you do that, it seems to me you go and get vaccinated, and I’d encourage people — I’m not personally in favour of compulsory vaccination by law, but I am very much in favour of encouraging people, of incentivising people — to get vaccinated. It makes a difference. It’s not decisive, it’s not the whole story, but it’s an important part of the story.”

Read it all (registration).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Today programme interviews Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Listen to it all (starts just past 2:42 minutes in and goes around 5 minutes).

“One way we grieve well is to reach out to others…”

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Rowan Williams–The world feels fragile, but we can recover from the blows we’ve suffered

…what science alone does not do is build the motivation for a deeper level of connection. We act effectively not just when we find a language in common to identify problems, but when we recognise that those who share these challenges are profoundly like us, to the extent that we can to some degree feel their frailty as if it were ours – or at least, feel their frailty impacting directly on our own, so that we cannot be secure while they remain at risk.

This is where art comes in. Like the sciences, it makes us shelve our self-oriented habits for a bit. Listening to music, looking at an exhibition, reading a novel, watching a theatre or television drama, we open doors to experiences that are not our own. If science helps us discover that there are things to talk about that are not determined just by the self-interest of the people talking, art opens us up to how the stranger feels, uncovering connections where we had not expected them.

What religion adds to this is a further level of motivation. The very diverse vocabularies of different religious traditions claim not only that the Other is someone we can recognise but that they are someone we must look at with something like reverence. The person before us has a claim on our attention, even our contemplation, and on our active generosity. The religions of south and east Asia question the very idea of a safe and stable self with a territory to protect against others; while for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the claim of the stranger is grounded in the conviction that every human beings is a vehicle of God’s presence and God’s glory – “made in God’s image”.

Being more deeply connected will not take away the fragility of our condition, but it will help us see that it is worth parking the obsessions of tribes and echo chambers so that we can actually learn from and with each other; that it is worth making what local difference can be made, so as to let the dignity of the human person be seen with greater clarity. “Our life and death are with our neighbour,” said one of the saints of early Christian monasticism. That is the humanism we need if we are not to be paralysed by the fragility we cannot escape.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Ecology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Guardian) Provide social care on par with NHS or education, says Archbishop Justin Welby

The archbishop of Canterbury has called for a new “covenant” on social care between the state and the people, similar to the provision of the NHS and education, which makes “absolute value and dignity” the top priority.

Justin Welby, the leader of the Church of England, said that focusing on managing the cost of social care, a priority in the latest government reforms, is “the wrong way round” because it fails to consider what people who need care want.

“You start with the value of the human being,” Welby said. “Then you say, ‘what is the consequence of that? [in terms of the care system]’. We did that for the health service. We haven’t done that for social care.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Laud

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message 2022

When it comes to climate change, it is tempting to despair, but there are real reasons to hope.

Last year, faith leaders representing three-quarters of the world’s population stood together at the Vatican and called for definitive action on climate change.

People of every background are campaigning and working for justice.

Important steps were taken at the COP26 summit. World leaders recognise the problem. Now they must agree and implement a fair solution for everyone.

When we plant a seed, we don’t see the fruit immediately. But under the surface, God is working with what we have planted.

In the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I see that God turns all endings into new beginnings, and death into life. God invites us to be part of this story – to be people who bring hope, healing and renewal to our world.

This year, let’s keep planting those seeds – let’s keep moving forward in hope.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Science & Technology

(NC Register) St. Thomas Becket — A Saint for This Season?

What was the most surprising thing you discovered in your research of St. Thomas?

That Thomas is a much more complicated man than often portrayed in secular and religious histories – infuriating, reckless, and yet calculating and even wise. In terms of his personality, he could be distant, officious. I was surprised at how few people loved him in life. Many respected and admired him, but it is said that only three people were known to have loved him: his mother, Henry II and Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury, his mentor. Thomas is known to have loved his mother, Henry II and Henry’s son, Henry, whom he educated in his house and considered a son. Thanks to the devotion which has built up in the centuries, Thomas was and is much loved by so many, but it is heart-breaking to think that he may not have had the experience of warm human relationships and may have meant he experienced great loneliness. But then, that may have been another reason for him to find refuge in God.

What do you think is the particular holiness of this saint?

If we had known Thomas in his time, we probably would not speak of his holiness. Those who knew him would not have considered him a Saint at all; it was his death that changed people’s view of him. But he had been growing in holiness, little by little. We could say that he was a man who, for all his public persona, was “hidden with Christ in God”, as he struggled to become a better man and a good bishop. He persisted, quietly and often painfully, giving himself to God in prayer and penance, consciously aware of his mistakes and pride.

His desire to be a good bishop came from his sense of duty; in the end, that sense of duty led him to realize that only the sacrifice of his life could bring peace. And he was prepared to offer that sacrifice. Thomas’ particular holiness was the hidden, daily struggle to be what Christ wanted him to be, and that drama was at the heart of the long journey from a man of ambition, an ordinary, decent Catholic, to a man prepared to die for Christ and the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church History

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas Sermon for 2021

But all these things we can do also draw attention to what we can’t do. The vaccine is amazing, but ultimately we can’t vaccinate our mortality away. Many people have tried to live without these limits – we have tried to overcome the limits of age and mobility, the limits of the things we can’t control, the limits which cause difficulty in our lives. We have tried to shield ourselves from how limited each of us is – we’ve done that often by our limitless use of the natural world. These are actions which have brought the planet into trauma which, despite the initial and vital agreement at COP26, it is still unclear if we can heal. At the heart of all these issues is not economics or politics. It is human sin, selfishness, it’s our desire to be in control as a human race, not in God’s control. We think we can save everything, even Christmas.

There are things we can’t conquer – people are not on an upward trajectory towards perfection. Together and as individuals we daily bear the consequences of selfishness, lack of love and unforgiveness. Look at the comments below an article in the newspapers if you want to see selfishness and unforgiveness. We see that in our own behaviours and in organisations that we just can’t find the way to act rightly. We cannot save ourselves. But God can. The gift of salvation that we see in this infant in the manger is not just offered to some people, but to all.

And that is the theme of the song of the angels. The very seams of heaven split, and with cartwheels of delight they announce the news – God has come as saviour and everyone is included.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christmas

(ITV) Archbishop of Canterbury talks of disappointment and sadness at Downing Street garden image

So what about the vaccines then? He tweeted recently that getting the booster is how you love your neighbour. Is being vaccinated a moral issue?

“I’m going to step out on thin ice here and say yes, I think it is. A lot of people won’t like that – but I think it is because it’s not about me and my rights.

“Obviously there are some who for health reasons can’t be vaccinated – but it’s not about me and my rights to choose.

“Reducing my chances of getting ill reduces my chances of infecting others. It’s very simple.”
So is it a sin – is it immoral – not to get vaccinated if you can?
“I’m not going to get lured into this because I can see this going back at me for years to come. But I would say – go and get boosted – get vaccinated. It’s how we love our neighbour”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Movies & Television, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Christmas Letter 2021

God’s favour is offered to all, not forced upon some. There is nothing we can do to earn this boundless grace of God. We can merely open ourselves humbly to receive it.

Christ breaks into this suffering, complicated, divided world, and unites all of heaven and earth in wonder at his birth. I pray we too might share the same wonder this year: for through him we have been given salvation, we who could not save ourselves. And through him we have hope, who once felt hopeless and lost. Through him we are renewed in love for one another and may ourselves be living translations of the mystery of the Trinitarian God.

Through the Christ-child we see God’s faithfulness. Through his Son, God has fulfilled his promise to us: we can trust in him and him alone.

The early church father, St Augustine, writes:

‘…let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. Through our Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Globalization

(BBC Newscast) Disappointing the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury tells Adam, Laura and Chris that he was disappointed to see a photo of Conservative activists having what looked like a party at Tory headquarters last Christmas.

Justin Welby also says leaders need to be honest, admit mistakes and stick to the rules.

And he reveals what it was like to do a jigsaw with the Queen at Sandringham.

Read it all (a little over 38 minutes).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Archbishop Justin Welby’s speech in House of Lords debate on Freedom of Speech

What is it that we are debating today in this House when we talk about freedom of speech, and why does it matter?

Free speech is not just frank speech but fitting speech; it is a necessary condition to the building of good communities. That is my essential point that I am putting in this speech – communities which are healthy enough to disagree well, and which challenge power misused. Your Lordships’ House, if I may use flattery but true flattery for a moment, is such an example. Here we are in a place which, after much tragedy and disagreement has learned that what matters is not just communication, but good communication. The House encourages a community of sharp disagreement in a shared space, where politics is done in the classic Aristotelian sense, where issues are settled which reject the classic misuses of power. Misused power is shown by killing, coercion or causing the opponent to flee. And the alternative to all those three is politics.

Politics takes it for granted that human beings are not merely declarative, but communicative, that is to say there is an absolute link between freedom of speech and a healthy community. That is why it matters so much. It is not just a free standing right, a good in and of itself, but it is the means, the only means, to the end of a just and generous society. That is surely something of which we all dream.

Having said that I will touch on three of the major threats to freedom of speech today as I see them: the fear of reprisal, the distortion of truth, and the dehumanisation of those with whom we disagree. They are great threats and as throughout our modern history we should not underestimate the fragility of our society when it comes to the enjoyment of our freedoms. They must always be defended and guarded, or they fail, and with the loss of freedom of speech goes justice and generosity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Justin Welby awards Lambeth Doctorate to Canon John Rees

The Archbishop awarded Canon Rees a Lambeth Doctorate of Civil Law last night in recognition for his erudition and distinguished service as Provincial Registrar. The award was given during a service of Evening Prayer at Lambeth Palace, in the company of Canon Rees’s family, friends and former colleagues.

For over 20 years, Canon Rees held the offices of Registrar of the Diocese of Oxford, Registrar of the Province of Canterbury and Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council. He was a founder member, treasurer and, latterly, chairman of the Ecclesiastical Law Society. The Anglican Communion has benefited from his wisdom and knowledge through, amongst other things, the Windsor Report in 2004, and his role as Convenor of the Legal Advisors’ Network which published Principles of Canon Law Applicable to the Churches of the Anglican Communion for the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

Canon Rees has advised upon, assisted and enabled the ministry of the church at every level from individuals to parishes and dioceses, national churches and international bodies, assisting the Church in the fulfilment of the call to preach the gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4. 2). Throughout this, as an ordained priest he has continued to minister in his local parish.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Windsor Report / Process

(Telegraph) Rowan Williams: technology has ‘disabled us intellectually – we’re forgetting how to learn’

When I meet Rowan Williams at the Southbank Centre in late October, there is much going on. The Church of England, of which he was once Archbishop of Canterbury, stands accused of trying to close churches to save cash; a famous bishop has converted to Rome; and Williams is waiting for his daughter to give birth (the boy, his first grandchild, will arrive a few days later).

Although he’s been lampooned for being wishy-washy, I find Williams’s language to be economical and exact, and though he is thoroughly loyal to his successors in the clerical hierarchy, buried beneath his metaphors is a cutting critique of where we’re at. “There was a loss of nerve in the 1960s,” he says of Anglicanism. “Like St Peter walking on the water”, the Church seemed to “look down at the wrong moment” and lose its footing.

Now, Williams believes, we are seeing the legacy of that “pervasive and paralysing anxiety about the role of the Church in society”. Amid “a general cultural tide flowing away” from Christianity, we have to ask: what if the Church “is no longer a given….”?

Information has become abundant, he says, yet “the process of acquiring that information” – ie scrolling through one’s phone – “has disabled us intellectually… We are increasingly forgetting how to learn. We assume that knowledge can be distilled and communicated and transferred just like that… a tick box approach which is found in clergy training.” What knowledge we inherit, we take for granted, yet “the absolutism of some modern social morality” – the idea that right and wrong are obvious – “did not drop from heaven. We learnt to see things this way.”

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), Poetry & Literature, Theology

(FWI) Archbishop urges openness to counter farmers’ mental health challenges

Farmers and those living in rural areas have been urged to seek help and open up if they are suffering feelings of isolation, emptiness or despair, accepting that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and is highly treatable.

Answering questions at the NFU’s annual Henry Plumb Lecture, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke candidly about his own experience of depression.

“I take anti-depressants. I see someone quite regularly,” he said. “For quite a long time my behaviour became so complicated that even my colleagues noticed it as being unusual.

“I made a joke of it, but depression is not a joke and is the most frequent form of mental illness, and is treatable for most people most of the time.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Guardian) ‘Rogues or idiots’: Justin Welby condemns TV portrayal of clergy

It became an instant hit with viewers for its female vicar, quirky cast of village characters and the gentle fun it poked at the Church of England.

Almost three decades after the first episode was aired, the Vicar of Dibley, starring Dawn French, is still a staple of Christmas specials and fundraising telethons. The Rev Geraldine Granger even made several broadcasts to the nation during lockdown.

But the archbishop of Canterbury has cast aspersions on Dibley’s vicar and other television clergy, saying they portrayed vicars as “rogues or idiots”, whereas in reality they are “hard-working, normal people, caring deeply about what they do”.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Justin Welby admits he was wrong to say there was a cloud over George Bell

The archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for saying there was a “significant cloud” over the name of one of the most venerated figures in the Church of England who was accused of sexual abuse.

In a move that may end a protracted and acrimonious battle within the C of E over the reputation of George Bell, a bishop of Chichester and a leading 20th-century figure, Justin Welby issued a personal statement admitting his earlier position had been wrong.

In a remarkable volte-face, Welby said a statue commemorating Bell as “one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the past century” would be erected at Canterbury Cathedral.

In 2015, 57 years after Bell’s death, the C of E paid compensation and issued a formal apology to a woman who alleged that Bell had sexually abused her when she was a child.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Personal statement from Archbishop Justin Welby on Bishop George Bell

What I say today that is new and should have been said sooner is this: I do not consider there to be a ‘significant cloud’ over Bishop George Bell’s name.

Previously I refused to retract that statement and I was wrong to do so. I took that view because of the importance we rightly place on listening to those who come forward with allegations of abuse, and the duty of care we owe to them. But we also owe a duty of care to those who are accused. I apologise for the hurt that my refusal to retract that statement has caused to Bishop Bell’s surviving relatives, colleagues and longstanding supporters. They have all raised this issue, often powerfully, and I have recognised my error as a result of their advocacy.

Bishop Bell was and remains one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the past century, committed to the peace and hope of Jesus Christ in a time of conflict and war. The debt owed to him extends far beyond the Church that he served and is one that we share as a society. I am delighted that the statue to him that was planned will be erected on the west front of Canterbury Cathedral, where he served as Dean, as soon as the extensive repair and maintenance works are complete.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York joint Presidential Address to Synod

We are walking into uncharted territory:

The uncharted territory of living with COVID-19.
The uncharted territory of climate crisis
The uncharted territory of rapidly changing cultures, and the questions those cultures pose
The uncharted territory of our own continuing numerical decline and all the challenges, not least financial, that go with it.

We don’t have a map.

There is a clue in the title. It is uncharted territory.

Our job together is to draw the map, to work out what it means to be the Church of England in and for this day and in this age.

But we do have a compass: an utterly reliable source of comfort and guidance, by the Holy Spirit, the one who has told us that he himself is the way (see John 14. 6).

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE)