Cambridge's The Tab Interviews former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

On the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, do you consider your own views and those of the church as being out of touch with the views of your students at Cambridge, and do you think that’s a problem?

I think it is quite a problem. This is the one area where there is the deepest sense of the church being out of step with what the rest of the culture take for granted. I think it’s quite difficult for some people outside of the church to recognise that there is something in the matter of several thousand years of assumption, reflection and ethical practice here which isn’t likely to be overturned in a moment. But, all that being said, I think the church has to put its hands up and say our attitude towards gay people has at times been appallingly violent. Even now it can be unconsciously patronising and demeaning, and that really doesn’t help. We have to face the fact that we’ve deeply failed a lot of gay and lesbian people, not only historically but more recently as well. I think that there is a very strong, again theological, case for thinking again about our attitudes towards homosexuality: but I’m a bit hesitant about whether marriage is the right category to talk about same sex relation, and I think there is a debate we haven’t quite had about that. But in a sense that’s water under the bridge, the decision has been taken, things move on. Looking back over my time as Archbishop I think that’s what most people will remember about the last ten years: ”˜oh, he was that bloke who was so bogged down in issues about sexuality’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

5 comments on “Cambridge's The Tab Interviews former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

  1. David Keller says:

    Gosh, we all know the Church should never be out of touch with what the culture takes for granted.

  2. Catholic Mom says:

    He still doesn’t actually know what he really thinks. This is not “who am I to judge?” This is “on the one hand…but on the other hand…but on the third hand…well, it’s all water under the bridge so I guess I can stop thinking about it now. Anyway, it’s not my problem anymore.” Can you even lead a Boy Scout troop like this?

  3. Militaris Artifex says:

    [b]Catholic Mom[/b],
    In reply to your question: [blockquote]Can you even lead a Boy Scout troop like this?[/blockquote]
    The answer is a definite affirmative, [b]if, and only if[/b], [i]mislead[/i] is among the valid forms of the verb [b]lead[/b].

    [i]Pax et bonum[/i],
    Keith Töpfer

  4. off2 says:

    I can’t help wondering if the Rt Hon & Most Rev RW really believes in sin. Or that the practice thereof can lead to damnation.

    If my son or daughter were dealing with this problem, I would be communicating and praying, consoling and cajoling, not worrying about whether or not I were being “unconsciously patronising and demeaning.”

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    How like Justin Welby Rowan Willams sounds. Or is it the other way around?