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Posts Tagged ‘Dr Rowan Williams

Today’s Catholic must-reads

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A Vatican economist has claimed that the true cause of the recession is the West’s falling birth rate.

Anglo-Catholic Bishop Edwin Barnes accuses the Archbishop of Canterbury of making it impossible for Anglican traditionalists to remain in the Church of England.

The informal ecumenical symposium at the Vatican will end today, reports Vatican Radio.

The Archdiocese of Boston has raised $15 million in an appeal, matching last year’s total.

A Catholic priest has lost six relatives in a terrorist attack in Pakistan.

The bishops of Sri Lanka are appealing for a code of conduct for the country’s politicians.

Catholics are being urged to get to grips with the new English translation of the Mass even before it is introduced.

Australia’s bishops have launched an online companion to Lent.

John Allen explains why everyone is so enthusiastic about Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the papabile president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

The Anchoress is thrilled by yesterday’s Oprah Winfrey show segment on the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

Deborah Morlani ponders the role of mothers in liturgical reform.

Mark Davoren OP celebrates the remarkable life of Fr Cormac Rigby, former BBC Radio 3 presenter.

Fr James Martin SJ addresses “papalotry” among American Catholic intellectuals.

And Fr Z recommends that liberal Catholics ask Dr Rowan Williams for a “Spirit of Vatican II Ordinariate“.

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Morning Catholic must-reads

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Rocco Palmo applauds the appointment of a woman, Dr Flaminia Giovanelli, to a high-ranking post in the Roman Curia.

Pope Benedict XVI gave the traditional blessing of lambs on the feast of St Agnes yesterday (video here).

Cardinal Bertone will remain in his post as Vatican Secretary of State even though he has reached the age of retirement.

Giles Pinnock reports on the funeral Mass of Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, speaks to Vatican Radio about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (audio).

The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, has described the Equality Bill as “irrational and ignorant”.

As many as 30 seminarians were killed in the Haiti earthquake, Zenit reports.

Fr David Jaeger gives an insight into the delicate state of relations between Israel and the Holy See.

William Saletan uncovers the practice of sex-selection abortion in the United States.

The Mirror of Justice has begun its discussion of John Allen’s important new book The Future Church.

And American bishop who is due for retirement has earned the ultimate accolade: he has become a bobblehead.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Photo: Benedict XVI is seen during his visit to Rome’s synagogue yesterday (AP Photo/ Osservatore Romano, Ho)

This is what Pope Benedict XVI said during his visit to Rome’s Great Synagogue yesterday. John Allen provides analysis, while the New York Times asks whether Pius XII was a saint.

Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), has released details of his correspondence with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concerning Anglicanorum coetibus, and says the TAC will respond formally to the Pope’s offer at Eastertide.

Meanwhile, America magazine has named the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the winner of its Campion Award.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has issued a qualified apology to Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar-Duvno following his controversial visit to Medjugorje.

The New York Times reports on yesterday’s Mass outside Port-au-Prince’s ruined cathedral. Meanwhile, Richard Dawkins doesn’t want believers to get the credit for helping Haitians following the devastating earthquake.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray has finally left hospital after breaking his hip in the Midnight Mass incident in St Peter’s Basilica.

Peter Steinfels pays tribute to the late theologian Edward Schillebeeckx.

Charlotte Allen argues that, following the deaths of Schillebeeckx and Mary Daly, the flame of Catholic dissent is dying out.

The University of Notre Dame is once again at the centre of controversy after its student-run newspaper published an anti-gay cartoon.

Michael Sean-Winters challenges Archbishop Raymond Burke’s assessment of America (the archbishop’s full homily is here).

Pastor in Valle says Pope Benedict has transformed Rome.

You can find out what the Pope is doing for the next three months here.

And Fr Dwight Longenecker explains why Catholic churches should be tall.

The Pope’s offer to Anglicans: eccentric or inspired?

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Fr John Hunwicke SSC, a thoughtful commentator on Anglo-Catholic affairs, wonders whether the theology of Anglicanorum coetibus is in fact eccentric:

Archbishop Rowan didn’t – despite the claims of his critics – call the ecclesiology of Anglicanorum Coetibus eccentric. He suggested that there are others who might say it…

His Grace has a point. The ecclesiology of AC does diverge from the norms to which we are accustomed and which he himself has lucidly expounded: that a “local church” is not a denomination or a province but bishop-and-presbytery-and-diaconate-and laos. Perhaps his words indicate that he is going to make one last herculean effort to secure just such an uneccentric provision for us from General Synod. If he is, all power to his elbow…

Where Rowan fails is in not taking account of some aspects of the exercise of Primacy. This was well set out in The Gift of Authority (ARCIC 1999). “We envisage a primacy that will even now help to uphold the legitimate diversity of traditions, strengthening and safeguarding them in fidelity to the Gospel … This sort of primacy will already assist the Church on earth to be the authentic catholic Koinonia in which unity does not curtail diversity … Such a universal primate … will promote the common good in ways that are not constrained by sectional interests …”

It is the ministry of the Roman Church to uphold diversity. Roman Pontiffs have not always done that as robustly as they should; in North America they once were less forthright than they ought to have been in defending the patrimony of Eastern Catholic communities – or even the Poles – against local Irish and German diocesan bishops.

But this pope, as far as one can see, has got a well screwed on head.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Rowan Williams: Pope’s offer to Anglicans is ‘no solution’

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The Archbishop of Canterbury gives a provocative interview to George Pitcher of the Daily Telegraph.

Dr Williams declines to be drawn on whether, when he saw him in Rome recently, the Pope was regretful or sorry for effectively jumping him – “private conversation, I think” – but he does concede that the hastily convened press conference, at which he sat uncomfortably alongside the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, was a big mistake.

“I think everyone on the platform was a bit uncomfortable … I know the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the whole doesn’t go in for much consultation – we were just on the receiving end of that.”

Really? Isn’t there something rather acquisitive and invasive about this Pope, who wants us to know that there is one universal voice of authority and it speaks from Rome? Dr Williams suddenly opens up: “Nothing entirely new about that of course. At the end of John Paul II’s pontificate you have that discussion of how papal authority is meant to be understood, how it might be received by others. I think that’s treading water at the moment. I’d like to see that revived and that’s part of what I was nudging at in Rome.

“Second thing is that in British Catholicism there’s a kind of resurgent – no – recurrent cycle of the ‘second spring’, in Cardinal Newman’s imagery, and in the wave of distinguished converts in the interwar years, Evelyn Waugh and so on. There was just a hint of it when Cardinal Hume uncharacteristically talked about the reconversion of England – and I think he regretted that actually. And a few people in the last round. It’s a pattern, the sense that the Reformation wounds are going to be healed in favour of Rome. And it just keeps coming back – I think this has been the occasion for another little bit of that. It’s bits of the repertoire.”

The languid manner in which he delivers this leaves no doubt that he’s not holding his breath for a Roman second spring either. I wonder whether the Pope has, unwittingly and ironically, provided the kind of “third province” that Anglo-Catholics were demanding because they can’t accept women bishops, lesbian or otherwise. The Revision Committee for women bishops, after all, dropped proposals for legal protection for them in the wake of the Pope’s initiative.

“I would guess that the papal announcement had some impact on the way some people thought and voted on the committee,” concedes Dr Williams. “But actually I don’t think it is a solution. A great many Anglo-Catholics have good reason for not being Roman Catholics. They don’t believe the Pope is infallible. And that’s why they’re still pressing for a solution in Anglican terms, rather than what many of them see as a theologically rather eccentric option on the Roman side.”

Written by Luke Coppen

December 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Mixed reactions to Dr Williams’s Rome speech

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivered an impassioned, far-reaching and controversial speech in Rome yesterday on the future of Anglican-Catholic relations. Not surprisingly, it’s generated a great deal of equally impassioned comment. Here’s a selection:

Carl Olson of Ignatius Insight:

Dr Williams seems to be concerned more about arranging deck chairs than dealing with the massive holes in the hull of the Anglican ship. And that, of course, is his business. It’s understandable he might be feeling a bit concerned about the shaking and splintering of the ship beneath him. But why does he think the Catholic Church would ever consider climbing aboard to accept his sad offer of weak tea and stale cookies?

“Spirit of Vatican II”, an anonymous writer who left a comment on the Thinking Anglicans blog:

Rowan Williams’ speech is a glorious statement – majestically mature theology that shows up the pettiness of curial obsessions, without using a single ungracious word. At long last Anglicanism has given its reply to years of petty carping from the Vatican. The reply is just common sense at one level: ‘Cannot we agree to disagree fraternally about minor matters?’ On another level it reflects the full tide of ecumenical dialogue over the last century and the mind of one steeped in New Testament ideals and praxis of koinonia.

Is anyone in the Vatican, even Cardinal Kasper, capable of responding to this with equal breadth and wholeness of vision?

Fr Dwight Longenecker, author of the Standing on My Head blog:

What is really revealed is the depth of his blindness about the real situation between the churches. Can it be that even now he is defending women’s ordination and therefore women’s elevation to the episcopate? He may defend it in his own backyard, but is it possible that he really thinks the Catholic church has not decided on this? Does he honestly think the Pope is going to say, ‘Errm. I guess we flubbed on that one. For you guys it is obviously working really well. I mean your church is going from glory to glory. Is it too late to jump on the bandwagon?’

Blogger and Anglican Bishop Alan Wilson:

Rowan Williams’ lecture in Rome marks an interesting reframing of ecumenical futures. There is, of course, the conventional RC model. The Church achieves the Unity for which Jesus prayed when every Christian in the world submits to it as a Divinely sanctioned Imperium. Or try the Protestant version. Structural and organisational convergence will somehow produce a complex multiplanar hybrid. Everyone trades in their old but coherent structural and accountability models to the shining new one. Unity remains a future goal, and we all have to make it happen.

Blogger and ex-Anglican Fr Jeffrey Steel:

What stands out to me as most frustrating is that this speech seems to want to dismiss with the wave of the hand something that Rowan and Anglican ecclesiology (if there is such a definable thing!) often forgets, which is that what he/Anglicans sees as ‘secondary’ issues cannot within Catholic theology as a whole be disregarded as secondary.

The blogger Anglican Samizdat:

Where has Rowan been for the last three years? The Anglican communion is proof that the church can’t stay together once internal differences become as stark as they are now. I understand that once Rowan has convinced the Pope of the benefits of women bishops he will be travelling to Saudi Arabia to plead the case for women imams.

Andrew Brown of the Guardian:

The nearest I could get to his message to the pope is ‘Forgive us our women, as we forgive those who trespass against us’ but that can’t be right. For one thing the church of Rome is not about to forgive women priests.

Orthodox Christian blogger Ad Orientum:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has effectively told Pope Benedict XVI where to put his proposed Anglican Ordinariate… I am going to take an educated guess that this is not going to go over well in the Vatican. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when he meets the Pope in private.

Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid:

In related news, a junior-high science teacher in Dismal Seepage, Illinois, is urging the dean of the MIT science department to change his mind about the law of gravity.

Tom Heneghan of Reuters:

His argument seemed unlikely to convince the Vatican, which sees the disarray among Anglicans as proof that churches need clear doctrines and firm leadership.

You can watch part of Dr Williams’s speech here and read the full text here.
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Written by Luke Coppen

November 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

Rowan Williams: ‘The ecumenical glass is half-full’

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has just delivered a major speech on Anglican-Catholic relations in Rome. The full text is up on the archbishop’s website.

Here’s the conclusion:

All I have been attempting to say here is that the ecumenical glass is genuinely half-full – and then to ask about the character of the unfinished business between us. For many of us who are not Roman Catholics, the question we want to put, in a grateful and fraternal spirit, is whether this unfinished business is as fundamentally church-dividing as our Roman Catholic friends generally assume and maintain. And if it isn’t, can we all allow ourselves to be challenged to address the outstanding issues with the same methodological assumptions and the same overall spiritual and sacramental vision that has brought us thus far?

Dr Williams’s website provides the context: “The Archbishop of Canterbury is today giving an address in Rome, as the guest of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The address is part of a symposium being held at the Gregorian University, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Willebrands, the first president of the Council.”

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Written by Luke Coppen

November 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm