03 April 2010

Lack of Tact: A Maladroit Homily

Image: BBC

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4, made several very tactless comments about the Catholic church. Williams claims the church in Ireland has lost "all credibility". These remarks will likely cause strains in the relations between Catholics and Anglicans, a relationship which has historically always been strained in Ireland, and at a time when all Christians should be united in worship and preparation for Easter, the holiest day on the church calendar.

These comments are demoralising to Catholics and are neither needed nor constructive as the church works hard to resolve issues of abuse. The last thing the Irish church needs is for Williams to pour salt on the wounds that the Catholic church is trying to heal. The remarks are especially offensive given that Williams has no jurisdiction in Ireland and no ties to the Catholic church. His remarks come off as political and ad hominem as he makes unwelcome comments about affairs that do not pertain to him. If anything, the Archbishop should be offering his support to the Catholic church in its endeavours to repair what scandal and abuse have harmed.

I am personally shocked by the complete lack of diplomacy on his part. Perhaps Williams should learn from the words of Christ who said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The Anglican church has crises of its own to handle as the church remains divided between liberal and conservative. Anglicans are leaving the church in droves as people are becoming fed up with it all. Among the issues Williams must face is the scheduled consecration of a second openly homosexual bishop in Los Angeles.

The Archbishop of Canterbury adds insult to injury as he fails to keep checks on his offensive comments by making less-than-Christian remarks about Anglicans who are converting to Catholicism: "God bless them, I don't". Williams's handling of Anglo-Catholic relations is a stark contrast to the handling of former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie as exemplified by the last papal visit to England in 1982.

In this time of great struggle for the Anglican and Catholic communities, I will pray for Archbishop Williams; that his destructive policies (such as advocating Muslim law in Britain) will not do great harm to the religious community of Britain and the world.

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