29 November 2009

So What? Mitres and Rabbits

I think I've said most of what I want to, now, on Archbishop Williams' Roman Lecture. Although I might return to it if I feel I have radically new illumination from correspondents (but I would prefer comments only from those who have actually read the lecture at least once).

I have dwelt upon it for obvious reasons: this is a crisis point in ecumenism, and a lecture by the Archbishop of Canterbury - and by the first Archbishop for some time who can read and write - must be a significant document. What an able man in such a position says at such a juncture in such a place is not just any old chat.

But I am left mystified. With the best will in the world (and I did not, as did not a few of Rowan's critics ... the Usual Suspects ..., read it with the intention of cobbling together a case for dismissing it as rubbish), I am having trouble construing its intent. It occurred to me that he has given up on Catholics - both on Rome and on Catholics within his own Church - and has decided to chuck it as far as that end of the spectrum is concerned and build up support elsewhere. But, quite simply, I don't think he is that sort of person. And even if he were, this would be a very strange sort of way of going about it. The feminists do not want to be told that we are still within a process of Reception. The judgement that women's ordination is not first-order, and the idea that we can fudge things a bit by myopically pretending that on a broad enough canvas we can't quite see the women priests, will not appeal to those who, having conscientiously thought these things through, believe that the ordination of women is required by first-order theological imperatives.

As far as I can see, all that is left is the likelihood that Archbishop Rowan, if I may richly mix my metaphors, has painted himself into a corner and has suddenly found himself bankrupt. At this juncture, he needed to pull several rabbits simultaneously out of his hat; but he found that, despite all his conceptual versatility and verbal dexterity, his mitre was a rabbit-free zone.

1 comment:

Col. Hugo Thrumpington-Mange said...

Forget "rabbits out of mitres" have a look at this for dogs and crosiers!!! http://badvestments.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-much-is-that-doggie-on-my-crozier.html