ABC speech: comments, news, tweets

A round up of comments, blogs, tweets, and news reports on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech to the General Synod of the Church of England:

Stephen Bates, in The Guardian writes:

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, attempted today to bind together the warring factions of the Church of England by appealing for both conservatives and liberals to show mutual tolerance and understanding over issues of gay equality and women bishops.

He also placed the church firmly against any liberalisation of the law on assisted dying, describing the granting of a right to die as a moral mistake and an upsetting of the balance of freedoms.

However, his warning to Anglicans not to demonise opponents was immediately undermined by a pugnacious statement by the archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, who, with immaculate timing, insisted on his church’s support for homophobic legislation under consideration by the Ugandan parliament. (see here)

Dave Walker is blogging the Synod.

Tobias Haller at In A Godward Direction:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed the General Synod with an unusually measured tone and content. Finally he appears to recognize that some of his comments have caused more pain, and served less well, than he imagined or intended.

Still, I find the whole process of thought concerning how we are to get along as a Communion to remain more or less one-sided, though in this speech the Archbishop does his best to even the scales, and put some responsibility on the other side. However, on the whole, restraint is still in general posed as restraint from action rather than restraint from reaction. It becomes a form of, “Please don’t do what the rest of us, or most of the rest of us, don’t like; or even, in the long run, what a few of us cannot bear.”

Some comments from Twitter #synod

RuthieGledhill: ++Rowan #synod: Restraint ’empty’ if it refuses to engage with those accepting restraint for sake of fellowship. Is this a go at Glasspool?

simonbarrow: Much in ++Rowan’s speech is excellent, but IMO he has misconstrued the Equality Bill & drawn a misleading equivalence on sexuality issues.

davidlrattigan ‘…sacrificial & exemplary priests who share this orientation.’ & share their lives (& beds) with their partners, ++Rowan. #synod

RuthieGledhill: Archbishop Rowan ‘profoundly sorry’ to exemplary, sacrificial gay priests.

churchtimesblog: [Insignificant #synod aside: Press pass lanyards are made from bath plug chains. Bit cold on the neck.]

Ruth Gledhill writes in The Times on the apology and her predictions that ABC is opposed to the current form of the legislation appointing women as bishops. Videos of various key players.

The Independent, UK focussed on his comments on assisted suicide and apology to gays and lesbians:

The Archbishop of Canterbury warned today against any attempt to relax the laws governing assisted suicide and called on the Government to resist making it easier for terminally ill Britons to help each other die. In his first public comments on the assisted suicide debate for more than six months, Rowan Williams cautioned that changing the law to allow some forms of assisted suicide would legalise “what feels like public impatience with protracted dying and ‘unproductive’ lives.” Doing so, he said, would be a “moral mistake” which the Church would continue to “argue fiercely” against. His comments come just weeks before the Director of Public Prosecutions is expected to publish new guidelines stating whether someone could avoid prosecution if they have helped someone die.

In the same speech – given to the General Synod which is meeting in London this week – the Anglican leader also appeared to offer an apology to gay and lesbian worshippers for “ignoring their human realities”.

BBC focuses on the ABC’s apology to LGBT persons with a video clip of the speech:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has opened the General Synod with a speech calling for an end to infighting over the ordination of gay clergy in the United States and women bishops in England. During his speech Dr Williams apologised for appearing to undervalue the contribution of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people) to the Anglican Church in the UK.


In a speech aimed at calming the warring factions within the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury apologised to gay people for the way they had been vilified and overlooked – but then said that unelected bishops in parliament were right to oppose equality legislation requiring the church not to discriminate against them.

In his presidential address to the General Synod of the Church of England – the Established church’s governing body, meeting in London this week – Dr Rowan Williams made strong and carefully argued appeals for those who disagreed about issues ranging from the ministry of gay people to women bishops to listen, respect and seek to learn from one another.

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