Rowan turns rough

Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times has a column on the Comment is Free section of the Guardian’s website describing the advent of the “new” Rowan Williams:

[A]ll his moves are designed to hold the Church together. When it comes to a clash between unity and truth, from the evidence of his actions, Rowan will always prod and poke at the truth bit to see if it crumbles a little. Unity is pretty much sacrocanct, and becoming more so as the years roll on. In the past, he treated his flock more or less as adults. If they really wanted to squabble or flounce off, it really wasn’t his job to try to stop them. Lately, though, it looks as if there has been a change of heart, and the don is beginning to look a bit more like a headteacher.

The message — “Be nice, children” — isn’t particularly radical, and is accompanied by various suggestions for compromise; but at least the suggestions are there. The problem, of course, is that the message is universally applied. This might seem scrupulously fair, but because the conservatives and the traditionalists are the ones threatening to walk, they have been the focus of Rowan’s attention. We have seen the pressure put on the liberals to comply with conservative practice and ideals. Where is the pressure on the conservatives to accept the liberals?

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