From the Guardian: Sentamu stands the Pope a beer

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When meeting the Pope it is customary to offer him a gift, and Benedict XVI has amassed many tokens of esteem. Tony Blair gave him a painting of the Catholic convert Cardinal Newman and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah presented him with a jewelled scimitar.

When the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, met the pontiff he gave him the Holy Grail, a beer brewed in Masham, North Yorkshire.

It was the highlight of the archbishop's first trip to Rome to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and to cement cordial relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

28 Comments
Posted January 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Watcher On The Wall wrote:

Did he bring pretzels & peanuts too?

January 30, 6:03 pm | [comment link]
2. Jon wrote:

It was actually quite encouraging to hear how highly Benedict thinks of our ABC.  That was nice to hear.  I like Benedict.

It’s a bit discouraging to hear Sentamu make comments like

If the church concentrates on doctrine we will be in the minority. If Jesus were around he’d say to the church, ‘Look after the poor.’

  When he does that he sounds like KJS.

I’d love it if reporters would vigorously follow up statements like these for further explanation, regardless of who says them.  People should not get a free pass here.  The reporter should ask: “So are you saying that it should be fine if many bishops for example were to deny the traditional creeds, as long as the church was collectively agreed on looking after the poor?”  If he says that this is not what he meant, then he should be asked what he DID mean.

And of course the spin about how the Anglican Communion is doing JUST fine and we are all happy as a clam… no disagreements here! That was just embarrassing.  I mean find some way to spin the crisis so it doesn’t sound like you are treating the Vatican like they are complete idiots with no access to news besides you.

January 30, 6:54 pm | [comment link]
3. MikeS wrote:

And I seem to notice, on a quick read,  that it is the Anglican Bishop’s chaplain who is speaking about how much the Vatican loves Rowan and the Anglican Communion, not the Vatican or the Pope.

Nothing like thinking and speaking for other people so they don’t have to I guess.

January 30, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
4. MikeS wrote:

Correction, it was +Sentamu who said that, not his chaplain.  His chaplain merely pronounced the Anglican Communion healthy with no long-term concerns.

January 30, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
5. archangelica wrote:

Finally a gift the Pope can use! I’ll bet THAT won’t end up in the Vatican museums. However, the overly mirthful spin on Anglican difficulties was pure posturing. Real friendship and meaningful dialogue require truth; even when it is uncomfortable. Duplicity and intimacy do not coexist. On a more positive note, my heart was warmed to read about the three hour lunch. Good Lord deliver us.

January 30, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
6. John Wilkins wrote:

Mr Stamper,

If the church only held the creeds and did not look after the poor, its interest in Jesus would be theoretical, dewey-eyed, an interesting intellectual exercise, nothing more than an oath. 

If Christianity makes a difference, it is more than just a verbal assent to an idea.  It must be a life, a life worth living.  A life worth sharing. 

That is, if Christianity means acting. 

Sentamu has a great sense of humor…

January 30, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
7. Words Matter wrote:

Franziskaner Weissbier might have been a better choice.  cheese

January 30, 8:42 pm | [comment link]
8. Jeffersonian wrote:

Talk about your eucharistic innovations!

January 30, 10:52 pm | [comment link]
9. trooper wrote:

Jeffersonian, you seem like a likable, hip, diversity with respect sort of person, so I’d just like to announce how offensive I found your last post.

January 31, 2:40 am | [comment link]
10. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

ditto 9

January 31, 3:37 am | [comment link]
11. Stefano wrote:

I’ve seen the pictures before and I don’t find them offensive. Given that the Pope is from,  the joke works. You do understand humour don’t you?

” ...and also much cattle.”

January 31, 10:08 am | [comment link]
12. Jon wrote:

#6….  hi John.  I am unsure what you could be trying to say.  Are you under the impression that I was saying that the church should NOT care for the poor?  Or that it is unimportant whether the church cares for the poor?  What a very strange thing that would be for me to say, given the clear testimony of many OT and NT writers, along with the witness of so many great saints and doctors of the church over the last 2000 years.

The concern in my original post, and this is what bothers a number of people at T19 besides me, is when a person (especially a bishop) makes a claim that suggests that sincere attempts to alleviate physical poverty are ALL that matter; and that concerns about fundamental doctrine are NOT important and that Jesus wants us to stop talking about them.

That’s why I suggested that a good reporter would have followed up and asked Sentamu exactly what he meant.  Few reporters have any strong understanding of or interest in Christianity, so they don’t.

It’s interesting that most of the Christians historically who have done the most for the poor or oppressed have viewed fundamental doctrine as immensely important.  St. Francis (on the Catholic end) and Wilberforce (on the evangelical end) are two good examples.  They would have regarded their ministrations to the afflicted as springing forth from powerful core doctrinal beliefs about God, the person of Jesus, the Cross, the authority of Scripture, and so on.  So both things are absolutely important, but the (core) doctrines come first and then the concern for the poor or downtrodden flows out of that.

January 31, 11:39 am | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

My wife and I laughed at the pictures, then stopped. looked at each other, and said “Yes, they are defnately offensive.” 

Jim E. <><

January 31, 3:32 pm | [comment link]
14. Ouroboros wrote:

One of the things I love about Christianity is the ability to have some humor regarding our faith.  I don’t find the pictures offensive.  While I can’t claim to have a “hotline” to God here, I do sometimes ask myself whether I think Jesus would chuckle at a faith-related joke or whether He would be upset.  I can see him chuckling at the picture.  I can also see him chuckling about the oft-repeated Anglo-Catholic joke that it takes less faith to believe that the bread becomes the Body of Christ, than it does to believe that the little styrofoamy wafer is really bread!

These things are far from the blasphemous humor of South Park or “Dogma.”  Our ability to laugh a little and joke a little about things in our religion is what makes us different than the Muslims, who seem to regard every cartoon or joke as cause for murderous rage.

January 31, 5:00 pm | [comment link]
15. James G wrote:

I found the pretzel and beer pictures hilarious.  Then again, to the amusement of all, the wife of my youth did joke that for our wedding we should have had nachos and tequila shots given my Hispanic heritage.  No need to get so bent out of shape, we Catholics can take a joke.  I think technically a pretzel might qualify as valid matter and of course, the order should have been reversed with the pretzel elevated first.

January 31, 6:10 pm | [comment link]
16. libraryjim wrote:

Well, like Ouroboros said, at least you don’t see Catholics rioting in the streets calling for the death of whoever Photoshopped the pics.  grin

We can find them offensive, but not get truly offended.

January 31, 6:13 pm | [comment link]
17. James G wrote:

I’ll use this alcohol and church related thread to pose a question to all you Protestants.  Why is there never any booze at your church dinners?  If us Catholics went to the church spaghetti dinner or fish fry and there was no wine or beer (respectively) for sale there would be a riot.  Not only are you missing out on an excellent source of revenue but alcohol (in moderation) is one of the God-given joys of life.  And Jesus would definitely agree with me.

January 31, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
18. Ouroboros wrote:

James, we have plenty of booze, leastways at all the church functions I’ve seen.  Anti-booze-ness in my experience seems to be limited to the Baptists and non-denoms.  Episcopalians and Lutherans at the very least have been known to have sherry and wine, and beer, respectively, at their functions.

January 31, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
19. Jon wrote:

#17… hi James.  I think you are probably talking to a subset of Protestants.  Most of T19’s readers are US Anglicans, and the Anglican church in the US for a long time was called PECUSA or the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA.  The Anglican church in England for the first couple centuries was decidedly Protestant in its theology and identity.

My guess is that when you say “protestant” you have in mind “Southern Baptist.”  I remember being very surprised when I discovered that some Christians were completely opposed to the drinking of any alcohol.  But alcohol has been a part of all Anglican parishes, those with a very Protestant feel as well as those with an Anglo-Catholic feel, for centuries.

January 31, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
20. James G wrote:

Every Episcopalian or Anglican church dinner I’ve been to have been noticeably dry.  And I’m talking about different parishes from CA to NC.  However, at the same people’s homes the alcohol flow is prodigious.  It seems that the home life and the church social life are not congruous.  Believe me, I am well aware that Episcopalians can drink.

January 31, 6:40 pm | [comment link]
21. libraryjim wrote:

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”
—Ben Franklin

Protestants don’t recognize the Pope;
Catholics don’t recognize Anglican orders;
and Baptists don’t recognize each other in the liquor store.
—Anon.

January 31, 6:41 pm | [comment link]
22. libraryjim wrote:

oops, forgot:
“Where four Episcopalians are gathered, you will always find a fifth.”
—anon. (again)

January 31, 6:42 pm | [comment link]
23. James G wrote:

Since according to y’all it seems to just be the various Anglican parishes I’ve been to that are bereft of alcohol, please send directions to your next church dinner along with a list of designated drivers.  If the alcohol at your church is anything near the quality of that at the Anglican homes I’ve been to then a good time should be had by all!

January 31, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
24. the roman wrote:

Have to admit pretty funny pictures. I remember when JPII was elected the jibe was that we’d now have our choice at Communion between the Host and sausage. Ba-dum-dum. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. And of course there’s the overlyworn “Whiskey-palions” of which I’ve only heard Episcopalions use. I think it’s ok to laugh as long as we are not mean-spirited about it. If I’m wrong there’s always Reconciliation on Saturday.

January 31, 7:13 pm | [comment link]
25. Words Matter wrote:

At my last Episcopal parish, we didn’t bring alcohol to our parish-wide functions out of respect for a couple of our members who were recovering alcoholics. Smaller groups would certainly imbide if those folks were not part of that group. 

I’ve seldom seen beer or wine at my Catholic parish, but I don’t go to a lot of social functions, so that’s not a good measure. We don’t have alcohol at our Lenten Fish Fries, but that’s probably because the kids host it.

January 31, 7:54 pm | [comment link]
26. archangelica wrote:

At my Episcopal parish (reappraiser) we have champaigne for very festive occasions i.e. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and when the bishop comes. At all other potlucks there is always a red and a white wine. Of course we provide lots of fancy juices, teas and sodas for the children/youth and those that don’t drink alcohol.

January 31, 8:44 pm | [comment link]
27. libraryjim wrote:

At the Panama City Episcopal parish I attended, the priest was a recovering alcoholic so apart from Communion wine, no alcoholic beverages were allowed on Church property (and by the way, the communion wine chosen was the worst tasting EVER, so that even he wouldn’t be tempted by it. grin  )  At our wedding reception 23 years ago, the then rector, who wasn’t a recovering alcoholic, still had a ‘dry parish’ policy in place, and so we didn’t even have a champaign toast.  I didn’t mind, but my mom disliked it very much.

At the Anglican parish I now attend, most social functions have a choice of white and red wines and non-alcoholic punch and ice water.

February 1, 12:13 pm | [comment link]
28. TiffanyG44 wrote:

I don’t think that it is too nice to give a beer to the pope. There are many other more successful presents to give him. He is not drinking I guess. However if you want to give an alcohol as a present to the pope, better give him the bottle of nice quality wine. Wine is more religious than beer is. For example a bottle of nice 70’s Petite Sirah. I think he would like it more than a bottle of beer. However it is only my own opinion. Thanks for the interesting article by the way.

June 27, 5:01 pm | [comment link]
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