Archbishop Rowan Williams Interviewed by the Telegraph

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now he hopes Mr Brown will reduce the abortion time limit. "The nation generally is getting more unhappy about the high level of abortion in this country, people are not happy about abortion as a back-stop to contraception," he says.

The Government needs to enforce strict controls on stem cell research too. "I can't come to terms with the idea of a human individual being created for a purpose," he says.

And he intends to speak out on euthanasia. "I'm against it - morally and religiously because I don't believe any of us has the liberty to determine the day of our death, and practically because almost all forms of legislation for assisted dying open the door to unjust and destructive pressures on people."

We have spent so long discussing the morality of politics that we have barely touched on the politics of the Church. Why is it so obsessed by gay priests?

"I don't think it's just an obsession with sex," he sighs. "It's about the authority of the Bible.

"Generally we're seeing a reworking of that - it's an area of real anxiety and for some people this is a step too far."

He does not know if he can stop the church breaking apart. "I hope it won't," he says. I'm working very hard to stop that happening."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury

Posted September 15, 2007 at 12:04 pm

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1. carl wrote:

“I don’t think it’s just an obsession with sex,” he sighs. “It’s about the authority of the Bible.

“Generally we’re seeing a reworking of that - it’s an area of real anxiety and for some people this is a step too far.”

Anxiety.  Why are conservative principles always cast as a manifestation of an underlying psychological problem?  It’s like being constantly exposed to a particularly obnoxious marketing campaign.  “Feeling particularly orthodox today?  Try Lithium.”


September 15, 12:28 pm | [comment link]
2. Sherri wrote:

Is it because they can’t understand why it matters so much to us?

September 15, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
3. VaAnglican wrote:

Give him a bit of credit: at least he plainly understands what the core issue is, and implicitly rejects thereby the entire revisionist line that this is all about sex or bigotry or hate (take your pick).  His framing his answer this way also suggests he doesn’t see it merely as an interpretive matter (for then the issue isn’t really authority).  No, he squarely notes this is about the authority of Scripture.  Presumably that means there are those who accept such and those who don’t (or else what’s the issue?).  I thought his answer in this respect was most encouraging.

September 15, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Sherri wrote:

I agree with you on that, VaAnglican, and I also give him full marks for his words on abortion and euthanasia. I was glad to read them.

September 15, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
5. DonGander wrote:

“...for some people this is a step too far.”

To some people all of life is a judgement call.

Consider Eve, Adam’s wife; she saw, she was pleased by its looks, it tasted good, she looked to its benefits. There is only one problem, she was less than adequate at such judgements. God knew that and thus His command not to eat.

But some continue on the path of Eve, trying to find moderation in their error. But God knows that we are unqualified, and thus His commandments, salvation, Holy Spirit, grace, and sacraments.

Congratulations to all who eschew the path of Eve. 

A step too far?

Wrong question.

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”


Please forgive my atrocious spelling.

September 15, 1:05 pm | [comment link]
6. carl wrote:

I thought his answer in this respect was most encouraging.

I found it not encouraging at all.  For he seemed to imply that movement on the authority of Scripture is inevitable, and only the pace of that movement is at issue.  By implication he suggests that some weaker members are simply too anxious to move forward at this time.  The logical response then is for the stronger members to help the weaker members through their anxiety to reach the inevitable objective.  Anxiety does not constitute a principled objection.  It constitutes a condition to be overcome.


September 15, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
7. Connecticutian wrote:

We can perhaps be overly picky about the use of idiomatic expressions and diplomatic phrasing.  We can perhaps cut the Archbishop some charitable slack, no?

September 15, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
8. the snarkster wrote:

All in all, a very unimpressive interview by an unimpressive newspaper of an unimpressive (at least so far) ABoC.

the snarkster

September 15, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
9. carl wrote:

We can perhaps be overly picky about the use of idiomatic expressions and diplomatic phrasing.  We can perhaps cut the Archbishop some charitable slack, no?

Sure.  Except for the fact that:
1.  The psychological motif occurs so often in liberal argumentation.
2.  I can find no explanation for the phrase “Generally we’re seeing a reworking of that” (i.e. the authority of the Bible.) that disagrees with my previous post.  However, I could believe the reporter edited the interview in a curious fashion, and juxtaposed the two sentences without proper context.  Otherwise…


September 15, 2:06 pm | [comment link]
10. Chris wrote:

looks like he did not get the memo that everyone leaving the church were “homophobes.”  Paging Jim Naughton….

September 15, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
11. Wilfred wrote:

Why did they interview him by telegraph?  Don’t they have telephones in England yet?

September 15, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
12. Karen B. wrote:

I wonder what planet Jim Naughton is on.  In his post of this interview at Daily Episcopalian he writes:

Rowan Williams tells the Telegraph that he believes our society is “broken,” in an interview that has nothing to do with the Anglican Communion.

Ummm.  Nothing to do with the Anglican Communion?  Did he miss the section where Rowan talks about the crisis being about the authority of Scripture?  Odd.  Maybe Naughton is trying to forget that part of the interview.

September 15, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
13. Wilfred wrote:

.-. . .—. . -. -  -.—.  .... . .-. . - .. -.-. ...

September 15, 10:18 pm | [comment link]
14. Alice Linsley wrote:

Jim spins and no one wins.

September 15, 10:46 pm | [comment link]

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