Saturday, June 25, 2005

Talk to us, Archbishop :: The Times

The U.S. could stand a religion reporter who writes with the clarity of Ruth Gledhill (my emphasis):
June 21, 2005
by Ruth Gledhill

In a speech last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded the media of its responsibility for "good conversation and communication". Ruth Gledhill says his own inability - or unwillingness - to communicate is hindering the Church's efforts to solve its current problems. Read her comments and send us your views - using the e-mail form at the bottom of this article.

"Are you very angry with me?" asked the Archbishop of Canterbury after his lecture on the media at Lambeth Palace last week.

"Of course not Archbishop. But are you angry with me?" I replied.

I've been in a bit of bother with the Church hierarchy over my interpretation of a report on church finance.

The report stated: "The Church faces the difficulty that whilst it needs to make new investment in its mission development, many parishes cannot afford their current ministry." I interpreted this as "Church in cash crisis".

Not fair, according to the bishops. "There is no crisis," they cried from their grand houses, with expense accounts, chauffeurs, gardeners, secretaries and the rest. Are you kidding, your lordships? Have any of you actually been to a service in a country parish with six members, faced with an increased quota to fund clergy pensions?

Maybe the bishops would have been happier if we'd asked Rowan Williams to write the story for us. Then no one at all would have understood what is happening in the Church today.
. . . .
The fact is journalists do care. They care that the Archbishop's voice is too rarely heard in the House of Lords. They care that his writing is needlessly opaque, whether this is because he has the natural allusiveness of a poet or he is hiding behind language for fear of directness.
Here are some of the emails she received:
I had hoped this Archbishop of Canterbury would continue to bring the church forward. Unfortunately, he has been bogged down by the rantings of the Archbishops of the Southern Cone and Africa. Quite frankly, I think he should thump his crozier and say he's had enough. If they want their own church so be it. See how well they survive without the financial help of the Episcopal Church in America, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Church of England.
. . .
My fundamental frustration with the Archbishop is that he steers away from giving moral guidance relevant to business environments which constantly pose ethical dilemmas. An Archbishop in touch with business and social issues, devoted to driving forward the moral health of this country would genuinely make a difference.
. . . .
Rowan Williams is a good and decent man, but has succumbed to the malaise of the Church of England - of not wanting to offend anyone. The church wants to have things all ways - to be seen as controversial and modern, while not challenging any standpoint, no matter how unrerasonable.
. . . .
Williams is simply too intelligent and thoughtful, too profound and interesting to be Archbishop - we need a useful idiot, because no one else will be listened to.
There's still time to add your own email thoughts.

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