No. 6277

November 17, 2006 £1 (Republic of Ireland €1.50)

Anglicans could ‘think again’ on women priests, says Williams

On the eve of his visit to the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury reiterates his support for female ordination –but does not rule out long-term change and reveals that his views have been ‘tested’ by events. Freddy Gray reports

T HE A NGLICAN Communion may one day reconsider the ordination of women priests if presented with a convincing theological reason for doing so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said. In an exclusive interview with The Catholic Herald just days before his first formal audience with Pope Benedict XVI, Dr Rowan Williams said that “practically” there could be no going back on the decision to ordain women, but he “could just about envisage a situation in which, over a very long period, the Anglican Church thought about it again”. Hesaid he had never expected that the issue would become the “touchstone” of conflict between the two Communions and added that he still believed the Church of England had been right to create women priests. But he also admitted that his conviction had been “tested” by the difficulties caused by female ordinations. “Had we known how difficult it would be, would it have stopped us?” said the archbishop. “I suspect not. And that sounds a bit blunt, but I think there is sufficient depth of theological conviction in the Church of England to feel that it would be wrong and no real compliment to the Roman Catholic Church if we held back and said: ‘Well, you know, we won’t hurt your feelings’.” Dr Williams conceded that the ordination of women had failed to bring about the sensational revival in the fortunes of the Church of England that many of

its proponents had predicted. He said: “I don’t think it has transformed or renewed the Church of England in spectacular ways. “Equally, I don’t think it has corrupted or ruined the Church of England in spectacular ways. It has got into the bloodstream and I don’t give it a second thought these days, in terms of regular worship.” The archbishop expressed sadness that the expected ordination of women bishops in his

board” the concerns of Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who recently called on the Church of England not to ordain women bishops. The source said: “Archbishop Williams has taken the cardinal’s points in this regard very seriously, so that while the Church of England doesn’t see theological obstacles to the ordination of women, they are thinking hard about how they can do so without

‘I don’t think [women’s ordination] has transformed or renewed the Church of England in spectacular ways, nor has it corrupted or ruined the Church of England’

Church would further damage Catholic-Anglican relations. “Those of us who care about our relations with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches are going to find it very hard that this is going to be another cause of concern,” he said. “But we are in the process of discerning how and when [to ordain women bishops] and I don’t want to foreclose on that. I can’t see a theological objection, but we know that the practical cost is high. We all know that.” Dr Williams’s remarks are likely to generate keen interest in Rome, where officials are preparing for his meeting with the Pope. One Vatican source said that the Anglican leader had “taken on

tearing the episcopate apart.” In a wide-ranging discussion with the Herald , the archbishop spoke at length on ecumenical issues, saying that while the prospect of institutional unity between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion had “hit the buffers a bit” there was still room for significant collaboration. “This is a very important strategic point for us at the moment,” he said. “We are now not two Churches competing for a limited market: we are two Churches standing in the middle of a secular and unfriendly environment and also in the middle of a world whose practical needs are enormous, needs which the Church is in a unique position to help with.

“There is enough in terms of doctrinal agreement for us to feel that we can recognise each other. There is still quite a lot to do. So I don’t feel too gloomy about it .” There was another significant ecumenical event in England this week as Anglican and Catholic bishops of England and Wales met in Leeds to pray and discuss with each other. The purpose of their meeting –co-chaired by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Archbishop Williams –was to “further development of their shared Christian witness” according to a press release. In his interview, Archbishop Williams said that he supported Pope Benedict’s battle against “the dictatorship of relativism”. He added: “The idea that all society can do is gently regulate a set of individual agendas is a really dangerous view.” This sentiment is expected to please the Pontiff. The Vatican source said: “[Archbishop Williams] rightly points to the way in which our increasingly secular context is putting pressures on us as churches and how we have an obligation –given the degree of faith we share –to work together in discerning and in carrying out the mission of Christ to the world.” Dr Williams arrives in Rome on Tuesday October 21 to mark the 40th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey.

Full interview: Pages 8-9 Editorial Comment: Page 11

Dr Williams wants churches to work together against a ‘secular and unfriendly’ environment

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Pope Benedict poses for calendar in attempt to raise money for orphans


A CALENDAR featuring 14 fullcolour photographs of Pope Benedict XVI will compete against glitzy images of models and sports stars when it goes on sale in Italy next week in an attempt to raise money for Rwandan children. It will sell for five euros (£3.40), with one euro from each sale going directly to Nazareth Town, a Catholicrun orphanage and hospital caring for more than 300 boys and girls in Mbare, Rwanda. The photographs were taken in August during a oneday shoot at the magnificent Castel Gandolfo, the papal country residence in the hills east of Rome, and will be published by Famiglia Cristiana , a Roman Catholic weekly.

Pope Benedict’s personal style and attention to the aesthetics of papal attire are well documented, and the calendar captures these aspects well. There is a sunlit view of the Pope dressed in a white habit reading a German edition of the Letters of Saint Paul , and we see him perusing the ancient volumes in his personal library. Strolling through the stunning castle gardens, his pristine figure is reflected in a lake full of water lilies. Another photograph portrays him at prayer in the castle’s chapel. This is not the first time a pope has appeared in a calendar –images of John Paul II appeared in calendars –but it is believed to be the first time a pope has posed for such a

project. Giancarlo Giuliani, who has been working for Famiglia Cristiana for 40 years, took the photographs. He said: “I was on vacation and the editor called and said, ‘Come back. We have to go and see the Pope’. “His holiness is more shy than Pope John Paul, but he was very kind and very willing. I tried to get the most spontaneous, natural shots. I didn’t try to pose him.” He took more than 200 shots of the Pope, which were whittled down to 40 then 14 were chosen; one for the cover and one for each month from December 2006 to December 2007. He said Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and a long-time supporter of

Nazareth Town, originally had asked Famiglia Cristiana and Pope John Paul II to do a benefit calendar. After Pope John Paul’s death in 2005, Pope Benedict offered to fulfil his predecessor’s commitment to the project. Patrizia Brero of Famiglia Cristiana said: “This has nothing to do with other calendars. We have our own style and a distinct target. Our readers would not have appreciated a calendar featuring television starlets or nude models.” Last week Pope Benedict gave further evidence of his commitment to Africa with the purchase of the first bond of a £522 million issue by the International Fund for Immunisation that will finance vaccinations for a million children in Africa.


Caravaggio identified

A magnificent painting which has been lying in a storeroom at Hampton Court Palace for decades has finally been identified as a Caravaggio –and is reported to be worth at least £50 million. P2

Sentamu attacks BBC

The Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has accused the BBC of bias against Christianity and of timidity in its approach to Islam. P2

Murals restored

One of the earliest and most comprehensive known series of pre-Reformation British church murals, discovered in a derelict church in Norfolk, is to be dedicated in a service in the spring after having undergone an extensive conservation programme. P3

Church urges Bush to pull out of Iraq

PresidentGeorge W Bush has come under pressure from the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in America to pull forces out of Iraq. P5

Turkish damage

During a meeting with the president of Cyprus Pope Benedict XVI was shown pictures of the damage done to hundreds of Christian churches and monasteries on the islandʼs northern Turkishoccupied area. P4

Catholic set free

A Pakistani Catholic, Ranjha Masih, jailed for life for allegedly blaspheming against Islam, was due to be released from prison this week after a court quashed his conviction. P4

INDEX News1-5 Features 7-9Comment 10-11Charterhouse 16

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