The Curmudgeon


Saturday, September 15, 2007

How Else but Through a Broken Church May Dear Christ Enter In?

Despite having "shied away from being a moral arbiter" except when absolutely necessary for the purpose of keeping the bigots on board, the Archbishop of Canterbury has given an interview to the Daily Toryguff about the broken society we live in. He has met the Glorious Successor and has been informed that Gordon "has a real level of emotional commitment about global poverty", and that his political culture is "a bit more austere and values-oriented" than that of the Prime Minister who appointed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Williams has also discovered that "politics is so much about human issues now," after many years of being concerned with non-human issues. He is concerned about the "level of desolation and loneliness and dysfunctionality" which exists outside his front door in Lambeth. Inequality, according to his interviewers, "is, in his view, just a symptom of a wider moral vacuum". He does not believe that the concentration of vast weath in few hands is the cause of our present moral difficulties; "it is more that society just wants to reward business success and celebrity. If you're a teenager in Peckham neither of those are easily accessible", teenagers in Peckham evidently being more morally vacuumed than most.

The Archbishop is worried that children "are pressed into a testing culture, or even into a gang culture," rather than into a confessional culture, or even a congregational culture; "they are bullied and manipulated until they fit in", something a faith school would never permit; "they never have any time to develop in their own space" and hence, entirely of their own accord, to find whatever God the Church of England would wish them to have.

Although he shies away from being a moral arbiter on Iraq - he does not understand suicide bombers, believes the war has made it easier for extremists to rally support, and doubtless considers violence a bad thing - he does intend to speak out against stem cell research, abortion and euthanasia. Stem cell research is "a human individual being created for a purpose", something with which the Archbishop cannot come to terms. He is against abortion because "the nation generally" doesn't care for it "as a back-stop to contraception", whatever that may mean; and doubtless also because it prevents human individuals being created for no purpose. He is against euthanasia "morally and religiously because I don't believe any of us has the liberty to determine the day of our death", such is the Archbishop's commitment to the rights of those who fail to believe as he does. He is also against euthanasia "because almost all forms of legislation for assisted dying open the door to unjust and destructive pressures on people", quite different from the just and constructive pressures which may be exerted to preserve the pain and indignity of the dying.

Asked whether Britain is a Christian country as well as a broken society, Dr Williams lapses briefly into reality: "If you mean a country where the majority of people are active churchgoers then we are not that sort of country. If you mean a country where the history, the institutions and the general climate is Christian, I think we are still that", thanks to the establishment of the Church of England and the resulting fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury is considered worth interviewing in the Toryguff.


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