"Help, my friends think I'm mad!' ABC at Youth Day

The Most Revd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury spoke with young people at Lambeth Palace.

Help, my friends think I'm mad!' - Youth Day at Lambeth Palace Saturday 23rd June 2012

Archbishop Rowan welcomed around 80 students aged 15-18 years to Lambeth Palace for a day of sharing and discussion, reflection and worship, and a barbecue lunch.

Then there’s sex; a matter of constant interest to pretty well the whole human race, including not only issues about what you do sexually, but also about gender – about men and women. You’ll have noticed that in the Church of England at the moment, we’re in the middle of what looks like a pretty complicated argument about women bishops. I’m speaking as somebody who really very much wants to see women bishops as soon as possible. Like most of you, I am used to a world in which men and women share in decision‑making and discussion without any big issue. I really long to see a time when bishops, as a group, can be like that and feel more like other groups. It is something I am very committed to. I share the frustration of a lot of people, that we’re tangled-up in trying to get the maximum support for it in the Church of England and every move in one direction makes other people move away. It’s like one of those terrible games you get in Christmas crackers sometimes where you have to get the little silver balls into holes – you always get two of them but then the other one goes off somewhere else.

That’s an area where we are in the middle of quite a lot of tangles. Same with same‑sex marriage, where once more we’re used to being alongside people who are gay; many of our friends may be – indeed we may be – wrestling with that issue ourselves, and the Church is scratching its head and trying to work out where it is on all that, and what to think about it. What’s frustrating is that we still have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that that just sends out a message of unwelcome, of lack of understanding, of lack of patience. So whatever we think about it, we need, as a Church, to be tackling what we feel about it.

The Guardian comments on Williams speech here.

Comments (10)

While I am certain the Archbishop meant well, I have to shake my head in disbelief that once again, a church leader talks to youth "about sex"...and then doesn't talk about sex.

Ugh, apparently he's one of *those* clergy that talks to teenagers like he thinks they're mentally retarded five year olds.

And his remarks on both women bishops and gay inclusion are surely some of the most disingenuous tripe ever spoken.

What jumbled gobbledegook. I'd like to hear comments from the teenagers.

June Butler

Good Lord. Just . . . well, Dave Paisley hit it on the head.

Moreover, how dare he, of all people, try to push off on conservatives the charge of making gays feel "unwelcome" (lovely bit of understatement, there!) We always knew they hated - excuse me, were "impatient" with - us, but the unwelcome came from allies who, like Williams, stabbed us right in the back, twisting the blade all the way.

- Mark Brunson

I find it surprising that the Archbishop seems to conflate gender (in his words regarding the ordination of women to the Episcopate) and sexual orientation (in his word regarding marriage equality).

While proponents of both drink deeply from the well of liberation theology, the two questions seem to be completely separate. You'd think that the premiere theologian of the CoE would make that distinction.

Nicholas - I am curious how it is that you see gender and sexuality as two separate questions?

Hi David, I'm not a social scientist, but it's my understanding that drawing such a distinction is common now in those fields.

See for example: http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2000to2004/2002-sex-and-gender.html





Thank goodness he cleared THAT up!

Susan Russell

I'd like to hear comments from the teenagers.

"Help, perhaps my friends are right!"


JC Fisher

Setting the stage, perhaps, for life in a Cambridge that will be less than accepting of homophobia?

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