In The Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” blog, Savi Hensman argues that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ affection for Orthodox Christianity, together with a marked subservience to Pope Benedict XVI, have negatively impacted the ability of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion to stand up for people who need to be stood up for, and to effectively deal as full partners in the Porvoo Communion.
Originally a progressive Anglo-Catholic who supported the ministry of women and gay people and a brilliant scholar, he has long been fascinated by the Orthodox church and its rich spiritual heritage. His doctoral thesis was on Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky, and he has also written on icons and Russian writers Bulgakov and Dostoevsky.
When he took office, he soon came under pressure from fellow Anglicans – largely conservative evangelicals – to support a more centralised structure for the communion, up till then a family of autonomous churches, and oppose equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people. But this was reinforced from a different quarter: the Vatican.
In visits to Rome in 2003 and 2006, and on many other occasions, he was urged to act on these issues and women bishops. The Eastern Orthodox church suspended dialogue with Anglicans after a partnered gay man became a US bishop, increasing the pressure.
What do you think? Have Williams’ relationships with a few branches of Christianity hurt Anglicans’ chances of future dealings within potentially wider partnerships?