Monday, June 12, 2006

Lord Archbishop Emeritus

You'd think things couldn't get any worse for poor Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury who is trying desperately to hold the liberals (who insist on ordaining gays and celebrating same-sex unions) and the conservatives (who insist on denouncing the liberals) together in one church.

Now his predecessor, George Carey, is taking pot shots at Rowan, lamenting, "When I left office at the end of 2002 I felt the Anglican communion was in good heart. It is difficult to say in what way we are now a communion. Bitterness, hostility, misunderstanding and strife now separate provinces from one another and divide individual provinces." Don't hold back, Lord Carey. This is nothing new; evidentally the two don't really get along: Carey allegedly blackballed Williams when the latter was up for an episcopal appointment in 1998.

Of course, the only issue dividing Anglicanism right now is the place of gays in the church, and with Anglicanism's regionalism (for lack of a better word), which I admire, you'd think they'd manage to permit different approaches in different places. Of course, since the dispute is about sex (basically), everything stands or falls on this single issue. (The issue of women bishops, which the U.S. Episcopals have had for some time, is evidently less of a big deal to conservative Anglicans, while the Romans, of course, are about to give birth over the fact that the Church of England will soon start ordaining women to the episcopate.) In the end I'm starting to wonder if some Christians believe that the Word became flesh specifically to tell us what to do with our genitals.

To make matters worse, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. is beginning it's triennial meeting in Columbus, Ohio, where sparks are sure to fly. To quote one of Williams' staffers: "Dear, oh dear, oh dear."

Thank God we have no Pope Emeritus. If popes ever do start retiring at 75 like other bishops, I hope they have to retire to a monastery and make a vow of silence.

I take that back. Dueling popes might be more fun.