Watching the collapse of the Anglican Communion, and, with it, of liberal, civilised Christianity, has been dispiriting for the last twenty years. This is partly because _both_ sides are animated by a fierce destructive zeal. But an added twist is the destruction of Rowan Williams. I have to say that I blame him almost entirely for the Jeffrey John fiasco. It was Lambeth Palace who put JJ’s name forward; Williams personally who twice assured Rishard Harries that he was right behind him, and Williams personally who dropped Harries in the shit when times got hard — only later noticing that his own authority is now coated with the same substance.
There really is no excuse for this. He was at the Lambeth Conference in 1988. He knows what the Africans and the southern Americans are like, and he said so, plainly, afterwards. Since then, however, he has surrendered to them all along the line. You can’t say “sold out”, since he has had nothing in return.
However, there may be a partial explanation in the arrogance of the Northern, liberal faction in the American church, which regards the Anglican Communion with proprietorial contempt. This really, really, upsets people at Lambeth Palace, and, until recently, they could do nothing about it. Now, of course, they can destroy the liberals by giving their enemies an opening to sue them for everything they own on the grounds that the liberals will be no longer official Anglicans, recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And it looks as if this is what will happen. What makes me so sure? A “tiny story”:http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j190.html#corrected found through Simon Sarmiento: that it was Rowan Williams himself who suggested to the American -bigots- conservatives that they call themselves “The Confessing Anglican Network”, because this name echoed the “confessing” churches which kept the true faith in Nazi Germany.
And so the subtlest theological mind in Britain has reached the point where clergymen who denounce the ordination of practising homosexuals are morally comparable to the Christians who faced jail and execution for resisting the extermination of the Jews. The implied comparison of their opponents actually does bear some thought, which, once, Dr Williams might have given it.