Joy in the Blogosphere

There’s nothing like a little misreading of a prelate to get the holiday internet juices flowing. Well, maybe quite a lot of misreading. The Archbishop of Canterbury raises doubts about the Gospel According to Hallmark, gets misquoted in the media, and the bloggerdom (or is it bloggerdumb?) is all over it.

Rowan Williams is, if you believe the high road, a “buffoon,” sinister, “translucently foggy,” “Archdruid,” and the list goes on.

One commenter asked, “I am a member of the CoE. I love its churches but despair of its empty pews. You would think that a guy managing a church in freefall would think more about filling rather than emptying further his churches of real believers.”

I suppose we can fill those pews up with vicious and “true” opinions about leadership. Yep, that’s what all the inactive Christians in the world want. Just give ’em Jerry Springer on Christmas Eve and they’ll be falling all over themselves for a front seat on Holy Family Sunday.

You think?


Peace on Earth, good will to all, people. Maybe the Christmas message needs to be preached a little more often. As we toss a grain of salt at the depiction of the combined Shepherd/Magi convention in Bethlehem.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to Joy in the Blogosphere

  1. Liam says:

    It seems there are some prominent voices among the Usual Culture of Complaint Suspects at St Blog’s who are actually defending Williams, btw.

  2. John Heavrin says:

    Yes, Liam, but that wouldn’t conform to Todd’s simplistic and self-serving dichotomy, would it?

  3. Actually, IIRC the archbishop was indeed “consecrated” a druid many years ago — though I believe that he’s stated that being a druid is not a religious act contrary to being an Anglican. Calling him names over it does seem a bit silly, but I certainly can’t blame people for looking a trifle askance at it.

  4. I don’t get the crocodile tears over poor Archbishop Williams. He’s a major public figure and you might think he’d at least know comments such as this will be electric.

    And his comments, while having merit, are ham-handed. It baffles me that figures as prominent as he is don’t seem to have a lick of sense about how to do these things.

    Third, there is a touch of condescension in all this.

    People aren’t as stupid as some folks seem to think. They can appreciate explaining, for example, that the ox and the ass figure in most likely because of the passage from Isaiah, chapter 1, from the Office of Readings for the 1st Sunday of Advent. Oh, doesn’t the Archbishop know that? Well, then, he merits some criticism for that.

    And he might have given people credit for realizing the shepherds and magi weren’t all present at the same time, and there wasn’t snow.

    Finally, the one serious flaw in his comments that seems to be getting a pass is his weak defense of the virgin birth:

    “SM You were a prominent part of a Spectator survey in the current issue which headlined’ Do you believe in the virgin birth?’ there are some people in this survey who would say they were Christian who don’t have a problem if you don’t believe in the Virgin birth;’ how important it is it to believe in that bit?

    ABC I don’t want to set it as a kind of hurdle that people have to get over before they, you know, be signed up;, but I think quite a few people that as time goes on, they get a sense, a deeper sense of what the virgin birth is about. I would say that of myself. About thirty years ago I might have said I wasn’t too fussed about it – now I see it much more as dovetailing with the rest of what I believe about the story and yes.”

    No, he doesn’t deny it–but that seems a rather weak defense from…an archbishop. The Scriptures and Tradition are completely firm on this, and the Church has long ago staked her reputation and the credibility of the Gospel on certain historical claims, this being one of them.

    “Oh, but people are being so mean to the Archbishop!” Oh come on.

  5. Pingback: History and Truth « Catholic Sensibility

  6. Dear Todd:

    Actually, I have a great deal of respect for the current Archbishop of Canterbury, both for the fact that he speaks Welsh, and because he is a published (and really rather good) poet.

    I must admit, though, that I do get a bit tired of the sort of people who insist on pouring cold water into their soup in order to make it more palatable to them. And who further insist on pouring it into everyone else’s bowls or mugs.

    Yes, of course, it is entirely possible that some elements of Scripture are matters of story or of legend.

    But why insist on harping on such matters, so as to say that all of Scripture is nothing more than story and legend?

    If that is the case, then I would recommend that those post Christians drop the name of Christian, and instead call themselves the follower of the Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. This would be so much more congenial to their tastes. After all, he was a wise man, who suffered and died for the sake of his people. And he was also declared to be a god.

  7. Todd says:

    Thanks for commenting, Bernard. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. Williams was asked for an opinion, after all. And he gave it. Even people more in-your-face about Scriptural literalism (or the lack of it) tend to be more than one trick ponies in their preaching, writing, and all.

    That’s why I focus on the critics, who can’t seem to let go of the issue, and worse, seem to need to paint it with namecalling or worse.

    A priest friend of mine recently said that literalists tend to lean too strongly on the small details of Christianity, without delving deep into the essentials of love or faith or charity. Mind you, this is a tendency, not an iron-clad prediction. Many of Williams’ detractors seem to bolster this point.

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