Thursday, May 26, 2011


What do I want to say about the temper tantrums of Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu that I have not already said elsewhere? Not much.

As the Guardian reveals in a leak from the notes of the late dean of Southwark Cathedral, Colin Slee, who was present at the meeting to choose a bishop for the Diocese of Southwark:
The document reveals shouting matches and arm-twisting by the archbishops to keep out the diocese's preferred choices as bishop: Jeffrey John, the gay dean of St Albans, and Nicholas Holtam, rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, whose wife was divorced many years ago. Eventually Christopher Chessun, then an assistant bishop, was chosen.

As I've already said, I'd like to have smacked the two archbishops, but that's resorting to violence. On second thought, I'd send them to their rooms without their supper to contemplate their bad behavior.

Unfortunately, the two men are not toddlers, but rather "mature" men in positions of power and influence, and their actions have consequences, grave consequences.
Slee described Williams shouting and losing his temper in last year's Southwark meeting, which left several members of the crown nomination committee, responsible for the selection of bishops, in tears.

Slee also in effect charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops "who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions". The memo warns: "This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear."

How the Church of England continues to function in such a vast and hypocritical conspiracy of silence, remains a mystery to me. And that the Archbishop of Canterbury has the chutzpah to lecture our bishops in TEC on how to run a church is beyond my understanding. Perhaps he should try leading by example.


  1. Be interesting to see to what extent this incident enhances the archbishops' authority in the forthcoming debates on women bishops and the Covenant.

  2. And also to see how the article affects Rowan's demeanor, now that many know that he's a bully.

  3. Have you seen the whole thing, Mimi? It looks as if Rowan himself leaked the news to the press about the John+ and Holtham+ nominations and then tried to implicate Dean Slee as the culprit.


  4. Doxy, I've seen the whole sordid story. It's disgusting.

  5. Rowan would rank as a dirty politician in Illinois and that is saying something.


  6. Jim, ain't that the truth? I guess I'm naive, but the story is close to unbelievable. But I believe it, because St Colin said it. Some have said that Colin was a difficult man, but what saint is not difficult? He always favored the downtrodden and strove for justice and equality.

  7. In fairness to Rowan, I imagine that he has been informed by the Central African archbishops, ahead of time and in detail, exactly what will happen when and if the Anglican Church appoints an openly gay bishop. I think that the recent "Kenyan congregation" business and the transfer of "Bishop" Minns to London are preparatory rumblings. Williams was more likely in a blue funk panic at the prospect that these "little people" from Southwark were about to shatter the Communion than riding rough-shod on a personal anti-gay hobby-horse.

    Remember - irony of ironys - that Rowan was vetoed by Carey for Southwark because he was too pro-gay.

    Lucky for the archbishops that Holtham was also veto-able at that point, affording them a fig-leaf to protect themselves against the charge of discrimination.

  8. Lapin, when you're caught between a rock and a hard place, follow your conscience. I don't think I'm being unfair to Rowan.

  9. I don't think you were unfair either, I was just rambling about the factors that may have led to his losing it.

  10. Well, Rowan asked Jeffery John to stand down from his appointment to Reading, which was predictive. So the report goes, he immediately asked John's forgiveness. I suppose he knew he'd done his friend a wrong.

    Peter Carrell said in the comments at Preludium:

    A few years back a bishop close to ++Rowan told an audience I was part of that ++Rowan would crawl over broken glass for the unity of the church. Since then I have understood everything ++Rowan has done through that lens.

    And that's perhaps a wise view to take.

  11. I notice that Rowan's conscience seems to have developed a bit thicker skin, since then, Mimi. He certainly didn't seem to have any problem implicating Dean Slee as the culprit in the leaks.

    My contempt is boundless...

  12. Power corrupting.

    wv "chest"

  13. And Rowan never once asked forgiveness of anyone in TEC, even after all the nasty things he said to us and about us.

    He sees TEC as a threat to the unity of the Anglican Communion, so he will never let up on us.

  14. I feel sad about this. On so many levels.

  15. I wonder if there is anything we can do to help the faithful in the Church of England free themselves of this tyrant?

  16. This whole memo is a great argument for transparency in decision making processes.

  17. More sections of the memo have been revealed since I posted, and the words are appalling and sickening to read.

  18. Lindy, I'm sad about this mess, too, but I'm glad the story is out in the open.

    Transparency, transparency, transparency. Thank you, Colin Slee.

  19. Grandmère, regarding the Peter Carrell comments;

    "A few years back a bishop close to ++Rowan told an audience I was part of that ++Rowan would crawl over broken glass for the unity of the church. Since then I have understood everything ++Rowan has done through that lens."

    From what we've seen of him, it seems to me far more likely that Rowan Who would require some less influential individual crawl over the broken glass.

  20. Rowan Who would require some less influential individual crawl over the broken glass.

    Wade, yes, from a crucified place. A reminder to myself that the powers in TEC are not without sin,


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