Friday, 8 February 2008

Cantuar cocks it up

Actually, he is formally known as The Most Reverend Father in God, Rowan Douglas, by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan, but that would have made too long a title for this post.

When I told the story of my shameful failure to accost Michael Ramsey, the one hundredth of this line of churchmen, when I encountered him and his sensational eyebrows some years ago in a corridor of the Okura Hotel, I compared him very favourably with his successors, the obscure Coggan, the sycophant Runcie and the slimy Carey, friend of Pinochet, but was non-committal about the next one, describing him in a kindly if patronising way as a little bearded Welsh fellow.

How wrong I was! Williams is clearly a remarkable man, having succeeded, with a few suggestions about Sharia Law, in putting back racial harmony in this country by a couple of decades and hastening the eventual demise of the Church of England by perhaps a similar period. If its leader doesn't have the sense to realise that his words were certain to give rise a flood of clips on TV news showing floggings and beheadings, how can this palsied institution hope to survive much longer?

We are used to celebrities pontificating on subjects way outside their area of expertise—if they have such a thing—and are merely irritated when we are told Prince Charles' views on architecture or medicine, or the Pope's on family life, though I suppose pontificating is what pontiffs are expected to do. But when an archbishop holds forth with proposals for changes to the English judicial system we can only marvel at their idiocy and his presumption.

Not all the effects of this are depressing. Hearing that most of the legal profession and all three political parties promptly and roundly condemned what Williams said is cheering, and the notion that having 26 clergymen of the established Church of England, the Lords Spiritual, serving by right in the House of Lords must surely now be recognised as lunacy.

2 comments:

eric said...

Having once, in the most unlikely pairing in the legal career of a leftist Jewish atheist lawyer, represented an American "orthodox Anglican" parish against the local Episcopal diocese, I follow controversies within the C of E with the mixture of dread and amusement normally associated with slasher films. From that perspective, the latest from The Most Rev. Dr. Williams does not disappoint. There's something to delight and annoy everyone: the conservatives can recoil with horror at the suggestion that there might be alternatives or peers to their own favored canonical nostrums; while the liberals can squirm at the reminder of the ridiculous extent to which religious poppycock remains institutionalized within the state and legal system. Pass the popcorn.

Tony said...

Yes, Eric, I can see that a leftist Jewish atheist lawyer would be an excellent advocate for Anglicans against Episcopalians, and I am not being sarcastic.

Moreover, LJA lawyers would be very effective not only in supporting one bunch of the faithful against another but in mediating between two irreconcilable bunches. If you and a few like-minded friends had been available for employment in Ireland in the seventies then The Throbbles might have been over much sooner.

But I suppose the British government wouldn't have been able to afford you.