Monday, 6 October 2008

Waking Up to the Archbishop of Canterbury

This morning I woke up to the Archbishop of Canterbury, or rather, the voice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams on the radio. In truth I did wake up to someone else as well, but I suppose that my own moral relativism, my own clouded vision and my own immoral and self-destructive tendencies led me there. That's one very good reason I was unable to receive Communion today. Woe to me if I had, but frankly, woe to me anyway right now.

A lot of Catholic bloggers are very scathing about Rowan Williams. The interview did grate with me, not because of anything he really said, but just because he didn't really seem to be saying anything. It starts to get to a point when you wonder whether the BBC, asking for the Church's view of any moral issue, should just cut out the Church of England and go straight to a Christian religious leader who will give them a straight answer to a straight question. The destructive side of his difficulty in really speaking out about morality is the fact that the Church of England is or was meant to be a strong voice of moral leadership in the UK.

The problem is one of credibility. Deep down I believe that what we all want is truth. We don't really want our own truth, or our own gospel, because even if we could convince ourselves we had it, it would not satisfy us. Truth liberates and sets us free. The Holy Father's words today about the destructive consequences of sin and the unhappiness caused when souls abandon the friendship of Christ ring true to me. Does the "freedom" we seek from our own egoism and self-will bring us happiness? Speaking as someone with recent experience of it, I can tell you it doesn't. Sin brings us suffering, guilt and sometimes an unutterable sense of dread. Only in turning to Christ in prayer and the Sacrament of Penance can we see the desolation wrought by sin and know the mercy of God.

For the sake of the nation's soul, and indeed the nation's souls, I wish Rowan Williams would say something along those lines, would speak truth rather than dodge and evade stating Church teaching on any moral issue for fear of offending someone, because the more he evades doing that, the less people respect him. We are all of us, crying out for the truth, not the comfortable truth, not the nice and PC truth, but the Truth that sets us free. Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning is not afraid of speaking the truth to his flock and we or most of us, respect and love him all the more for it.

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