Will Rowan Williams Join the Ordinariate?

Since many are wondering (whispering), why not have a poll on the question? But first, here’s a little whisper:

This Friday morning brings significant breaking news on the ecumenical front — six days after Rowan Williams’ latest meeting with B16 (above), Lambeth Palace has announced that the 61 year-old theologian will retire as archbishop of Canterbury at year’s end, to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

The first non-Englishman to occupy the chair of St Augustine since the Reformation, Williams leaves the symbolic headship of the world’s 70 million Anglicans after a difficult decade-long tenure marked by infighting between his Communion’s branches on issues of teaching and identity, headlined by splits over the ordination of women and, in particular, openly-gay clergy into the church’s episcopal leadership.

A keen student of the Benedictine spiritual tradition who (under the tutelage of a monk) reportedly considered becoming Catholic as a young man, despite the internal hurdles of his turn at the helm, the 104th Archbishop departs his post with Vatican-Lambeth ties quite possibly at their warmest since Pope Paul VI famously took the ring off his finger to give to Archbishop Michael Ramsey at the close of Vatican II…

An especially warm rapport has developed between Williams — a world-class theologian in his own right — and Benedict XVI, most recently evidenced by the Pope’s invitation for the archbishop to address this October’s Synod of Bishops dedicated to the pontiff’s top pastoral priority, the New Evangelization. While some commentators aimed to interpret 2009′s Anglicanorum coetibus – Benedict’s response to requests from Anglican groups to enter Catholic communion as a unit — as Rome’s “parking a tank on the lawn of Lambeth Palace,” the bond made for perhaps the emotional high-point of the following year’s papal State Visit to Britain as the successors of Peter and Augustine presided together at Vespers in Westminster Abbey, marking a Pope’s first pilgrimage to the iconic London church dedicated to St Peter.

So lets have it then. What do you think?

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About Fr Stephen Smuts
TAC Priest in South Africa.

9 Responses to Will Rowan Williams Join the Ordinariate?

  1. If RW goes to Rome? it will be a real hypocrisy to my mind, simply because he could have gone so many years earlier, as in the 80′s when Rome first opened the door for Anglican priests to go to Rome, even as married men. And a Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury going back to Rome, really would unsettle the legacy of the Elizabethan Settlement! ;)

    Of course I voted that he would not go, but again who knows anything these days? And I don’t say this as some anti-Roman, but as one who does believe in the historical best of Anglicanism, the via-media, Church of the middle way, both “catholic” and “reformed”. Yes, I know that Church is very small today, but it is still theologically the closest, at least in many ways to the Apostolic truth, to my mind. And btw, my idea here would include something of the original Oxford Movement, though I am myself not drawn there any longer, as a Reformational and Reformed Anglican myself. But true Anglicanism has always been inclusive to degree. Sometimes we Anglicans forget people like John and Charles Wesley also! And the Methodist movement, both Calvinistic Methodism, as well as the Weslyan. The Wesley brothers were always Anglicans!

    • Could you imagine the historical ramifications should he go?

      • To my wee mind at least, that would be a kind of – so-called – modern loss to the CoE! (Note, “so-called”, from the ecclesiastical authority with the English) But of course to be fair, there have been so many Anglicans that have gone back to Rome, but not such a one at this level! But again, the English history has been Roman Catholic, but not since Queen Bloodly Mary! Oh yes, this history runs so very deep! And should evoke all of us Brit’s in some way.

      • And again, I get to speak, from both places.. as one born and raised Irish Roman Catholic, but then going also to England and Anglicanism. And yes, I also gave allegiance to God, Queen and Realm.. as a Royal Marine, and this still weighs on me! – Again one like you Father who wears the uniform, gets this I know!

  2. He will never leave Anglicanism, it is too much a part of him. Also, his positions on the ordination of women are too set to be able to do so.

  3. 10 to 8? Almost even! I am a bit surprised? I thought it would go mostly in favor! I wonder by the end? Btw, just to make a point, old RW is a year younger than I am. Wow, he needs a hair style.. lol Sorry, just to lighten up the show a bit!

  4. conchurl says:

    Unless he has abjured his views on women’s ordination and is now willing to accept Apostolicae Curae he won’t be leaving the CofE.

  5. Indeed those who see RW going to Rome are now in the negative, as I also believe it will be. And surely as has been noted, RW really is a “liberal” by both belief and nature. Though as people should also surely know, that R. Catholicism does have its “liberals” too. But, so far this is kinda of eclectic itself, within Rome, especially since Vatican II, and people like Kung. But with Benedict/Razinger, the line is conservative for now. But, that could change on a dime, with a moderate to proggressive pope! The forces against truth and the church are alive and well!

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