Fifty-nine per cent of British people describe themselves as Christians, so the census informed us a couple of weeks ago; twelve per cent down from ten years ago. There was, of course, great delight from a couple of secularist organisations. But if I were a member of the British Humanist Association, I might want to pause before I became too excited. It remains true that three quarters of the public still want to identify themselves as having a religious faith of some kind. And what the census doesn’t and probably can’t measure is exactly how those who don’t identify as religious think about religion. Do they never give it a thought? Do they wish they could believe something? Do they see it as a problem or as a resource in society? In the deeply painful aftermath of the Synod’s vote last month, what was startling was how many people who certainly wouldn’t have said yes to the census question turned out to have a sort of investment in the Church, a desire to see the Church looking credible and a real sense of loss when—as they saw it—the Church failed to sort its business out.
BBC Radio broadcast, 22nd December 2012
Archbishop's Thought for the Day: Archbishop Rowan Williams gave his Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4. Reflecting on the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Archbishop said "the good news of Christmas is that an atmosphere of fear and hostility isn’t the natural climate for human beings, and it can be changed."
The full text of the Archbishop's message follows...
Andrew Brown, The Guardian, 6th November 2012
If Christianity dies in England, it will die first in the countryside. This may seem paradoxical. When we think of English Christianity, we think of medieval churches standing at the heart of quiet villages. Surely the most traditional parts of the land would cling to traditional ways such as Christianity? But the traditions have largely died, and the churches with them.
The Guardian, October 31st, 2012
I recently argued that Rowan Williams’s time at Canterbury has been dominated by his denigration of the liberal state. But I added, in passing, that there was another side to my view of this complex theologian: he has also deepened my understanding of the ritual basis of Christianity. I want to expand on this.
The women-bishops debate says much about the nature of the Church, argues Rowan Williams
No one is likely to underrate the significance of the debate on women bishops in the General Synod next month. It will shape the character of the Church of England for generations - and I’m not talking only about the decision we shall take, but about the way in which we discuss it and deal with the outcome of it.
Thursday 11th October 2012
Following his address to the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gave a brief interview to Vatican Radio.
In the interview, the transcript of which is below, he speaks about the ordination of women bishops within the Church of England and his hope that "we’ll find something which allows us to go forward honouring everybody within our fellowship" at the Church of England’s General Synod next month.
He also reflects on some the challenges which he has faced during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as offering some positive advice to his soon to be announced successor, urging him to "Visit lots of schools and parishes. Make sure that you’re there constantly, faithfully, regularly, with people who are doing what matters."
"For all the difficulties that beset many parishes, I can’t think of any parish I’ve visited, in 20 years as a bishop, that hasn’t in some way made me go away feeling ‘It’s all worthwhile.’”
Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 11th October 2012
The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the “self-oriented, acquisitive habits” of the modern world and the “distorted understanding” they give rise to.
Describing the worlds of finance and advertising as “unreal and insane” Dr Rowan Williams advocated the contemplative life as the only answer.
Even children, he said, could benefit from the practice, which he said he has witnessed for himself in Anglican schools.
Mark Vernon, The Guardian, 12th September 2012
Whatever his supposed shortcomings in an impossible job, the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury practises what he preaches
We will miss Rowan Williams when he is gone. Not because public life will be the poorer without that beard, those eyebrows: Boris Johnson’s blond mop can fill the gap. Not because conservatives and liberals alike will lose a ready scapegoat: there will be others upon whom to load our discontent. But because he is, to my mind, the leading public intellectual of his generation.
The Anglican church is on a path to acceptance of gay marriage. What a shame such disunity has to be caused along the way
Jeffrey John, The Guardian, 14th August 2012
Since 2005, same-sex couples in Britain have been able to contract a civil covenant which gives them the same legal protection and framework as heterosexual marriage. It is an act of legislation that has been almost universally acknowledged as a great good, a real advance for social stability and human happiness.
Dr Williams today admitted that the bishops' attempts to find a compromise had clearly failed
Jerome Taylor, The Independent, 10th July 2012
Supporters and opponents of women bishops are gearing up for months of frantic lobbying as a potentially historic vote which might have approved legislation today was temporarily stayed following an impassioned debate on the crucial issue.