The execution of Charles I. 'The Church of England found its purpose in life following the English civil war as a project of national togetherness'. Photograph: Hulton Getty
Giles Fraser, The Guardian, Friday 7th December
The difference between the politics of the church and the real world of party politics is that in the church people are nice to each other in public and nasty to each other in private, whereas in real politics it's often the other way round. But the church is so dysfunctional that it prefers the rhetoric of unity to its reality. Thus those debating female bishops in General Synod fell over backwards to couch their speeches in terms of generosity. But outside observers saw something very different – a snake pit of seething animosities. And outside observers were basically right.
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.
Kate Connolly, The Guardian, 5th October 2012
Hans Küng urges confrontation from the grassroots to unseat pope and force radical reform at Vatican
One of the world's most prominent Catholic theologians has called for a revolution from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican.
Hans Küng is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church's members.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Küng, who had close contact with the pope when the two worked together as young theologians, described the church as an "authoritarian system" with parallels to Germany's Nazi dictatorship.
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.
Giles Fraser, The Guardian, Saturday 21st July 2012
Bishop Welby of Durham – former oil executive, Libor scandal inquiry member and possible next archbishop of Canterbury – discusses corporate sin and the common good
Paddy Power has him as 6:1 to be the next archbishop of Canterbury. But Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is having none of it. He really doesn’t want the job. ‘Lets be clear, I’m one of the thicker bishops in the Church of England,’ he tells me.