Wed 27th Aug 2014 | Last updated: Wed 27th Aug 2014 at 16:03pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

There is more than a whiff of Holy Trinity Brompton about the new Archbishop of Canterbury

And that’s very good news

By on Friday, 9 November 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury speculation

Today is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. As every pedant knows, the Basilica of St John Lateran is the Pope’s Cathedral. St Peter’s in the Vatican is a mere Patriarchal basilica. The Pope’s throne is in the Lateran, and the Palace next door is where the Popes lived until they moved to Avignon. On their return from Avignon, they found the place in ruins, and so moved to the Vatican; the rest, as they say, is history.

Even though the main structure of the Lateran basilica has been rebuilt many times, most recently by Borromini, there is much that is ancient around the site, such as the baptistery, the cloister, and the Scala Santa; the baptistery goes back to the time of Constantine, the Emperor who gave the basilica to Pope Silvester in the year 324. The land on which it stood was the property of the family of the Laterani, who may have been relatives of his wife, the Empress Fausta. She, you may remember, was smothered in her bath on the Emperor’s orders a few years later, having lost his confidence in a major way.

The whole matter is rather delightfully explained in Evelyn Waugh’s much underestimated novel, Helena. The Lateran Basilica remains one of the must see sights of Rome for the truly discerning. And the feast of its dedication is a feast of the universal Church, which is celebrated even when it falls on a Sunday, reminding of the pre-eminence of the Papacy and the Pope’s cathedral, caput et mater, head and mother, of all churches in the world.

So, all in all, a great day for the official announcement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury’s identity, though as I write this, there is still no official word on the Archbishop’s website. 

The handling of the selection process has not been altogether smooth. First of all the committee that selects the new archbishop was held up to a fair amount of hostile scrutiny; then things went very quiet indeed and it leaked out that the committee was deadlocked. Then finally, out comes the news before the official announcement, along with allegations that people have been betting dishonestly on the outcome. It has made for the most shambolic of conclaves. Perhaps next time they should get some Italians in to organise it all.

However, none of this reflects badly on the future Archbishop Welby, any more than the character of the Emperor Constantine reflects on the holiness of the Lateran Basilica. All the indications are that he is a man of great ability and holiness, one who will provide leadership not just for the Church of England, but for England too, those in his church, and those outside it. We need such leadership, and we need clarity of vision. There is more than a whiff of Holy Trinity Brompton about the new Archbishop and that is seriously good news. To speak to the nation one needs a solid foundation in faith, and there is lots of faith at HTB. Moreover, the HTB ethos is very open to the influences of Catholicism. The omens are good – we have the prospect of an Archbishop of Canterbury who knows the world, and how to speak to it; but who also knows the things of God, and what it is the world needs to hear.

  • nytor

    “So, all in all, a great day for the official announcement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury’s identity”
     
    If he were really a bishop and heading a province in communion with the Pope it might be. As it is, I fail to see why it would be.

  • Dorotheus

    Generous to a fault and so charitable towards fellow Christians – the hallmark of orthodox Catholicism. No wonder ordinary decent people find religion such a big turn-off.

  • Patrickhowes

    Adores women priests and Bishops.Hardly a good start!But I accept morally he might be strong on abortion and same sex marriage

  • Deodatus

    A man taking upon himself a daunting spiritual burden in the name of Christ.  He deserves our friendship, prayers and, in matters where we cannot agree, our dialogue – not our hostility and sectarianism.

  • Ghengis

    Jesus harshly criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? (Matthew 3:7),  so the notion that there must be no criticism among religion is absurd. However, the traditional values of civility and politeness require us to be intelligent in our criticisms of other religions since we are not Jesus; political correctness however, has no place in intelligent discourse.

  • Alan

    99% of us are happy to welcome the new archbishop.  Unfortunately it is the 1% “you’re all out of step except me” who make all the noise on these threads

  • JabbaPapa

    It is grossly unchristian to start vilifying the new Archbishop of Canterbury in the very instant of his elevation.

    Shameful !!!

  • Guest

    Oh, but he preaches the word of God.

  • Guest

    It is time we Catholics stopped criticising other Christian religions by our nasty, unhelpful remarks and ask ourselves: Do these people and churches not preach and spread the word of God. Most certainly they do!

  • Guest

    “The handling of the selection process has not been
    altogether smooth. First of all the committee that selects the new archbishop
    was held up to a fair amount of hostile scrutiny; then things went very quiet
    indeed and it leaked out that the committee was deadlocked. Then finally, out
    comes the news before the official announcement, along with allegations that
    people have been betting dishonestly on the outcome. It has made
    for the most shambolic of conclaves. Perhaps next time they should get some
    Italians in to organise it all.”

     

    Is the writer privileged to know what actually happens
    in the Sistine Chapel when the process of selecting a new pope is selected? (Or
    is it already cut and dried?). Is it devoid of “hostility”? And do not
    thousands, worldwide bet on who the next pope will be?

  • Jon Brownridge

     Exactly!

  • Alphege

     But he isn’t an archbishop.

  • aearon43

    I would guess that comment was intended somewhat ironically perhaps, as a reference to the notorious inefficiency of Italian bureaucracy.

  • Stephen

    Will you tell him, or shall I?

  • Bishop Munster

    How can it be a cause for joy? This man has been appointed because David Cameron could not stand his predecessor and dislikes the plain speaking and authentic traditional commitment of the obvious candidate. It is mealy mouthed to overlook this — or the new archbishop’s eagerness to identify with the non-Christian politically  correct shibboleths of 2012.

  • GratefulCatholic

    So did Simon Magus preach of God. Welby, like all the Tudor and C of E appointments to Canterbury, is a Cuckoo in the Nest. We Catholics should pray for the reconversion of England to the True Faith.   

  • Mike

    But he belongs to a heretical church – there, I said it.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Well spotted!

  • AdamThomson1560

    I’m interested in the statement, “Moreover, the HTB ethos is very open to the influences of Catholicism.” Could Father Alexander expand on that? 

  • awkwardcustomer

    .m5CL0,.m5CL0:link{text-decoration:none;width:100%;color:#FFFFFF; }
    .m5CL0:visited{color:#FFFFFF}
    .m5mit{padding-left:5px;padding-right:15px;color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Arial,Verdana,Tahoma; font-size:11px; }

    .m2CL0,.m2CL0:link{text-decoration:none;width:100%;color:#FFFFFF; }
    .m2CL0:visited{color:#FFFFFF}
    .m2mit{padding-left:5px;padding-right:15px;color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Arial,Verdana,Tahoma; font-size:11px; }

    .m3CL0,.m3CL0:link{text-decoration:none;width:100%;color:#FFFFFF; }
    .m3CL0:visited{color:#FFFFFF}
    .m3mit{padding-left:5px;padding-right:15px;color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Arial,Verdana,Tahoma; font-size:11px; }

    ‘ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are,
    absolutely null and utterly void.’

    From para 36 of ‘On the Nullity of Anglican Orders’ (Apostolicae Curae), Pope Leo XIII, 1896 http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htmJustin Welby isn’t even a priest, far less a bishop. 

  • Greg

    Rather than simply proudly wallowing in your studied failure to see why the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been so welcoming of Justin Welby’s appointment as ABC, perhaps you might speak to your local bishop to learn more about what our church’s leaders may have discerned that you may have missed.

  • Bishop Munster

    Good idea! I’ll ring up and ask.

    (Hope the explanation is not that he is an honorary member of the Magic Circle.)

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘… ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are,
    absolutely null and utterly void.’

    From para 36 of ‘On the Nullity of Anglican Orders’, Pope Leo XIII, 1896.
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm

    Justin Welby isn’t even a priest, let alone a bishop.  How do we dialogue on that?

  • candylin

    please let us pray for our christian brothers and sisters not judge them  afterall jesus asked peter who do men say that i am ? i am sure the archbishop would make the same reply as peter did.

  • Alan

    He was appointed because Rowan decided to step down, and he was judged the best candidate.  Nothing to do with Cameron, except the official announcement was made from no. 10.  SSPX types are joining with the New Atheist brigade to attack the man before he has even taken office.  

  • NewMeena

    The Daily Telegraph 9 November 2012:

    “The Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, who was formally announced as successor to Dr Rowan Williams yesterday, insisted that he supported the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
    But he promised to reassess his own traditional line on the issue “prayerfully and carefully” and pointedly emphasised his support for civil partnerships.”Somewhat encouraging; especially his undertaking to “reassess his own traditional line on the issue [of same-sex marriage].”Something the leaders of the RCC badly need to do.Also the related news in today’s paper that Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish are expecting their second baby.

  • Bishop Munster

    Your analysis skips the gritty bits : “he was judged the best candidate” evades the sorts of things historians deal with. And one of his first remarks is to say that he must consult the Gay Lesbian and Transgendered Community and think about what they have to say. This is surely a step away from traditional Christian ethics. And why call me SSPX — I have never had anything to do with that body.

  • Bishop Munster

    Historically surely many of the saints belong in the awkward 1%. (Not that I am suggesting that about any of us here.) I welcome the new Anglican archbishop at the social level. But as a Christian, I am saddened to  see him further away from the faith, rather obviously in tandem with his political master.

  • Nat_ons

    True, Deodatus, yet assisting a suicide to take his own life is not part of the orthodox Catholic understanding of ‘friendship’ .. let alone of prayer.

    Dialogue, where it is spoken truthfully between two souls, cannot ever be a mere murmuring via congratulatory or facilitating bonhommie.

    We must, without doubt, speak the truth in love .. not love of our own opinions, of course, but for the up-building of the church catholic.

    It is indeed a terrifying pair of shoes he has taken up, to follow Ausgustine and Becket, and a dreadful prospect he enters at the Seat of Canterbury. One can indeed only pray for the man, his communion, and their daunting task; I for one do pray the Holy Ghost shall lead him away from the ever growing error swelling about him. What one cannot do – and should never have been done - is continue to confuse both Catholic and Anglican believers (with a false understanding of oecumenism) that there is any oneness – or prospect of unity – between the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church and any nullity made of it (by human will, however well intentioned).

  • Alan

    I don’t think he’s remotely “in tandem with his political master” (I assume you mean Cameron).  The fact that they went to the same school is fortuitous and irrelevant.  As for your other point, nearly all the saints lived in, or before, the time when relations between Catholic and Anglican were hostile.  

  • Alan

    By “SSPX types” I did not mean you personally.  I mean people who oppose ecumenism.  As for talking to the GLT, we should be willing to talk to anyone.  It doesn’t mean abandoning basic principles.

  • Bishop Munster

    What I meant was that saints and good Christians are people who strive for truth and perfection and eschew the compromises of this world in a quest for spiritual authenticity.

    Archbishop Sentamu, though alas not a Catholic, seems to be a spirit directed along those lines.

    Archbishop Welby seems to have trimmed his theological views along lines which are distinctly parallel to the political correctness of the prime minister.

    We shall see: good luck and God’s blessing on him.

  • Togold

    Well said!! Where do these people come from? They live in a ghetto and need to grow up. Their attitude as you rightly say is a complete turn off for many of our uncommitted fellow citizens

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    Can anyone imagine this priest writing so squirmingly enthusiastically about Bishop Fellay as he writes about this truly schismatic non-archbishop?

    Gimme strength.

  • JamesH

    He’s pledged to ‘rethink’ his position on gay ‘marriage’. Here’s hoping his rethink comes up with the right answer: ”fuggedaboutit”.

  • Jon Brownridge

     Surely the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Community are part of humanity and cannot forever be considered outcasts by those who claim to be Christian. Jesus made a point embracing outcasts – lepers, prostitutes, sinners – and included at least one gay man in his inner circle.

  • Bishop Munster

    Well yes, but He did not seek their advice.

  • Bishop Munster

    Jesus’s message is that salvation is open to everybody and that those who recognize their sinfulness and wish to overcome it are on the road to salvation. (Lepers are a very different case.)

    I may be wrong about the GLT folk and the advocates of same sex marriage, but I suspect most of them do not believe in chastity, perhaps ever. They therefore reject the traditional teaching of the Church, the Magisterium. They are not penitants such as Jesus addressed.

    We also live in an age when the political authorities, insidiously and in the name of equality, are trying to criminalise the holding, expression, and practice of traditional Christian ethical teaching.

    That is why the attitude of the AoC is so important. Welby did not say he would fight to stop cruelty, ill-will, hostility towards GLTs.  He said he would talk to them to see if they could persuade him to soften his opposition to same sex marriage.

    For a traditional Christian, this is a big step away from the moral teaching of the church. How many people in Holy Orders inside the Catholic Churches in Britain are there who see it as permissible?

  • Patrickhowes

    He needs to read the bible and stick to Godá natural law as perscribed in it!

  • Patrickhowes

    To be Christian is to be Christ like.Christ was a man of character and principle and not some dreamy 60´s hippy.He came to redeem man and chastised those that blasphemed him(ie the tax collectors in the temple)Would you have accused Him of assault and battery.Only 24 hours after being in office,Mr Welby states He is going to have a rethink about homosexuals.Why not throw in every other moral issue.With a society on the verge of moral collapse,it is hardly the example that we require.It is nothing to do with generosity but somebody of character who is not afraid to teel the Truth

  • Jon Brownridge

     Heresy need not be pejorative. Any suggestion of change seems to be labelled heresy in some quarters. Yet we desperately need to rethink some of our beliefs in the light of new knowledge.

  • steveglynis

    Three dolphins on the mitre! And he is going to “prayerfully consider” his opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’. I think that orthodox Anglicans should be worried, I know that I am. Perhaps he might also prayerfully consider his support for women priests and bishops.