The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has been called a lot of names over the years. In the last few months leading up to Lambeth he has been called many, many more. However, I think it is fair to say that never before has Rowan Williams ever been called the name he was called today. Papal Puppet.
Canterbury is being criticized to attending a mass at the famous Marian shrine at Lourdes. Moreover, in his remarks he seemingly accepted the apparitions there to Bernadette Soubirous 150 years ago and implicitly the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
[Mail] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was yesterday branded a ‘papal puppet’ after he became the first leader of the Church of England to accept visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes as historical fact.
He asserted that 18 visions of Our Lady allegedly experienced by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 were true.
His words shocked millions of Protestants worldwide because they not only signified a break with Protestant teaching on the Virgin Mary but also Dr Williams’s personal acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is explicitly linked to the apparitions.
‘When Mary came to Bernadette, she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious “thing”, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless mother,” Dr Williams said.
‘And Bernadette – uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine – leapt with joy, recognising that here was life, here was healing,’ he said.
‘Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.’
Afterwards he was severely criticised by the Protestant Truth Society, a group of Anglicans and nonconformists committed to upholding the ideals of the Protestant Reformation.
The Rev Jeremy Brooks, director of ministry for the group, said: ‘All true Protestants will be appalled that the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Lourdes, and preached there.
‘Lourdes represents everything about Roman Catholicism that the Protestant Reformation ejected, including apparitions, mariolatry and the veneration of saints.
‘The archbishop’s simple presence there is a wholesale compromise, and his sermon which included a reference to Mary as “the Mother of God” is a complete denial of Protestant orthodoxy.’
He added: ‘At a time when our country is crying out for clear Biblical leadership, it is nothing short of tragic that our supposedly Protestant archbishop is behaving as little more than a papal puppet.’
Now that has to be the first time Williams has been called that particular epithet. I like it. Usually Williams denial of orthodoxy, protestant or otherwise, heads in the other direction.
However, I don’t think that our reactionary protestant brethren should get too upset. It is unlikely that Williams believes a word that he said. His religious views have proven to as amorphous and unreliable as the mortgage industry’s business model.
William’s took this trip with 10 Church of England bishops, 60 Anglican priests, and about 400 Anglican laypeople who are favorably disposed to joining the Catholic Church if the Anglican meltdown continues down its current path. Williams Catholicesque overture is likely an effort to convince that there is some Catholic left in Anglo-Catholic. I don’t suppose it will go very far in this regard.
When Williams returns home, he will eventually address the more liberal wings of his Church. When that time comes, he will probably throw the Anglo-Catholics overboard as quickly as Joe Biden threw over those coal miners.
Williams religious views are kind of like very variable weather, wait 15 minutes and it is likely to change.