Rowan’s Rule

I have finally finised Rupert Shortt’s Rowan’s Rule (man, it is tough to finish a book with an 18-month old daughter!). I have blogged about it here a few times, but, as I thought about what to say about the book sort of as a summary, I realized that the following quotation, found on the last two pages of the book (pp 424-425), would suffice. Written in Latin, this is the tribute, composed by Richard Jenkyns, of the honorary Doctorate of Civil Law presented to ++Rowan at Oxford University in 2005:

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, all is vanity; and in various places the Bible warns us that the glory of this world is deceitful and transitory. And yet the office of bishop has a certain splendour about it, so that the traditional nolo episcopari used once to seem somewhat insincere. But these days a prelate’s life is less gracious and more burdensome, and so that man is especially to be praised who has the chance to spend his life in the shady groves of the academe, and yet consents to undertake the business of administering the Church. Moreover, the Archbishop of Canterbury has to unite opposites: he holds the first place among the Queen’s ministers in the order of precedence, and yet is required to despise worldly success; he is most exalted and most lowly, the shpherd of shepherds, the servant of the servants of God. We are indeed fortunate that at a time when the Church faces difficult challenges, we have a guide and governor who exhibits so many virtues. His writings embrace both divinity and human life, since as well as producing profound and penetrating theological studies he has written poems of subtle and delicate feeling. The Latin vates means both bard and seer; he merits that label, since he writes abotu God with a poetic imagination, while his verse finds the spirit of God in people and places. “Behold the great priest:” he has the mind of a theologian, a saintly smile, the eye of a poet, and the beard of a prophet. He knows that an honorary doctorate is to be reckoned of small worth and to be classed with that vanity of which Ecclesiastes wrote; he asks not for our praise but for our prayes. Yet it is right and proper that we should bestow such honours as are in our power on a good and wise man; and so it is with sincere warmth that we offer him this pledge of our affection and symbol of our hope….

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“I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” – Rowan Williams

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4473814.ece

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