Idea of me questioning women priests is nonsense, says Dr Williams

By staff writers
November 16, 2006

Idea of me questioning women priests is nonsense, says Dr Williams

-16/11/06

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has condemned as ìwilfully misleadingî British newspaper reports that he is doubtful over the ordination of women to the priesthood, that he has ever felt that the ordination of women priests had been ìwrongî, or that he believes that a revisiting of this question is likely, necessary or desirable.

Speaking during a visit to Manchester today, Dr Williams declared his continuing support for the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England.

He said: ìFrom the very beginning of this issue I have been a supporter of the ordination of women and have not doubted the rightness of that decision or the blessings it has brought. It has been a difficult road for the Church and the cost of that decision has been a heavy one and that has been a test.î

Added Dr Williams: ìI made it clear in the interview with the Catholic Herald - and will continue to do so - that I see no theological justification for any revisiting of this question and indicated in the interview three times that I had no wish to reopen it, whatever technical possibilities might theoretically exist.î

"The presentation of this to mean anything else is wilful misinterpretation. My convictions mean that I feel nothing less than full support for the decision the Church of England made in 1992 and appreciation of the priesthood exercised,î the Archbishop commented.

Reports alleging that Dr Williams had countenanced the e-opening of the womenís ordination question included a report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, 16 November 2006.

This is not the first time Dr Williams has been misrepresented. On 2 January 2005 The Sunday Telegraph published an article which wrongly suggested that the Archbishop had doubted Godís existence after the 26 December 2004 Asian tsunami. They declined to correct this or apologise, even after the editor privately admitted that it was both a misrepresentation and ìobtuseî.

Similarly, Dr Williams was accused by the media of being a Druid after he joined an ancient Welsh literary order.

There have been other complaints about inaccuracy in religion reporting over the past few days.

The UK Evangelical Alliance has this week condemned a report, also in The Sunday Telegraph, which suggested that their ëFaith and Nationí report had countenanced the possibility of violence by Christians objecting to state policies they disliked.

And the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia had to correct false reports that it was calling for white poppies to replace red ones in Remembrance services, when it was actually suggesting that churches could make white ones available too.

The Express newspaper wrongly reported this as an attempt to ìdumpî red poppies. And the Timesís Acting Managing Editor David Chappell categorically refused either to correct its story (ëTime to abandon the red poppy?í, 9 November 2006), or to publish a letter making Ekklesiaís comments clear.

Idea of me questioning women priests is nonsense, says Dr Williams

-16/11/06

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has condemned as ìwilfully misleadingî British newspaper reports that he is doubtful over the ordination of women to the priesthood, that he has ever felt that the ordination of women priests had been ìwrongî, or that he believes that a revisiting of this question is likely, necessary or desirable.

Speaking during a visit to Manchester today, Dr Williams declared his continuing support for the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England.

He said: ìFrom the very beginning of this issue I have been a supporter of the ordination of women and have not doubted the rightness of that decision or the blessings it has brought. It has been a difficult road for the Church and the cost of that decision has been a heavy one and that has been a test.î

Added Dr Williams: ìI made it clear in the interview with the Catholic Herald - and will continue to do so - that I see no theological justification for any revisiting of this question and indicated in the interview three times that I had no wish to reopen it, whatever technical possibilities might theoretically exist.î

"The presentation of this to mean anything else is wilful misinterpretation. My convictions mean that I feel nothing less than full support for the decision the Church of England made in 1992 and appreciation of the priesthood exercised,î the Archbishop commented.

Reports alleging that Dr Williams had countenanced the e-opening of the womenís ordination question included a report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, 16 November 2006.

This is not the first time Dr Williams has been misrepresented. On 2 January 2005 The Sunday Telegraph published an article which wrongly suggested that the Archbishop had doubted Godís existence after the 26 December 2004 Asian tsunami. They declined to correct this or apologise, even after the editor privately admitted that it was both a misrepresentation and ìobtuseî.

Similarly, Dr Williams was accused by the media of being a Druid after he joined an ancient Welsh literary order.

There have been other complaints about inaccuracy in religion reporting over the past few days.

The UK Evangelical Alliance has this week condemned a report, also in The Sunday Telegraph, which suggested that their ëFaith and Nationí report had countenanced the possibility of violence by Christians objecting to state policies they disliked.

And the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia had to correct false reports that it was calling for white poppies to replace red ones in Remembrance services, when it was actually suggesting that churches could make white ones available too.

The Express newspaper wrongly reported this as an attempt to ìdumpî red poppies. And the Timesís Acting Managing Editor David Chappell categorically refused either to correct its story (ëTime to abandon the red poppy?í, 9 November 2006), or to publish a letter making Ekklesiaís comments clear.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.