The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Rowan Williams: Archbishop will not give blessing for war on Iraq

Dear list members,




            A N U
Assyrian News Watch
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Assyrian Chaldean Syriac


The Times

July 24, 2002

Archbishop will not give blessing for war on Iraq

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS hinted at future confrontation with the Government after
being named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday when he insisted
he would only support military action on Iraq which had been cleared by the
United Nations.
Dr Williams, who is currently Archbishop of Wales, recently signed an open
letter condemning any possible attack on Iraq.

He also said he had no regrets about taking part in direct action against
nuclear weapons in a protest organised by CND during the 1980s.

The Archbishop outlined his vision for the future of the Church of England,
saying that he was determined that Christianity should once again “capture
the imagination of our culture”.

Dr Williams, 52, who will step down as Archbishop of Wales at the end of
November and be enthroned at Canterbury next spring, said he felt “rather
overwhelmed” by the task ahead and a sense of “enormous inadequacy and

Although frightened by the huge expectations the job carries, he indicated
that he would not shirk political controversy.

Dr Williams, speaking at a press conference at Church House after he was
named by Downing Street as the successor to Dr George Carey, admitted he
had entertained doubts about accepting the job.

“I think frankly you would be a maniac not to have doubts about accepting a
job of this kind,” he said.

He described the challenge of taking up his new post “in the middle of a
culture which, while it may show a good deal of nostalgia, fascination and
even hunger for the spiritual, is generally sceptical of Christianity and
the Church.”

He made it clear that one priority will be leading his diocese. He
described the danger of treating the Archbishop of Canterbury as a “sort of
Pope” whose primary task was to govern the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Tony Blair welcomed the appointment of Dr Williams and defended his right
to speak out on controversial issues.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Mr Blair believes the
Archbishop’s wisdom, intellectual stature and deep spirituality will all be
invaluable as he seeks to lead the Anglican Church in ever more complex and
challenging times.

“It is fair to say that members of the Church have commented on a range of
social and global issues over the years: that is their right and
prerogative. The Government may not always agree with everything that is
said but people are always perfectly at liberty to state their views.”

The present Archbishop, Dr Carey, who retires at the end of October, said:
“Rowan will bring to this demanding office great abilities as a theologian
and as an experienced Primate of the Anglican Communion.”

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster,
said: “As a theologian of distinction, a man of deep spirituality and a
gifted communicator he will prove to be a force for great good in this
country and throughout the Christian world.”

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Rev Ian White, said: “His
appointment comes at a significant moment in the life of our two Churches
as we enter into conversations on a covenant between us and explore the
partnership of our two traditions.”

The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, said: “Rowan Williams is a quite
exceptional thinker and man of God, and I look forward to the same warm
friendship that I had with his predecessor, which did so much to improve
Jewish-Christian relationships.”

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]