Ecuminism Update: Anglican Archbishop on papal offer: ‘God bless them, I don’t’

Like a Druidic emissary from Tuatha De Danaan, the mythic inhabitants of Ireland, the Archbishop of Canterbury will lob a spiritual depth charge at Pope Benedict XVI on Monday when he damns the Catholic Church in Ireland as having lost all credibility. Dr Williams also reveals on the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week that he is withholding his blessing from Anglicans who choose to take advantage of the Pope’s offer of a special home in the Catholic Church for disaffected Anglicans. “God bless them. I don’t,” he says, witheringly. What a contrast with the joyful ecumenical greetings between the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and Pope John Paul II during the last papal visit in 1982, when they entered Canterbury Cathedral together, greeted each other with the sign of peace, knelt in prayer before the nave altar and then moved to the high altar where they kissed the Canterbury Gospels, a gift from Pope St Gregory the Great to St Augustine.