Sometimes you just can’t help but bury your head in your hands when a religious leader says something so basic, yet so beautifully ironic.
Easter weekend provided just such a platform for the newly enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby — leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of Anglicans worldwide. He’s only officially been in the job two weeks but he has wasted no time in getting down to business.
He chose this opportunity to warn against “hero leader culture” and “putting our trust in one person as this can lead to false hope.”
(Erm, Jesus anyone…?)
“Papers reported on Friday that only 40% of churchgoers are convinced that the new Archbishop of Canterbury can resolve the problems of the Church of England,” he said.
“I do hope that means the other 60% thought the idea so barking mad that they did not answer the question.”
He urged society to recognise “human fallibility”.
“Setting people or institutions up to heights where they cannot but fail is mere cruelty,” he added.
He used the rest of his sermon to talk about the challenges facing the church under his watch:
The archbishop said: “We need to understand reconciliation within the Church as the transformation of destructive conflict, not unanimity.
“It doesn’t mean we all agree, it is that we find ways of disagreeing, perhaps very passionately but loving each other deeply at the same time, gracefully and deeply committed to each other.
“That is the challenge for the Church and that is the challenge if the Church is actually going to speak to our society which is increasingly divided in many different ways, here and overseas, over huge issues.”
So in other words — let’s agree to disagree. Well, when you put it like that… I guess we’ll all just leave you alone to oppose gay marriage, women’s rights, and your plethora of superstitious nonsense. Opposing basic civil and human rights on issues like gay marriage and the rights of women can’t be waved away with a “let’s agree to disagree.” Not that the secular and non-religious community necessarily need do anything in this regard. If last year’s attendance figures are anything to go by, the Church seems perfectly able to slide into irrelevance all by itself.