Rowan Williams’ greatest and most unappreciated virtue is this: good liberal that he is, he nevertheless understands that the conservative position on homosexuality is a theologically serious one and that labeling it as “bigotry” and leaving it there is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.
A position for which he has caught hell from the Anglican left. These people apparently think that Dr. Williams should have enthusiatically attended Gene Robinson’s consecration and then informed the Africans that the North Americans are right so keep quiet, deal with it and we’ll keep the scratch flowing your way.
But my gracious lord of Canterbury was too honest to do that, which is both good and bad. As Sarah quite correctly points out, one of the greatest, if not the single greatest failure of his tenure at Lambeth Palace was his inability(or refusal) to recognize what was right in front of his face.
That the two schools of thought current in Anglicanism were absolutely irreconcilable. Because of that, Dr. Williams couldn’t see how fatally the North Americans had wounded the Anglican Communion in 2003. So, good Anglican that he is, His Grace kept pretending that all problems can be solved over a couple glasses of really good Port.