16 November 2006

Archbishop Rowan, women priests and a good story

I thought I heard a report on BBC Radio 4 this morning that the Archbishop of Canterbury was being equivocal about women's ordination. Well, it turns out I needn't have worried. Once again I am reminded of the question:

"Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

Archbishop Rowan says he has been the victim of "wilful misinterpretation" - it's not entirely clear by whom. (Text of his press release here).

To her great credit, Maggi Dawn never doubted him for a moment - as she reveals here. She says it's just that he is a natural academic rather than a natural politician! Sadly our media do not understand (or choose not to understand) people who "say thoughtful things out loud in public".

Even Ruth Gledhill of The Times was apparently wrongfooted - but she recovers her footing here. She explains that

"[Archbishop Rowan] is a victim of his own fairmindedness. What we have here is a fair and lovely man who is a terrible polemecist."

and that

"We should still remind ourselves when coming across such statements that Dr Williams is a poet. Balance and ambiguity are just a few of the devices to which he is drawn by both inclination and practice. "

May we deduce from this that balance and fairmindedness are alien to our modern media? Or am I being unduly polemical?

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