Interesting Developments in Christian Unity
(U.K. Mail): "The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was yesterday branded a ‘papal puppet’ after he became the first leader of the Church of England to accept visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes as historical fact.
He asserted that 18 visions of Our Lady allegedly experienced by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 were true.
His words shocked millions of Protestants worldwide because they not only signified a break with Protestant teaching on the Virgin Mary but also Dr Williams’s personal acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is explicitly linked to the apparitions.
The archbishop made his remarks during a three-day visit to the shrine in the French Pyrenees - the first ever by a leader of the Church of England.
In a homily he preached at an international Mass there, Dr Williams spoke about the apparitions without any qualifications.
‘When Mary came to Bernadette, she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious “thing”, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless mother,” Dr Williams said.
‘And Bernadette – uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine – leapt with joy, recognising that here was life, here was healing,’ he said.
‘Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.’
He also praised the lives of the saints, another devotion seen as distinctively Roman Catholic.
‘It may be when we encounter a person in whom we sense that the words we rather half-heartedly use about God are a living and actual reality,’ he said.
‘That’s why the lives of the saints, ancient and modern, matter so much.’..."
Now, its no surprise to me that he has an interest in the Virgin Mary, or the Saints. My 'St. Augustine's Prayer Book', an Anglican prayer book in the Catholic tradition, includes saints, Mary and a rather good preparation for confession. Its not a new publication. The Anglican church encompasses a very broad swathe of beliefs - some more protestant than others.
It is encouraging that the ArchBishop is not cowed by current 'politically correct' clerics and media, and is following his own path to truth. In this I think he has been fairly consistent. I have often been confused as to the intent of things he says, yet again very moved by some of his writing. This is not exactly a left (or right) turn for him. Interesting , all the same.