Social justice must guide Christianity, Canterbury tells the Porvoo Churches: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Porvoo.
Tags: Justin Welby, social justice
The Archbishop of Canterbury has denounced the church’s heritage of abuse of power and patriarchy, telling the churches of the Porvoo Communion it must change in order to pursue a campaign of social justice and advocacy that will witness to the world.
In his 21 October 2013 sermon given at Reykjavik’s Dómkirkjan Cathedral, the Most Rev. Justin Welby called on churches to “cry out and claim and struggle” for justice, in order to bring “testimony and witness to words and prayers”.
The archbishop also acknowledged the 20th century campaigns for church union had reached their end. Church unanimity was “a mirage and a diversion,” he told the leaders of the Anglican Churches of Europe and Nordic Lutheran Churches, calling instead for a unanimity of purpose and focus on “unity”.
Taking as his text the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, Archbishop Welby said the church must take its place with those seeking justice, not with the rich and powerful. ”Any serious view of the nature of human beings.” he said, “tells us that without the action of God their can be no true justice, and that the church is there to be the widow, to cry out and claim and struggle. That must involve action, which may be slight or grand”.
To often “Justice is something we seek when it is not against us. The heritage of church abuse and patriarchy reminds us that the church follows the world in its injustice and too often combines its misuse of power with the blasphemy of theological justification. But the widow cries out, and in one of the very rare occasions where Luke explains the parable, we are told that it is to stop people giving up in prayer. … As Pope Francis said, the church is not called to be a Christian NGO.”
The archbishop touched upon his campaign to set up credit unions and reform the City, but also spoke to the “call of church reconciliation” that lay behind the foundation of the Porvoo Communion–contrasting unanimity with unity.
“Unanimity amongst us is first of all a mirage and secondly a diversion,” he explained. “Unanimity is too busy with checking whether the other person is doing the right thing to hear the call of widow: unity sees and hears her and puts aside our own preferences to stand in solidarity and cry with he,” he said in reference to his text Luke 18:1-8.
“If we are to continue to grow closer, so that our communion becomes family, and that family becomes the transforming influence in our society, which is so desperately looking for a new way, after the decades of reliance on material growth have betrayed us, if that family is to become what it should, then we need each other more than ever, not for comfort in the cold, receding tides of Christian faith, but to stretch and challenge each other to ever closer walk with God and evermore passionate fulfilling of his mission,” Archbishop Welby said.