Talk:Rowan Williams

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Controversy Issues[edit]

The blitz to include the recent sharia law controversy in this article has led to some inappropriate methods, most notably the inclusion of the controversy in the opening paragraph. We need to look for a better way to include the issue more organically into the whole of the article. I will begin by removing the mention of the controversy from the opening paragraph, as its inclusion is not appropriate.S0343463 (talk) 15:31, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I've now done that. Further things that ought to be discussed are the inclusion of the current affairs tag at the top of the article, and integrating the section on the sharia law controversy into the section on his beliefs and views.S0343463 (talk) 15:36, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

January 2008[edit]

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable". This will probably deserve mentioning in the article, perhaps as the reason as to why he resigned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it should be mentioned. However he hasn't resigned; not sure where you got that piece of information from! Nor, in my personal opinion, is he likely to. In any case, we shouldn't speculate here. Dixontm (talk) 09:21, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Its probably best to wait until this thing settles down and he clarifies his comments. This is wikipedia, not wikinews. (Mrutter (talk) 10:41, 8 February 2008 (UTC))

Dixontm, that was an unsuccessful joke of mine, thinking the worst. If archbishops can resign. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Williams controversy[edit]

Does anybody have the sources & writing style to add Williams' Islamic controversy to the article? GoodDay (talk) 17:40, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Bikerprof (talk) 23:25, 8 February 2008 (UTC) Made a start on this, and added relevant link to the speech.

Could someone attempt to summarise Williams' lecture in a paragraph? You don't have to be a theologian or lawyer to understand the text, but it's densely written and quite long. --Sam Dutton (talk) 09:41, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I would suggest that as it presently stands, the article on the lecture is very good indeed. An improvement might be to make clear that footnote 30 (at the time of writing) is a link to the text of the lecture itself rather than a further article about it. As it stands however, the entry summarises what the Archbishop actually said in his lecture, while at the same time noting the reaction to how it has been reported. I hope I can be forgiven the slightly unencyclopaedic observation on a Talk Page that the Archbishop does not have a written style which easily lends itself to soundbites. The present summary however is, I would suggest, fair, impartial and accurate. Informed Owl (talk) 17:08, 9 February 2008 (UTC)Informed Owl
i assume by "article on the lecture" you mean "paragraph on the lecture"? By the sounds of the media fuss going on, it might sometime have to expand into a full article. In any case, i added some more key points from his text.
i agree with: "An improvement might be to make clear that footnote 30 (at the time of writing) is a link to the text of the lecture itself rather than a further article about it." - i shifted the link to just after the word "lecture", which i think makes it clearer. As it was before, at the end of the first sentence, the reader might think that the ref is a general discussion of the fact that the lecture attracted controversy.
BTW (comment): it seems rather ironic that in his talk he talks about the incorrect widespread (in the UK) opinion that sharia = traditional Saudi Arabia/Taliban type sharia and people's irrational fear of modern sharia debates, and the response seems to have confirmed his description of the misunderstanding... A major part of his talk is saying that any recognition/incorporation/whatever of sharia into UK law would have to be sure not to remove any human rights and freedoms which people have under state law. Anyway, the irony judgment is just my opinion, not an NPOV fact. :) Boud (talk) 00:02, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, by article, I meant paragraph. Apologies for any confusion! Informed Owl (talk) 13:24, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Informed Owl

Islam controversy[edit]

Most Christians have called for his immediate resignation, so I have added a current event tag. This is by far the biggest controversy so far that he is in. EgraS (talk) 00:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Um, no they haven't. There are over a billion on the planet, and most haven't. Nor is there any evidence that most British Muslims are delighted. Also, 'English' and 'British' aren't interchangeable. 00:25, 10 February 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Addhoc (talkcontribs)
Sources say that most Christians who have commented on the matter want him to resign. EgraS (talk) 00:31, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Here is one source saying that "must quit". (talk) 00:35, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that Col. Edward Armitstead constitutes "most Christians". The claim is absurd and needs to be massively toned down. It also doesn't belong in the lead - at most, a reference to the controversy with a link to the section of article dealing with it in more detail. Vilĉjo (talk) 00:55, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

As much as I personally believe that he should resign, if someone can show through a known, reputable source that 500,000,001 or more (i.e., the definition of "most" in this context) Christians believe that he should resign, then the,"...most Christians believe..." statement should be added. However, I believe that because the statement was only made a few days ago, it is a bit premature for any source to make such allegations. Sallicio (talk) 23:41, 10 February 2008 (UTC)Sallicio

I've updated the line 'and was the subject of demands from the press for his resignation' and included 'and the general public for his resignation.' The furore over his comments by the vast majority of the population in the UK is not reflected in the piece, saying it was a media-led attack does not in any way mirror the depth of feeling felt by the public over this matter. If the BBC board comments are still online I will attach a link as an example of the utter outrage felt by many people A sample link: Twobells (talk) 22:26, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Source of "inevitable"???[edit]

The present text states:

saying that the implementation of Sharia law in Great Britain was "inevitable".[32]

The reference is and it does not claim that Williams said that the implementation of Sharia law in GB is "inevitable", it only claims that he agreed to a BBC reporter who used the word "inevitable".

Here is a link to the full text of the BBC interview, at least, according to Williams professional website. The word "inevitable" is not present in the text. Either Williams, his coworkers, or the BBC or someone else has incorrectly published the text of the interview, or MSNBC has misquoted Williams.

In any case, he didn't say that in his talk (unless the website text of his talk is incorrect). Boud (talk) 00:38, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

This doesnt use that exact word, but has the same meaning. EgraS (talk) 00:44, 10 February 2008 (UTC)[1]
argued that adopting some aspects of it seemed "unavoidable". - sure, but it's still a situation of us quoting what a media organisation says that he said. i think this is a case where it's relatively easy to separate the full texts of public statements/interviews by a public person from dependent media reports (summaries/soundbites) on what he says. If there is evidence that the archbishopofcanterbury website has incorrect logs of his speeches/interviews, then please someone give us the external, reference sources that give alternative versions of what he really said. Both the dependent media versions and the (nearly) primary source versions are valid for the article, but they need to be clearly distinguished IMHO. In any case, i tried to improve the misquote. Boud (talk) 00:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Is it not best that any references to sources be as first hand as is possible? By this, I mean either the BBC website or that of the Archbishop. While I would not usually suggest limiting references to one news provider, when a particular provider is the source of the very story being considered (in that it ran the interview in the first place), it is probably best to limit references for transcripts to that source. By all means refer to others for any encylopaedic comment on the story, but avoid referring to other sources for transcripts etc so as to keep it as reliable as possible.Informed Owl (talk) 13:28, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Informed Owl
Currently there are absolutely no neutral topics or mediums I have found with regards to Williams statements. Almost every news source has leapt straight into the same position of presuming and misquoting Williams to the extent of causing a national outcry. The BBC coverage of the debacle is probably the worst of all for the fact that it hides behind its cosy friendly exterior, whilst "begging the question" on his future by repeatedly asking things such as "Do you think he should quit?" and "Is he in his last days?". We have to be incredibly careful to highlight what is:
A - his words.
B - inferred belief from second parties.
C - frothy mouthed foaming lunacy from small fractions of the public and synod.
It's extremely easy to get a soundbite in support of his sacking if you go looking for one. I would also argue that his "controversial" view on Sharia law should be included within his "Social and political views and involvements" rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.--Koncorde (talk) 19:39, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Sophistry At Work? I am very unhappy by the way the article refers to the entire 'sharia' issue as a 'press controversy' as though William's speech was nothing more than a tabloid-led row, when the opposite is true. The media covered the story later and only after receiving letters from their readers. Ordinary citizens wrote in to newspapers, their local mp's and posted onto forums expressing their outrage and calling for his resignation. I have done some very minor editing to the controversy paragraph to reflect the feeling amongst the public.Twobells (talk) 22:20, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Hi Twobells, could I suggest you carefully review the humorous essay WP:TRUTH and the official policy WP:VERIFIABILITY? PhilKnight (talk) 22:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Amusing.--Koncorde (talk) 10:55, 4 July 2008 (UTC)


I've just contacted the Lambeth Palace press office to confirm the eight languages that Rowan Williams speaks or reads, and the list I was given is different from the one on the Wikipedia page. I was told that he speaks English, Welsh, German and French, and that he reads Latin, New Testament Greek, Hebrew and Russian. So it seems that the reference cited at present is probably wrong. Sophisticated penguin (talk) 12:22, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Hebrew does seem more likely than Spanish, but we can only use published sources, so unless we can find better we're stuck - Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. David Underdown (talk) 12:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Link to St Paul's Lecture[edit]

Rowan Williams recently gave a lecture on 'Early Christianity and Today: Some Shared Questions' in St. Paul's Cathedral. I think that this would be a good thing to external-link to. Be it either to the original site, with the transcript (, or to the perhaps-more-user-friendly version available elsewhere ( (I can't put it up myself, for fear of potential conflict-of-interest issues). Jamesfranklingresham (talk) 14:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Clergyman or bishop[edit]

I'm sorry, I don't see that clergyman is either particularly old-fashioned, or incorrect for bishops. A quick search on the Guardian website returns a respectable number of hits, one of which is even using it to describe a cardinal. Clergyman is more consistent with wider wikiepdia practice, reflecting the whole of his career, rather than only the later parts of it. In military contexts for example, an article will normally state army officer, nay officer, air force officer, rather than general, admiral etc. David Underdown (talk) 15:27, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

As someone who has been ordained for 27 years, I cringe at the use of "clergyman." It is unnecessarily long and cumbersome. Why not use the term "cleric"?--Fr Lev (talk) 22:01, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually that might be better - although it quite often seems to be applied to muslim preachers(erroneously?) in common usage these days, although usage for Chritian clergy (including Williams) does still seem to be reasonably common. David Underdown (talk) 10:06, 10 October 2008 (UTC)


Isn't his status as a Privy Councillor implied by the Rt Hon, as he lacks a title of nobility? As such, should PC not be removed from his post-nominal suffixes? Computerjoe's talk 12:06, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Quite right, and I shall change it. PC is only used for peers.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 17:41, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Lord Bishop/Archbishop[edit]

Editors persistently remove the word "Lord" from the archbishop's former titles as bishop of Monmouth and archbishop of Wales. The article Lord Bishop makes it perfectly clear that all bishops are entitled to the title "Lord (Archb)(B)ishop". Bishops may be referred to without it, but it does form part of the full title of all bishops, diocesan and suffragan, in the Church of England and in other Churches within the Communion, and irrespective of membership of the House of Lords.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 17:41, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

First bishop to serve as primate of two provinces?[edit]

Is this strictly accurate? What about people like Donald Coggan and Michael Ramsey who were archbishops of both York and Canterbury? Weren't they primate of two provinces? (talk) 15:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

The 'Anglican Communion' article lists 38 provinces including the Church of England, but Canterbury and York are both provinces ... help!! (talk) 16:20, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Conusingly Province has a double meaning a Province of the Anglican Communion may consist of one or ore Ecclesiastical provinces. The wording can probably be tightened. David Underdown (talk) 18:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Purpose of the External Links[edit]

I sense that some of the external links that are placed in this article serve to present a certain POV of the subject without the burden of commentary, perhaps as an attempt to preempt the possibility of either being marked as NPOV or allowing space for contrary and/or critical commentary. One of the more obvious one is the link to the Haaretz op-ed, The Archbishop's guide to Muslim intolerance, which links to a critical article on the subject but doesn't really allow for contrary opinion since it is presented as an external link rather than as part of the article.

Other links of questionable intent would be the ones entitled "Conservative Evangelical critique of the Archbishop's theology" and "Church must be 'safe place' for gay and lesbian people" which would probably be better presented as a section or part of a section within the main article rather than as a stand-alone un-commented external link. - Bob K | Talk 22:39, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Rowan's with Timmy Mallett[edit]

Why are good faith edits being removed?

Because you haven't supported a single edit with a valid reference in support of your changes 21st CENTURY GREENSTUFF 18:25, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
If there's really stuff in The Daily Telegraph about this it should be easy to find an online copy, yet I don't seemto be able to do so, see [2]. David Underdown (talk) 15:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I have looked without joy for the same information. In view of the BLP issues involved, I have semi-protected both this article and the Mallett article for 3 days. BencherliteTalk 16:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

"Traditional Anglicans" section[edit]

There is absolutely no justification for a whole section in an article about Rowan Williams on the recent Vatican announcement regarding Anglicans who may wish to become Roman Catholics. And the polemical comments by one POV pushing editor do nothing to help the cause - quite the opposite. The section needs to be removed. Any reference to this issue can be made briefly and appropriately elsewhere in the article with a link to the article on the issue. Anglicanus (talk) 15:52, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

The historical importance of the section is undeniable. Williams leads a protestant church which is facing mass fragmentation. An exodus of anglicans from their former group into the Catholic Church says something about Williams' leadership, and the nature of anglicanism. The section should be reduced, vital points amplified and extraneous material put aside.... but deleting valuable information because it paints a disagreeable (but honest) picture simply won't do. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 16:03, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
The issue is important to the Church of England, and to Anglicanism (in which article this issue is already extensively mentioned). Williams was present at one of the simultaneous press conferences where the announcement was made, but until we see how many actually make the leap, it's very hard to actually assess what this actually means for Williams's leadership (who would strongly disagree with you characterisation of Anglicanism as being wholly Protestant incidentally). David Underdown (talk) 16:10, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Polemical POV arguments of the kind that Notpietru are making don't do anything to support the addition or inclusion of this section in this article. This is meant to be an encyclopedia article about Rowan Williams - it isn't a blog for all sorts of information or commentary on events in the Anglican Communion or the Roman Catholic Church. The section does not belong in this article and needs to be removed. Anglicanus (talk) 16:20, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Polemical POV arguments? If you spent more time reading/editing than deleting, your opinions might hold more weight. Considering your wholesale deletion of information, however, I'll ignore your discourtesy and consider it characteristic. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 16:42, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
If you think you are going to achieve anything by being offensive and patronising then you better think again. Your comments are blatantly polemical and POV. If you think that intelligent people will be attracted to Roman Catholicism by your kind of attititude then you are very much mistaken. Anglicanus (talk) 16:57, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
.....odd. I'm not especially interested in what faith you (or others) follow. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 17:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
It may deserve a sentence, or possibly a whole paragraph, at some time in the future, but the article is about Rowan Williams, not the Anglican Communion. Let's wait and see what develops. This is, after all, an encyclopedia, not a newspaper, and there may be many disinterested readers to whom the doctrine is less important than the man himself. ♦ Jongleur100 talk 16:32, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
That seems a healthy course of action. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 16:42, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Comments such as: "demise of the unhealthy branch of protestantism", "collapse of a pseudo-communion" (from your recent edit summaries) are hardly neutral. It's potentially a very important development, but given the lack of detail in the initial announcements it is too soon to assess its direct impact on Williams himself. The information already exists in the relevant article, Anglicanism, and is simply unnecessary here. David Underdown (talk) 16:53, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
You are absolutely correct, David, about it being unecessary in an article about Rowan Williams. The section in the Anglicanism article is about all that is necessary at this stage. Anglicanus (talk) 17:00, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
The information will be included in this artice, as and when it becomes clear that this has been a major development/trend in anglicanism, the movement which Williams leads. His major claim to notability is his position as leader of the anglican communion, and what he has done/has failed to do in that capacity. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 17:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Except he doesn't lead the Communion in anything like the same way the Pope leads Roman Catholicism. He has a degree of precedence and influence due to holding the mother see of the Communion but that is all. Each province of the Communion is independent. David Underdown (talk) 17:22, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
The fact he is more of a figure head than an actual leader, and what that means in relation to the disintegration of anglicanism, is not something I'd dispute. He is nothing like a Pope, nor indeed a Catholic priest. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 17:28, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
You will need to come up with much better arguments than this kind of nonsense. Articles do not predict the future and should also avoid speculation. You can believe all you like about Rowan Williams and the "disintegration of Anglicanism" but this is only your opinion. I might as well just pop over to the article on Pope Benedict and offer my opinions on his personality and shortcomings and also speculate about the disintegration of Roman Catholicism while I'm at it. Would this be acceptable to you? I very much doubt it somehow. You have come to this article with an agenda and this is not acceptable in any respect. And, for the record, considerably more Roman Catholics - both clergy and lay people - are becoming Anglicans than vice versa. I do not state this as some kind of triumphalism - just to remind you that people are moving in all sorts of directions when it comes to which church they want to belong to. Anglicanus (talk) 07:25, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Considering your user name, your edits, and your attitude, I find your assumptions about my "agenda" a little silly. Re your threats; I hope vandalising articles isn't something you normally go in for. It is of no consequence which church people think suits them. These articles do not reflect opinions nor predictions. I suggest you reread my comments and those offered by Jongleur. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 17:20, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I have reread your comments and my impressions of your attitudes has not changed. I also reread Jongleur's comment and I totally I agree with them. Jongleur wrote: "It may deserve a sentence, or possibly a whole paragraph, at some time in the future - but this is an encyclopedia article about Rowan Williams, not the Anglican Communion." A "sentence" or a "paragraph" at "some time in the future" is a totally different thing from a long section about something which doesn't even currently exist in the real world and which is written with no connection to Rowan Williams whatsoever. Anglicanus (talk) 09:13, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

This issue already has an article about it at personal ordinariate which is where the information most appropriately belongs. At present the news of the proposed personal ordinariates has no major significance within an article on Rowan Williams and there is no valid reason to have a whole section on it - especially when it is not related in any way whatsoever to Archbishop Williams. For these reasons I have again removed the section. This has absolutely nothing do with "vandalism" or "censorship" - it has everything to do with where information is appropriate - and where it isn't. Anglicanus (talk) 08:53, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Bury your head in the sand, then - much good it'll do you. I plan on following Jongleur's suggestion and, when events are suitably developed, shall make necessary edits to reflect current realities. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 15:44, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Hardly burying our heads, as pointed out, the information is in relevant places, within the general article on Anglicanism, and an article specifically about the new structure. What hasn't yet been proposed is any sort of text which is relevant to an article on Williams. David Underdown (talk) 15:57, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Presumably, his responses. Self evident? Yes. Ελληνικά όρος ή φράση (talk) 22:43, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Interview with Emel magazine[edit]

This seems to be rather not-notable as it was only covered by Times Online. Williams has given interview to numerous media sources. If need be, we can merge it with his views on the Middle East elsewhere. Bless sins (talk) 02:56, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Nationality Welsh?[edit]

No doubt his ethnicity is Welsh but his nationality is surely British isn’t it? He’s Archbishop of Canterbury, not Wales, part of the Church of England and most certainly loyal and supportive of the Monarchy. It should be British unless he has a specific preference. --Τασουλα (Shalom!) (talk) 21:42, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

His citizenship is certainly British, but the term "nationality" is simply underspecified —it would not be incorrect to describe Rowan Williams's nationality as either Welsh or British, or both. Both are nationalities, just as Wales and the UK are both countries. You may well be aware of this by the way! I just want to be clear that this question has no hope of resolution with reference to the meaning of "nationality". You're quite right to make reference to his particular preference, however, for which it would be nice to have a source—we can't simply assume what he considers himself to be. In the absence of any such source, however, I think we should stick with Welsh; it has the small advantage of being more specific, and of implying the other option. garik (talk) 22:48, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
I only bought it up because of him being the Archbishop. Welsh is certainly acceptable. --Τασουλα (Shalom!) (talk) 23:17, 13 November 2010 (UTC)


If it's worth naming his children on his wife's page, it's worth naming them here too. User:sarahjeantaylor


I've read this whole thing through and no where in the article does it mention the two bloody huge eyebrows. I mean that's some serious brow he's sporting like owls have landed on his face. I think the article needs to mention the eyebrows who's with me? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:36, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

As a curate, I had Rowan Williams as spiritual director (when he was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity), and he would not mind anyone looking askance at the eyebrows. Renata (talk) 16:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm with you. (talk) 05:17, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

"Royal wedding"[edit]

A very high-profile event, but could this be integrated elsewhere? It's a bit odd to have a whole section with one sentence. Rob (talk) 20:58, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, I'll look into it. --Τασουλα (Shalom!) (talk) 18:43, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Opinion about hijab and terrorism[edit]

As a part-time resident of France, I think I should mention that there's a whole subtext to banning hajib head scarves. In some of the poor banlieues (outskirts) around Paris, especially, where there are substantial moslem-arabic immigrant populations, gangs of arabic youths have taken to gang-raping young women... except for moslem young women whom they identify by their head scarves. By banning the head scarves, the French government is hoping to halt this practice without admitting to the problem publicly. Dick Kimball (talk) 19:21, 4 September 2012 (UTC) Dick Kimball (talk) 19:22, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Right Reverend[edit]

As a life member of the House of Lords he is certainly Right Honourable, but I'm not sure whether or not he is still Right Reverend. Is he still a bishop? I notice that the title was changed from Most Reverend when he stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury. Apuldram (talk) 15:27, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Collegium Augustinianum[edit]

I have reverted the deletion by (talk) of information relating to the Collegium Augustinianum, because the information deleted is covered by citation of a reliable source (the Collegium Augustinianum itself). Repeated deletion by without explanation looks like edit warring. I have warned the user. Apuldram (talk) 10:16, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


The Signature in the Article seems outdated. 13:44, 5 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)