“A Prophet Now Without Honour” – What The Anglican Communion Owes Lord Carey Of Clifton

– by Chris Sugden

The standards of 2017, drawn from lessons learnt over the last 25 years, are being applied to those on whose watch very regrettable events took place a quarter of a century ago. That does not lessen the gravity of the issue in any way. It does alert us that some might be in danger of forgetting other events of 25 years ago, and others might need to be told of them for the first time. Rightly does the Bible tell us to recount the deeds of the Lord to our children’s children. So to those who are 40 and under and who have grown up under a secular regime that allows people to make no mistakes, or at least not to own up to them, and even then when they do offers no forgiveness but only craves ‘justice’ whatever that may be in their eyes, I write this month about what the Anglican Communion owes Lord George Carey and his wife Eileen.

He was one of the most travelled Archbishops of modern times and was greatly loved in the the Provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion. In many ways he exemplified Jesus’ timeless observation: “ A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country”.

In December 1993 with his wife Eileen he entered Sudan illegally with two other church officials and went to visit the south of the country, controlled by the Sudanese People’ Liberation Army – now the independent country of South Sudan. This provoked the government of Sudan to expel the British ambassador. 

In April 1994, after he had been Archbishop three years, the Hutus, the ruling party in Rwanda, set about the genocide of all Tutsis. 800,000 were slaughtered. In May 1995 George Carey was among the first visitors to see the country after the genocide. He recalls meeting in May 1995 with Archbishop Augustin Nshamihigo, who was complicit in the ethnic “cleansing”. Carey told the Rwandan archbishop that he must return from Kenya, where he had fled during the genocide, to his people in Rwanda. That would lead to his certain death, Nshamihigo said. Saying that a shepherd functioning apart from the flock is nonsensical, Carey urged Nshamihigo to resign. Nshamihigo resigned within a few weeks.

The current Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje, himself a Hutu, recalls: “I personally remember him in his pastoral letters to the Episcopal Church of Rwanda and pastoral letters to me in 1995, 1996 supporting me as I was swimming in an ocean of problems because of lacking leadership in the Episcopal Church of Rwanda:”

According to one close colleague who worked with him in the nineties, he played a central role in securing the unity of the Anglican Communion in the contentious debates at Lambeth 1998 when the Episcopal Church of the United States of America clearly planned to to overturn the churches’ teaching on same-sex behaviour. 

He lost the support of some when he steered the legislation through the Synod allowing for the ordination of women to the priesthood by creating ‘two integrities’ which were intended to respect the consciences and convictions of those they disagreed with and allowed the supporters and opponents of women priests to serve fully and equally in the Church of England.

Such was the esteem in which our Christian Queen held him, during all the upheavals of the Royal Family during her ‘annus horroibilis’ , that she asked him to stay on past his initially intended retirement age of 65 to see in the Millennium and its celebrations.

One  long time observer of the Anglican Communion, reflects that in the dozen years since his retirement Lord Carey became an even more stalwart spokesman for orthodox Christian truth and ethics in the ‘culture wars’ than the constraints of his office appeared to allow him to be. He fronted the “Not Ashamed” campaign led by Christian Concern in the UK.  Perhaps that is why those in the Church who disagree with him are making common cause with atheists and others now to condemn him.

But those who now join in the hue and cry to condemn would do well to read his 2004 memoirs “Know the Truth” (Harper Collins), lest the sad and regrettable press reports of the last weeks colour all people recall of Lord Carey of Clifton.

Article source: anglicanmainstream.org

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