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Quotes of the week

22 December 2023


If the leader of the free world can be 81, why can’t a 70-year-old run a small English parish?

William Sitwell, The Daily Telegraph, 16 December

Giles Brandreth
: Is it a nightmare, being Archbishop of Canterbury?

Lord Williams: Yes, in a word. . . I think my successor would say much the same. You’re always on show; you’re always out there to be interpreted, to be part of somebody’s story; you’re always being told by competing voices to become an echochamber for their positions. And I’ve often said, when people say “What we want from you is leadership”, what they mean is “What we want from you is for you to say what we say only louder.” And so maintaining any kind of balance or perspective, even integrity, is just hard work

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rosebud with Giles Brandreth podcast, 15 December

I take my agnosticism seriously, which means that any given sermon I hear could potentially be the one that triggers some profound conversion experience in me. Imagine if we all listened to political speeches in this way — believing that, in any moment, Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer might provide us not just with information but revelation? The idea is faintly disturbing, indecent even

Will Self, writer, A Point of View, Radio 4, 15 December

Discussing sex with large groups of bishops on an all-too-frequent basis; watching Barbie in a local old cinema and seeing clergy friends sneaking in in mufti in the dark; driving through Brannau-am-Inn in Austria, and seeing the sign that says “Welcome to Brannau-am-Inn — The Birthplace of Adolf Hitler”

Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, “The Funniest Things We’ve Seen All Year”, The Fence magazine

Perhaps the gift of time can sometimes be the best gift of all [to homeless people]. To engage with someone in conversation is to acknowledge their inherent dignity. To acknowledge our common humanity. To maybe even, at some very hidden level, acknowledge that all of us could end up on the streets if a few things went wrong in our lives

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, The House magazine, 18 December

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