Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Downton Abbey, meet Lambeth Palace

Truth is often stranger than fiction and no better current example is at hand that the extraordinary news in the last few days that Archbishop Justin Welby has discovered, indeed his own mother has discovered, that his father is not Mr Welby but one Anthony Montague Browne, famous as Sir Winston Churchill's last Private Secretary, later knighted and always at the heart of what the British like to call "the Establishment."

Unconfessed liaisons (until later discovered), brief flings with devilishly handsome gentlemen, all is revealed in the last episode of the current series, this is Downton Abbey. But this time the fictional doings of the Establishment have been transformed into reality in Lambeth Palace.

On the one hand this is none of our (Anglican) public's business though our slight excuse for interest is that the story has winged around the world, appearing in newspapers in far flung colonies.* On the other hand the unflappability of Archbishop Justin and of his (reformed alcoholic, faithful Christian) mother, Lady Jane Williams is an impressive testimony to God's work in their lives.

Most notable is this statement of identity from ++Justin:

"“There is no existential crisis, and no resentment against anyone. My identity is founded in who I am in Christ.”"

He is a new creation, whatever the old order of creation was up to!

ADDED: Alexander Lucie-Smith has a nice column of appreciation of the situation.

*The other day our Prime Minister, John Key, in an interview kept referring to NZ as a British colony. I am sure he meant "former British colony." At least, I hope he did. He is famous for having spent a weekend at Balmoral with the Queen and the Duke. I hope no secret deals were done about offshore islands ...

1 comment:

Father Ron Smith said...

"There is no existential crisis, and no resentment against anyone. My identity is founded in who I am in Christ." - Archbishop Justin Welby -

Precisely! And the same goes for all whose lives are in any way difference from the socially acceptable: e.g. the LGBTQI Community in the Church. Justin could not help his provenance, neither can they.

Perhaps this news may even help the ABC to understand that our innate identity lies in Christ - not in our biological constitution.