Rome V. Canterbury

Observing the stark contrast between their respective attitudes toward shar'i'a, ninme astutely compares and contrasts the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent comments about shar'i'a with B16's Regensberg lecture. Folks are trying to excuse Rowan Williams on the ground that he's a clueless academic. But isn't that what they said about B16 at Regensberg, too? Rueful Red (who perhaps is more entitled to be harsh, since he shares a country with Archbishop Williams) remarks in comments:
The Druid strikes me as being a man of quite substantial intellectual vanity, and he probably enjoys all those references to his being the brightest Cantuar since the year dot. In raising the subject of Sharia he knew he’d get some rough headlines, but reckoned that he’d quell any trouble with some lofty dismissal of his critics as intellectual inadequates (which is in fact what he’s done, with a statement of quite remarkable “unclarity”).

B16, on the other hand, seems to be a man of quite astonishing humility. He doesn’t strike attitudes, but at every turn he draws attention to natural law - which he considers to be timeless and a applicable whether or not he, B16, had existed or not. There’s not a shred of vanity in the man (apart perhaps for an endearing taste for silly headgear).

Comparing the two, one rather gets the impression that the Druid’s vanity is central to the man, in part because he hasn’t got a particularly deep belief in quite a lot of what the Church has taught for Millennia - dismissing it, as I heard a liberal episcopalian dean dismiss it, as “just historical stuff”. Whereas B16, because he believes deeply, is permanently on guard against any whiff of vanity coming between him and his task of teaching. Of the two, you’d just have to say that B16 is grown up in a way that the Druid just ain’t.

Or perhaps that one is hopeless and one has hope.

Update: Hold the phone. The eminently sensible Fr. Finigan agrees with the Archbishop and suggests we read his actual remarks. Hmm. I feel only slightly better about the Archb o' C after reading his full text.
what most people think they know of sharia is that it is repressive towards women and wedded to archaic and brutal physical punishments; just a few days ago, it was reported that a 'forced marriage' involving a young woman with learning difficulties had been 'sanctioned under sharia law' – the kind of story that, in its assumption that we all 'really' know what is involved in the practice of sharia, powerfully reinforces the image of – at best – a pre-modern system in which human rights have no role. The problem is freely admitted by Muslim scholars. 'In the West', writes Tariq Ramadan in his groundbreaking Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 'the idea of Sharia calls up all the darkest images of Islam...It has reached the extent that many Muslim intellectuals do not dare even to refer to the concept for fear of frightening people or arousing suspicion of all their work by the mere mention of the word' (p.31). Even when some of the more dramatic fears are set aside, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about what degree of accommodation the law of the land can and should give to minority communities with their own strongly entrenched legal and moral codes. As such, this is not only an issue about Islam but about other faith groups, including Orthodox Judaism; and indeed it spills over into some of the questions which have surfaced sharply in the last twelve months about the right of religious believers in general to opt out of certain legal provisions – as in the problems around Roman Catholic adoption agencies which emerged in relation to the Sexual Orientation Regulations last spring.
OK, he wasn't defending honor killings as an alternative lifestyle. But I still profoundly disagree with him -- there can't be any tolerance for polygamy, eg, that doesn't undermine the rights of every woman in the country. That's a problem of a different magnitude than a doctor who objects to performing abortions or an adoption agency that doesn't want to recognize homosexual couples.

2nd update: An Archbishop of Canterbury Tale. Geoffrey Chaucer (earthy vocabulary intact) hath penned a poem for the occasion . (Instacurtsy.)