Archbishop accused of ‘idolatry’ over book

Daily Telegraph (England), July 25, 2002
http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/Off-site Link

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

(Filed: 25/07/2002)

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The new Archbishop of Canterbury, who has already dismayed evangelicals with his liberal views on homosexuality, has been accused of “idolatry” for encouraging devotion to the Virgin MaryOff-site Link in a new book.

Dr Rowan Williams, who was named as Dr George Carey’s successor on Tuesday, has upset conservative evangelicals for appearing to condone the practice of praying to Mary, which many regard as contrary to Biblical teaching.

A High Church Anglo-Catholic, he says the book was inspired by his pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham, Norfolk, which he describes as “England’s Nazareth”.

In the book, Ponder These Things: Praying with Icons of the Virgin, he argues that the images of the Mother and Child portrayed in medieval icons are holy because they stand on the boundary between the spiritual and the everyday.
(…)

His emphasis on the role and status of the Mother of God in the book will be unwelcome to large numbers of evangelicals in the Church because devotion to the Virgin Mary is seen as a departure from the Bible.

Since the Reformation, many Anglicans have viewed prayers to Mary as a distraction from the direct worship of Jesus.

Many have taken the condemnation of “Popish” practices in the Thirty Nine Articles, one of the founding documents of the Church of England in the 16th century, as including Marian devotions.

The Rev George Curry, the director of the Church Society, said that he regarded Dr Williams’s book as “a form of idolatry”.

[…more…]

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