Anglican archbishop comes under fire for homily at Lourdes

LONDON (CNS) — Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, has come under fire for his homily during a pilgrimage to the Marian sanctuaries in Lourdes, France. Archbishop Williams, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said in a homily during a Sept. 24 international Mass at Lourdes that when Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 “she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious thing, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless mother. And Bernadette — uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine — leaped with joy, recognizing that here was life, here was healing,” he said. “Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.” The archbishop later was criticized by the England-based Protestant Truth Society, a group of Anglicans and nonconformists committed to upholding the ideals of the Protestant Reformation. The Rev. Jeremy Brooks, the group’s director of ministry, said: “All true Protestants will be appalled that the archbishop of Canterbury has visited Lourdes and preached there.

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