Yes, Really! Rowan Williams to meet with Pope Benedict on Monday

BB NOTE: You know what’s sort of odd about this? It appears that Lambeth Palace is playing this down, it’s just a blip in a story entitled “Archbishop to convene the 7th Building Bridges seminar in Rome.” The very last line of the article – and we mean, the very last line of the article says (oh, by the way) this: “During the visit the Archbishop will meet privately with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.”

We’ll get to that story in a minute. In the meantime, Reuters seems to understand what is actually the real news here, especially since the Presiding Bishop had other things to do on the other side of the country when the Pope made his official visit to the United States. He visited both the city that is the headquarters of The Episcopal Church – New York City – and the city that is home to the Episcopal National Cathedral – Washington, D.C.

She went to Utah.

More on that in a minute. In the meantime, here’s the story of the visit tomorrow between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict is expected to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Monday in only the second official meeting between the two religious leaders, a Vatican source said on Sunday.VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict is expected to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Monday in only the second official meeting between the two religious leaders, a Vatican source said on Sunday.

Read the rest here. Note that the story comes from the Vatican, not Lambeth Palace. Why is that? Well, because Lambeth buried the news in this article:

Archbishop to convene the 7th Building Bridges seminar in Rome

Friday 02 May 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is to convene the 7th Building Bridges Seminar in Rome next week. This is a unique annual series which brings together a range of internationally recognised Christian and Muslim scholars for an intensive study of relevant Biblical and Qur’anic texts.

The seminar, which is organised in partnership with Georgetown University, will run from Tuesday to Thursday (May 6th to 8th). The theme for this year’s seminar is ‘Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam’, and builds on from similar events in London, Doha, Sarajevo, Washington DC and Singapore.

On Wednesday 7th May, the Archbishop will preach and preside at the service for the Inauguration of his new Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Revd David Richardson.

During the visit the Archbishop will meet privately with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Now is that a pip or what? We can’t even make this stuff up. It’s not even mentioned at the Anglican Communion Office website. What’s up with this?

Perhaps Lambeth is worried about the juxtaposition between Rowan’s meeting with Benedict tomorrow and Katharine Jefferts Schori’s lack of even a wave when the Pope was here.

She choose instead to fly to the other side of the country to Utah (not exactly known for an abundance of Episcopalians) who’s former bishop just happens to be Otis Charles. Remember him?

Oops.

No wonder Lambeth Place wants us to focus on Rowan’s seminar, The fact remains, however, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, two months before Lambeth, is meeting with the Pope, not exactly something he does every day. Perhaps we should keep that meeting in prayer. Despite all the missteps, intentional or unintentional as they may be, hope does still spring eternal. Yes, even now.