28 DECEMBER 2002, Page 27

Rowan, theologian

From The Revd Edmund Newey Sir: I was sorry to find Gerald Warner ('Is the Pope a Catholic?'. 14/21 December) treating the new Archbishop of Canterbury as a heresiarch.

What your correspondent describes as Rowan Williams's 'triple whammy' is actually a delightful instance of his instinct for the Anglican via media. His comments on Saint Paul's use of the disputed Greek term porneia show a wise desire to read the scriptures in context, a desire which the Church Fathers would entirely approve. His observations on disestablishment were a gently expressed proposal to allow the Church of England to be more, not less, representative of the nation. And his criticism of pomp and circumstance was directed not at the beauty of Catholic liturgy, but at the secular ostentation of much civic religion. What is this but an instance of the great Richard Hooker's threefold cord of scripture, reason and tradition, guiding the Church's reflection just as it should do?

As for the Primate's 'abolition of sin', I can only direct your correspondent to the most reliable and orthodox of current French theological dictionaries, the Dictionnaire Critique de Theologie (ed. Jean-Yves Lacoste). The illuminating and erudite article on sin is written by one R.D. Williams. How marvellous that we now have an Archbishop who is

sought out by the foremost European theologians, because they recognise that he is one of their number.

Edmund Newey,