Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Anglican Leader: 9/11 Attacks Not Acts or War

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Anglican Leader: 9/11 Attacks Not Acts or War

Article excerpt

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States amounted to "barbaric carnage," but they should not be seen as acts of war, said Archbishop of Canterbury-designate Rowan Williams.

Williams, 52, a Welsh theologian with a penchant for quoting St. Augustine and other early Christian church leaders, was named July 23 as the 104th archbishop of Canterbury.

On Sept. 11, Williams was trapped in a Wall Street church in New York a few hundred yards from the collapsing World Trade Center twin towers. The experience, he said, left him with "some very slight sense of what it must be like to live under bombardment, under threat of death."

But he told an audience at the Christian arts festival Greenbelt, held at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, England, Aug. 24, that he remembered "pondering at the time, thinking ... actually I do not think this is an act of war."

"It is an act of terror, of violence, of barbaric carnage," he said, "but somehow, war does not come into it."

Williams' remarks are almost certain to attract controversy as the October date nears when he succeeds George Carey who leads the Church of England and is spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans.

The archbishop-designate was among the nearly 3,000 who signed a petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair questioning the morality and legality of military action against Iraq. The petition, sponsored by the international Catholic peace movement Pax Christi, was delivered to Blair Aug. …

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