"Yes, what I was trying to say in Rome last year was that, actually, we had within the last 30 or 40 years achieved an extraordinary level of agreement about how we understood the ordained ministry and the sacraments. And I was still rather puzzled by the fact that this one question – who can be a priest? – suddenly emerged as the only one that mattered, as it were. Whereas, in fact, I think I said the glass is half-full, not half-empty. We have, in fact, dealt with a great deal of substance there and I suppose I really then wanted to remind both my own Church and our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters that we had established a common language for talking about priesthood and about the sacraments. And we shouldn't suppose that our disagreement about the status of women simply invalidated all of the rest of that! "Archbishop Rowan Williams: from an interview in The Hindu (October 20th) Read it all here
The highlights are mine
Respect him greatly, as many of us continue to do both as a theologian and a pastor, this is ultimately why, even with Archbishop Williams, we feel we are speaking another language altogether with regard to ecclesiology and the theology of the sacraments.
As has been said before, the ARCIC agreements are, as it were, in the bank for future use, although we now need to ask the question who will, in fact, be able or willing to use them? The Ordinariates? The non-WO parts of ACNA and the Global South?
And this is precisely the issue: these "disagreements over the status of women" - and this is a highly contentious way of expressing the problem - are really disagreements, not over the status of women at all, ontological or societal, but over ecclesial communion and the nature of the Church herself, and the normative authority of Scripture and apostolic tradition within her life. They do not 'invalidate' all that has been achieved, and it is good for the Archbishop to remind the Anglican Communion - particularly its more ardent revisionists - of that fact, but they do preclude any further progress being made. And the difference in practice in terms of achieving visible unity between that and the agreements being invalidated is......between decomposition and cryogenics.
The Archbishop isn't the only one who is puzzled.