Rowan Williams is a changed man. He was weary and weighed down towards the end of his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, wounded by the press and exhausted by the effort of trying to hold together a Church tearing itself apart. Today he is warm, welcoming and even seems to be walking taller at his surprisingly modern home in the grounds of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he is Master. Is this life easier? “Yes,” he says, laughing. “What do you think?” An interview for the Sunday Telegraph
‘Tis the season to look back, apparently, so I’ve been looking back on some of the interviews I’ve done this year for the Sunday Telegraph. They include the cooks Clarissa Dickson-Wright and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall neither of whom cooked me anything, unfortunately. A nice piece of cake was offered by Cormac Murphy O’Connor, former Archbishop of Westminster. The former head of the Metropolitan Police Lord Stevens handed me a piece of paper with some stunning statistics about low morale in the ranks. The Olympics and Paralympics were a source of closure after 7/7 for the Games Maker Dr Andrew Hartle. On the other hand, Rebecca Adlington seemed glad it was all over. The Olympic closing ceremony was organised by Es Devlin and Kim Gavin. It featured Ray Davies of the Kinks. The architect Zaha Hadid designed the Aquatics Centre but told me she hadn’t been offered a single ticket. Talking of generosity, Joan Bakewell said she would not be leaving any of her money to her children. But for me, the most stunning interview of the year so far was with Juliana Buhring who survived the Children of God and is now in the final stages of attempting to become the first woman to cycle solo around the world.
I find it hard to be lectured on sex by a celibate, but then I’m not a Catholic. Isn’t it just possible that everything he does is based on self-deception? That there was no God nagging him on the terraces and his calling was just the fretting of a teenage boy overwhelmed by hormones and powerful priests? Not even this agitates the archbishop. He leans closer. “Then it is a very remarkable pattern in life, repeated millions of times over, that people give themselves to following a call in God, and live fulfilled and happy lives. Are you saying it’s all a myth?” I might be, I say. Nichols smiles again, the gameshow smile, as if indulging a child. “I don’t think so.” Read the rest here