From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Interview with Archbishop Rowan Williams, Primate of Wales

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 21 Jun 2002 07:17:35 -0700

ACNS 3022 - AUSTRALIA - 17 June 2002

Anglican Media Sydney's exclusive, in-depth interview with Archbishop Rowan
Williams, Primate of Wales

by Geoff Robson

Archbishop Rowan Williams knows he was a 'late starter' as a parent. Married
to Jenny and now aged 51, the Primate of the Province of Wales is also the
father of two children, Rhiannon, 14, and Pip, 6. The globetrotting demands
of his ministry means he doesn't have as much time with them as he would
like. But that problem could be about to get much worse. Rowan Williams is
one of the leading contenders to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Theological differences aside, 'Archbishop of Canterbury' is a title not
that far short of 'Pope'. It's a position with its own unique aura, steeped
in historical and cultural baggage.

So just what is a potential 'Archbishop of Canterbury' like in person?

In the case of Rowan Williams, the aura quickly gives way to a real and very
approachable person. He is a gentle, soft-spoken man, quickly able to put
those around him at ease.

Well known as a theological scholar, he has published several books on
theology and spirituality, lectured in divinity at Cambridge, and served as
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford. Scholarly types are sometimes
distant and aloof, but in person Archbishop Rowan is quite the opposite:
thoughtful and genuine, even to the simplest questions or requests. At the
end of our interview, before I can make a move he picks up a tray covered in
half-finished coffee and biscuits, and heads for the kitchen, switching
comfortably between interview subject and housekeeper. It's a small sign of
his genuine humility.

Archbishop Williams visited Melbourne last month to deliver a series of
lectures at Trinity College, and was also deployed to address clergy in the
Dioceses of Bendigo and Wangaratta. During his two-week visit to Australia,
he spoke to Southern Cross about his ministry, his family life and the state
of the Anglican Communion.

Though he wisely asks not to be questioned directly about the Canterbury
appointment, it cannot be far from his mind. Since it was announced that Dr
George Carey would retire on October 31 this year, speculation about his
successor has gone into overdrive. The name Rowan Williams is at the
forefront of any list of contenders, and a recent survey of Church of
England Synod members found he was their favoured candidate, supported by 42
per cent of those polled.

Archbishop Williams' personal charm and his popularity in many quarters of
the Church, primarily among liberal Catholics, does not hide his many
controversial beliefs. While holding conservative views on several key areas
of doctrine, such as the resurrection of Jesus and the virgin birth, many of
his views are far less traditional. He has been outspoken in his support for
the disestablishment of the Church of England, a stance that could have huge
ramifications should his be the name announced by the Queen later this year.

Perhaps most notably, he admits to holding a minority position on
homosexuality. He refused to endorse the 1998 Lambeth Conference's
resolution, which maintained a traditional, conservative position on the
ordination of actively homosexual clergy. "I am not convinced that a
homosexual has to be celibate in every imaginable circumstance," he admits
(read more below).

In a thinly-veiled response to Williams's candidacy, several African and
Asian bishops are writing to the Crown Appointment Commission (CAC), the
committee that will nominate two candidates for Canterbury to Prime Minister
Tony Blair. In their letters, the bishops will call on the CAC to appoint
someone who holds 'traditional beliefs'.

"I think it would be a very bad idea for the next Archbishop of Canterbury
to support the ordination of homosexuals. I would not support any candidate
who did," the Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop of Rwanda, recently
said, in a statement that speaks for much of the African Church.

While this is clearly a sensitive subject, perhaps now more than ever,
Archbishop Williams does not shirk the issue and is prepared to explain his
position carefully. In this interview, he also discusses topics such as the
recent Primates' meeting, the influence of Celtic Christianity on his own
faith, and his two-week trip to Uganda in Central Africa.

The Interview
Southern Cross: What was the background to your recent trip to Uganda?

Rowan Williams: There's long been a link between Wales and Uganda. We've
sent a number of missionaries to Uganda in the last century, and one of the
very important figures in Uganda was J C Jones, who was warden of their
training college in the 30s and 40s. Our own diocesan missioner worked for 6
years in Uganda.

We've made a lot of friends there. We had a visit from a group from one of
the Ugandan dioceses a couple of years ago, and they suggested that we visit
them, so five of us from our Diocese went for a fortnight's program of
travel, speaking and preaching.

SC: What did you learn about the state of the church there?

RW: It's one of the great churches of Africa. I don't think people realise
that. Statistically, Uganda is one of the most Christianised countries in
Africa, certainly in Central Africa. One of the particular features of its
history is the beginnings of the church in martyrdom in the 1880s, with the
martyrdom of a substantial number of Roman Catholic and Anglican young men.
There is something very important about that as part of the Ugandan Church's
heritage, both the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church, which are
about even in size.

The second big factor in the 20th century, around the 1930s, was the
so-called East African Revivals. These were very important in Uganda,
Rwanda, Burundi, that sort of area. A great many Ugandan Christians will
still identify themselves very strongly as children of the Revival. So
there's an undertone of very overt, personal piety. There is daily prayer on
every occasion, and for every event; a journey, a meal, a bottle of Pepsi,
are all marked with prayer. You're expected to be able to pray on all

SC: Does that carry over into public life as well?

RW: It does rather, yes. It gives a feel to the Ugandan Church and, to some
extent, to the public life of the Ugandan Church, which is strongly
Christianised. The President's wife is a very dedicated, active Christian.
The President is a little more detached, which is to be expected with his
history as a guerilla fighter, among other things. So the Church does have
leverage and presence.

The Church has been very active in recent years in combating the AIDS
pandemic, and Uganda has been something of a success story. Rates of
infection have dropped dramatically in the last three or four years, and
although there's a huge legacy of orphans from the bad days, I think there
is a willingness to address this, educationally and socially.

Another thing that took us to Uganda was a friendship that has developed
over some years with a young priest in the Kampala area named Gideon
Byamugisha. Gideon was the first priest in Africa to go public about having
HIV. I mention him because he's a very great man. He contracted the virus
from his first wife, who subsequently died, and he very courageously went
public. He saw that nothing could be done unless people would come out in
public, even at the risk of gossip, slander and public stigma. The fact that
he did, and the fact that he prompted other people to do it, has been quite
a big factor in moving things on.

Gideon runs an AIDS related charity and he's now working for World Vision
International. There's a clinic in Kampala and a retreat centre only a few
miles away, where I was able to dedicate the chapel. So there is quite a bit
being done. The Church is very committed.

A very important experience was going to the north-west of Uganda, to Nebbi,
a very rural diocese on the Congo border. We were able to see what a Diocese
in local renewal looks like. There is very powerful leadership from the
Bishop, who is a very charismatic personality. He has devoted himself to
intensive evangelism, holistic evangelism, as he would say. They are working
with the HIV issue, but also with issues of poverty and cooperative
management. It is very upfront evangelism, in an area that has an above
average Muslim population.

The great need of the Church in Uganda is twofold. The first problem is that
they are short of people who have financial management skills. That is
probably because there are not enough people who are trained as accountants.
There really is a need for the Church to develop some professionalism in its
handling of its money, especially its investments.

If churches elsewhere are thinking about helping Uganda, that would be one
of the simplest things: send some trained accountants, or some people to
train accountants. Uganda itself is developing fast in terms of financial
services. As with every other African country that has been an
underdeveloped area. But that's moving on, while the Church is lagging a

The second area is, as you might expect, theological education. Not so much
high level theological education. I spent a morning with some of the pastors
in the Diocese of Nebbi, and all of them are rural pastors with very limited
higher education. What they were all saying was, 'we need to spend more time
in corporate Bible study, and we need people to facilitate this'. They
didn't want lectures on complex subjects. They wanted someone to steer them
through an intelligent reading of the Bible. One of the things that I came
back with was a very strong sense that I needed to talk about the need for
that kind of education.

SC: Did you get much of a sense for the AIDS problem in Africa as a whole?

RW: We were able to meet the President of Uganda, and this is one of the
things I talked about with him. A lot of countries haven't made it as far as
Uganda. There is still the sense of stigma, the sense of public awkwardness
in talking about it. People feel as though it's almost an admission of
failure to say there's an AIDS problem. Just look at South Africa.

It's strange to see quite small school children in Uganda learning songs and
poems about all this, seven year-old children singing songs about using

The Church is very clear: there is a 100 per cent safe method, which is
abstinence. There is a second best, which are condoms. But they know they
have to talk about it, and I think that sort of honesty has been very good
for Uganda.

SC: What is the lesson that the western church can learn from Uganda and

RW: That's a big question.

I think the expectation of personal commitment is quite high. It's a church
with a very strong heritage from the East African Revival. There were some
occasions where that was a matter of form rather than substance. There is
still quite a strong sense that commitment matters, and commitment expresses
itself in lifestyle issues. The church is very puritanical about alcohol,
for example. Whatever you think about that, this is one of the distinctive
things about the Christian church.

One thing we can learn negatively is that the Anglican Church in Uganda has
been very slow to revise its liturgy. The result is that they have the Book
of Common Prayer in the native languages, and not a lot else. There's a bit
of a haemorrhage towards the newer churches, which offer a more obviously
exciting type of liturgy.

I met somebody who has done some research into why people left the Anglican
Church in Uganda, and he said the main thing people spoke about was worship.
They weren't worried about the structures, but they were starved of
appropriate liturgy. It's a reminder to us that flexibility in worship is
highly desirable.

SC: How can we encourage western Christians to care about AIDS in Africa,
and how can we make a difference?

RW: Christians have a very strong position in one sense, because they belong
to an international fellowship, and the information is there to be had. At
the recent Primates' Meeting there was a good deal of attention paid to this
question. The Primates are certainly committed to using the networks of the
Anglican Church to disseminate the information.

It was put to us at the Primates' meeting by Gideon, among others, that the
Church's ability to tackle this problem is going to be vital to the survival
of Africa. Not just the survival of the Church, but the survival of society
in Africa. The crisis is so enormous that unless all available institutions
are mobilised, within 20 or 30 years we will see a devastation of what there
is of civil society in sub-Saharan Africa. Churches elsewhere need to be
aware of the huge social role that they can potentially have. The
information is there and the networks are there. Places like Uganda will
welcome volunteers to go there and return with information. There are quite
a lot of opportunities. It's a matter of taking them.

Also, it is important to keep reminding people that the politics of AIDS is
different in Africa. In western society, it's tended to be bound up with
issues surrounding gay identity. That's completely irrelevant in African
countries, where it is almost entirely a heterosexual issue. The problem
there is orphans, infected children, people infected by their spouses.
Whatever may be taught in public, the African practice is often quite
different in terms of actual relationships, even within Christian circles.

SC: Is it important for western Primates to make trips like this?

RW: [The churches in Africa] value the contact enormously. It's quite easy
for African churches to feel that, although they are numerically large, they
have poor relations in terms of the priority given to them by the western
churches. If someone comes with a willingness to learn, not just a
willingness to set them straight, they will listen.

SC: Could you tell me a bit about your family? What does your wife do and
how many children do you have?

RW: My wife works as a teacher of theology at Trinity College in Bristol and
has done for the last six or seven years, teaching Christian doctrine and
church history. She comes from a missionary family and was born in South
India. We were rather late starters with children, and we have a 14-year-old
and a 6-year-old. At the moment I'm not seeing enough of them.

SC: How do they cope with being the children of a Primate?

RW: It is hard. The only thing that makes it easier is that, in a sense,
they haven't known it to be any different. I've been a bishop for ten years
and Archbishop for three. My daughter, although she's 14, doesn't remember
very much of the time before I was a bishop. She's used to it.

Of course, it's terrible for a teenager to have a clergyman of any kind as a
parent. She's very patient about it, I have to say. She's long-suffering!

SC: What about your own experience recently of becoming a school kid for a

RW: It was wonderful. We raised about #7000 for children's charities, which
was the aim of the day. It was great fun. I was quite apprehensive about it,
chiefly because I was worried about how I would relate to 12-year-old
children. But they were very welcoming and very ready to chat. I actually
visited the school just a few weeks ago to catch up with some of the
children, and I saw my replacement and her friends. I spent the morning with
a couple of religious studies groups of 14 and 15 year olds. I hope the link
will continue, because it's a school that has had its difficulties. It's in
a not very prosperous area, so they needed some publicity.

SC: It would have been an intimidating experience for the teacher taking
that religious studies class?

RW: I felt for her. She is actually a parishioner of ours so we knew each
other. But after half an hour she sat back and said, 'you had better carry
on from here'. But it did make quite an impact locally. Rhiann, the girl who
replaced me, took it in a very mature way.

SC: Did she make any big changes?

RW: I did suggest to her that she might possibly review the finances of the
Province, but she didn't get around to that!

SC: Let's talk about the recent Primates' meeting. Why was the statement on
the doctrine of God, which came out of the Primates' meeting, necessary?

RW: The Primates are looking at the whole issue of theological education
across the Communion, and that's been flagged as an issue at the last two
meetings. We ought to be working towards more convergence in the style and
content of theological education. Not uniformity - that's impossible. But we
should know something about what is at the heart of the enterprise of
theological education.

It was that context that the point was raised that it might help if we, as
Primates, said what we thought were the central issues of a theological

I think it was also prompted by the fact that a couple of Provinces had
quite high profile cases of prominent figures challenging certain central
doctrines, whether it's Bishop Spong in the United States or the man in
Ireland [Dean Andrew Furlong]. I think there was a feeling that it might
help all of us if we said, 'Never mind what any individual says. We, as
Primates, want to nail our colours to these principles.'

It wasn't meant to be a creed or a catechism or anything like that, but a
contribution to the ongoing work of theological education.

SC: What was your own role in the formulation of the statement?

RW: It was remitted to the Drafting Committee, of which I was a part.
There's always a Drafting Committee at these meetings to prepare papers. So
I did have some hand in its preparation.

SC: How do you see the statement being used?

RW: I'd quite like to see it being used as some sort of benchmark in our
further discussion about theological education. Perhaps it will serve as a
reminder in the Anglican Communion that whatever our degree of variety in
the Communion, there are some things on which we are at one, some things
without which the whole enterprise of the Anglican Church would not make
much sense at all. It doesn't set out to be a comprehensive creed. But it is
a statement of what we think our very existence as a Church depends on. To
be able to say that, with some degree of credibility among the senior
pastors in our churches, may help us as time goes on to remember that the
Anglican Communion may be a broad fellowship. It has some limits, as I like
to put it, some 'grammar'.

SC: The statement was generally well received in Sydney, but some people
feel that it didn't go far enough on the topic of the physical resurrection.

RW: I was interested in that, because it was meant to say that, certainly.

SC: What is your personal view on the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and do
you think the statement went far enough?

RW: I am completely committed to the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the empty
tomb and the continuity of the pre- and post-resurrection body. Finding
words for that, which everyone will immediately sign onto, is not easy.

I have a slight hesitation myself about using the expression 'physical
resurrection', to the extent that it might suggest just the resuscitation of
a corpse. It was physical in the sense that there's nothing left of Jesus in
the tomb. All that Jesus was, Jesus is.

I picked up that some people thought the statement was woolly on that, but
there was no intention of ambiguity. Maybe we ought to look at that again.

SC: There is a huge climate of relativism in much of the world, and it seems
that this statement in part addresses that by saying there are some things
that are true and not negotiable. How do you think this statement
contributes to combating relativism, and what do you think the Church can do
to tackle this trend?

RW: It's a huge question, isn't it?

What the Church can do most effectively is not to make statements, but to
look grateful. Let me enlarge on that:

For me, the foundation of all doctrinal language is gratitude. How does the
Church so live, so speak, so worship, to constantly be pointing to what it
has been given? That's the challenge.

It seems to be that the more we live in that mode, and the more we allow
that gratitude to pervade what we are and what we do, the more we
effectively combat relativism. By relativism here I'd understand the spirit
that sets at centre stage our own questing, reflecting, probing. There's a
place for that, but it can of course lead us into that ultimate stand-off,
where people clash over what they have experienced.

The church, as a church, exists out of people recognising the same gift that
they have received. That's what breaks through the deadlock of relativism,
that mutual recognition within a Church, where people can say to one
another, 'You've seen what I've seen.' For me, something like that is
expressed most vividly in something like the encounter in Luke 24, the
Emmaus story. The two disciples come back from the road to Emmaus and burst
in on the eleven gathered together, and they find the eleven saying, ''We've
seen it'. That, if you like, is the real answer to relativism. The statement
is a very small contribution to that continuing process in the life of the
Church, which I hope moves it towards a deeper gratitude.

SC: The Action Plan listed HIV/AIDS, theological education, Unity of the
Communion, Christian-Muslim relations and Poverty/Trade as key issues to be
followed up. What do you see as the single biggest issue facing the Anglican

RW: You could come at it from two directions.

Preserving a meaningful unity in the Anglican Communion is the biggest
challenge. By meaningful unity I don't just mean structural unity, but the
kind of common understanding that a theological education program looks to.
The work that we have been doing on Canon Law feeds into that. For most
people, Canon Law is the ultimate turn-off. But it can actually uncover
things that matter.

A meaningful unity, a unity with some content to it, is the biggest task.
Out of that can come a great deal of addressing common problems such as HIV.
But unless we have some degree of common mind and some willingness to work
with one another and come to a common position, then we will be much less
effective in those other areas.

SC: The meeting was Archbishop Carey's last before he retires in October. In
your opinion, what has been his contribution to the Communion?

RW: He has done an enormous amount in building up that meaningful unity. His
own convictions are very clear, but he has shown an enormous amount of
patience and skill in holding together people of different convictions.

Back to Uganda, the reason he is loved and appreciated in so many Third
World churches is that he has given them time and real attention. He has
been quite courageous, not only in challenging hostile anti-Christian
policies in many areas, but going to places and listening to people. I know
that in Sudan, that has mattered enormously to a Church dealing with
tremendous difficulty.

He's helped to shift the centre of gravity in the Anglican Communion toward
the other churches, taking them seriously and making sure they're valued.
But at the same time he's worked very hard at holding the whole enterprise
together. At something like the Primates' Meeting, there is a very high
level of tangible gratitude and appreciation for that, both towards him and
Mrs Carey.

SC: What personal benefit do you derive from the Primates' meetings, and
what is the benefit for the whole Anglican Communion? Is it worthwhile?

RW: I always find it enormously helpful to sit informally with the Primates
from other Provinces, especially the ones from places such as Sudan,
Tanzania and South East Asia. The building up of those friendships is a huge
part of what the meetings are for.

Obviously, there is a question about whether, at a time of limited
resources, we can indefinitely go on having these meetings with such
regularity. I know this is a question that is asked in many quarters. I
think we can, precisely because of this building up of personal trust. The
work that is done in small groups on those occasions, especially in Bible
studies together as with the Lambeth Conference, is where the real work is
done and the real communion is built and the real issues are tackled.

SC: You spent a lot of time in the past as a theological scholar, working at
both Oxford and Cambridge. Do you ever wish you were back doing that

RW: Very occasionally, in a very dull meeting. But then of course I had dull
meetings when I was a professor, too. Even duller, sometimes.

I miss my research students. I had a lot of research students who were very
good. But I still think I am a theologian, and that is my task as a Bishop
to try to be a teacher and interpreter of the faith.

Although I sometimes feel a bit nostalgic for times when I could have a
couple of weeks reading and writing; I can't do that. Nonetheless, I haven't
regretted leaving the academic life. I've still been able to do a bit of
writing. The week by week challenge of preaching and teaching at a very
simple, basic environment is one that I would not have missed. I love that
side of it.

SC: Do you get much time to sit and read things for your own enjoyment?

RW: I have to work hard to make reading time. Travel helps, and I always
read on trains and planes. Things are certainly squeezed in around the edges
of the day. What I miss is the opportunity to sit and read a book carefully
from cover to cover, rather than skimming it quickly and getting what I need
from it.

I do read quite a lot outside theology as well, and try to make a point of
reading carefully. I read a lot of novels and biographies, and a certain
amount of history and philosophy. That is something I used to teach, so I
try to maintain it. I'm fond of biography, especially literary biography.
Books about Dickens or Robert Louis Stevenson. At the moment I'm re-reading
a bit of Dickens.

SC: What has been the influence of Celtic Christianity on your own faith and

RW: I'm a bit suspicious of the fashion for Celtic Christianity at the
moment, because I'm not sure how much it has to do with real Celtic
Christianity. But I can remember, when I was a boy, being very interested in
the early Celtic Church. I was interested in the structural freedom, the
institutional freedom of it.

In those early days - the 6th and 7th century - you had a bit of an
opposition between the quite organised, hierarchical Roman Church coming
over from the Continent, and the life of the local Church depending quite a
lot on monasteries, with missioners going out following the Celtic pattern,
from a cluster at the centre. The bishop would be there and the missioners
would go out, not over a single territory but through a network of churches
and congregations scattered around the country, several of them

Also, the literature and the spirituality of the early Irish monks has a
very attractive element to it, a gratefulness and a joyfulness. So it has
been there in my life, but equally important is the more recent Welsh
tradition, the revivalist tradition of the 18th century and the great hymns
of the period, which are wonderful expressions of classical Christian
doctrine. That formed some of my childhood understanding of Christianity.

The difficulty is that for so many people, Celtic Christianity is now
associated with New Age thinking. That is not quite what it's really about.

SC: There was a recent article in the UK Telegraph by Graham Turner.
Referring to you, the article says, "he has ordained one man whom he knows
had a homosexual partner in the background, because he was convinced he was
not going to flaunt it or make a scandal." Is the report accurate?

RW: Yes, it's accurate.

SC: Can you explain the circumstances surrounding that, and what are your
views on the ordination of homosexuals?

RW: The point I was trying to make to Graham Turner, which didn't come
across quite as I intended it, was that, in such a circumstance, sometimes
what I know as a pastor from dealing with someone privately and personally
isn't something that comes through official channels.

Sometimes, in pastoral judgement you would want to be assured that a person
has a decent spiritual director who can make them accountable. Beyond that,
I haven't enquired as to what people do in bed. In the case I mentioned, I
was aware that there was a long-term friendship. But I don't see my task as
going around the bedroom with a magnifying glass doing surveillance. I do
see my job as making sure that someone who is going to be a priest in the
Church is taking full responsibility for all that means.

I ask someone at ordination if they will conform their lives, and that of
their household, to Christ. I have to assure myself, as far as possible,
that someone knows what they are undertaking, knows what the responsibility
is, and is accountable to somebody in the Church for what they do. That's
been my pastoral principle.

SC: But for you, 'conforming your life, and that of your household, to
Christ' doesn't mean giving up a homosexual lifestyle?

RW: This is where I recognise I am in the minority, so I am cautious of
making this a great campaigning issue. I am not convinced that a homosexual
has to be celibate in every imaginable circumstance. But if that were the
case I would also want to be sure that their attitude to their sexual habits
is a responsible, prayerful and theologically informed one.

SC: You mentioned the need for unity, but this issue may be a major
challenge to unity, particularly with regard to the African Church. How do
you see this issue being a challenge or a threat to unity in the Anglican

RW: I think there are distortions at both ends of the spectrum. There is an
attitude that says the entire historical sexual morality of the Church is
open to negotiation, and that really there are no fixed points. At the other
end of the spectrum, there are people who say that anything which deviates
an inch from the apparent plain sense of Scripture is a fundamental matter
of Christian integrity.

I'm not very happy with either of those extremes. I believe that there is an
integral sexual morality, which the Church has rightly taught, and that has
to do with the fact that our active sexuality must express the fidelity of
God, both in creation and in Christ. It's only within that framework that I
want to discuss the question of active homosexuality as a theological

But that's where I get a bit upset. When some people seem to be saying that
any disagreement on this is a disagreement on the fundamentals, or that this
is a church-breaking issue. If we were to move towards a marriage liturgy
for same-sex partnerships, a number of quite complicated questions would
arise. And I'm not too sure that's the direction we should go in, certainly
not for individual provinces.

SC: So same-sex marriage is a different matter?

RW: It's a very perplexing area. I was asked about it in Uganda. I had to
try to pick my way through a lot of very difficult cultural sensitivities.
I've found that in private conversation with a good number of bishops and
friends of mine, we can find a way of discussing this without instantly
falling into a radical position.

SC: Do you see that other areas, such as the doctrine of God, are more the
fundamental aspects of 'meaningful unity'?

RW: I would hope so, yes. As long as we do have a sense that we can
recognise in each other the same great God, there is room for some

To use an example I have used in the past, Christians have disagreed quite
sharply in the past about the use of violence and war, just war versus
pacifism. I think that's quite a fundamental matter in some ways, but we've
lived with disagreement on that. It doesn't mean that anyone thinks it is
marginal or unimportant. It means that, with great difficulty, people have
recognised great integrity in each other. Perhaps that's a model for other

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