The Prince of Wales has entered the controversy over gay clergy by lavishing praise on the first Church of England priest to write about his homosexuality.
Prince Charles has endorsed the ministry of Harry Williams in his foreword to a new book of essays by the Anglican theologian, who died earlier this year, aged 86.
The intervention from a man who, as king, will be the head of the Church of England, will alarm conservative bishops who last week addressed growing concern over the number of gay clergy that have "married" since the Civil Partnerships Act was introduced last year.
In his autobiography, Some Day I'll Find You, Fr Williams shocked many within the church by writing openly about his life as a promiscuous homosexual.
In his book, published in 1982, he said of his days working at Cambridge University: "I slept with several men, in each case fairly regularly. They were all of them friends. Cynics, of course, will smile, but I have seldom felt more like thanking God then when having sex. In bed I used to praise Him there and then for the joy I was receiving and giving."
Fr Williams was Dean of Chapel at Trinity College when the Prince arrived at Cambridge to study in 1967.
Now, in a fond tribute to the theologian, Prince Charles has written a foreword to the book, Living Free, due to be published this month by Continuum.
"Harry Williams proved to be a star; a man of intense humanity and warmth whose humour and originality created an aura of approachability," he writes.
The prince does not refer directly to Fr Williams's homosexuality but he hints heavily at it: "His courageous willingness to open up his inner soul and being and to speak from the heart about his own experience of the vicissitudes, complications and agonies of life struck a powerful and immediate chord with huge numbers of undergraduates."
Prince Charles comes across as understanding of Fr Williams's lifestyle and his controversial linking of God and homosexual activity. "His essence may have evaporated, but his heartening and profoundly sympathetic insight into our humanity and into the relationship between God and Man – what he called 'our identity with Life Universal, with God' – will live on through the power and presence of his words and through the affectionate memories of his old undergraduates," he writes.
Sunday Telegraph 10/8/2006
Only trogdylites seem to be bothered by gay people in civilized countries these days.