As the archbishop said to the adulterer

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The Independent Online
This life, traditionally, has not been easy for Archbishops of Canterbury. Traditionally, too, it has been of their own making. Becket, Cranmer (eventually), Laud: all took the hard route. Dr George Carey, in his own way, shows no sign of breaking with the past. True, he is unlikely to be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice; but then Becket, Cranmer and Laud might well have preferred that to dealing with the Dean and the Sub-Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, or, for that matter, the Rev Chris Brain's Nine O'Clock Service. His latest initiative, though, "Carey's Crusade", the call for a return to the simple and uncompromising moral values of Judaeo-Christianity, promised some positive respite from his travails. A carefully prepared sequence of exclusive newspaper article, radio interview and House of Lords debate was put in train, complete with multiple sound and prose bites: the danger of "do-it-yourself" morality leading to "chaotic gangsterism"; religion being relegated to a "private hobby"; spiritual education in schools not "an add-on extra"; important values that we share, clear about them, should not be embarrassed about articulating them. This firmness sat well with the finding in an accompanying newspaper poll which showed a pervasive belief in our moral decline (blamed mostly, in the convenient convention of the day, on the media) and a dissatisfaction with Church guidance up until now.

Then, during the radio interview, after a stately trundle through the bites, there came a mention of the royal divorce and an invitation to the Archbishop to say that adultery was wrong. Becket, Cranmer and Laud, and probably More too, were at his shoulder. Carey's Crusade hung in the balance. The Archbishop did not hesitate. "I don't really want to go into that," he said. New Church. No Comment.

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