Church of England likely to move to the right
The Church of England is likely to take a swing to the right as a conclave of powerful figures from within the Anglican Communion meets to decide who should become the new Archbishop of Canterbury over the coming days.
Almost all the front-runners who have been put forward for the role are noticeably more conservative than Rowan Williams was before he took up leadership of the church nine years ago – particularly when it comes to the thorny issue of homosexuality.
Although the short list of applicants is not made public, the runners who have been promoted by commentators features a variety of senior theologians who are either against the Government's plans to legalise gay marriage or have yet to declare for it.
Among those in the running are the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, a staunch conservative who has refused to ordain women priests; the softly evangelical Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth; and the newly appointed Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, a former oil executive turned theologian who is a staunch opponent of gay marriage.
When Williams was given the job, he was viewed as an academically brilliant and relatively liberal theologian who was sympathetic towards greater inclusion and acceptance of openly homosexual laity and clergy. But in office he regularly backed down in favour of the church's more conservative elements in an attempt to prevent a split over the key issues of women and gay bishops.
His successor will be appointed by the Crown Nominations Committee, a group of four women and 15 men meeting in secret over the next two days to decide who should become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. The committee, led by former Conservative MP Lord Luce, will give two names to Downing Street – a preferred choice and a fall-back option. Dr Williams' successor is then likely to be announced by the Queen next week.
Among the slightly more liberal clergymen who have been suggested are the Bishop of Norwich, Graham Jones, and James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool. The media-savvy John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, is also a strong contender and would probably appeal to the secular masses despite his opposition to gay marriage. However, he is a divisive figure within the church and has a powerful lobby of detractors who are often nicknamed the ABYs – Anyone But Yorks.
Whoever is enthroned at Canterbury faces a daunting task. Unlike more dogmatic faiths, Anglicanism is a "big tent" that accepts multiple theological convictions. But over the past decade the church has been torn apart over the issues of women and gay clergy.
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...