Church plans role for global Anglican 'president'

 

The Anglican Church is planning to hand over some of the global duties of the Archbishop of Canterbury to a "presidential" figure.

Dr Rowan Williams, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, said plans are being drawn up for a role to oversee the day-to-day running of the Anglican Communion and its 77 million members, leaving the Archbishop free to concentrate on leading the Church of England.

The tenure of the Welsh-born Archbishop, who steps down after 10 years in December, has been marked by a bruising war between liberals and traditionalists in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality, including the ordination of gay bishops.

There has also been a divisive row over female clergy.

Admitting he may not have got it right he told the paper the top job might better be done by two people.

"I don't think I've got it right over the last 10 years, it might have helped a lot if I'd gone sooner to the United States when things began to get difficult about the ordination of gay bishops, and engaged more directly," he told the paper, adding: "I know that I've, at various points, disappointed both conservatives and liberals.

"Most of them are quite willing to say so, quite loudly."

Talking about the new role, he said: "It would be a very different communion, because the history is just bound up with that place, that office (Archbishop).

"So there may be more of a sense of a primacy of honour, and less a sense that the Archbishop is expected to sort everything."

He told the paper the role would be for a "presidential figure who can travel more readily".

The 62-year-old, who steps down in December after 10 years as Archbishop of Canterbury to take up a new post as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, told the paper the church had treated homosexuals badly in the past.

But he reiterated his opposition to gay marriage, saying its legalisation could create a "tangle" between the church and the Government.

The paper reported that he also voiced concern that there are not enough Christians in politics and that the relationship between the church and the monarch may change when the "more quizzical" Charles succeeds the current Queen.

PA

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