Former archbishop attacks Pope for Anglican overtures

Lord Carey says lack of consultation on Rome's invitation to Anglo-Catholics is 'inexcusable'

The former archbishop of Canterbury criticised the Roman Catholic Church this weekend, branding as "inexcusable" its failure to consult leading Church of England clergy on the Pope's invitation for Anglo-Catholics to join him.

Lord Carey gave a cautious welcome to the proposals from Rome but said he was "distressed" that his successor had received just two weeks' notice of them.

He said that the move by Pope Benedict XVI could help clergy in the Church of England who were unhappy with the ordination of women bishops.

However, he urged the current Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, to protest at the lack of consultation.

He told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "I would protest and say what we must do is to work closely together, and I gave the example of 10 or 15 years years ago when we were ordaining women as priests.

"My views are predicated on one little word: 'if'. I don't know the details, but if my successor was only informed about this two weeks ago then I think this is quite distressing.

"We are closer together, we share offices – ecumenical offices – in many dioceses and so on. There was really no need for it to be done in this kind of way."

He added: "I was very surprised by the way this was done, not the action itself. I think we ought to give this a cautious welcome."

Dr Williams said earlier last week that he had been informed of the move at a very late stage, but said he did not see it as an act of aggression by the Catholic church.

He added that it would be a "serious mistake" to view it as a response to the difficulties within the Church of England.

Lord Carey, who stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, said he wanted unity between the churches and thought the Church of England would be poorer and weaker without the Anglo-Catholics.

He added that the Church of England must not be treated as the "junior partner" in the process.

"Somehow we've managed successfully over 400 or 500 years to provide a service to the nation.

"This will, of course, continue. We do need the [Anglo-Catholics] with us and I hope they look very carefully at what is being offered.

"I'm all for ecumenism. This could be a fresh start for our failing ecumenical initiatives. I give it a cautious welcome.

"I do want to say that I am in no way trying to do Rowan's job."

Under the proposals, announced on Tuesday, Anglican congregations could join the Catholic church en masse rather than forming small, breakaway churches.

Married Anglican priests choosing to convert to Catholicism would be permitted to be ordained as Catholic priests but would be unable to become bishops. Up to 50 Anglican bishops worldwide are expected to convert.

The Apostolic Constitution that was approved by the Pope would allow Catholic parishes to join "personal ordinariates" for former members if the Anglican church. These would preserve elements of Anglican traditions and would be supervised by an ordinary – a senior clergy member taken from the Anglican church.

The introduction of women and openly gay priests in the Church of England caused the resignation of more than 400 members and the desertion of thousands of members of the worldwide communion in England, Australia and America.

Matters of faith: The great divide: how the churches differ

Catholicism does not allow the ordination of women. It is permitted in strands of the Anglican communion. The Church of England voted in favour in 1992.

Catholicism considers the use of contraception a sin in that it denies life and God's will. The Anglican church does not regard it as a contravention of God's purpose.

The Catholic church does not recognise divorce, saying that marriage is ordained by God and is a binding, lifelong commitment.

The Anglicans say that marriage is a lifelong commitment under God but that civil law must deal with the consequences of a marriage's breakdown.

Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy. The Anglican church allows members of the clergy to marry and have children.

Pope Benedict XVI has called homosexuality "a moral evil".

The Anglican stance is that those who enter into homosexual relationships should be respected.

Catholics believe that it is a mortal a sin to choose not to go to Sunday Mass. Anglicans see Mass or communion as a means to an end rather than a duty of faith.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A recent rise in net migration has been considered bad news for the Government
voicesYet when we talk about it, the national media goes into a frenzy, says Nigel Farage
Life and Style
Miracle muffin: chemicals can keep a muffin looking good at least a month after it was bought
food + drinkThe alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers