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
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine