Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On the selection of the Archbishop of Canterbury

You know, one thing that's wonderful about having a blog is that when you put a mistake in print, it will stay in the blogosphere forever, like one of those rogue satellites.

I found this little tidbit today from the London Times:

And, despite Africans' claims that the process was a colonial imposition, they did choose him: although the appointment was formally made by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Archbishop's name was put forward by an electoral college made up of Church members. It consulted widely, in a process that took far longer than a papal convocation, and was endorsed by a meeting of all the Anglican primates in the Communion. As Anthony Sadler, the then Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments, wrote to The Times yesterday about the meeting of the primates: “I have never attended a meeting where the presence of the Holy Spirit was so clearly and movingly in evidence.”

Which just goes to show how little I know about the mechanisms of the Anglican Communion.

One thing I do not know: can someone beyond the UK be appointed by the Queen to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury? Even looking at the procedures for the appointment of the ABC on the Church of England's website, it is not clear.

One thing I would like to point out is the way this comment in the Times protests against "Africans' claims that the process was a colonial imposition." But despite his use of the plural, this is Archbishop Orombi's claim, not the continental church's claim as a whole.

I have to say, after looking through the procedures for appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury, I still think Archbishop Orombi has made a reasonable point. It's hard not to think that the C of E and England's government has the upper hand on the ABC's selection when you read, "The Prime Minister, after consultation, appoints a communicant lay member of the Church of England to chair the Crown Appointments Commission, which oversees the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury." And et cetera and et cetera and so forth. Still sounds rather imperious to me.

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