Thursday, November 02, 2006

"An Instrument of Disunity"

Citing his perceived role as a "divisive force" in his successor's administration, the former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has been barred from a scheduled speaking engagement at a Welsh cathedral (via Open Book):
Lord Carey, who has become a champion of orthodoxy in the Anglican Church since stepping down from the top job in 2002, was due to speak at Bangor Cathedral, North Wales, in February. The Dean of Bangor, the Very Rev Alun Hawkins, is understood to have imposed the unprecedented ban because he feels that Lord Carey has become a “divisive force” and has been “disloyal” to his successor, Dr Rowan Williams, who was born in Wales.

Relations have been strained since Lord Carey blocked the appointment of Dr Williams as Bishop of Southwark because he believed that he was too liberal on the gay issue.

Lord Carey’s lecture, one of four he was due to deliver in Wales, had been organised by the Church Mission Society. John Martin, of the society, said about the Dean: “He felt George had become a factor of disunity and of disloyalty to Rowan Williams, a divisive force. He also questioned whether inviting George Carey to speak was a sign that the society was lurching to the right. We pointed out that in fact we have had a very balanced series of lecturers.”

Cathedral deans have the power to refuse entry to anyone, including their own diocesan bishop, but it is extremely rare for a dean to invoke this power. The ban is even more extraordinary given that, in his retirement, Lord Carey is an assistant bishop in South Wales.
In related news, Katharine Jefferts Schori took office yesterday as presiding bishop of the Episcopal church. The new PB will be formally installed as world Anglicanism's first woman primate on Saturday at Washington National Cathedral; it'll be webstreamed.

All this comes in the run-up to the Thanksgiving-weekend meeting between Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury and Pope Benedict, the first private audience between the two theologians since Benedict's election.

Oh, and a fifth of Canterbury cathedral's marble pillars are being held together by duct tape. Literally.