Not much of a choice

From Mr Peter Osborne

With the impending vacancy at Canterbury, one’s thoughts naturally turn to the field! The tragedy is that the field is sadly depleted. When Runcie retired there was no one obviously ‘out in front’ and when Carey retired we had to plunder an archbishop from the tiny Church in Wales.

Since the Callaghan Accord in 1976, the C of E has continually grasped more power in the process of appointing bishops. This has led (with a very few exceptions) to a largely anodyne, bench of bishops whose chief qualifications for office appear to be a) an ability not to rock the boat, and b) a supporter of female ordination

Prior to 1976, it seemed to an outsider like me that the patronage secretaries in Lambeth and Downing Street worked together to ensure that when a senior vacancy ocurred, there was always a candidate who had been groomed for high office, waiting in the wings.

In the past, voices have been heard pleading that candidates from the whole communion be considered rather than just the C of E. This time round it doesn’t look as if we have a choice.

Peter Osborne

4 Mulberry Court, Stour Street, Canterbury CT1 2NT

A Tract for the Times?

From Mrs J B Martin

Writing Tract 90 in 1841, John Henry Newman warned: “Religious changes to be beneficial, should be that act of the whole body; they are worth little if they are the mere act of a majority. No good can come of any change which is not heartfelt, a development of feelings springing up freely and calmly within the bosom of the hole body itself… Even supposing…that any changes in contemplation, whatever they were, were good in themselves, they would cease to be good to a Church, in which they were the fruits not of the quiet conviction of all, but of the agitation, or tyranny, or intrigue of a few, nurtured not in mutual love, but in strife and envying; perfected… in pride, elation and triumph.” Is it not time we listened to his warning?

J B Martin

2 Dikler Close, Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire

Letters for publication should be sent to:

The Editor, New Directionns
2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AG