Church Politics – Don’t You Just Love It…

Reading through Cartoon Church today, I came across this cartoon produced in response to the news that Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has been blocked from speaking in Bangor Cathedral by the Dean. Officially the reason given is that the Dean believes that Carey is being disloyal to Rowan Williams the current Archbishop, although much discussion has focused in on his beliefs. Not surprisingly it is being seen as being another liberal/conservative spat, expanded further by Ruth Gledhill in her post on the subject.

It’s also not the first time somebody prominent has been banned, in practice via the official methods of resolutions A, B and C churches can effectively ban a significant proportion of the clergy in the Church of England from their services, however this will be seen as a much more significant and public move.

It’s also not as if the disloyalty is anything new, it is well known that Carey is not keen on Williams, indeed as mentioned in this Observer article from 2002, Carey actually blocked Williams as a candidate for Bishop of Southwark when he was Archbishop. The prominence of Andrew Carey doesn’t help matters either, as quite often the former Archbishop doesn’t have to say anything at all, comments from Andrew are associated back purely because they are father and son.

In reality I see the whole move as generally pointless. It’s not going to stop Carey speaking his mind, nor making his speech. If anything it will make people more likely to listen to him when he goes to Bangor. All it has done is generated a load of poor publicity and given some more material for the factional arguments. Really the Dean would have done a lot better to have politely welcomed Carey and been done with it.

Having said that it has given an opportunity for Dave to produce a topical cartoon, which even Ruth Gledhill has picked up… Can’t be all bad then… 🙂

3 thoughts on “Church Politics – Don’t You Just Love It…”

  1. I’m really glad I’m not a woman priest. If I was, I think your line “however this is a much more significant and public move.” would have driven into a state of apoplexy from which I would have never recovered.

  2. The reason for the phrasing of the comment is that in the wider church the numbers of A, B and C churches are fairly limited, and most people outside the church and a good deal of people in the pews of the church don’t even realise that women priests aren’t welcome in some parts of the Church of England thanks in part to programmes like the Vicar of Dibley, and Seaside Parish I guess.

    Moving to ban Carey is much more significant because of who he is, and because it is a cathedral that is doing it – plus of course because the press has picked up on the move.

    I certainly wasn’t intending to imply that it is unimportant that women aren’t welcome to practice their ministry in certain churches in the Church of England, as to my mind it certainly is. It is just that the Bangor move is going to attract a lot more attention. Anyway, I’ve rephrased the sentence slightly, which hopefully makes my point a bit clearer.

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