Thinking Anglicans

General Synod – Question on Crown Nominations Commission

At the recent November group of sessions Rachel Beck (Lincoln) asked the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Have any actions been taken by the CNC in response to the media reports that appeared in July, purporting to disclose details of its deliberations in relation to the Southwark episcopal vacancy, and will the CNC undertake to make public the full results of any investigation that it may have commissioned into the circumstances surrounding those reports?

The Archbishop of Canterbury replied:

The answer to the first part of the question is Yes. The Archbishops commissioned an external scrutiny by Baroness Fritchie, a senior cross bench peer, of how the CNC process around the vacancy in the See of Southwark gave rise to a number of media reports. This scrutiny has just been completed and the document will be shortly be shared with the members of the Commission for Southwark. It would not be appropriate to give that wider circulation. Any recommendations made in the report will first have to be carefully considered by the central members of the Commission and they will be so considered.

Rachel Beck asked a supplementary question:

What measures have been taken to limit the effects of the disclosure on the ministries of all those concerned.

The Archbishop replied:

There has been contact from both myself and the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to deal with the pastoral questions arising as you have identified them.

Robert Hammond (Chelmsford) asked a supplementary question:

What steps have been taken to reduce the time taken for each CNC and the following announcement, and therefore reduce the potential for leaks of this type.

The Archbishop replied:

No steps are being taken at the moment. The timetable is of course not entirely in the CNC’s hands on the rate of vacancies appearing from dioceses. Every step is taken to accelerate that process but it is extremely difficult with the quite considerable turnover we currently have to secure the kind of rapidity we would all like.

(the above is my own transcription from the audio recording)

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Father Ron Smith
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This is just one more instance of the problems associated with appointment by government fiat – rather than by synodical debate and election. If ever there were an argument for the separation of Church and state it is here. The longer the Church of England has Bishops in the House of Lords – who are able to overturn the deliberations of the house of Commons – the longer it will take for the Church to identify with the life of the common people. Princely privilege ought to no longer be a mark of Christian leadership. Bishops: YES; Monarchical Privileges enshrined… Read more »