Sunday, 13 June 2004

Pooter's book

A lot has been published about the Carey autobiography, what follows is selective.

Christopher Morgan reviews the actual book today in the Sunday Times
KNOW THE TRUTH: A Memoir by George Carey. Here’s how it starts:

In the 11 years of George Carey’s leadership, the Church of England lost more than a quarter of its worshippers, a catastrophic decline in attendance - the sharpest in the church’s history - that gets no mention here. Perhaps the truth is too embarrassing. Carey also fails to acknowledge some uncomfortable facts about himself. He seems unaware that his brother bishops believed he was ill-equipped to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Senior churchmen spent the 1990s cracking cruel jokes about him. “I like George, but he’d be out of his depth in a font” was one of the milder examples.

In the very same newspaper, the very same person reports Carey told: shut up about royals

A SENIOR Anglican bishop has told Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, to “keep his mouth shut” after he revealed details of conversations with the royal family.
David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury, is the first prelate publicly to advise Carey to observe silence about his pastoral work and to accuse him of undermining the work of Rowan Williams, his successor. A number of bishops have privately said they are appalled at the revelations in his memoirs.

and columnist Atticus reports that

Ok, Carey’s not Kilroy … but he’s a bit of a killjoy
And now, an apology. I was very wrong to refer to George Carey not long ago as the Robert Kilroy-Silk of the Anglican Church. Especially as he is much more like the Church of England’s answer to Edward Heath: sulky, outspoken, and apparently dedicated to making life difficult for his successor. Why else would he have chosen Lambeth Palace for the launch of his memoirs tomorrow evening? Senior bishops, meeting last week in Liverpool, begged Archbishop Rowan Williams to intervene and cancel the event but he said it was too late. Can nobody rid him of this turbulent priest?

And that’s not all. Over in the Sunday Telegraph a related story is reported: Lord Carey faces complaint over Royal revelations

One lay member of the Church of England said yesterday that he would ask the Bishop of Southwark, who officiates over Lord Carey’s pastoral responsibilities, to investigate his comments.
It is the first time that a senior clergyman has been accused of breaching guidelines of confidentiality. If found to have broken the rules, Lord Carey could face censure. The draft of the Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of Clergy were drawn up in 2000 and 2001 when Lord Carey headed the Church. He retired in 2002 and the guidelines were finally approved by Synod last year.
The complainant, a London barrister, said that he would write to the Bishop of Southwark tomorrow asking for an investigation. He said: “Carey has forfeited the right to a licence to officiate by breaching the guidelines as published by the Church of England last year - which applies to all priests, irrespective of their status.”

The Guidelines For The Professional Conduct of The Clergy state that members of the clergy should not pass on details of private conversations to third parties.
“What is said to clergy in confidence must be understood to be confidential at all times. Information may only be divulged with the other parties’ informed consent,” the guidelines read.
Neither Lord Carey nor the Bishop of Southwark would comment.

Earlier, The Times had reported Carey defends secret Camilla revelations while
Denise Robertson in the Teesside Journal had Shame on you, your lordship

It’s amazing what some people will do to publicise their books, but George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has struck a new low, coming out with a savage indictment of Diana, Princess of Wales, as his book hits the stands.

The Church Times reported I haven’t broken confidences, says Carey

Mr Pooter himself wrote a letter to the editor of The Times and said:

Lord Carey’s memoirs
From Lord Carey of Clifton
Sir, No pastoral confidence has been breached in my memoirs (letter, June 5). Astute readers will have observed in the extracts published by The Times that the “secret revelations” amounted merely to disclosing the location of one of my private meetings with Mrs Parker Bowles. The fact that such meetings had taken place was already in the public domain.
I also expressed my opinion that Mrs Parker Bowles was not the ogre depicted in the media at one time and is in fact a delightful lady, and my view that it was natural and right for her and Prince Charles to marry.
When the dust has settled, I hardly think that this is likely to cause offence or lead anyone to the conclusion that they cannot trust a priest to keep a confidence.
Yours faithfully,
GEORGE CAREY,
House of Lords.
June 7.

A piece about how the book was written appeared last week in the CEN An Archbishop’s journey By Andrew Carey

And in the Independent Terence Blacker wrote this (extracts from a column entitled Reverend Pooter and the Royal Family which is more about the Royals than Pooter)

Eagerly scattering soundbites as he goes, the man who once was Archbishop of Canterbury has this week provided a very useful insight into the Church and the Crown. Promoting his memoirs, he has also reminded us that the very contemporary disease of publicity-addiction is not restricted to the young, vain and pretty. Being only one of those things, Lord Carey has nonetheless found himself in the news with the help of some light indiscretions from his book, goosed up by a bit of headline-friendly opinionising.
Carey’s big story is that when, in 1991, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was reported to be in trouble, he asked himself, “What can I do, and what ought I to do?” The answer that he came up with was that, since he was “the Royal Family’s parish priest” and because the future of the monarchy was in jeopardy, it would be irresponsible not to get involved.
With the hilarious self-importance of a Reverend Pooter, Carey then recounts how he had “conversations” with each of the unhappy couple, bringing pastoral help and a Christian perspective to the problem. Although he disapproved of the fact that they had both committed adultery, he bravely decided that speaking out would have been “a betrayal of my pastoral duty”.
No such problem seems to have occurred to him when it came to writing the book, which includes some low-grade gossip about the Prince (“more sinned against than sinning”) and “the darker side” of Princess Diana.
Years later - what a surprise - he was “dragged into the controversy” involving Camilla Parker-Bowles when, after the death of Princess Diana, he blabbed to a journalist that a constitutional crisis would be caused if Charles remarried. “I knew with a sinking heart that this was the news that would speed round the world”.
As recently as 2002 - coincidentally the moment when he must have been writing his memoirs - Carey “began to worry about Mrs Parker-Bowles” and wrote to her suggesting that they meet. The royal girl-friend agreed on the condition that the meeting was strictly private. Sure enough, here it is, reproduced in the strict privacy of his lordship’s memoirs.
This Carey version of priestly duty, which seems to involve meddling in an unhappy marriage, prating about his Christian perspective and then serving up privileged information for a book, should perhaps come as no surprise. It is the autobiographical money-shot, the ecclesiastical equivalent of Glenn Hoddle revealing what went on in the World Cup dressing room with the England football squad, or of Jordan sharing with her public details of how she took the virginity of Gareth Gates.
The Church will worry little about Carey’s book: Rowan Williams, who has already proved to be considerably brighter yet less puffed up than his predecessor, has helped the Church of England recover a degree of seriousness and moral authority…..

And finally, the Sunday Telegraph a week ago had this profile

Once, Dr Carey was lampooned as among the dullest of the Anglican archbishops; today, there are few controversies in which one cannot glimpse his clerical hand performing a vigorous stirring motion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 June 2004 at 2:46 PM GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Let’s be honest. Carey wasn’t up to the job, never was, and his achievements were nil. He got the job for one reason alone - that he wasn’t John Habgood. He is an inept, bumbling bureaucrat and a hypocrite, who fails to see that his extreme liberality on divorce (could it be linked to his divorced conservative evangelical son?) and his homophobia (none of THOSE in his family, I’m sure) are totally at odds.

Frankly, I despise him.

Posted by: Mike Homfray at June 17, 2004 02:22 AM