The Archbishop of York has issued this statement:
Archbishop Responds to Prime Minister’s Statement
The Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister regarding changes to the process by which diocesan bishops are appointed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is on study leave, was made aware at the outset of the Government’s wish to talk to the Church about its intentions announced today. Dr. Williams agreed that the Archbishop of York was to deal with the matter and was briefed by Dr. Sentamu in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement.
Dr Sentamu said: “The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Justice consulted me about his intentions which I believe accord with the declared wish of the Church of England.
“I welcome the prospect of the Church being the ‘decisive voice in the appointment of bishops’ which the General Synod called for 33 years ago (in 1974).
“I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s thoughtfulness and for his overt support for the role of the Queen and the establishment by law of the Church of England which have been strongly reiterated in the Green Paper.
“The challenge we face as the Church of England is to use the sacred trust, enshrined in law, for the common good of all the people of England. Our vocation is to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves: doing to others that which we would wish to be done to us. Our presence in every part of England must be used for bridging, bonding, partnership and friendship for all.”
Following the Prime Minister’s Statement and the publication of the Green Paper outlining his proposals, the Church of England will also engage in a constructive conversation with the Government concerning the appointment by the Monarch of Deans, Canons and Parish Clergy where the Sovereign has a prerogative.