Thinking Anglicans

from the National Archives

Last week, the Church Times had a feature about theNational Archives at Kew, and the government documents that reveal the relationship between the state and the Church of England in the 20th century.

First, see Treasures buried in the archive by A.D. Harvey.

Then, read the full text of a 1960 memorandum from David Stephens, the Prime Minister’s appointments secretary, to Harold Macmillan about the filling of vacant sees.

A quiet word about the next archbishop.

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toby forwardFather Ron SmithLister Tonge Recent comment authors
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Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

Now that the Prime Minister has relinquished all say in these matters, I wonder how history will judge the episcopal appointments of this age, made by a church committee.

Of course, ‘history’ may have ceased to notice such things.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Well, the State authorities in this instance seem not to have made a bad choice – at least with Arthur Michael Ramsey as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The question is: Can the Holy Spirit work through the recommendations of the politicians?

toby forward
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Lord Salisbury appointed thirty-eight Diocesan Bishops during his period of office as Prime Minister. Andrew Roberts, his biographer, writes that Salisbury said ‘…that the English clergy could be divided into two mutually exclusive categories: those who were fit to be made bishops but unwilling, and those who were willing but unfit.’.

Salisbury himself said: ‘That a man has become a Bishop shows that he knows how to get on in the world, and to recommend himself to those above him.’

plus ça change.