Thinking Anglicans

Church Times on the Carey witness statement

Last week, before the McFarlane judgment was issued, the Church Times carried an article by Mark Hill entitled Judges should not be hand-picked.

One might be forgiven for thinking that Lord Carey of Clifton has gener­ated more column-inches since re­tiring as Archbishop of Canterbury than he did when in office. His latest foray into the nation’s media is more than usually regrettable, as it strikes at the heart of the independence of the judiciary.

In a witness statement placed be­fore the Court of Appeal on Thursday of last week, Lord Carey sought to lend his support to an application by Gary McFarlane that his case be heard by a specially constituted Court of Appeal comprising five Lords Justice who had “a proven sensitivity to reli­gious issues”.

By what authority he sought to intervene is far from clear. He gave written evidence that, during his time as 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, he was “responsible for the spiritual welfare of 70 million Anglicans in the worldwide communion” — a curious assertion in the light of the principle of autonomy underscored by the Lambeth Quadrilateral (See Press) His compulsion to intervene was couched as follows: “I am bound by my commitments as former Arch­bishop of Canterbury to defend the spiritual requirements of the Anglican Communion and of all sincere Christians. I am also bound to con­sider the rights of religious minor­ities.”

He seems to forget that, after he vacated the see of Canterbury, his successor inherited these respon­sibilities. As Monty Python would put it, he is an ex-Primate…

The same issue had comment on this topic by Andrew Brown in the Press column (scroll down past the pope stuff).

LORD CAREY’s impulse to self-dramatisation as a member of a persecuted Church is not as sinister as Cardinal Castrillón’s. Sorry, that was disrespectful: let me quote his proper dignities, as set out in the preamble to his witness statement: “I was the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury and I was responsible for the spiritual welfare of 70 million Anglicans in the worldwide communion. I was created Lord Carey of Clifton upon retirement. . . Currently, I am Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, and I am the recipient of 12 Honorary Degrees. I am the author of 14 books.” Not even Baron Widmerpool could boast as much, and he had the advantage of an Eton education…

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Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
14 years ago

Both Prof Hill and Andrew Brown spot on the money.

His Lordship’s judgment mirrored Mark Hill’s reasoned opinion quite closely at times ……

Tobias Haller
14 years ago

I never imagined that former Archbishop of Canterbury Carey was responsible for my spiritual welfare. I never met the man. I did meet / have met Archbishops Runcie and Williams, but even given that would never have considered them custodians of my spiritual well-being. Am I the only one? Knock down that 70-million figure by several orders of magnitude and you may approach a less hubristic accounting.

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
14 years ago

Not at all Tobias ! I concur. I met Michael Ramsey many times and found him a great blessing, and he remains so.

George might feel less twitchy and more open if he took to reciting the Rosary more often. (No place like Home / the Cenacle).

Father Ron Smith
14 years ago

I note in the Scriptures for today that Jesus counsels all of us to “Love one another as I have loved you. By this they will know that you are my disciples – that you have love one for another”. Not only former Archbishop Carey needs to take note of this admonition; I must also bear witness to the God of Love in Christ, and love George – even though he is trying my patience at this very moment. However, I do wish he would not presume to speak for everyone in the Anglican Communion on matters of truth and… Read more »

David | Dah•veed |
David | Dah•veed |
14 years ago

The man’s humility is breathtaking.

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