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Regrets? He’s had a few. And Dr Williams shares ‘anxieties’

14 September 2012

THE Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, was quick to rebut a newspaper article on Saturday which said that there were plans to introduce a "presidential figure" to share the Archbishop of Canterbury's workload.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that Dr Williams had said in an interview "that the Church is considering spreading the load to a 'more presidential figure' alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury". A news story, in the same edition of the paper, said: "Dr Williams said a role should be created to oversee the day-to-day running of the Anglican Communion, leaving future Archbishops of Canterbury free to focus on spiritual leadership and leading the Church of England."

In a statement issued on Saturday morning, Canon Kearon said that there were "no such plans" to introduce a "presidential" figure. "The Archbishop of Canterbury simply said in the interview that he could see that in the future there might be some reflection on how the administrative load associated with the Anglican Communion might be better shared." Canon Kearon said that "nothing like what this newspaper has suggested is on the agenda" of the Anglican Consultative Council, which meets in Auckland, New Zealand, in late October.

In the interview, Dr Williams spoke about the sharia row in 2008 ( News, 8 February 2008). He said: "I don't think I, or my colleagues, predicted just how enormous the reaction would be. I failed to find the right words. . . I've made mistakes - that's probably one of them."

He also repeated his criticism of the Government's "very inadequate" consultation on gay marriage, but said that the Church had "not exactly been on the forefront of pressing for civic equality for homosexual people, and we were wrong about that".

Dr Williams also reiterated his unease with the Government's austerity programme, which he expressed last year when guest-editing the New Statesman (News, 10 June 2011). He told the Telegraph that he had "massive anxiety" about "an austerity programme that has not yet delivered what everybody hoped".

In an introduction to a collection of lectures, Faith in the Public Square (Bloomsbury/Continuum)*, published yesterday, Dr Williams questioned those who spoke about "the dangers of 'aggressive secularism'". Religion should "not constantly [be] demanding the right not to be offended", he said.

He also argued that "a mythology of control and guaranteed security, combined with the fantasy that unlimited material growth is possible", had "poisoned social and political life across a growing number of countries".

*£16 from Church House Bookshop, in store or online (rrp £20)


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