Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Vacancy at Canterbury

So the long-rumoured departure of the Archbishop of Canterbury is coming about at the end of the year, as reported in, for example Archbishop of Canterbury to step down.

My reason for commenting is the same as in my post A new tenant at Lambeth Palace? from September last year, that is, that I have always thought, and indeed said, this was a likely outcome from the time of Dr Williams' appointment. In saying that it is not just case of guessing what someone might do but also reflecting on someone who apparently sees being Archbishop and Primate as another job on the career path, and if academic life looks more attractive, well, you go off there. The former Bishop of Durham recently made a similar move, and there are some other previous precedents.

It appears to me to be somewhat lacking in a due sense of ecclesial order and responsibility, and dealing with the problems facing the community over which you have exercised authority. Is there not something here of pursuing your own liberal agenda, and then when it all gets too much, going off to a comfortable academic post and leaving others to pick up the pieces and tidy up the mess?

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