Queen Elizabeth is believed to have asked Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to stay in his job through her Golden Jubilee year so that any controversy over the appointment of his successor would not intrude on the Jubilee events which involve the Church of England, the Jubilee service in St Paul's Cathedral in June especially. Some hope! A most unseemly public display of ambition has already begun among the prelates likely to be under consideration for this top job when Dr Carey vacates it in October. The BBC radio Today programme has provided them with a forum to advance their causes and the bookmakers William Hill have quoted some odds – the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir–Ali, is favourite at 3/1, the Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams, 7/2 and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, 4/1. The slow and obscure process by which the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen ends in No 10 Downing Street, so it is inevitable that it will continue to attract media attention. Indeed, the Times yesterday alleged that there was already a dirty–tricks campaign against Bishop Michael Nazir–Ali because he was born in Pakistan and as a young man was briefly a lay member of the Roman Catholic Church. The Times said that one CofE clergyman who spoke to its reporter called the Bishop a “Paki Papist”. Nice people! Consideration of candidates for the See of Canterbury is undertaken by the Crown Appointments Commission, made up of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and representatives of the General Synod of the Church. The Commission proposes two names to the PM who selects one for the Queen's approval.
RAY FLEMING

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