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Newsnight Monday, 10 June, 2002, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Tutu calls for church reform
AP

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the most senior figures in the Anglican Church, has called for changes in the way the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen.

Dr George Carey has announced he will retire from the post in October 2002.

In an interview for BBC Two's Newsnight, Archbishop Tutu criticises the way the new head of the Anglican church will be chosen.


He says the Church of England has been misguided in thinking that an English person by their Englishness made a good Anglican leader.

While the Church of England remains England's established Church, the ultimate choice of its head will rest with the Prime Minister.


It seems very few people actually understand what happens

Archbishop Tutu
Archbishop Tutu says the selection process will only be properly democratic and representative when the link between church and state is broken.

Time for reform

He says: "You have an extraordinarily arcane method, and it seems very few people actually understand what happens...

"I am trying to say it as gently as I can, but I mean that it is high time, apart from the election of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that our Church in England began to look much more closely at how deans and bishops are chosen."

The next Archbishop will be chosen by the twelve-member Crown Appointments Commission. It includes only one representative of the wider Anglican Church who will have no vote.

The selection process does include canvassing the opinions of Anglicans elsewhere in the world. But there is some scepticism about how much weight is genuinely given to them.

Lord Hurd
Lord Hurd recognises the global role of the Anglican church
The conviction that the wider Church is entitled to a greater say in choosing its titular head and chief pastor was consolidated last year. This followed the publication of the Hurd Report on the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lord Hurd and his committee concluded that leading the Anglican Communion "will remain one of the principal modern roles of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is not an optional function".

A committee, chaired by Baroness Perry of Southwark, has recommended changes to the way bishops and archbishops are selected.

This includes giving the wider church two votes on the commission that nominates potential archbishops of Canterbury.

The changes will not come into effect until next year, so they will not affect the choice of Dr Carey's successor.

It has recently emerged that Desmond Tutu was himself considered as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1990, when George Carey was chosen. Tutu says he is glad he was not elected.

Once installed in Lambeth Palace, he would have been homesick for South Africa, unhappy to be away from home during a critical time in the country's history.

Watch Robert Pigott's interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Newsnight tonight at 2230BST on BBC Two or via a live stream on this site.

See also:

10 Jun 02 | Wales
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