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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 12:35 GMT
Doubts over Archbishop selection process
David Holloway
David Holloway meets the BBC's Tim Sebastian
Reverend David Holloway, a prominent Anglican Church reformist, has thrown doubt on the current selection process of the Archbishop of Canterbury, stating that he does not believe it will produce a strong leader.

"I don't think the Church of England in one sense will ever be finished simply because the institution is so strong, but it could cease to be an effective voice in society if the wrong man was chosen," Mr Holloway says in a frank interview with Tim Sebastian on the BBC's HARDtalk programme.

His comments follow the announcement of Dr George Carey's retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this month. His tenure oversaw the ordination of women priests, but failed to halt dwindling church attendance.

Dr George Carey
Dr George Carey has announced he is to retire in the Autumn
Dr Carey has led an estimated 70 million Anglicans worldwide for 11 years and could have remained in his post until he turns 70 in 2005.

The new leader of the Church of England will be elected via an ecclesiastical committee, made up of members of the Anglican clergy and laity.

This committee will draw up a shortlist of candidates for the succession and the prime minister will make the final decision.

However in the interview, Mr Holloway criticises the prime minister's role in the Archbishop's appointment, stating that Tony Blair should not be so involved in the choice of the new Archbishop:

"I'm against the prime minister's role in the crown appointment system, but we've inherited a system which goes back in history to the constitutional monarchy, the position of the Queen and the Church of England."

I would have preferred an automatic first choice which would have been, as it were, simply rubber stamped by the prime minister

Reverend David Holloway
Referring to a debate over the position of the church and the state in 1977, he commented on the role he would like to have seen the prime minister take in the selection.

"I would have preferred an automatic first choice which would have been as it were simply rubber stamped by the prime minister."

Mr Holloway also has strict views on the social structure of the UK and stands out against abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexual sex and adultery.

But he believes these views will not force people away from the Church.

You can hear the HARDtalk interview in full at the following times:

News 24 (times shown in GMT)
15 January 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
15 January 0430, repeated 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030

Reverend David Holloway
"I'm against the prime minister's role in the crown appointment system."
See also:

08 Jan 02 | England
Archbishop of Canterbury to retire
08 Jan 02 | UK
Blair leads Carey tributes
06 Jan 02 | UK
The people's Archbishop
08 Jan 02 | UK
Lining up for Canterbury
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