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EDITIONS
Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Church 'will stay tied to state' - Carey
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey
The search is on for a replacement for George Carey
The Archbishop of Canterbury is giving his unreserved support to the link between the Church of England and the state.

Dr George Carey, who retires in October, told the Sunday Times newspaper it would remain the established church for at least another quarter of a century.

The prime minister's decisive role in choosing bishops and archbishops on behalf of the Queen has sparked debate about the issue.

Dr Carey's comments put him at odds with the favourite to succeed him, the Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams.

The Church of England will be still established in 25 years time," Dr Carey told the Sunday Times.

Tony Blair
Mr Blair must choose between two candidates
"Establishment is a contract between nation and church, and the church is an essential part of the constitution of this country."

Dr Williams, an outstanding theologian and intellectual, has been touted as the leading liberal for the post.

He holds a number of controversial views including breaking legal ties to the state, and he supports the ordination of gay priests.

Debate

Under the procedure for appointing a new archbishop, the Crown Appointments Commission - made up of bishops, priests and lay Anglicans - narrows the field of candidates down to two names to present to the prime minister.

He can then choose from their suggestions or ask them to come up with an alternative.

The system is almost 500 years old - but until the 20th century the Church maintained its independence by putting forward one candidate only.

On Monday, the Church's governing body, the General Synod, will debate a motion from the Southwark diocese for the appointments to be made by an independent board to achieve a "more participatory and open Church procedure".

Whoever succeeds Dr Carey, when he retires in October, will be the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury since 597AD.

No Welshman has taken on the role since 1,000AD but the records are not sufficiently clear about holders prior to that date who may have hailed from a more Celtic heritage.


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