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Sunday, 13 October, 2002, 03:35 GMT 04:35 UK
Archbishop to quit for rural role
The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope
Dr David Hope has courted controversy over the years
The second most important figure in the Anglican Church is to return to being a parish priest.

The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, prefers pastoral care to administration and believes any revival of the Church is most likely to be generated at parish level.

Dr Hope will be expected to see out at least the next two years whilst Dr Rowan Williams settles into the role of Archbishop of Canterbury following the retirement of Dr George Carey.

Dr Williams will be enthroned next February.

Criticisms

Dr Hope, 62, then intends to take over a quiet rural parish in the more picturesque parts of the Yorkshire Dales.

High on his wish-list is believed to be the diocese of Ripon and Leeds or even the diocese of Bradford, which takes in areas such as Giggleswick, Skipton and Sedburgh.

The archbishop's official spokesman said: "David Hope is at heart a parish priest though he has been an effective and fine bishop and archbishop.

"There is no doubt he will return to the parish ministry when the time is right.

"He would stay around long enough to complete his own job and see in the new Archbishop of Canterbury which is likely to be two or three years.

Controversy

"He was always certain to see in the new Archbishop of Canterbury and equally certain not to stay until the legal age limit of 70. Between now and then he would like a stint in the parishes."

The archbishop has courted controversy over the years.

While he strongly believed the Church needed to rethink its organisation and direction if it were to spark a revival in membership, he was the leading opponent of the ordination of women.

He also strongly criticised the government's handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis and appealed to the public to stop "wallowing" in the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on the first anniversary of her death.

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