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Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Lord Runcie: Speaking his mind

Lord Runcie was never afraid to speak his mind, and as a result often found himself at the centre of political controversy.

Here are some of the things he said:

"I hope I can persuade the Church to loosen its stays a bit, and perhaps rock the boat a little" - in 1980, just before his enthronement.

"The Christian voice must be loud and clear on the great political issues of the time - race relations, unemployment, disarmament and the proper distribution of the world's resources" - in 1981.


An arranged marriage

On the Prince and Princess of Wales
"In our prayers we shall quite rightly remember those who are bereaved in our own country and the relations of the young Argentinean soldiers who were killed" - in 1982 at the Falklands memorial service in St Paul's Cathedral.

"A union of duty with delight" - in 1983, describing his marriage.

"An arranged marriage" - in 1996 in a biography, his description of the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana.

"I have done my best to die before this book is published" - in 1996, realising the uproar this biography would cause.

"How long can we wait for jam tomorrow?" - in 1984, on the plight of the poor and unemployed.


I've always been conscious that they might stab me in the back because I wasn't one of them

On homosexual priests
"I am strong on forgiveness, tolerance. I am clear. Clear in my faith in Christ Jesus. And I believe in authority - the authority of love" - in 1987, after criticism of him in Crockford's Clerical Directory.

"The Church has come through a period when so many questions were deeply divisive - ordination of women, remarriage of divorcees, homosexuality, issues of peace and war. There have been no resignations, despite deeply held and differing convictions. There's been a readiness to recognise goodness and even sanctity from those with whom you disagree" - in 1990, shortly before his retirement.

"I don't mind facing opposition, but what has hurt me has been the grubbing around. Trying to find ways of damaging one's family life" - in 1991.

"I've always been conscious that they might stab me in the back because I wasn't one of them" - in 1996, quoted in a biography when discussing and homosexual priests.

"I am getting out at the next station" - in 1997, when a fellow-passenger on the London Underground invited him to "save" a busker.


People who have not got a sense of humour shouldn't ever be put in charge

In 1999
"About so many areas of life I am not sure what I believe in really. That is what made me a reluctant archbishop" - in 1999.

"I do this out of a sense of moral responsibility" - in 1999, expressing his support for Liverpool FC.

"People who have not got a sense of humour shouldn't ever be put in charge" - in 1999.

"I am dying cheerfully" - in April, 2000.

"Life is so much more enjoyable if you don't go on about your illnesses" - in April 2000, when he was suffering from prostate cancer.

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12 Jul 00 | UK
The reformist archbishop
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