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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 12:54 GMT
Archbishop shrugs off Canterbury talk
Archbishop of Wales Dr Rowan Williams
The Archbishop is seen as the leading liberal contender
The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams, has played down speculation after being named as a potential candidate to take over as Archbishop of Canterbury.

On Tuesday, Dr George Carey announced he will retire later in October 2002, and Dr Williams has been widely linked to the vacancy.

It would be a very foolish man who thought he was adequate to the job's demands

Dr Rowan Williams
Reacting to news of the resignation, Dr Williams said described the archbishopric as an "intimidating and enormous" task.

He said Archbishop Carey has led the Anglican church "with great courage and integrity through very testing times".

"It would be a very foolish man who thought he was adequate to its demands," added Dr Williams.

"It would be extremely unusual for the Crown to look beyond the ranks of English bishops, given the need to understand the workings of the Church of England, the House of Lords and so on."

The 51-year-old archbishop is seen as the leading liberal contender for the post and is recognised as an outstanding theologian and intellectual.

Rowan Williams was born in Swansea in 1950 in a Welsh-speaking family from the Swansea Valley.

Archbishop of Wales Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Williams was caught up in the terrorist attacks
Educated at Dynevor School, Swansea, he went onto study at Christ's College, Cambridge, and at Christ Church and Wadham Colleges, Oxford.

In 1981, he married Jane Paul, and the couple have two children.

He became Bishop of Monmouth in 1992 and has been the Archbishop of Wales since 2000.

Dr Williams has written a number of books on the history of theology and spirituality and published collections of articles and sermons, as well as a book of poems in 1994.

In 2001, he was caught up in the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York, witnessing the destruction during a visit to Wall Street 200 yards from the World Trade Center.

He also hit the headlines when he resigned as vice-president of The Children's Society after the charity pulled out of its projects in Wales.

Following the announcement by Dr George Carey, other potential candidates named for the post include Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali.

However, south Wales bookmakers Jack Brown has installed Dr WIlliams as the 5-2 favourite for the post.

Behind him, the Archbishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir- Ali, is at 7-2 and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, is priced at 9-2.

See also:

08 Jan 02 | England
Archbishop of Canterbury to retire
08 Jan 02 | UK
Lining up for Canterbury
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