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The Archbishop visits Leicester

BBC Leicester presenter John Florance
By John Florance
Presenter, BBC Leicester

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
During his visit the Archbishop spoke to Leicester faith leaders

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was in Leicester on Thursday 22 October 2009.

Asked about the high profile the British National Party had been enjoying recently, he said that he "was not an enthusiast" for the appearance of the leader of the party, Nick Griffin, on the BBC's Question Time programme.

"There is a very, very difficult judgement to be made between giving a platform to so someone who represents a legal political group and giving legitimacy to a group which is on any assessment on the edge of British politics", the Archbishop told me.

He made the point that the Church of England earlier this year decided not to accept for ordination anyone who was a member of the BNP.

"If someone with that background were a candidate for being a vicar or priest... there would be communities they could never serve in," he said.

"You can't say that with any priest."

In his own characteristically quiet way the Archbishop made it clear that people of good-will, should not panic and so make more of a situation than was warranted.

From Anglican to Roman Catholic

I also asked the Archbishop about the "apostolic constitution" announced by Pope Benedict XVI earlier in the week.

John Florance with the Archbishop of Canterbury
John Florance spoke to the Archbishop when he visited Leicester

This would mean that Anglican traditionalists could become Roman Catholics without losing all their Anglican identity.

It would also mean that married Anglican vicars could become Roman Catholic priests.

I asked Dr. Williams how many people he thought would take up the offer; "Let's see, but I don't think it will be a large number".

The Archbishop stressed the "ongoing reality" of warmth between the two churches. This he thought would continue

The Archbishop was visiting the St. Philip's Centre for the Study and Engagement in a Multi Faith Society.

During the visit he spoke to local faith leaders and took soundings on inter-faith relationships in the city as well as conferring with the Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens.

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