From The Daily Mail-
'The archbishop/Is the King's hand and tongue; and who dare speak/One syllable against him?'
So asked Sir Thomas Lovell in conversation with Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.
We know, of course, how things turned out for that King’s ‘hand and tongue’ under the next Queen – ‘Bloody’ Mary.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, architect of the Church of England’s XXXIX Articles and author of the vernacular Book of Common Prayer, went on to have a great many syllables spoken against him, principally by those who were suddenly aware that royal patronage had shifted, religion reverted, and those whose theology and beliefs were once in favour became the new outcasts and heretics – ‘a pestilence/That does infect the land’. Such is the ebb and flow of spiritual myopia and religious fanaticism.
Of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev’d Justin Welby, I wrote back in September:
'If, however, the (Crown Nominations) Commission is concerned to appoint God’s choice – a thoughtful and gifted communicator, deeply committed to upholding the orthodoxy of the Christian faith – ‘the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ – in the fraught context of cultural diversity, social upheaval, political cynicism and theological conflict, the lot must fall to Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham.'
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