The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been unable to agree upon a candidate for the post of Archbishop of Canterbury.
This week’s third and final meeting of the CNC was to have provided two names to Prime Minister David Cameron – a first choice and an alternate. However, on 28 Sept 2012 the Church of England press office released a statement at the close of the three day meeting of the Commission that indicated it had not been able to agree upon a candidate.
The statement read:
“This week's meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.”
“The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC's deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.”
While the announcement on its face appears to be vague, the delay in announcing the name of the new archbishop from the coming week to sometime “during the autumn” and the news the “work of the Commission continues” even though it had concluded its final meeting to select the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury indicates the process has stalled.
Anglican Ink’s Peter Ould told host Kevin Kallsen that he interpreted the statement to mean the committee had deadlocked. He speculated the likely cause of the deadlock could have been the potential selection of the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, or Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby.
Dr. Sentamu has angered liberals within the Church of England over his robust rejection of same-sex marriage and a small but vocal minority of opponents has consistently objected to his candidacy. The Bishop of Durham has been in office for less than a year, and Mr. Ould speculated his selection for the church’s top post would be a cause of concern due to his inexperience. Sources have also informed Anglican Ink that a third contender, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres – whose chances for selection have risen sharply in the past few weeks, has been passed over for the post.
The way forward is unclear. At the present time no further meetings have been set for the commission, but no other body is able to submit names to the Prime Minister.