Comments: Finding the Crown Nominations Commission leaker

It must be obvious to all that the "he" in the Dean's letter is already widely known.

Equally obvious is that "he" has not done the "honourable thing" and gone quietly.

Now, as the wagons circle, the question is - Will they get his scalp?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 15 April 2012 at 11:38pm BST

I find transparency the only true way to go on an institutional basis, especially the church.

Posted by Lois Keen at Sunday, 15 April 2012 at 11:59pm BST

Er, so, potentially hundreds of people could work it back to the leaker on the committee.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 12:00am BST

It will be interesting, given objections to an individual apparently holding opinions recorded as have been stated by Glynn Harrison holding a prominent slot on the commission to select the new archbishop, to see how this plays out, particularly given that Jonathan Wynne-Jones, the Telegraph reporter who broke the leaked Jeffrey John/Southwark story two years ago, has specifically stated that the Crown Nominations Commission leaker was not, as some insinuated at the time, Colin Slee, the dean of Southwark. In revealing this, Wynne-Jones added that "there was great hypocrisy from some of those most upset by the disclosure, with one senior lay evangelical protesting just a little too much". Time, if Baroness Fritchie identified any specific individual as the likely source of the leak, for the Church to publish the conclusions of the Fritchie inquiry and, if that individual is still a member of the Crown Nominations Committee, to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure the integrity of the committee.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 12:07am BST

The process of selecting the next ABC does need to retain integrity. The identity of the leaker is known to 'himself' (and some others). There is a serious lapse of ethics involved here - the leaker should resolve the matter themselves by withdrawing - on whatever grounds they may wish to select.

It's very troubling, coming as it does after the furore over some of the things said and done by Prof Glyn Harrison we can see the process is being mired in multiple controversies.

I think it would be necessary for both the leaker and Prof Harrison to withdraw in order for the process to command widespread confidence.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 6:57am BST

Maybe I am being too simplistic in my thinking, but I cannot help feeling that many of the folk of the conservative evangelical variety have no ethics when it comes to achieving their own agenda. They have got themselves in various positions both within Lambeth, and the churches committees, and use any means to achieve their aims.
Lets hope and pray that their legal action against Boris and others will reveal their names, and with it their unchristian actions.

They are certainly not mainstream Anglicans as they claim.

Fr John

Posted by Fr John Harris-White at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 8:42am BST

I think there is a problem with the constitution of the Crown Nominations Commission. I was going to suggest that synod members put forward a motion to have make their own enquiries into the leak. I had also thought that they would have had a legal governance resposibility to govern every body they had set up and that they had a particular responsibility to ensure that one of its own committees/commissions had acted properly. I hope that's still the case -- but even though the CNC is a creature of General Synod (it is governed by standing orders of General Synod) under SO 122, under the 'Functions' section, one reads that 'the Commission shall report from time to time as the Commission deems expedient....' This seems to make the Commission rather less than accountable (I can see why this clause might have been proposed to enable it to honour confidentiality), and yet I'd be surprised if General Synod members were permitted to create any subsidiary bodies that are not fully accountable to General Synod for their proper conduct. Any canon lawyers out there?

Posted by Joe at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 9:45am BST

When it comes to transparency, you can't beat the RCC. Here is what, according to the Sunday Times, an 84 year old Irish theologian, secretly silenced by the Vatican, wrote to his superior: "It has been made clear to me that if news of the curia’s disciplinary measures become known to the media, I will be immediately stripped of my priesthood."

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 10:10am BST

If the name of the leaker is 'widely known' why not cut out all this messing around and if you are that confident publish the name on the net and wait to be sued. Presumably those in the know are confident that they won't be!

Posted by Ian Black at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 12:24pm BST

Ian: I suspect it comes down (as so many things do) to power. Those who are 'in the know' prefer to keep their cabal – to go public would rob them of their precious "feeling special".

I know teenagers with more class.

Posted by Dan BD at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 5:33pm BST

The operation of the Crown Nominations Committee has improved over recent years but it remains the case that with any body making confidential deliberations about a public appointment there will always be those outside the process (notably the press) who try to pierce the veil of secrecy before the nomination is announced, expecially when the vacancy is Canterbury. If 'leaks' occur, it is inevitably damaging to the 'candidates' concerned.
As to the accountability of the CNC to the General Synod, it has on occasions made a report of its work and Synod members have the opportunity to ask questions of the Presidents at every group of sessions.
The thrust of my letter to The Times of 17 March was that given the acute media speculation about the Canterbury CNC (and especially the person appointed by Downing Street to chair it) it should expedite its work.
There is no need to hold interviews, a practice that is however welcomed generally in the making of appointments of diocesans but has less relevance for Canterbury. All the candidates will be known to the CNC members. Some potential 'candidates' will have informed the Secretaries that they do not wish to be considered.
It is disingenuous of people to rake over the particular past workings of the CNC. My own experience as a central member between 2005-2007 and again as a member of the St Albans CNC in 2008 was that members took their oath of secrecy extremely seriously. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that a leak, were one to be substantiated, would make the slightest difference to the outcome of the deliberations.
The new arrangements whereby a small number of finalist candidates are invited for interview has inevitably meant that the possibility of a 'leak' is heightened. That can also increase speculation about those who are therefore assumed not to have been invited for interview. What will never change under the present system is the confidentiality of deliberation that has led to those candidates being in the final group and I see no good reason to change that.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 10:06pm BST

How we do love Byzantine machinations within the Established Church! There was a gap of 23 years before the Osborne Report was eventually published perhaps a similar length of time may elapse before the publication of the Fritchie Enquiry? Although by identifying the gender of the leaker the Dean of St. Albans has partially outed him.
In an interview published in LEADERSHIP TRUST Baroness Rennie Fritchie said - "It's like the story of the princess and the pea, so long as you know the root of the unease you can act, if you ignore it, it will get bigger and bigger." How true, how very true!
I thought that Rennies were taken by those suffering from indigestion in order to bring immediate relief to "the root of the unease"?

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 5:58am BST

I imagine the six members from the Canterbury diocese will not necessarily know the candidates well, so interviews will be important for them. +Rowan is much loved here in the diocese for his teaching ministry and his pastoral visits to parishes which couldnt be that area he will be a very difficult act to follow.Some candidates will surely be just names to the Canterbury reps. This time round, with six diocesan reps their votes will be all the more important especially if they end up voting as a bloc. One of the reasons +Chartres went from Stepney to London I have been told is that the diocesan reps were united throughout the process.

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 10:54am BST


I should have thought the process, leading to selection and appointment, would benefit from extended interview time and conversation, on the ways the appointee would handle a range of challenges that are bound to be faced; on matters of spirituality; and simply to afford openness and space for God to work in the quiet of discourse, the interactions with grace of people with people.

Ideally I'd suggest a whole day of conversation with each designated candidate, and a further day with all the candidates together, followed by a week's retreat and prayer for the Committee.

If we were appointing a head teacher, I very much hope we would call her to interview first, so she could talk about the school, her feelings, her hopes, and so everyone could reflect on the personal dimension of the process, to inform their decisions.

It would seem a shame if appointment to lead the Church of England was any less personal in its process. By the nature of the process as it stands, it already seems detached from ordinary church members, but I should at least prefer the candidates to be present at the process.

When the process itself seems distant and detached, so that people talk of cabals, however fair or unfair that is, any way the procedures can be personalised seems to me a good thing, so I'd be sorry if the candidates didn't even show up, and the whole thing just got settled behind closed doors, without even that element of presence and opening up and sharing, to humanise the event.

Just my view, your own view duly respected.


Posted by Susannah at Thursday, 19 April 2012 at 12:27am BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.