Comments: More about the Crown Nominations Commission

If stalemate or deadlock really has resulted at the last meeting of the CNC - then why not have a period of interregnum in order to reflect thoughtfully and prayerfully on who should succeed the saintly Rowan? After all - in a bid to economise many dioceses seems to positively encourage long interregnums in parishes - often of two years or more - in order to save on stipends. That is unless the benefice becomes a "House for Duty" parish - as the number of these former livings seem to grow by the week in the advert columns of the Church Times. Now, there's a thought - why not a "Palace (or two) for Duty" for the next ABC?

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 2:10pm BST

The proper Church authorities could order cots and a creaky old stove, invite the CNC to Lambeth Palace, and seal the CNC members in a locked room. No fancy meals, no football games on the telly, no telly, no newspapers, just minutes of the last century's worth of prior CNC meetings or its predecessors. They take a vote twice a day, and then burn straw in the creaky old stove. When white smoke comes out, ... we have a new Archbishop of Canterbury!

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 6:37pm BST

I'm a little surprised about the mention of the 3 names supposedly in the running. Is this pure speculation or has there been a leak?

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 6:47pm BST

It sounds as if there has been a leak, Erika. It might appear that the CNC process is as prone to leaks as when Colin Slee wrote his account of the Southwark process, released by his family after his death ( and But at least the most senior clergy cannot unjustly blame Colin this time.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 8:04pm BST

We could always ask the Bishop of Dover to shepherd the Diocese of Canterbury for a couple of years and see if anyone notices that we don't have an ABC...!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 8:30pm BST

@Erica. The names are almost certainly right. The question is whether they cannot agree any name (the worse problem) or cannot agree the second. The process is now asymmetric. The PM only wants one name: the CNC has to agree two, and then (usually) make a preference. The process is Byzantine.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 10:26pm BST

Has anyone noticed that for roughly the last century and a half a seeming qualification to be ABC is to have an unapostolic name? Rowan, George, Robert, Donald, Michael (saintly but not apostolic - even that was his second Christian name), Geoffrey, William, Cosmo, Randall, Frederick, Edward, Archibald and Charles. The last ABC with an apostolic name was John Bird Sumner who became Primate of All England in 1848. In all in previous centuries there have been 10 Johns - 8 Thomases - 4 Simons and 2 Matthews. If the unapostolic trend continues it looks like we may end up with Richard (London), Graham (Norwich) or Christopher (Coventry) from among the "front runners". However - if we revert to what pertained in previous centuries with many ABCs bearing apostolic names it may well be John (Ebor), Thomas (the previous Dunelm) or James (Liverpool). The "dark horse" in all of this is, of course, Justin, the present Dunelm who has barely been in office for 12 months! Alternatively we could put all the names in a box on the High Altar of Canterbury cathedral and allow a five year old child to pick a name out of the box - the preferred method adopted by the Coptic Church in Egypt in selecting a new pope.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 1 October 2012 at 9:26am BST

I believe before the child picks from three names, those three names have been very securely determined via a thorough process.

I suspect that when the dust settles there will be a new ABC within a month. Probably Welby.

Then the job begins in earnest.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 1 October 2012 at 1:00pm BST

Just musing - does it *have* to be a person already (long) in episcopal orders? If the Roman church could call an almost unknown, at least to most of the country, monk from Ampleforth (oh, all right, an abbot) ..., why should not the CofE call an only-just-moved-on Dean or even a present Dean come to that (the one at St. Albans springs readily to my mind)?

Posted by RPNewark at Monday, 1 October 2012 at 3:26pm BST

BBC: 'Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year'

Even if the current Prime Minister does accept, in principle, his predecessor's "always pick the first name" convention, I think it would be very discourteous of the CNC to leave him too short a thinking time.

Posted by Feria at Monday, 1 October 2012 at 9:03pm BST
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