Religion: Canterbury Red

His title is "Very Reverend," but he has an early Christian knack of getting on other people's nerves. Perhaps no English ecclesiastic of modern times has frayed the .ends of so many nerves within his own Church as the "Red Dean," the Very Rev. Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury. Last week the rawboned, bald-pated cleric, whose high dome, big nose and frizzed-out hair give him a look a little like a Stuart portrait of General Washington, arrived in the U.S. by plane. Many a conservative nerve-end quivered.

The Red Dean, now 71, an ex-hydraulic engineer, once worked as a machinist in the...