Religion: The Canterbury Trail

An enfeebled Church of England awaits a new leader

Kremlin atheists quietly supervise the selection of Moscow's Russian Orthodox Patriarchs. Turkey's government leaders, though Muslims, are said to weigh in when Ecumenical Patriarchs are chosen. But imagine Italy's Prime Minister appointing a Pope, or President Bush picking the Presiding Bishop of his Episcopal Church. Just such a church-state mesh will occur in Britain in the coming months as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher prepares to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of some 70 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide.

The process began last week when Robert Runcie announced that he will step...

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