I’ve told this story before, but now’s the time to tell it again. When Harold Macmillan was mulling over whom to nominate to succeed Geoffrey Fisher as Archbishop of Canterbury, one of those he considered was Michael Ramsey, a former pupil of Fisher’s and a notably spiritual priest. When Fisher heard this he contacted Macmillan urgently to warn him that Ramsey was a ‘man of God’ and therefore ‘totally unsuited to be Archbishop of Canterbury.’ Macmillan testily rejected this advice and Ramsey was duly consecrated.
Since then the throne of St Augustine has alternated between High Church, pro-Catholic, liberal occupants like Runcie and Rowan Williams, and Low Church conservative managerial-type churchmen like Coggan and Carey. It’s the latter type’s turn now, and since I am not of their thinking, I have no-one to suggest to replace Rowan Williams now. All I would say is that Archbishop Sentamu is not an obvious choice (too many stunts and outbursts), nor is the Bishop of Winchester (foot in mouth) and nor is the Bishop of London (too grand and he opposes women’s ordination). I would favour the new Bishop of Bradford, but he doesn’t stand a chance. Ah well.