Rowan Williams becomes 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
Rowan Williams, previously Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, was announced as George Carey’s successor as Archbishop of Canterbury and thus spiritual head of the Church of England, on December 2 2002, and enthroned on February 27 2003. In so doing he became the 104th holder of that office, and the first Welshman (he was born in Swansea , his first language Welsh).
Although his appointment followed the usual arcane process of the established church Dr Williams had been a very strongly tipped candidate for the post, though as his background was primarily academic rather than pastoral it was not without criticism. And although an Anglo-Catholic Dr Williams had shown himself relatively liberal as regards the question of homosexuality and the church, though contrastingly of the pro-life tendency.
An undoubtedly highly intelligent man, speaking several languages, Rowan Williams has sometimes, however, shown himself less than adept as a communicator, the press at times finding his style hard to follow: he seemed genuinely surprised when outrage followed his suggestion that sharia law could in certain circumstances run in parallel with existing laws in this country, though what had seemingly been intended was only that it could be used in such matters as dispute resolution, as Jewish law already is in this country.
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