International

Archbishop Of Canterbury Is Stepping Down

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February. i i

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February. Chris Jackson/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Rowan Williams, who as archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader for more than 70 million Anglicans around the world, announced today that he will step down at the end of the year to become Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University.

"It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision," he says in a statement on his official website.

Williams, 61, became the church's 104th archbishop in 2002.

The Guardian notes that "his time in office has been marked by a slowly growing schism in the worldwide Anglican church which he has failed to heal."

During his tenure, the Church of England voted to allow women to become bishops — a move that was opposed by many Anglicans.

And as The Independent writes, "his departure [also] comes after tensions within the Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality." But, the newspaper adds:

"He denied that there was a 'great sense of free at last' in view of the long-running battles between liberals and traditionalists over the issue of gays within the Anglican Communion.

" 'Crisis management is never a favorite activity,' [the archbishop said]. 'I have to admit, but it is not as if that has overshadowed everything. It has certainly been a major nuisance. But in every job that you are in there are controversies and conflicts and this one isn't going to go away in a hurry.' "

The Guardian adds that "the bookies' favorite to succeed him is the archbishop of York, John Sentamu."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.