Page 1, 13th September 1996

13th September 1996
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Page 1, 13th September 1996 — Stop UK visit,

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Organisations: Anglican Church


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Stop UK visit,

Pope was told New book claims Catholics tried to

stop papal visit to Canterbury


CONSERVATIVE English Catholics put pressure on the Canterbury in 1982, according to a controversial biography of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, to he published next month.

In an extract from author Humphrey Carpenter's book Robert Runcie: The Reluctant Archbishop, Anglican Professor Henry Chadwick is

quoted as saying that: "The most remarkable revelation of my visit (to Rome) was the evident pressure being put on the Pope by conserv

....;‘,.. RrIgi;ch ilnrn sin Catholics to cancel the visit to Canterbury (as mixed bathing with heretics and schismatics").

"Top Cardinals in the Curia... feared that there might be some unscripted confrontation, humiliating the Pope. My assurance that the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted everything agreed in advance reassured them, and the opposition died".

Mr Carpenter revealed this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury knew about the Prince of Wales's adultery

with Camilla Parker Bowles prior to his wedding. He also admitted that he saw Prince Charles's wedding to Diana as "arranged".

Mr Currienter. whnke father was former Anglican Bishop of Oxford, also writes that senior Anglican figures had misgivings about the visit.

One, Hugh Montefiore, then Bishop of Birmingham, said that he would feel "a certain revulsion at finding myself present at a papal allocution in which there was a wholesale condemnation of abortion, contraception, remarriage, or the marriage of the clergy."

Lord Runcie reassured him "I have a great deal of sympathy with what you say", agreeing that on the subject of the Pope's conservative views, "the omens arc not too good".

However, the biography also reveals the admiration that the Archbishop held towards the Holy Father.

"He has... the warmth of the good host, and a person who understands human beings well enough".

Lord Runcie's assessment in the book that the Prince of Wales "gave up" on the Church of England ten years ago, and is more interested in "Laurens van der Post spirituality", has raised further questions about his suitability to become Supreme Governor of the Church of England. According to sources, there is real concern among the Anglican hierarchy at the lack of commitment the Prince of Wales has shown to Christianity.

In an infamous interview with Jonathan Dimbleby last year, the Prince said he wished to be "defender of faith" rather than defender of the Protestant faith.

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