By a Staff Reporter The announcement that Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, is to resign on November 15 drew a message of appreciation from Cardinal Heenan, in which he praised Dr Ramsey's work for Christian unity.
"Dr Ramsey's retirement will be a loss not only to Anglicans but to his many friends in other churches. He and I have enjoyed a close personal friendship since his days in York and mine in Liverpool. In his quite different way he has done even more for Christian unity than his predecessor Dr Fisher, who took the first great step of paying a visit to the Pope.
"Dr Ramsey as a scholar and pastor has been one of the great Archbishops of Canterbury."
Dr Ramsey, who as the hundredth Archbishop of Canterbury has travelled more widely than any of his predecessors, will be remembered hest for his journeys to promote ecumenism. In 1966 his visit to Pope Paul led to the foundation of the International AnglicanCatholic Commission.
In 1963 he was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to speak at a Catholic university when he lectured in Louvain, Belgium, on "Christian Spirituality and the Modern World." 'Fen years later he preached in the cathedral at Lyons, France, where the Abbe Couturier founded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Iiuring Dr Ramsey's term of office Anglicans and Catholics have come closer than ever before. Agreed statements on the Ministry and the Eucharist between the two Churches mark a new era of theological cooperation.
For Catholics one obstacle to Christian unity is the constitutional position of the Church of England, which means that bishops are -appointed by the Sovereign. But among Anglicans there has been mounting pressure fOr greater independence from the State.
It is noteworthy that the announcement of Dr Ramsey's resignation was made not from 10 Downing Street, as was customary in the past, but front the Church of England Information Office. And observers believe that Dr Ramsey deliberately made the announcement eight months in advance to allow for increased consultation with members of the Church.
On March 27 Mr Colin Peterson. the Prime Minister's appointments secretary, will meet the standing committee of the Church of England General Synod to hear their views on the next Archbishop. tic w ill make these views known to the Prime Minister. who will then pass on One or perhaps two names to the Queen.
The man chosen to take up the post will need to be ,a good administrator and will tequire the ability to maintain balance in a Church where decisions are taken by concensus. There is no firm favourite for the appoinirhent. although . the name of Bishop John Howe is frequently mentioned. Bishop Howe, 54, came from the Episcopal Church of Scotland to work as secretary-general of the Anglican Consultative Council.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rey Kenneth Woolcombe, and the Bishop of Manchester. the Rt Rev Patrick Rodger, have also been named as possible successors, It is thought that Dr Coggan, Archbishop of York, is too old at 65 to take up the post.
Dr Ramsey became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1961. Born in 1904 he was
educated at Repton and left to read theology and classics at Magdalene College, Cambridge. From there he went to Cuddesdon Theological College. In 1952 he was consecrated Bishop of Durham and after four years was translated to the Archbishopric of York.
On his retirement h:wIll leave his homes in Lambeth and Canterbury for a house in the grounds of Cuthiesdon College.
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