Praise for Anglican leader
Archbishop Carey and Pope John Paul II
The Vatican has hailed the Archbishop of Canterbury for his “commitment to fostering and deepening Anglican-Roman Catholic relations” during his decade-long tenure as head of the Anglican Church.
Archbishop Carey, 66, has announced that he will be stepping down in October, three years before he is due to retire.
“I feel certain this will be the right and proper time to stand down,” Archbishop Carey said. “I look forward to exciting opportunities and challenges in the coming months, and then to fresh ones in the years that follow.”
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity expressed its gratitude for Archbishop Carey’s work in a written statement.
“We know he has a very full schedule ahead of him prior to his retirement, but would like at this time to express our profound thanks for the many blessings of his years of leadership as Archbishop of Canterbury,” the Council said.
Archbishop Carey, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed spiritual leader to the world’s 70 million Anglicans in 1991.
He has so far visited the Pope five times during his tenure, including a three-day visit in 1996.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, also paid tribute to Archbishop Carey, labelling him a friend who will be missed.
“I have appreciated very much our collaboration in ecumenical endeavours,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be very many, like myself, who will express their appreciation of his considerable achievements in a most demanding role and who will miss him when he steps down as Archbishop.”
There was a tribute, too, from the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who said news of Archbishop Carey’s retirement would be received with regret by the world’s Anglicans.
“Dr George Carey has been an outstanding Christian leader, pastor and preacher and theological educator throughout his ministry,” Dr Jensen said.
“In his role as Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey has been a friend, and adviser, and a listening ear to Anglican bishops throughout the world-wide communion.
“Both George and Eileen Carey have become friends to the entire Anglican world, and they will be greatly missed.”