Archbishop of Canterbury may quit in 2012

Sept. 13, 2011 at 1:59 AM
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LONDON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has told friends he wants to step down next year as head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Sources told The Daily Telegraph Williams said he would leave after Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in June 2012, the 60th year of her reign. He said he would like to remain in office until the Church of England votes to consecrate women as bishops, the report said.

Williams, 61, was installed as the 104th archbishop of Canterbury in 2003 and would be eligible to serve until he turns 70. But he told friends he would like to return to academic life at Cambridge University.

Richard Chartres, the bishop of London, has been saying privately it is time for Williams to leave, suggesting other bishops should get a chance to head the church, the Telegraph reported Sunday. Chartres has denied the report.

Williams, who was archbishop of Wales when he was named to Canterbury, has presided over the church during a time of turmoil in England and globally. Issues have included the ordination of women and gays.

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