Irish archbishop’s election a vote for ‘no change’: The Church of England Newspaper, October 14, 2012 p 5. October 16, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
Tags: Alan Harper, Diocese of Armagh, Richard Clarke
The Church of Ireland has elected a centrist to serve as the next Archbishop of Armagh, preserving the status quo in the increasingly divided church. On 4 October 2012 the Irish House of Bishops selected the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the Most Rev Richard Clarke, to succeed Dr. Alan Harper as the 105th Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
Last week’s vote postpones a potential North/South split within the Irish Church over homosexuality. Considered a liberal churchman within the House of Bishops, Dr. Clarke has moved to the center in recent years, supporting the course taken by Dr. Harper in avoiding a showdown over homosexuality.
Bishop Paul Colton of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and Bishop Michael Burrows of Cashel and Ossory broke with their colleagues over the issue at the last meeting of General Synod and have called for a revision of church teaching on homosexuality. Bishop Burrows’ brother in law, Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin and Bishop Patrick Rooke of Tuam, Killala and Achonry have expressed sympathy for the liberal stance, but have not openly supported change.
The evangelical bishops of Ulster, Bishop Ken Clarke of Kilmore, Elphin, and Ardagh, who retired last month, Bishop Harold Miller of Down & Dromore, Bishop Alan Abernethy of Connor, Bishop Ken Good of Derry & Raphoe, and Bishop John McDowell of Clogher have opposed altering the church’s teaching on homosexuality.
Dr. Clarke of Meath and along with the Bishop of Limerick have sought to mediate between the two wings. The House of Bishops must now fill vacancies in the Diocese of Meath and Kildare and the Diocese Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh. The results of these elections, will likely determine whether Dr. Clarke can preserve the status quo and avoid a show down over gay blessings and clergy.
Following the announcement of his election, Dr. Clarke said “I truly feel neither worthy of the heritage into which I am to enter nor adequate for the tasks that lie ahead. The God of Christian belief is, however, a God of grace rather than a god who looks for human self-sufficiency. All I can pledge is that I will give this task the very best of which I am capable, and the prayer of all of us must be that God in his grace will enable some good to come from this.”
I look forward to fresh challenges and joys, along with new friendships and discoveries, in the “phase of ministry in the Gospel that now lies ahead, both in the Diocese of Armagh and within the wider fellowship of the Church of Ireland and beyond. Please pray for the Church of Ireland and for me in these weeks ahead as I prepare to take up this new responsibility.”
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.