Vox Populi, Vox Dei?

Sep 30 2012 @ 8:56am

Nelson Jones critiques the 16-member committee tasked with choosing who will replace Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Jones deems the selection system "anomalous both in the Anglican Communion and in the wider Christian world":

Giles Fraser suggested yesterday that the Archbishop of Canterbury too should be elected, and of course he is right. An electoral process – perhaps via a special session of the General Synod – would be more legitimate and, more importantly, give the new Archbishop a real mandate to speak out on behalf of the Church of England and a stronger connection with the grassroots.  It would look like a modernising move, bringing the mother church into line with other Anglican provinces, but it would also be a return to the tradition of the early church which upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei ("the voice of the people is the voice of God"). It might even help to solve the problem of his divergent and contradictory roles: as leader of a notriously unleadable church (which has been described as "an organised anarchy"), as national spokesman for faith and as the largely powerless head of the worldwide Anglican communion. At least, a more open decision-making process might lead to a more conclusive discussion about what an Archbishop of Canterbury is for.