Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Antidisestablishmentarianism Comes for the Archbishop?

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (no, not Robin Williams), advocates "disestablishment" — ending the Church of England's position as England's legally established church led by the Queen. Bishop Williams was appointed by a House of Commons widely believed to be totally dominated by Tony Blair, who is an Anglican.

The situation would be even more remarkable if the Prime Minister were actually Mr. Blair's wife, Cheri, who is a serious Catholic, who sends their children to a serious Catholic school in London.

Prospects such as a non-Anglican appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury seem to highlight the significance of disestablishment, and it is interesting that an advocate of disestablishmentarianism has now been appointed the head of the C of E. Of course, one doesn't know if he will change his official position on that issue now that he has been appointed to that particular office.

But such a conversion of the new Archbishop to antidisestablishmentarianism would be disheartening, if only because it would end the opportunity for text-based media to use a word one was duped in one's childhood into believing was "the longest word in the English language," only to later discover it had been edged out by the name of some dreadfully complex molecule or other.

Pity, that.

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