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Archbishop of Canterbury resists picking masons for clergy posts

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Guardian Unlimited

Archbishop resists picking masons for clergy posts

Stephen Bates

Saturday November 16, 2002

The Guardian

The Church of England sought to distance itself from freemasonry yesterday after Rowan Williams, the incoming archbishop of Canterbury, said he had resisted appointing masons to senior positions.

Bishops said they doubted there was a mason among them and insisted that there were few members of the secret society among the clergy.

In a letter to Hugh Sinclair, an author investigating the craft, Dr Williams stated: "I am not and have never been a mason; it is true I believe that this diocese had a number of masons among the clergy of a certain generation; I do not think that is true of the younger ones and I have resisted the appointment of known masons to certain senior posts. I have real misgivings about the compatibility of masonry and Christian profession."

It is more than 40 years since the then archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, was grand chaplain for the United Grand Lodge of England.

A Church of England spokesman said Dr Williams' position was the same as the church's, which questions the compatibility of masonry with Christianity. In 1987, the last time the issue was raised, a church report indicated that some Christian masons had reservations.

Both Anglicanism and the Catholic church historically have official difficulties with freemasonry.

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