The Unholy Language That Cost Archbishops Aide His Job; at Odds: Dr Rowan Williams Target: The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Doughty

AN aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury has been sacked after writing an insult to a senior bishop into an official document.

The Lambeth Palace staff member made an offensive reference to the Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, who has been at odds with the Archbishop over the issue of homosexuality.

The document in the affair, a list of candidates for job vacancies, included a reference to the arse-hole Bishop of Rochester.

It was copied to all 43 of the Church of Englands diocesan bishops and to Downing Street.

The rogue word was noticed only after the paper had been circulated.

A Church of England spokesman yesterday confirmed the Lambeth Palace aide responsible had been sacked.

He said: When this came to light there was an immediate investigation. The person responsible admitted to it and was summarily dismissed.

The culprit is widely assumed to have been someone who sympa-thises with the Church of Englands gay lobby. The Church has declined to name him or her.

Dr John Lee, clergy appointments adviser at Lambeth Palace, has sent a written apology to Dr Nazir-Ali.

The apology, made as soon as the wording was discovered, said the document contained a very offensive remark that was inserted by a person or persons (as yet) unknown and for which we extend our deepest and most sincere apologies. The incident has come at a time of deep disagreement between Dr Williams and Dr NazirAli.

They are at odds over the issue of homosexuality which is dividing Anglicans, and over the Archbishops sympathy for sharia law.

The incident also highlights the strength of feeling inside the Church at a time when Dr Williams has been anxious to reconcile the opposing parties and play down the depth of division. …