Magazine article The Christian Century

Robert Runcie Dies at Age 78

Magazine article The Christian Century

Robert Runcie Dies at Age 78

Article excerpt

Robert Runcie, the 102nd archbishop of Canterbury and head of world Anglicanism, died of cancer July 11 at the age of 78. Runcie, who was archbishop of Canterbury from 1980 to 1991, on numerous occasions showed breath-taking boldness, yet his natural instinct at a time of political, social and ecclesiastical upheaval was to seek compromise. An ardent ecumenist, he often drew criticism within the church for advocating closer ties between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

Runcie's term at Lambeth Palace, the archbishop's London office, coincided with the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. The two shared little common ground. In 1985 when Runcie's Commission on Urban Priority Areas produced the damning "Faith in the City" report, it was condemned by one of Thatcher's cabinet members as "Marxist" because it dared to criticize a political policy that put 3 million people on the unemployment scrap heap. His greatest sin as far as Thatcher was concerned, however, was spoiling her celebration party at the end of the Falklands War. The prime minister wanted a service of thanksgiving for the British victory in the conflict in 1982, but Runcie insisted that it should be a memorial to those who had died on both sides of the conflict. …

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