Whether or not British politicians ‘do God’, the Archbishop of Canterbury certainly does politics.
Over the last thirty years, the three most recent incumbents have spoken out on issues as diverse as urban poverty and sexual ethics, criminal justice and climate change, blasphemy and war.
Perhaps not surprisingly, political Archbishops have proved no less controversial than theological politicians. Supporters have praised archiepiscopal interventions for being humane and intelligent and for raising the tone of political debate. At the same time, critics have attacked them for being self-interested, outdated, and irrelevant.
Turbulent Priests? takes a detailed and dispassionate look at the political activity of Archbishops of Canterbury since 1980. It examines what subjects they have spoken out on, in what way and with what frequency.
It explores the political and social context of his interventions, and analyses the criticisms levelled at them.
Ultimately, the report seeks to answer one key question: is the Archbishop of Canterbury a politically self-serving or irrelevant figure, or does he contribute a moral voice in support of the common good that is much needed in contemporary British politics?