Christian unity was goal of archbishop Ramsey, 83

 — Apr. 24, 198824 avril 1988

LONDON (AP-Reuter) – Lord Ramsey, who as archbishop of Canterbury from 1961 to 1974 left his mark as a champion of Christian unity and liberal causes, died yesterday at the age of 83.

He had been ill with bronchial pneumonia for several weeks and died at St. John’s Home in Oxford, the Church of England said.

During his 13 years as archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Ramsey thrust the state Church of England and the 70-million-member worldwide Anglican community toward unity with the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, a goal yet to be achieved.

He travelled the world attempting to heal centuries-old schisms and was president of the World Council of Churches from 1961 to 1968.

Lord Ramsey took a liberal stand on a range of political and social issues during the volatile era of his primacy.

He denounced South African apartheid and British restrictions on Asian immigration while advocating nuclear disarmament, abolition of the death penalty and relaxation of laws opposing homosexuality, divorce and abortion.

In announcing his death, the Church of England called Lord Ramsey “one of the great archbishops of this century.”

Brilliant debater

Robert Runcie, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, said his predecessor “was courageous in social comment and led the church steadily and confidently into new ways of worship and government.”

Michael Ramsey was born Nov. 14, 1904, the son of a lecturer in mathematics at Cambridge University.

Educated at Cambridge University, he was regarded as a brilliant debater. He was ordained in 1928 and became bishop of Durham in 1952. Four years later he became archbishop of York, the Church of England’s second-highest rank.

At his installment as archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Ramsey described his task as “to bring home to the people God Himself” and his objective “the unity of Christians.”

In 1966, he joined Pope Paul VI in a kiss of peace before the altar of the Sistine Chapel, a visit that drew strong protest from Protestants.

In one of his most controversial statements, he disagreed with the Pope on birth control, saying the decision on the use of contraceptives rested with the consciences of married couples.

He was made a life peer on retirement, taking the title Lord Ramsey of Canterbury.

A funeral is to be held at Canterbury Cathedral and a memorial service at London’s Westminster Abbey. The dates have not been set.

He leaves his wife Joan. They had no children.

Posted: Apr. 24, 1988 • Permanent link:
Categories: Memorials, NewsIn this article: Anglican, Archbishop of Canterbury, bishops, Church of England
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Catégorie : Memorials, NewsDans cet article : Anglican, Archbishop of Canterbury, bishops, Church of England

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