Following the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, is retiring later in the year, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said he will be much missed. The Cardinal said: "Archbishop George Carey and I are good friends and I have appreciated very much our collaboration in ecumenical endeavour. "Dr Carey has had to live through some difficult times as Archbishop of Canterbury. As leader of the Anglican Communion he emerged as someone of immense integrity, zeal and courage. I am sure there will be very many, like myself, who will express their appreciation of his considerable achievements in a most demanding role and who will miss him when he steps down as Archbishop." Dr Carey has led the Church of England and an estimated 70 million Anglicans worldwide for 11 years and could have stayed in his post until he turns 70 in 2005. But the 66-year-old has decided to step down in the autumn, after taking part in the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. In a statement Dr Carey said: "By the end of October I shall have served 11 and half years in a demanding yet wonderfully absorbing and rewarding post. "I feel certain this will be the right and proper time to stand down. "I look forward to exciting opportunities and challenges in the coming months, and then to fresh ones in the years that follow." In an eventful and often challenging reign, his main achievement was to oversee the first ordination of women priests in 1994 and manage the deep divisions it created within the Church of England. He gained a more conservative reputation during the last Lambeth Conference of all Anglican bishops, in 1998, which took a hard line against the practice of homosexuality among priests. Among possible candidates are the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who opposed the ordination of women priests. Another is the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan and caused a stir when he branded married couples who opt to remain childless as "self-indulgent and incomplete". A leading liberal candidate is Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams, a high-powered theologian and writer.
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