Candidacy dogged by scandal

Published June 1, 2002


Hopes for an overseas entry into the race to succeed the Archbishop of Canterbury may be dead because of a financial scandal in the diocese of Newcastle in Australia.

The name of the bishop of Newcastle, Roger Herft, was being bandied about by those fond of the notion of a non-British archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Herft, born in Sri Lanka, has problems on the home front after financial irregularities were found in an annual diocesan audit earlier this year.

At the end of April, diocesan registrar Peter Mitchell, a member of the Australian General Synod, was charged with fraudulently misappropriating 193,710 British pounds from the diocese.

Bishop Herft caught the eye of the British Anglican establishment at the 1998 Lambeth Conference where he served as chaplain. He impressed people with his pastoral abilities and communication skills, and made many friends among the English bishops.

His position on homosexuality, a touchy point within the worldwide Anglican Com-munion, is viewed as liberal. Bishop Herft failed to get elected last year as Archbishop of Melbourne.

Earlier this year he criticized the Australian government for involving the country too quickly in the war against terrorism.


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