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Former Catholic favoured for Anglican top job

The man widely tipped to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury was a Roman Catholic in his youth, the Church of England confirmed on Saturday.

The Bishop of Rochester in the UK, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, had been a Catholic before becoming an Anglican at the age of 20 - a fact leaked to the media as part of an alleged smear campaign against the front runner. Bishop Nazir-Ali remains a leading contender to take over from Dr George Carey when the Archbishop steps down later this year.

The odds lengthened from 5/2 to 3/1, making him the joint favourite with the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones.

The Church of England has dismissed the significance of the bishop's earlier switch.

"It is wholly unremarkable that someone has started on their path as a Roman Catholic and later moved to the Anglican church," it said. "Many people in the church have moved from one to the other. It is just that the bishop happens to be a prominent member of the Anglican Church."

Independent (UK)