So now we know.
It came as no surprise, of course, that a woman was appointed as Bishop of London. But the selection nevertheless tells one a good deal about modern-day Anglicanism.
Sarah Mullally was (as the official announcement coyly admitted) a late ordinand. She had a previous career as a senior nursing officer in the NHS – moving as one wit unkindly put it ‘from one failing national institution to another’. In consequence she takes over the third most important job in the Church of England with little experience of bishopping and the slenderest of theological qualifications.
In that sense she is a Justin Welby lookalike.
She is – if one is allowed the expression any more – a company man. Her interview on Radio Four’s Today programme was a textbook exercise in purposeful evasion; big on ‘process’ and ‘open-ended reflection’ and almost entirely devoid of actual convictions.
Sarah Mullally is, as they are saying, the future of the Established Church.
But how different from the CofE of forty or fifty years ago! Then there were giants in the land. The Church of England boasted theologians of international status and men of integrity and powerful conviction. Some were even bishops. Now it is dominated by those whose primary talent is the ability to manage internal dissent and frictionless numerical decline.