If, as expected tomorrow, [Downing Street has now confirmed the timing of the announcement to the Press Association] Bishop Justin Welby will be named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, he could well be the last.
Now aged 56, all else being equal, we could be expect Archbishop Welby to remain in post for at least ten years.
By the time of his retirement, if November's General Synod vote goes as widely thought, there will be several female candidates for the post with considerably more 'episcopal' experience than Bishop Welby has now. Who would possibly be foolhardy enough to make a prediction, given the social revolution now sweeping the West, that the Church of England will not at that time succumb to overwhelming secular pressure and appoint its first woman Archbishop of Canterbury- who would, of course, in terms of the traditional 'catholic' (and Anglican) view of apostolic succession and the need for sacramental certainty, be no archbishop at all?
These are the implications of the step which is about to be taken later this month and it will expose the convenient establishment myth of a 'process of reception' for the fraud it always was.
A sympathetic profile of Bishop Welby, whose likely appointment has been widely welcomed, can be found here (from the BBC) and, in the interests of balance, a less than complimentary - indeed, scathingly caustic - assessment here (from Dr Peter Mullen at the Telegraph)