English cleric, archbishop of Canterbury 1980–91, the first to be appointed on the suggestion of the Church Crown Appointments Commission (formed in 1977) rather than by political consultation. He favoured cooperation with Roman Catholicism and was successful in organizing visits between Canterbury and Rome, although he came under attack for this from some quarters. He presided over General Synods on homosexuality, ecclesiastical remarriage for the divorced, and the ordination of women. He was widely attacked for his liberalism, but believed himself that such changes would come eventually and that delay should be avoided. He was created Baron in 1991.
Born in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, the son of an electrical engineer who went blind when Robert Runcie was 17, he became an archbishop from lower down the social scale than his predecessors. Educated at Oxford University, after a year he was commissioned into the Scots Guards during World War II, and in 1945 was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in battle. Returning to Oxford, and then to Westcott House, Cambridge, he was ordained into the Church of England in 1950 and served as deacon in Gosforth, Tyneside, for two years. He then returned to Cambridge and became, successively, chaplain and vice-principal of Westcott House, and fellow, dean, and assistant tutor of Trinity Hall, being made an honourary fellow of Trinity Hall in 1975. From 1960 to 1969 he was vicar and principal of Cuddesdon College, Oxford, and in 1970 was made bishop of St Albans, and in 1980 was appointed archbishop of Canterbury.
1921-2000 English clergyman, Archbishop of Canterbury (1980-91). He was ordained in 1951, and became Bishop of St Albans in 1970. In 1982,...