Church turns to spin
The Church of England is trying to spin its way out of the crisis over the issue of homosexuality, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The revelation comes from a document drawn up by one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's closest advisers, Jeremy Harris.
Dr Rowan Williams's secretary for public affairs, wrote a three-page memorandum, entitled Notes towards a Handling Strategy on Gay Issues, outlining how the Church could manipulate the media.
Mr Harris is a former BBC journalist with great influence at Lambeth Palace.
In the "strictly confidential" document, which has been seen by The Daily Telegraph, he said: "In addition to attempting to manage the gay issue strategically, there is at least the challenge . . . of displacing it at least partially from public and media attention.
"This involves, principally, finding attractive alternative stories involving ABC [the Archbishop of Canterbury] and/or the Church."
The use of the shorthand ABC has overtones of the language used in Downing Street, where the Prime Minister is often referred to as TB in media strategy documents and by Alastair Campbell, the outgoing director of communications.
Mr Harris says: "The ABC needs to be seen and heard as offering a balanced ticket, as someone capable of relating constructively to a range of constituencies. In strategic terms this means keeping an appropriate distance from many strands of the issue and (because of the perception that he is on the liberal wing and is so in personal rather than corporate terms) being seen and heard as receptive to conservative opinion."
The overall tone of the document suggests that senior aides are deeply worried that the homosexuality issue could disrupt the Archbishop's agenda by dominating the news coverage of the Church, says the newspaper.