Rowan Williams to attend funeral of UK religion journalist

By Ecumenical News International
June 13, 2008

Two senior Anglican archbishops are to be present at the funeral service at Llandaff Cathedral in Wales for the UK religious affairs writer and broadcaster Christopher Morgan - writes Trevor Grundy.

The celebrant at Morgan's funeral on June is to be Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, and the address will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. Morgan was the best man at Williams' marriage.

Morgan, who was appointed religious and royal affairs correspondent of the Sunday Times in 1997 ended his life on 30 May 2008 at the age of 55 on a railway line in north London. He was reported to have been badly affected by the death of his mother three years previously.

In a statement following his death, a spokesperson for the Morgan family said: "Last summer, Christopher started suffering from bouts of depression and sought psychiatric help. He contributed a couple of stories to the Sunday Times in the spring of this year and his family and friends thought he was slowly on the road to recovery. However, on Friday, May 30 he took his own life."

The Sunday Times reported that in recent years Morgan's religious faith had been tested. He was wounded by some criticisms of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but it was said they might have had some substance.

Born on July 29, 1952, Morgan was educated at Cardiff High School and the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, where he graduated as a Master of Theology in 1976.

Morgan began his career as a journalist in 1977 ending speculation that he would seek ordination. He entered the religious affairs department of the BBC in Wales and went on to become one of Britain's best known religious affairs writers and broadcasters.

One of Morgan's biggest scoops was that Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was to become Archbishop of Westminster and thereby the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales. He also predicted that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would become the Pope.

An obituary in The Times said that Morgan was a frequent visitor to the Savoy, one of London's leading hotels, where he carried out many of his exclusive interviews. "If a guest did not crack over four courses, two bottles of wine and port to follow, he would get what was needed in a series of follow-up phone calls," said the unnamed obituary writer.

Morgan once visited a London club called "Tutu's", the Sunday Times wrote in its obituary. Asked later if the lively dancing had attracted him, Morgan said no, he thought the club had been named after Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.]

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