Bearing in mind that Thomas Cranmer was the architect of the Prayer Book, and that the Prayer Book is the birthright of the reformed Church of England and the bedrock of its doctrine, will my right hon. Friend encourage those responsible to ensure that the anniversary is observed? Does he agree that the refusal of the Post Office to issue a commemorative stamp is hardly an auspicious start?
Although I believe that Cranmer came down on the wrong side of the fence—or perhaps I should say stake—would it not be as well, in this anniversary year if his splendid prayers and collects were studied by the Anglo-Americans, who shamefully mistranslated the Latin rites into banal English, and by those to whom will fall the task of revising them?
I shall weigh carefully what my hon. Friend has said on a sensitive area of possible division. He will recall that Cranmer coined the phrase "the Church militant"—before the word "militant" took on a more political connotation. I am confident that the Church militant will prove to be the Church triumphant, unlike the Militant Tendency.
My point is that they all suffered similar fates. Indeed, if they had burnt a few more Ridleys, we might not have had the poll tax Bill. The Bishop of Durham should be grateful for the fact that the Prime Minister does not have the powers that Queen Mary had in 1555. If she had, the pungent smell of roast cleric might be wafting up our nostrils now.
Gentleman will recall that during his primacy he presided over the redistribution of the Church's assets after the dissolution of the monasteries. The Church Commissioners at least would have been much better off today had it not been for that royal diffusion.