The former Archbishop of York John Habgood was a man whose career can be defined by two feuds. The first was with Margaret Thatcher, who viewed him as far too liberal to ever get the top gig in the Church of England (Archbishop of Canterbury) and made sure he never got down the A1. Habgood was a liberal: he supported women priests, divorced priests and efforts to include more black leaders in the Church (including his replacement, John Sentamu).
The second feud was with Dr Gareth Bennett, an Anglican priest and academic who wrote the preface for the 1988 edition of Crockford’s Clerical Directory, a kind of “Who’s Who” for the British church. In it Bennett attacked what he saw as corrupting liberal impulses at the top of the CofE, including the aforementioned moves towards female priests. Habgood was one of many leading religious figures who responded to the attack, calling Bennett “sour” and “vindictive”. Bennett’s witty riposte to this was to kill himself, proving once and for all that protestants just can’t handle the banter.