Australian Bishop Rejects Charges of Nepotism

Nov 18, 2002 03:00 AM EST

SYDNEY, Australia – The appointment of Christine Jensen to lead a newly formed women's ministry on November 15, wrought suggestions of nepotism by the Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen.

The appointment followed the recent nomination of Dr. Jensen's brother Phillip as Dean of Sydney, and the position of Dr Jensen's son as chaplain at Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral School.

On Sunday, November 17, Dr Jensen dismissed the allegations, asserting that his family's appointments did not leave him open to nepotism accusations.

"Not if you know what the word nepotism means, which means providing ecclesiastical preferment for money and so forth and so on," he told ABC Radio.

"My son Michael was appointed chaplain long before I became archbishop. And my brother Phillip is involved in a very extensive important ministry now, and I'm just very glad that he's been prepared to leave that ministry to come to this other one. He is undoubtedly the right person for the job. We must not allow the fact that people have the same surname to prevent them from doing the job that we believe is right. This is really a storm in a teacup."

Dr. Jensen stressed that his wife was already involved in "a huge amount of women's ministry," and that her role was an honorary position enabling her to continue on in her ministry.

"She's doing so much women's ministry it would be ridiculous for them not to know what she's involved in," he said. "There are scores of talented women in the diocese, there just happens to be one, namely Christine, my wife, who has the special position that she is in of having a ministry to clergy wives and others, and who is very appropriate for this team."

He continued on the broadcast, commenting that his critics did not understand what was going on.

"They would be people who don't know the slightest thing about us ..." he said. "She and I of course work together, but she is fully trained ... and has an extensive ministry in her own right."

By Pauline J.