- Cosmo Lang
Infobox Archbishop of Canterbury|
Full name = William Cosmo Gordon Lang
began = 1928
term_end = 1942
Randall Thomas Davidson
successor = William Temple
31 October 1864
birthplace = Fyvie manse,
5 December 1945
St Stephen's Chapel, Palace of WestminsterAnglican Portal
Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth (31 October 1864 – 5 December 1945), was a bishop in the
Church of England. He was the Archbishop of York(1908–1928) and, later, Archbishop of Canterbury(1928–1942).
Lang (like his predecessor as Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson) was a Scot and originally a Presbyterian. He was born at Fyvie manse,
Aberdeenshire, the third son of the Reverend John Marshall Lang(1834–1909), then Church of Scotlandminister of the parish, and his wife, Hannah Agnes (1840–1921), daughter of the Reverend Peter Hay Keith, minister of Hamilton. He was educated at the University of Glasgowand at Balliol College, Oxford. He studied law, envisaging a career as a barrister and probably later as a progressive Conservative politician. However, he became convinced that he was called to be a priest: in 1889, on the eve of being called to the bar, Lang kept hearing an inner question: "Why shouldn't "you" be ordained?" One Sunday at evensong in Cuddesdon parish church he heard an inner voice: "You are wanted. You are called. You must obey." With great reluctance he abandoned his previous plans. (On the other hand, while at Oxford he used to practise the signature "Cosmo Cantuar", indicating where his true ambitions lay [ Anthony Howard (journalist), speaking about "Ambition" in the BBC Radio 4programme Something Understood3 August 2008] .) After severing his connections with the bar he entered Ripon College Cuddesdonand was ordained a priest in 1891.
Lang's beliefs were
Anglo-Catholicbut liberal, seeing the " Lux Mundi" essays as his early ideal. He gently encouraged the Catholic trend in the Church of England during his career, succeeding in "normalizing" it. He was the first archbishop since the English Reformationto actually wear a mitre, previously seen as too Catholic a symbol (other bishops had simply used them as emblems).
In his early career he was a "slum priest", living in conditions of great discomfort in a condemned building, and mixing with what would now be called the "
underclass". In 1901 he became Suffragan Bishop of Stepneyin London. In 1908 he was appointed Archbishop of York, a stunning promotion which confirmed his status as a rising star.
Archbishop of York
As Archbishop of York, however, Lang began to behave, at least in public, more as a "Prince of the Church". It was unkindly said of him that "he could have been
St Francis of Assisior Cardinal Wolsey, and he chose to be Cardinal Wolsey." Nevertheless those who knew him personally were impressed by his kindness and shrewd judgement.
In the First World War, Lang criticised some of the excesses of anti-German propaganda, recalling his "sacred memory" of the Kaiser kneeling beside
Edward VIIat the bed of Queen Victoria. As a result he became a target of public abuse, a shock which seems to have had a deep impact — the alopeciawhich followed turned a young-looking, dark-haired man into an elderly-looking bald man with white hair; even friends did not recognize him. Contrary to his public appearance, Lang lacked inner confidence.
In 1926 Lang baptised Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in the private chapel of
Archbishop of Canterbury
In 1928 Lang was made Archbishop of Canterbury after the retirement of Randall Davidson, which followed, but was not in fact connected with, Parliament's rejection of the proposed new Prayer Book. Lang was faced with calls either to reopen the question or to challenge Parliament, but took what proved the wiser course of simply letting the new book come into unofficial use.
Lang had probably gone to Canterbury too late. He was still a superb speaker and preacher, but the energy that had made him such a star at the turn of the century had departed. His image was now as "proud, pompous and prelatical". Moreover he became seriously ill soon after appointment, further reducing his energy and impact.
However, he was active in both Church and public affairs in the 1930s. In 1930 he presided over the
Lambeth Conference. The 1930 conference is especially remembered for its declaration on contraception. Previously, the Anglican Church had taken essentially the same line as Roman Catholicism, opposing any artificial contraception, and this had been endorsed at the previous (1920) Lambeth Conference. But the 1930 Conference agreed by majority that contraception could be justified in certain circumstances. Lang did not seem to have strong views on the subject, and was apparently mainly concerned with achieving an agreed outcome.
In 1936 he treated
A. P. Herbert's Divorce Law Reform Bill with neutrality, taking the view that, although the Church disapproved of easier divorce, the bill was desirable for the state. Lang was relatively close to both Stanley Baldwinand (somewhat more surprisingly) Neville Chamberlain, and broadly supported their appeasementpolicies.
A committee was appointed in 1937 by the Church of England and headed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to investigate spiritual
mediumship. After two years of careful study, Archbishops Lang and Temple submitted the committees report. It was expected by the Committee and by the general public that the guidance contained therein would be made available to the rank and file of the Church of England who, up to then, had no official lead regarding communication with the deceased. However, the report was shelved by the House of Bishopsand never published.
Edward VIII controversy
In 1936 Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson. Lang stated on film that he had the gravest doubts about the sanctity of the marriage, thus indicating that for him it was potentially a resignation issue. [Lang spoke in 'Abdication: A very British Coup' on BBC 4 on December 14, 2006. Showing it was effectively King vs Church and 'King vs Establishment.] Both the King and the Prime Minister (Baldwin) knew his views and it was widely assumed that Lang had played a leading role in forcing the King out. Lang unwisely made a radio broadcast after the abdication which was seen as "kicking Edward VIII when he is down". This probably helped to cement the public belief that he was the key figure in the abdication crisis.
Recent historical research has shown his active concern about the Nazis' racial policies. Lang supported moves to assist refugees, and backed Bishop George Bell, who supported anti-Nazi clergy in Germany, against Bishop
Arthur Headlam, who wanted to emphasize good relations with Germany.
Lang announced his resignation on 21 January 1942, partly in order to make way for William Temple. Temple was a strong
Christian Socialist, and opinion both in the Church and the general public foresaw great changes in the post-war period. It seemed Temple's hour had come. However, Temple died in 1944. Lang remained active in the House of Lords.
Lang died in 1945. He died suddenly, while on his way to a meeting of the Trustees of the
British Museum; his last words are said to have been "I must get to the station", as he lay dying on the pavement near Kew Gardensstation. On 10 December a service was held in Westminster Abbeyand, simultaneously, a requiem was sung at Canterbury Cathedralwhere, that afternoon, the funeral took place. After cremation the ashes were interred in St Stephen's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, on 11 December.
Personal life and legacy
Lang has generally been seen as a man of great gifts who failed to live up to his early promise. Lang may himself have agreed with this; in contrast to his public air of
prideand conceit, he was privately filled with self-recrimination and a sense of failure.
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=16357210 Memorial Page for Cosmo Lang]
*John G. Lockhart, "Cosmo Gordon Lang" (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1949).
* [http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/office/success.html Archbishop of Canterbury – Succession List]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cosmo Lang — Cosmo Gordon Lang, premier baron Lang de Lambeth (31 octobre 1864, Fyvie manse dans l Aberdeenshire – 5 décembre 1945, près de Kew Gardens), est un ecclésiastique anglican britannique d origine éco … Wikipédia en Français
Cosmo Lang — Philip Alexius de László: Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, Öl auf Leinwand, 1932 Cosmo Gordon Lang (ab 1942: 1. Baron Lang of Lambeth, * 31. Oktober 1864 in Fyvie (Aberdeenshire); † 5. Dezember 1945 in London) war ein anglikanischer Geistlicher und… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Cosmo Gordon Lang — The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Lang of Lambeth GCVO PC Archbishop of Canterbury … Wikipedia
Cosmo Gordon Lang — Arzobispo de Canterbury Cosmo Lang … Wikipedia Español
Cosmo Gordon Lang — Erzbischof Cosmo Gordon Lang (um 1932) Cosmo Gordon Lang (ab 1942: Erster Baron Lang of Lambeth, * 31. Oktober 1864 in Fyvie (Aberdeenshire); † 5. Dezember 1945 in London) war ein anglikanischer Geistlicher und von 1928 bis 1942 Erzbischof von… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Cosmo (surname) — For other uses, see Cosmo. Cosmo is a surname and may refer to: People with the surname Cosmo: Anthony Cosmo (disambiguation), any of several people of the same name Fran Cosmo, American musician, former lead singer of the band Boston James Cosmo … Wikipedia
Cosmo Warrior Zero — コスモウォーリアー零 (Kosumo Wōriā Zero) Genre Adventure, Science Fiction, Space Opera Original video animation Directed by … Wikipedia
Lang — puede referirse a: Adolph Franz Láng ( 1795 1863 ) fue un farmacéutico , botánico , y pteridólogo húngaro Fritz Lang director de cine de origen austríaco Lang Lang pianista chino Cosmo Gordon Lang William Cosmo Gordon Lang, primer Barón Lang de… … Wikipedia Español
Cosmo Francesco Ruppi — (* 6. Juni 1932 in Alberobello; † 29. Mai 2011 in Locorotondo) war Erzbischof von Lecce. Leben Cosmo Francesco Ruppi studierte an den Priesterseminaren von Conversano und Molfetta. An der Universität Bari graduierte er in Pädagogik sowie in… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lang (surname) — Lang is a surname of English, Scottish and German origin. It is similar to Lange and Long.People surnamed LangAmerican*Lang, Andrew, (born 1966), U.S. basketball player *Lang, Eddie (1902 1933), U.S. jazz guitarist *Lang, Glen, U.S. businessman… … Wikipedia