But how did a man of such limited abilities come to occupy the see of Canterbury in the first place?
Bishop John Shelby Spong repeats a story that was widely circulated when Carey's appointment was announced in the summer of 1990:
The Crown Appointments Committee, made up of a significant group of church dignitaries plus members of Parliament, traditionally puts forward two names from which the prime minister makes a choice. While the prime minister is free to reject both of the nominees that is very rare.
On that occasion the Appointments Committee put forward the names of the Archbishop of York, the favorite of the church leaders but one who had ruffled Mrs. Thatcher's feathers on other issues.
To try to encourage his selection, the second candidate was generally regarded as unqualified. An old line evangelical, who thought the Bible contained the answer to every question and who was known to speak in tongues.
The Church leaders thought this candidate, George Carey, was too bizarre a choice even for Margaret Thatcher. However, the Prime Minister's anger was such that she decided to teach the Church of England a lesson. George Carey became the designated Archbishop of Canterbury.