Laws:As the Established Church, the Church of England is not avoluntary society with rules made by compact. Instead, its laws arepart of the English legal system. Because of the severe limitationon its power to legislate by canon, many changes require theamendment of statute law. Until 1919 this could only be done by Actof Parliament, which caused great difficulties as Church businesswas crowded out by ordinary legislation. In 1919 a new system wasset up for passing "Measures" by a special procedure. TheseMeasures, in effect special statutes dealing only with Churchmatters, would be debated by a "Church Assembly" and then passedinto law by a single vote in each house of Parliament. In the 1970sthe Church Assembly was replaced by the General Synod, but thebasic procedure remains. This means that it is possible forParliament to block a change agreed by the Church. This happened in1928-29 when Parliament refused to agree to a new PrayerBook.
Such a viewpoint has become increasingly less tenable as researchers delve more deeply and with greater sensitivity into what was truly taking place in fifteenth-century England." 15th century life - cuisine, falconry, power and influence of medieval women.
Formally it is the Queen who chooses new bishops, but with therise of parliamentary government the power passed, in practice, tothe Prime Minister. (This is of course true of many aspects ofBritish government; there are all sorts of things which legally aredecided by the Queen but which in fact are done strictly on thePrime Minister's "advice".) In the eighteenth and early nineteenthcenturies, bishops had a major political role and politicalconsiderations were very important in selection. In the twentiethcentury this has been far less significant - .much lesssignificant than is often imagined, in fact. For example, in 1942Churchill strongly disliked William Temple's politics, but acceptedthat he was the obvious choice as Archbishop of Canterbury. Butbecause of the bishops' continuing role in the House of Lords it isstill sometimes a factor. Since the 1970s a new system has beenintroduced whereby a Church committee forwards two names in orderof preference to the Prime Minister, who normally accepts thechoice but is not bound to. (It is believed that Margaret Thatchermade her own choice on a few occasions). Thus, fossil traces of thewhole history of the Church of England can be found in the process:the Church tells the Prime Minister to tell the Queen to tell theChurch who to appoint.