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Archbishop of Canterbury plans to retire at 66

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The archbishop of Canterbury announced his retirement Tuesday after more than a decade as the spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans. George Carey, 66, said he would retire Oct. 31.

Carey has presided over the Church of England during a difficult decade, when it battled over the ordination of women and moves to establish closer ties with other Christian denominations. He tried to end infighting and restore the appeal of a church that has seen its following plummet in recent decades. About half a dozen bishops are considered candidates to replace Carey. The Crown Appointments Commission, a 16-member body made up of bishops and church officials, will hold a series of meetings to decide on two names to recommend to Prime Minister Tony Blair. His choice will then formally be ratified by Queen Elizabeth II.