MOSCOW, December 21 (Sputnik) — In a candid interview for the BBC’s Radio 4 on Saturday, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby explained that he plans to listen to both sides carefully in the Church of England’s ongoing gay marriage debate.
The archbishop told the Desert Island Discs program that the people he has discussed the issue with are “deeply, deeply, deeply disagreeing” with the Church’s present anti-gay marriage position. Welby noted that for them “not just the issue of sexuality but the whole way in which the Church lives and exists and reaches out to people” seems erroneous. “If you love them you [must] listen carefully,” the archbishop noted, the BBC explained.
Welby, who had previously stepped out against gay marriage, noted that he felt it would be “inappropriate” to answer why he held such a position, stating that “we’re now in conversations within the Church, both globally and locally.” Earlier this year, the archbishop had stated that the Church’s acceptance of gay marriage might prove “catastrophic” for Christians elsewhere around the world, citing Christians who had been killed in Africa over the issue, the BBC explained.
Same sex marriage, which became legal in England and Wales in March of this year, was not supported by the Church of England, which has prohibited the carrying out of same sex marriage ceremonies in its churches.
Church Must Remain Humble in Political, Social Commentary, Must Admit Role Religion Has Played in Causing Violence
The Archbishop told BBC 4 that the recent revelation that the Church of England had owned a stake in the Wonga payday lending firm while criticizing payday lenders was a sign that the Church was constantly at the risk of damaging its reputation when it chooses to get involved in politics, The Telegraph explained. “When we do [get involved] we have to do it with both the passion of Christ and a deep sense of humility at our own failure and weakness. I cannot speak to people without being aware of my own sin, my own failure and the failure of the Church,” Welby explained.
The Archbishop also noted that the Church of England must admit the negative role religion has often played in causing wars and violence, saying that the violence people were capable of in the name of religion “boggled” his mind, citing the recent massacre of children and teachers in Peshawar last week.
“My experience is that in many conflicts religion is a good and simple hook to hang extremely complex conflicts on. The trouble is, the more you use the hook, [the more] it becomes the reality. In the end it becomes the underlying reality. We have to be realistic about the failures of the Church, but also confident in the love and the light and the truth of Christ,” Welby said, The Telegraph noted.