The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby has been named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The Eaton and Cambridge University educated man is a former oil trader and has only been the Bishop of Durham for a year will take of from the current archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams towards the end of the year.
Only last month, Dr Williams, admitted the Church of England’s attitude to gay relationships had often been harmful to gay people he had also said that while his leadership was “wrong” not to have advocated gay equality, David Cameron was wrong to have embarrassed the church over the issue of equal marriage.
Bishop Welby comes from a more conservative evangelical position who is strict on belief in the bible and is opposed to same-sex marriage as well as gay people serving as bishops. However during a speech in London on Friday he offered a little glimmer of hope that gay’s are not going to face a religious battering when he takes over, saying the Church of England must have “no truck with any form of homophobia”.
During the speech at Lambeth Palace Welby indicated he might be willing to talk to the gay community.
“It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships.
“We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church”.
He also said that he supported the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in response to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, they strongly opposed the measure. Welby added, “But I also know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully,”
I’m not holding my breath for a more liberal Church of England and whilst I really do believe that before the 2015 elections, we will see marriage equality in the UK, the fight from the church will be particularly vicious and ferocious.