Newly elected Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has used his first public comments as leader of the world’s 80million Anglicans to reiterate his opposition to the Government’s gay marriage plans.
The former oil-executive turned evangelical man of the cloth was officially made the 105 Archbishop of Canterbury following a brief, legalese filled ceremony in St Paul’s. He had already been nominated for the job last year but today’s ceremony marked his official election to the post before his enthronement at Canterbury cathedral next month.
In a brief interview with the media afterwards Dr Welby was asked to comment on tomorrow’s vote on gay marriage – an issue that although the Anglican Church’s leadership has officially opposed many pew members are nonetheless supportive of.
"I have no idea how the vote will go, so I am not going to get into hypothetical questions,” he said. “I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this. We have made many statements about this and I stick with that."
Although much speculation had grown in the last 24 hours of the Archbishop publicly “challenging” the government over gay marriage, Dr Welby’s chose his words carefully and instead re-iterated the church’s official position. Last year the Church released a detailed paper explaining why they were officially opposed to the Government’s same sex marriage proposals.
Welby himself comes from a gently conservative but charismatic evangelical background and is known to favour the church’s official teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
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