Church of England's Justin Welby fights back tears as gay marriage row explodes

Church of England's Justin Welby fights back tears as gay marriage row explodes
ray addison church of england breakfast
Carl Bennett

By Carl Bennett

Published: 09/02/2023

- 10:34

Updated: 09/02/2023

- 12:39

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he 'cannot duck the issue anymore'

The Archbishop of Canterbury had to fight back tears as he debated members within his own church on gay marriages.

Justin Welby told members of the Church of England’s Synod must not give in to the “fear of a slippery slope” when it comes to considering proposals for clergy to bless same-sex couples.

The Synod has voted in favour of a motion to offer blessings to same-sex couples in civil partnerships and marriages.

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby attends the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet at Guildhall, in London, Britain November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in November
Toby Melville

The motion still forbids same-sex marriages from taking place in a church.

In the first debate, Synod members rejected 16 attempts to change the proposal to offer blessings to gay couples.

Speaking outside Church House in Westminster, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told GB News’ Ray Addison that “blessings are not enough”.

The activist, who had organised protests to take place on Wednesday, said: “Blessings are what the church gives to pets, like dogs or guinea pigs. We, LGBT+ people, we are not pets. We deserve equal marriage.”

Supporting the notion, Welby acknowledged the “painful” disagreement with the church on the matter but admitted he “cannot duck the issue any more than anyone else here.”

He said: “I know there is fear of a slippery slope, of what may or may not happen at some point in the future. But let us not give in to the fear of a future which we can neither predict nor control.

“Fear leads us to do the wrong things – trying to secure the future for God tomorrow, rather than trusting the Holy Spirit today.

“I’ve just been in Westminster Hall hearing President Zelensky, who knows well what it means for the world to change overnight.”

Pope Francis shakes hands with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as he leads an ecumenical prayer at the John Garang Mausoleum during his apostolic journey, in Juba, South Sudan, February 4, 2023. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby with Pope Francis
Vatican Media

He added: “I am supporting these resources, not I think because I’m controlled by culture, but because of Scripture, tradition and reason evidenced in the vast work done over the last six years so ably by so many. I may be wrong. Of course I may.

“But I cannot duck the issue any more than anyone else here.

“I ask each member of Synod to vote with their spirit-inspired consciences, scripturally and spiritually-guided and not because groups or lobbies or outsiders have told you to.”

On Sunday, Pope Francis said that laws criminalising LGBT people are a sin and an injustice because God loves and accompanies people with same-sex attraction.

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