C of E has treated gay people “appallingly”, says Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks at Westminster earlier this year

Gay people have been treated appallingly by the Church of England, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Justin Welby – who today oversees the Royal Wedding – has previously warned that the issue of homosexuality threatens to tear the church apart.

It has been split on whether to allow blessings for same-sex marriages with traditionalists pitted against liberal clerics on the subject.

Mr Welby said: “We are continuing as a church to debate with each other, to discuss with each other, and to listen to particularly the voices of LGBTIQ+ people who historically have been appallingly treated and never listened to.

“I think we are changing very distinctly. You talk to the bishops examining the issue and I think they would say the whole church is on a journey. I’m part of that.”

Canterbury Cathedral is the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion

The division in the Church of England, whose mother church is Canterbury Cathedral, rests on general attitudes towards homosexuality.

Hardline churches in Africa reject it outright and endorse anti-sodomy laws. Meanwhile, episcopal churches in Britain and the United States have embraced same sex unions.

“It is just irreconcilable,” the Archbishop said. “There are some disputes that are irreconcilable. I don’t know where it goes at the moment.”

Mt Welby has also been asked whether his views have changed on the subject. He said: “I hope they’re deeper.

“I’ve not changed in the sense that I believe the scriptures, properly interpreted, remain for me the final authority in matters of doctrine, in matters of practice. But the phrase is properly interpreted.”

He added: “The generosity I’ve received from gay friends in the midst of not handling this issue very well, and from people who are very traditionalist, has led to me being much less certain than I would have been 10 or 15 years ago.”

Mr Welby is overseeing the marriage Prince Harry, newly named the Duke of Sussex, and his actress bride Meghan Markle in Windsor today.


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