The Right Rev. Justin Welby, bishop of Durham, was named the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anglican head expresses concern about Episcopal vote on gay marriage

The Right Rev. Justin Welby, bishop of Durham, was named the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. Photo courtesy of Durham Cathedral

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo courtesy of Durham Cathedral

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CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Communion, has expressed deep concern about the stress that the Episcopal Church’s vote on gay marriage might cause to some in the 80 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday (July 1) to let gay couples marry in the church's religious ceremonies, reinforcing its support for same-sex nuptials days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Among the changes to church laws on marriage, gender-specific language will be dropped. "Husband" and "wife" will be replaced with "the couple."

The Episcopal Church, part of the Anglican Communion, became in 2012 the largest U.S. denomination to approve a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions.

The move by the Episcopal Church contrasts with the position of the Church of England, which secured an exemption in law from ever having to perform a gay marriage ceremony when Parliament passed a law in 2014 making same-sex marriage legal.

In a statement issued from Lambeth Palace, the archbishop’s London home, Welby said that the American church’s decision “will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith resolutions.”

Welby is the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion as well as senior primate of the Church of England, the  established church whose Supreme Governor is Queen Elizabeth II.

The statement issued to the Anglican Communion News Service quoted the archbishop saying, "At a time of such suffering around the world, this is a moment for the church to be looking outwards. We continue to mourn with all those who are grieving loved ones and caring for the injured from the terrorist attacks in Sousse (Tunisia), Kuwait and Lyons (France) and from the racist attacks in Charleston."

It quoted Welby calling for "a space for the strengthening of the interdependent relationships between provinces, so that in the face of adversity and disagreement, Anglicans may be a force for peace and seek to respond to the Lord Jesus’s prayer that ‘they may be one so that the world may believe.’" (John 17:21)



  1. This is Welby last year, commenting on yet another faith-based African massacre.

    “Were the Church of England to accept gay marriages…the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. He explained that the reasoning behind the massacre of Nigerian Christians was essentially, “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we’re going to kill the Christians.”

    And thus continues the intellectual, moral, political, and spiritual dithering and vapidity of the highly paid religious class. If we treat the people we have always despised in God’s name even remotely decently, why, there might be consequences for the people we actually think are far superior– our tribe, not theirs. Translation:”I’ll condemn the homohatred my church has been peddling for centuries, but I won’t accept the consequences that homohatred has visited upon the innocent of our tribe…

  2. Continuing: “I’m not too concerned about the other innocent victims of centuries of homohatred– gay people.” And of course, there is also the tacit endorsement of stupidity, ignorance, superstition, tribalism, and a host of other ills that beset the dark continent– and western civilization, wherever religious fundamentalism sinks its claws.

    Who exactly would be doing the killing of your tribe members? Oh, yes! Other religionists who worship a different version of your god. You people have been slaughtering each other for a thousand years– when each has taken the time out from slaughtering us.

    Is he blaming the REAL victims of church-exported homohatred? “Goshdarn those homosexuals. If they weren’t demanding an end to legalized bigotry, why everything would just be so much better for everyone!” It would be back to unicorns and rainbows, and Christians and muslims in third in third world hellholes would stop killing each other over who is actually god’s BFFF.


  3. “Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby… has expressed deep concern about the stress that the Episcopal Church’s vote on gay marriage might cause.”
    Well sir, I likewise have deep concern when I light my way through a dynamite factory with a box of matches. Your congregants are in a stampede—out the door! Time to wake up?

  4. Come home to the Catholic Church. You can now clearly see who is leading your church, and IT is not of this world, and IT is not of heaven.

  5. He should be concerned about their actions concerning homosexuality and same-sex since they go against God’s wisdom and his Word, the Bible.

    But what action shall he and those of his take after the fact? Compromise or make a firm stand for what is true and right? It will be interesting to see what happens.

  6. Ben,

    LGBT’s are showcasing the tyrannical totalitarianism that was predicted. YOU have always been able to engage in homosexuality. NOW, you are able to form a “marriage” to continue that behavior while benefitting from government privileges.

    YOU even have some churches to feel validated and even “blessed” in your co-habitation/marriage to a man. The MCC has given you all you demand and desire. And so has the secular world.

    It is time to stop all the Christian-bashing and move on. Christians do NOT have to agree to your demands to pervert marriage and sexuality. If you want to force them to honor your homosexuality, you are persecuting them.

    “The Greeks, then, O king, because they practise foul things in sleeping with males, and with mother and sister and daughter, turn the ridicule of their foulness upon the Christians; but the Christians are honest and pious, and the truth is set before their eyes, and they are long-suffering;” – Apologia of Aristides to Hadrian

  7. What you LGBT’s call “homohatred” (yet another neologism from gay pride propagandists)

    Christians call repentance.

    And of course pure evil must hate that!

    This present darkness will be great but nothing new to The Church.

  8. I’m sorry, but i cannot take seriously the comments of anyone who has publicly called for my execution because he cannot stop thinking about my sex life.

  9. If Archbishop Welby wants to save the body and soul of the Anglican Communion, I would suggest that he find a way to get the Episcopal Church to leave it, voluntarily or involuntarily. He should then replace TEC with the Anglican Church in North America, which Canterbury does not yet recognize as a member of the Communion, but which is recognized by the majority of the Communion’s primates and provinces.

    It’s a shame that the Abp hasn’t called TEC what it is–a heretical church that has abandoned Christianity for secular humanism dressed in vestments.

  10. “They may be one so that the world may believe.’” (John 17:21)

    Religion is a dream of Total control and it appeals to control freaks.
    Complete social uniformity and intellectual depravity.

    Religion is MESSIANISM:


    When someone says “I have the absolute truth”
    Run away. The most dangerous thing is someone who claims to be a servant of God.

  11. How ironic to read this, when the Anglican church itself is a heretical church that abandoned historic Catholicism for a mish-mash of Protestant inventions dressed in vestments. The fruit does not fall far from the tree.

  12. You are so unable to “take them seriously” that you spend vast amounts of time perusing articles that deal with purely intra-church matters that do not affect you, and composing voluminous posts telling people how they should interpret scriptures that you do not know or believe in.

    Methinks you and Larry protest too much.

  13. I think Christ would weep to see so-called Christians supporting exclusion and hatred in his name.

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