Friday, 16 May 2014

Justin Welby's media comments on same-sex marriage

The Archbishop of Canterbury has given several interviews lately touching on the topic of same-sex marriage.

The Pink News interview is here: Exclusive: Archbishop of Canterbury: It’s ‘great’ that equal marriage is the law of the land. Do read the whole report.

And the endorsement by Nick Clegg is in this article: Exclusive: Nick Clegg: ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury is right to denounce homophobia’.

Lambeth Palace later issued this: Same-sex marriage: Archbishop’s view remains the same.

Andrew Brown at the Guardian reported on the apparent confusion in Archbishop of Canterbury creates a stir with ‘great’ remark to gay magazine. He notes that:

…But the logic of Welby’s own position is moving him away from the certainties of his youth. The more he denounces homophobia, the more difficult it becomes for him to defend discrimination against gay people within the church. He opened this week with a rousing denunciation of homophobic bullying in church schools, but within days his office was explaining that this was simply because he was opposed to all bullying on any grounds.

Meanwhile, conservatives don’t see anything wrong with homophobia except perhaps the word itself. The churches in Nigeria and Uganda have recently passed laws that criminalise even the advocacy of same-sex relationships. In the case of Uganda, they provide for life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”. They cling to a resolution passed by a gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world in 1998 that condemned “unjustified discrimination against homosexuals”, but it is difficult to imagine any discrimination that some of them would not now consider justified…

Earlier this week, the archbishop had appeared on a Radio Nottingham programme. This interview has been transcribed in full by Changing Attitude: Archbishop of Canterbury interviewed by BBC Radio Nottingham and Pink News.

Sarah Julian asked him a series of questions based on Canon Jeremy Pemberton’s marriage to Laurence Cunnington to which his answer, repeated several times with minor variations, was “nothing to say.” What happens if you break the rules, was her stance. What happens to Jeremy now, and other priests like him?

Listening to this interview (audio - in the above link - only available this week) it really is very difficult indeed to understand why the archbishop had ever agreed to appear. What other questions did he expect a local Nottingham station would be likely to ask him?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 10:12pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Archbishop to schoolchildren: Leave homophobia to the adults.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 1:44am BST

I think Archbishop Justin Welby is quite loveable - despite his professed antipathy towards Same-Sex Marriage. At least, as St. Paul somewhere counsels his disciples, we should try to be 'all things to all people' when gossiping the Gospel.

One can only hope that, with the marriage and impending marriage of clergy same-sex couples, the Church of England will be able to work something out that is both just and seemly for monogamously partnered same-sex couples on the Church to be celebrated with some recognition of the blessing that God has already showered upon them.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 2:12am BST

There will be no significant penalisation of ministers who marry lovers of their own gender. I have no doubt.

I shall asap (am in a civil partnership -why are we - being kept - waiting ?!)

Posted by: Revd Laurie Roberts on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 3:48am BST

Andrew Brown does a fine job of bringing these pieces together and implicitly acknowledges the split HAS taken place and wonders how that will be translated into action here in the UK.
Simon is correct, this is not how you respond to local radio. It may be that Welby feels he has said all he wants to say.That's fine. But come better prepared with a précis of what you have said in the past (without the "great"s), do the usual stuff about not wanting to comment on individual cases. Talk about how this is an unusual conflict between the general law and Canon Law. Say good stuff about gay priests and their work, as all do, and talk about trying to have rules for life that uphold the Church teaching. Defend your threats!
But don't say this is up to the local bishop and then say bishops act collegialy .....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 8:04am BST

Jeremy Paxman once famously asked Michael Howard the same question no less than 14 times which the wily politician constantly refused to answer. Now that Paxo is retiring from Newsnight it seems that we have the perfect replacement in BBC Nottingham's Sarah Julian, who doggedly asked Justin Welby the same question in different forms numerous times and received several variations of "no comment"
Surely we deserve a Primate who can give a better answer to this vexed question than "erm and errrr" ?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 8:12am BST

On re-reading all this, I think the worst part of it is the Archbishop's continuing balderdash about the Church of England being a multinational corporation.

'We operate in 160 countries.' Utter nonsense: the Church of England is in England. That being so, the Church of England should chiefly care for the people of England.

“[T]he Church is heavily involved at the moment in discussions about policy, organised discussions which will take, er, involving loads and loads of people from all over the world.”

Hang on. What "discussions...involving loads and loads of people from around the world" is the Archbishop referring to? To my understanding, the "facilitated conversations" are supposed to take place within the Church of England. Is the Archbishop misleading the English press? Or does he have a new Covenant process up his sleeve?

“It’s complicated with ramifications that are very difficult to deal with in many parts of the world.”

Is this another hint that marriage on this continent might cause murder on that continent? If not, then it's "complicated" only because the Archbishop chooses to make it so. Communion opinions and reactions are a subject that he finds convenient to raise. Does he do this intentionally, in order to forestall progress in England?

Is there a way for Synod to remind the Archbishops that their cure and care is England, not other provinces?

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 11:26am BST

“It’s complicated with ramifications that are very difficult to deal with in many parts of the world.” Welby

Jeremy wrote:
Is this another hint that marriage on this continent might cause murder on that continent? If not, then it's "complicated" only because the Archbishop chooses to make it so.

Cynthia writes
Exactly, Jeremy. First of all, no human rights organizations have corroborated the ABC's claim that gay tolerance in America caused a massacre. Second, even it were true, it would be morally suspect to then justify injustice in the West to appease the murders.

Finally, what about the Nigerian school girls? Is the ABC now going to say that the West should stop educating girls because it obviously "causes" violence?

Welby ought to step away from the insane position that "tolerance in the West begets violence in Africa" line.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 10:03pm BST

"Welby ought to step away from the insane position"

This is the second time that Welby has made an error of judgement in which he assumes that (a) something he believes and (b) his position will, taken together, immediately cause people to agree with him. The first was his approach to the SSM legislation, where his position was basically "I say this this wrong, I am ABC, you will vote as I tell you without my needing to trouble myself with further". And the second is the nonsense about British SSM causing murder in Africa, where again he assumed that anything the ABC says will be taken without challenge just because it's the ABC saying it.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at 7:22am BST

It may have been you, Interested Observer, who said in an earlier thread that trust is no longer automatically given, and deference due to position is dead. That was absolutely right.

If the Archbishop continues to make public statements with an eye to how they are received in Lagos and Kampala, as opposed to Leicester and Kingston, then in his own province he will be increasingly ignored.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at 1:05pm BST

If the Primate of All England speaks for Nigeria, who will speak for England?

Posted by: Will Barton on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at 2:51pm BST
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