Comments: Archbishop Justin's Presidential Address

It is heartening to hear ++Justin speaking against bullying. But we must be willing to say that on the LGBTQ issue the Church has been wrong! And its unwilling to look at human sexuality still keeps from repenting for our bad theology, our bad ethics and for upholding theologies that support bullying and even the deaths of LGBTQ persons.

Posted by The Rev. Lauren A. Gough at Friday, 5 July 2013 at 7:15pm BST

As an outsider listening in, it worries me when a Church becomes eager at a time when all main political parties have signed up to austerity. It may be that the Church is one of the few supporting and upholding institutions left, but I'd far rather want to shake the Labour Party and ask what is going wrong with it, and hope also to punish the Liberal Democrats for betraying its built-up voters. Keen as the Church of England and others may be, I want political change not sympathy, not a Church basing its enthusiasm on the misery of others losing political voice.

As for more internal Church things - he wants both diversity of opinion on ordaining women and yet treating women and men exactly the same. Well, these two are incompatible in that it is saying to one side, 'You can think what you like, but you will no longer have any practical effect.' But that's not good enough for them. A point arrives (as it will about the gay issue) where the organisation has to choose one way or the other. And there is an impossible credulity in being anti-homophobic on the one hand, keeping in the with the whole Anglican Communion on the other, and so not being inclusive on this as one would be regarding women and me. Being 'revolutionary' is not an excuse for all things at once and a fludity of madness, but making new decisions where once what was set is now cut away.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 5 July 2013 at 8:54pm BST

"I am not proposing new policy, but what I felt then and feel now is that some of what was said by those supporting the bill was uncomfortably close to the bone."

Close to the bone, but not close enough to change policy. How is Justin Welby not ashamed to speak such mincing words? How is such a statement a step forward toward reconciliation with LGTB persons?

June Butler

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Friday, 5 July 2013 at 9:35pm BST

If the church is to be “the answer that God provides” to present austerities, then we must remember that Jesus called would-be disciples to take up a cross and follow. – And, as his first hearers knew well, the cross was the punishment used for those who were classified as enemies of the status-quo – i.e. the true revolutionaries.

Posted by David Goss at Friday, 5 July 2013 at 10:27pm BST

I thought this was a very good talk in many ways. I'm very glad that he addressed the bullying issue. For one, it is a major cause of teen suicide, certainly LGBT teens, but others as well. As I understand it, the church runs a lot of schools and are therefore positioned to effectively address the issue.

The church absolutely needs to be a prophetic voice for the poor, especially now, as the powerful become more powerful and the vulnerable more vulnerable.

It was interesting that he selected Iran as an example of terrible state supported homophobic violence. It would be good if he had named examples of church supported homophobic violence, perhaps another time.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 5 July 2013 at 10:28pm BST

It's a new style of speaking - unfinished sentences, sudden, passionate turns of logic - but what's refreshing is the honesty. He names the incredulity of the world toward the church. He says we can't walk away from it. He's absolutely right.

No glossing over the problems. No media spin about the glorious future that awaits. There is a realism here and also hope.

His skill, they say, is in reconciliation. That always begins with a frank and truthful statement of differing positions. He has described here the mystification of a society steeped in the culture of human rights towards a church clinging to ancient religious privilege. Even though he (honestly) admits he is on one side of that equation, he almost acknowledges it could be the wrong one.

I think it's a good speech. Chaotic, unfinished, but frank.

A good start. A real change.

Posted by Observer at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 6:12am BST

The most inspiring thing said I totally agree with, namely:
'One thing I am sure of is that trust is rebuilt and reconciliation happens when whatever we say, we do.'
I think this is the only way forward in a time of great mistrust across the church and the world.

Posted by clairejxx at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 6:28am BST

If the Archbishop thinks that he can lead an effective campaign against homophobic bullying in schools while still "not proposing new policy" - in other words, while carrying on leading a body that is structurally and doctrinally homophobic - then we (him and the C of E) have still not fully heard what we need to hear.

What the Church needs is precisely that new policy. While this speech might not have been the place to announce it, I would have liked to see him propose precisely that discussion designed to arrive at a new policy. Perhaps Pilling will be the place where he starts to join the dots....

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 6:38am BST

A very heartening speech from Archbishop Justin - giving hope to both women and LGBTs by his mention of the effect of listening to their advocates in the House of Lords. May his words bear fruit in the deliberations of the General Synod over these few days at York,

Despite doubts expressed here about the effectiveness of his expressed intentions, I belive that the Archbishop can be a goodly influence in Synod, simply because of his so obvious enthusiam in the presence of doubters. God loves a willing spirit! "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire!"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 8:03am BST

Tokyo - a stage too far. Try Rome, or even better, Constantinople.

Posted by Sister Mary at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 8:10am BST

Before we get too carried away we should remember that he made very positive noises in the House of Lords too, 10 minutes before voting for the fatal amendment.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 9:17am BST

I am glad to have had the chance to read the first published version. They repay a parallel study.

I echo those here who see some small hope in Welby, but agree that there can be no real move forward without a change in policy. One also has to remember how Williams started well and ended up inflicting more pain on the gays than his predecessor.

Reviewing on an earlier thread the last ditch attempt from the bishop of Leicester to be able to teach AGAINST same sex families hardly inspires confidence in this new initiative.

If anything, Welby is demonstrating in an even more startling form that demoralising ability of being able to speak out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

What struck me about the Lords debate was the overwhelming number of Christians speaking for the Bill, because they are Christian. That was the paradigm shift.

So, lets see.
The Church wants to preserve its teaching on marriage ....
"And by the way Joy, after Religious Instruction, third period this morning, I want you to telephone your parents and insist they get married, you poor little bastard."

Posted by Fr Alan-Bury at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 9:31am BST

"Perhaps Pilling will be the place where he starts to join the dots...."

I was interviewed as part of the Pilling Review process. At the end of the session, the person I had shared my life experience with and who had 'listened' to it said "Thank you for telling me your story but I haven't changed my mind."

I think there is only a vanishingly small chance that the Pilling Review will change anything. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by Anonymous at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 10:28am BST


Hopeful signs. Yet revealing that it took the voices of the lay Christian Lords to make a somewhat-less-than-fully-convicting impression on the Archbishop. Poignant in that it had to be these voices from outside the clerical circle, rather than the voices of his own gay and lesbian clergy -- whose souls lie in his cure -- who have had to live with the sad effects of not telling and not being asked (or at least not being asked too overtly for fear of the consequences engineered in the system). Let's hope for more honesty, more openness, less fear, on all sides.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 2:22pm BST

What Erika said.

May I add, very few people could know what Welby thinks, or will think.

Posted by Laurence at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 5:57pm BST

"If the Archbishop thinks that he can lead an effective campaign against homophobic bullying in schools while still "not proposing new policy" - in other words, while carrying on leading a body that is structurally and doctrinally homophobic - then we (him and the C of E) have still not fully heard what we need to hear."

I agree whole heartedly that CoE needs a new policy, and that would make the anti-bullying message far more effective.

However, even without total justice and policy nirvana, bullying can and must be addressed effectively in the schools.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 6 July 2013 at 6:31pm BST

I agree that actions speak louder than words and that we will judge the church by her actions. We have heard plenty of cosy words up till now which frankly just sound hypocritical.

That said, I have a feeling these words may well be a prelude to something happening, though I may be wrong. But I feel the ground is being prepared here by him and others, so I am prepared to suspend judgement until Pilling and see what that brings. His action on gay bullying in schools is very welcome, so his words are not empty, and it is a good start, though there is a long way to go yet.

Posted by sjh at Sunday, 7 July 2013 at 8:44am BST

Did I miss Kevin Holdsworth's blog responding to the ABC? I read it here: http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/church_of_england/dear_justin_welby.html

Very good essay, supportive while naming a further step.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 8 July 2013 at 4:49pm BST
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