Comments: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Canada and USA

Well, as one of those who was most critical of the Archbishop last week, all I can say is that yes, I did listen to what he said very carefully - replaying it several times to make sure I'd heard him clearly. And now he has confirmed in this interview that I heard what he said correctly.

I don't think this interview is going to make this go away. People did hear the Archbishop, did listen, and didn't like what he said.

I think that those who are gay who are up to speed on legal developments in some countries in Africa tend to have quite a strong consciousness that what is said in one part of the world, and the way it is said, influences another.

People die because of homophobia. Even if violence in Africa or elsewhere can be linked to changes in marriage law, the ordination of certain bishops or the policies of the Church of England, it is still homophobia that kills people.

Notwithstanding the very welcome reminders from the Archbishop about the "anathema" statement in the Dromantine Communiqué, there is little sign yet that the Archbishop understands this.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:55am BST

Well said Justin, a perfectly reasonable justification and one in the eye for those who heard what you didn't mean or say and, as usual, gave a complete misinterpretation of the situation. Sadly, Archiopisocpophobia is all too common within the Church of England and the past three ABCs - Runcie, Carey and now, Welby - have suffered and have been on the receiving end of the same.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:59am BST

The more he explains, the more it sounds like "gays under the bus."

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:32am BST

And the consequences of anti-gay legislation in parts of Africa being supporteed by the Anglican church there is that it makes western Christians look homophobic and makes it harder for us to get a hearing in our society.

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:43am BST

Yes, m'Lord. And every remarked you make has to be heard in context with other things you've said--or not said--on the same subject. Since your words haven't been conspicuously hospitable toward gay people - and now, toward gay clergy - I think you needn't be surprised that your words were taken as they were.

And we're STILL waiting to hear your summary condemnation of the church's deeply sinful treatment of gay people - historically and at this moment.

But it seems that you and the rest of the Bench don't quite have what it takes to address events in Africa falsely dressed in the Gospel.

It's time, m'Lord, and Anglican and other Christians all over the world--gay and not--are waiting.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 11:54am BST

…Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

If the answer to this question was "no," then perhaps the Archbishop could have said "no."

"What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally."

In other words, gays shouldn't get married because homophobic murderers might murder.

He's just digging the hole deeper.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 1:36pm BST

Archbishop Welby, or any one else for that matter, can perhaps be excused for muddled remarks off the cuff in an open line radio program. However, Welby has had time and opportunity to clarify his remarks. Lacking in his "clarification" is a clear statement placing the blame for sectarian violence squarely and unequivocally where it belongs.

Notice as as well his reply to the question regarding Canada's proposed canonical amendment to allow same gender marriage in the church. One reads the usual pitch for consultation. When one stresses "consultation" with sectors that are strongly radically opposed to a course of action, then there is a message in that.

Welby is flagged as an expert in reconciliation. He may well possess a skill set in that area. However his stated views on same gender marriage, his unfortunate remarks on open line radio, are such that a role as mediator on the issue is no longer open to him--at least in terms of North America.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 3:39pm BST

I agree with +Kelvin (by the way, I'm an EFM grad), Jeremy, and others here.

We heard Justin correctly then, and hear him now. His message is not the Good News to African LGBT people, and I don't see how it is the Good News for either the murderers or their victims. The Good News is the message of justice, compassion, and love. Africa needs much more of that, not for us to do less of it.

He bought into a false premise and it is encouragement for the murderers and homophobes. The homophobia of African Anglican leaders, enabled and affirmed by Western Christians, is definitely contributing to violence against LGBT people. So how about addressing that injustice?

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 4:40pm BST

Well if that is all the Archbishop said then he said absolutely nothing at all. It was vapid and pointless. My sense however is that he said more than he claims he said and actually does expect the pro-gay voice to moderate/censor itself for the sake of those at risk of persecution in Africa and elsewhere. I gather that this is a line both Archbishops will be trying out quite regularly - and it remains one I find deeply difficult to swallow, especially as there is simply no willingness to seriously challenge the African church in the same terms.

Posted by Simon Butler at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 5:24pm BST

He comes across as evasive and perhaps lying because he refuses to say where the incident is supposed to have taken place. The C of E already informally celebrates civil partnerships. For some Africans, the distinction between a civil union and marriage is meaningless. They already think the C of E is liberal.

Where did the massacre take place? How many victims? What was the motivation? Was anyone punished?

He comes across as a coward who will not stand up for human rights. He seemed very poorly prepared for an interview in which he should have been able to frame the issues more to his advantage. Blaming the media for his poor performance is unacceptable.

And what is his position on same-sex relationships? I suspect the problem is more his own homophobia.

What is the relation of the Episcopal Church to the Church of England exactly? How much money is going to support a homophobic and misogynistic institution?

Even the antigay Roman convert Ann Widdecombe, who voted against repealing the infamous antigay Section 28 when she was a member of parliament, had a point when she said that the C of E has waffled for too long on many issues.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by Gary Paul Gilbert at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 5:41pm BST

"What is the relation of the Episcopal Church to the Church of England exactly? How much money is going to support a homophobic and misogynistic institution?"

Exactly. How much money flows from the US to the Compass Rose Society, for example?

There's courtesy and giving the benefit of the doubt. There is also such a thing as enabling bad behavior, and supporting homophobia and misogyny.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 6:14pm BST

Has Archbishop Welby, since becoming Archbishop, said one word about the Uganda and Nigeria anti-gay laws, and the local province churches' enthusiastic support of same?
Has he said one word about anti-gay violence?
He seems to think gay people just need to "stop being uppity", and the goons will stop their rioting.
How very 1950s southern USA of him.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 7:29pm BST

Welby's had several days to reflect. He knows the pain his words have caused to lesbian and gay Christians, and how unfairly they're viewed. He's chosen to entrench, not apologize. Very well. He's made his choice.

While he bears responsibility for it, the support of open evangelicals shouldn't be forgotten. Like Welby, they saw the pain this caused to their LGBT sisters and brothers in Christ. They had an opportunity to stand on the side of justice. Whether out of evangelical tribalism or blinkeredness, they blew it.

Posted by James Byron at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:27pm BST

Gary: +Justin HAS told us where the massacre took place.

It took place in (wait for it)... (drum roll)....'Africa'.

That strange and mysterrious land where weird, atavistic, primeval things happen.

The land of which Toto sang.

There is a Facebook page called 'Africa Is A Continent And Not A Country.' Perhaps I should suggest ABC as a friend to that page.

Posted by Sam Roberts at Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 10:30pm BST

Could the Old Etonians please stop playing imperial games?

Justin Welby tells us that "The Anglican Communion is a global church."

This is manifestly false. The Anglican Communion is a global family of churches. Nothing more.

But why does Welby say this false thing? Because as Archbishop of Canterbury, he wants to be the "head" of a "global church."

He's not. The Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority outside England. Outside his own province, he is a foreign prelate.

And in case anyone missed the allusion: The principle that foreign prelates hold no authority outside their own provinces is the very principle on which the Church of England was founded.

The Archbishops of Canterbury need to stop pretending that London is Rome. It's not. And nothing could be less Anglican.

Furthermore, because he gives credence to the lie, people assume a degree of uniformity and agreement, across Anglican churches, that does not and simply cannot exist.

Lambeth should give it up. Its imperial aspirations are causing dysfunctional behaviors in England and elsewhere.

Let's remember the key point. The Anglican Communion is a global family of independent churches. All that Canterbury gets to do is host the family reunion.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 12:08am BST

Sadly, though the ABC has pointed out the fact that what one Anglican Church is doing in one country has an effect on Anglican elsewhere; he doesn't seem to realise that what the Nigerian and Ugandan Churches have supported in their countries - homophobic persecution and criminalisation - also affects what people think of the local Anglican Church in other countries of the Anglican Communion. This is not a one-way street of responsibility.

Murder is till murder, by whomever it takes place and those responsible need to accept that this is no-one's fault but the perpetrators.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 1:29am BST

" One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said. "

It was exactly what he said. And now he's all like, hey, it didn't really happen, don't go all examining it, dude, it's not exactly what I meant or something.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:16am BST

A deeply moving account by Archbishop Justin of what happened to Coventry during the Second World War and the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness that followed thereafter. Hopefully that same spirit will be evident in the forthcoming facilitated conversations. Would that similar attention be paid to what the Archbishop said about Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace as is currently being given to his words on the wireless phone-in.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:31am BST

His comments on the African massacres were doubly shocking. 1. He used these deaths to score a cheap debating point, please with his "insight" which he should have carefully checked. 2. He made light of gays and of their quest for stable loving relationships (with the implicit undertone that gays should just stick to what they do best -- casual sex). That is, he played lightly and blithely with two sets of human beings with no real empathy for either. His constant sloppy use of the adverb "incredibly" in his radio talk suggest someone who is not really the careful, empathetic listener he pretends to be, someone rather who is trapped in smug simplistic categories.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 5:34am BST

Yes, Sam Roberts, It was in Africa, with all the Orientalist stereotypes that this incident is supposed to have happened. Episcopal Cafe has a nice piece on how Welby spread a rightwing talking point and won't back it up with any evidence. His statement is like a counterfeit bill. or

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by Gary Paul Gilbert at Friday, 11 April 2014 at 8:44am BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.