by Madeleine Davies, Church Times
BISHOPS in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury's warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.
Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio last Friday. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he said: "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic."
He spoke of a visit to South Sudan in January: "The church leaders there were saying, please don't change what you're doing because then we couldn't accept your help, and we need your help desperately."
The LBC presenter, James O'Brien, suggested that gay Christians might interpret the Archbishop's words as a ban on marrying "because of the conniptions it would give to some, dare we say, less enlightened people in Africa".
"I don't think we dare say 'less enlightened', actually," replied the Archbishop. "That's nothing to do with it. It's about the fact that I've stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who'd been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."