By Cole Moreton and John Bingham, Telegraph
The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested he is powerless to provide blessings for gay marriages because to do so would split the global Anglican Church.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation.
Although indicating that he was sympathetic to calls for the Church to publicly honour gay relationships, the Archbishop says that it is “impossible” for some followers in Africa to support homosexuality. In the interview, the leader of the Anglican Church, which has 77 million followers globally, speaks movingly of the persecution faced by Christians in parts of the world. He indicates that the Church must not take a step that would cut off these groups, most of them in the third world, however much this angers parts of society in Britain.
The introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales last month has brought divisions within the Church of England to a new intensity.
Although the Church is legally exempt from carrying out same-sex weddings, it is about to embark on a consultation on the possible introduction of informal blessing-like services. The Church’s attempt to ban its own clergy from marrying people of the same sex has already been openly defied by at least one priest who married his partner last week.
Read also: Justin Welby’s vision through tears at a grave – Telegraph editorial
The Archbishop of Canterbury's deadly dilemma by Cole Moreton
Cor wot a cop out! by Peter Mullen
Archbishop Welby Struggles with a Greater Truth by A S Haley, Stand Firm