The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Church of England’s equivalent to the Bishop of Rome. This archbishop is the head of the Church of England and the Anglican Church, worldwide. Augustine was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and since then, 104 bishops have followed in that role and been given that title. In the 1600s, the Archbishop of Canterbury affiliated with the newly Protestant Church of England rather than the Roman Catholic Church. With the role of Archbishop comes the presidency of the ecumenical groups, Churches Together in England. Moves to ecumenism have grown rapidly in recent years, with the Archbishop of Canterbury beginning to meet with the Roman Popes and attend significant events like funerals and inaugurations of Popes since at least 1997.
The current Archbishop of Canterbury is Justin Welby, and in a recent interview with GQ Magazine said that he is unable to provide “a good answer” on the topic of homosexuality. Speaking to GQ’s British division, he was interviewed by journalist, Alastair Campbell. Campbell asked him directly, “Is gay sex a sin?”
Welby’s answer was, “You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”
Campbell reports that Welby was visibly embarrassed by having to answer the question. Campbell followed up by asking, “Why can’t you answer it?”
Welby responded, “Because I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t got a good answer to the question. I’ll be really honest about that. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question. Inherently, within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”
But perhaps Welby should stop looking for the answer of gay sex “within himself” and start seeking it in Scripture, where its condemnation is pretty apparent.
When asked if he was “copping out” on answering the question, Welby responded, “Yes, I am copping out because I am struggling with the issue.” However, there was one issue Welby did not struggle with. When asked if homophobia was a sin, Welby answered a direct, “Yes.”
You can read the interview here.