Who is Justin Welby?

Left Foot Forward looked at the new Archbishop and his opinions on the issues that are at the epicenter of the church's present problems.

Justin Welby will be ordained as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury this afternoon, taking up the position at a time of division within the Anglican Church and spiraling public apathy towards religion.

In light of this, Left Foot Forward looked at the new Archbishop and his opinions on the issues that are at the epicenter of the church’s present problems.

Gay rights

Most contentiously, Welby supports the Church of England’s formal opposition to active homosexuality and firmly believes “marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman”. He openly criticised the same sex marriages bill last month before it was passed in the house commons.

Nevertheless, the new Archbishop has offered to meet human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who openly scorned the churches opposition to same-sex marriage in an open letter this week. Welby praised the letter as “very thoughtful” and proposed to “explain my own thoughts” and “listen to you in return”.

Tatchell lauded the Archbishops “commendable” response which marks him as the first in the churches history to meet gay rights campaigners.

Women

Welby is also a fervent supporter of female bishops. He matched previous Archbishop Reverend Rowan Williams’ sadness at the churches rejection of plans to admit women to the episcopate, calling the election at the Church of England’s Synod last year “a very grim day, most of all for our women priests and supporters”.

Like his predecessor the new Archbishop seems to be a reformist voice in the Anglican ranks, the fact that Welby will be led to the diocesan throne by Ven Sheila Watson, the first woman to enthrone an Archbishop of Canterbury is perhaps a symbol of the direction the new Archbishop wants to take to heal the fierce divisions within the church and plug the persistent decline in congregation size.

The coalition

The new head of the church has also criticised the coalition’s cuts  – he gave his public support to a letter sent to the Sunday Telegraph which argued that the governments planned cap to welfare would push 200,000 children in to poverty, adding  “it’s children and families that will pay the price”.

The Eton-educated ex-oil executive is also a member of the parliamentary commission on banking standards that investigates corporate transparency and the recent Libor rate fixing scandal.

Like his predecessor, the new Archbishop seems to be a reformist voice in the Anglican ranks, the fact that Welby will be led to the diocesan throne by Ven Sheila Watson, the first woman to enthrone an Archbishop of Canterbury, is perhaps a symbol of the direction which the new Archbishop wants to take to heal the fierce divisions within the church and plug the persistent decline in congregation size.

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