By Simon Caldwell
A day before the British House of Commons was to vote on a bill on same-sex marriage, the new Archbishop of Canterbury restated his opposition.
Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby became the Archbishop of Canterbury during an hour-long legal “ceremony of confirmation” at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on February 4.
The rite – which included an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II – marked the point in which he stepped aside as Bishop of Durham and became the leader of the Church of England and spiritual head of 77 million Anglicans in sister churches around the world.
Speaking to reporters afterward, he said that he stood with his brother Anglican bishops in strongly opposing plans by the British government to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
“I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England’s position on this,” he said.
The Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, mainstream Protestant denominations, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders are united in their opposition to the legislation. Britain’s Catholic bishops have said it would pose a threat to religious liberty and the ability of the Church to function effectively in civil society.
In January, they distributed a million postcards throughout parishes in England and Wales to ask the faithful to lobby their elected representatives on the issue.
They also issued a briefing paper to politicians, warning them that the bill, for the first time in British legal history, “fundamentally seeks to break the existing legal link between the institution of marriage and sexual exclusivity, loyalty and responsibility for the children of the marriage”.
The bishops said the redefinition of marriage would lead to more fundamental changes and predicted that proposed safeguards would be inadequate. – CNS