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Former oil executive named Archbishop of Canterbury

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

He's a former oil executive as well as an outspoken critic of the excesses of capitalism. Bishop for only a year, Justin Welby has now been declared the archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A  supporter of women bishops and an opponent of gay marriage, Welby will be enthroned as archbishop on March 21.

Welby said it was a privilege to take the helm at a time when the "tide of events is turning." Welby says the church has great opportunities to be involved in a changing world.

Speaking as his appointment was announced at Lambeth Palace in London, Welby said "To be nominated to this post is both astonishing and exciting." He added that it is a time for "optimism and for faith in the church" as it faces tough issues.

Among these issues is the ordination of women bishops, The General Synod will vote on this issue later this month. Welby said he would be voting in favor and has urged the Synod to go ahead with the change.

Welby said he supported the opposition voiced by the Church of England earlier this year in response to a British government consultation on upgrading same-sex "civil partnerships" to gay marriage.

The church must not accept any form of homophobia, he warns. Welby acknowledged that homosexuality is a highly divisive issue within the wider Anglican Communion, but said he would listen "very attentively" to the concerns of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, promising to "examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully" on gay issues.

Welby says he is "utterly optimistic about the future of the church." Welby said the Anglican Communion, "for all its difficulties, is also a source of remarkable blessing to the world."

Welby mentioned the ongoing hostilities in northern Nigeria, where churches have been targeted in deadly attacks by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, as a place where Christians are under particular pressure.

Welby's speech displayed a sense of humor and a down-to-earth attitude that may help him negotiate the minefield of conflicting views and interests within the vast Anglican Communion.

Educated at Cambridge University, Welby worked for oil companies in Paris and London before training for the ministry.

Welby's appointment was approved by Queen Elizabeth II, as supreme governor of the Church of England. Welby will take over from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who has headed the church for more than a decade.

As to Williams, Welby remarked "The church worldwide owes him a great debt, more than it knows, and I shall be continuing to seek his advice and wisdom," the archbishop-elect said.

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