A former teenage prostitute has been ordained as a vicar in the Church of England, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has revealed.
Speaking during a debate on prostitution in the House of Lords on Thursday, Lord Carey said he encouraged the woman to undergo training when she expressed an interest in the priesthood.
Making clear he was against prostitution on "moral grounds", he said the Church's attitude to prostitutes had been "harsh, unfeeling, uncaring and condemnatory".
He said: "My attitude on the issue changed some years ago when I met a young prostitute who started on the game, as it is called, when she was in her very early teens."
She had been thrown out on the street, abused by pimps and had a criminal record by the age of 15, he said.
"When I met her she was already a reformed character, having been befriended by a church group and given a home for herself and her two small children," he said.
"I was so taken by her honesty and determination to better herself that my wife and I linked up with her and became very good friends with her."
Lord Carey said that four years ago she told him she wanted to join the priesthood.
"She is now a priest in the Church of England, a happy, intelligent young woman who is proving to be an excellent minister," he said.
"It is a miracle that she is now a reformed person who can speak of God's love with an authenticity that most sermons lack."
The priest, who has not been named, was willing to visit the Lords to speak on the issue, he added.
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