Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby discusses gay rights with Muslim students: 'Who am I to judge them for their sins?'

He spoke to sixth form students at the St Alban’s Academy – a Church of England school where 80 per cent of its pupils are Islamic

Jenn Selby
Tuesday 24 February 2015 12:55
Comments

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave a surprising response to students when they grilled him on the subject of homosexuality.

Speaking to sixth formers at the St Alban’s Academy in Highgate – a Church of England school where 80 per cent of its pupils are Muslim – he clarified his stance on gay marriage and admitted he "had a lot of gay friends", despite initially struggling with his views on same sex relationships.

"I’m listening very, very closely to try to discern what the spirit of God is trying to tell us," the Mirror quotes the Archbishop as saying.

However, he remains opposed to same sex marriages, which were made legal in England last year.

"Marriage is between one man and one woman for life and sexual activity should be confined to marriage, that’s in the Church of England’s laws," he continued.

"I’m equally aware I have a lot of gay friends and I know gay clergy and they are doing incredible work."

The Church of England agreed to let gay clergy in civil partnerships become bishops two years ago, under the assurance that they remain sexually abstinent.

His comments come after Pope Francis said last month that same sex marriage "threatens the family" and "disfigures God's plans for creation".

Elsewhere in the discussion, the Archbishop was asked by one student what he’d do to convert him from Islam to Christianity.

"I am not going to put pressure on you, and I wouldn’t expect you to put pressure on me," he responded.

The Archbishop's visit followed reports that the Church of England had been advertising for roles that pay less than the minimum wage.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in