Justin Welby replaces Rowan Williams
Says live on television that he approves female bishops, but disagrees with homosexual marriage. Does not look like he will do any better than Williams to lead the Anglican/Episcopal communion back on a path to an agreeable dialogue with Rome
Bishop Welby, 56, will take over as leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans early next year succeeding Dr Rowan Williams, who steps down after Christmas.
The former oil executive, who comes from the evangelical wing of the Church, will face the task of healing rifts between liberals and conservatives across the worldwide Anglican Communion.
At home he will lead the response to the Government’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage, an issue which the Church of England has already suggested could threaten disestablishment.
And, depending on the outcome of a knife-edge vote at a special session of the General Synod later this month, he will also have to steer plans to ordain women bishops through their final stages.
The scale of the challenge he faces was underlined this morning in a series of statements from influential African church leaders who warned that the global Communion is in “spiritual and institutional crisis”.