ANGLICANS are "like one of those families that, rather than
having their arguments in private, hissing at each other and
sulking, goes out in the garden and shouts", the Archbishop of
Canterbury said on Wednesday of last week, during a visit to
Australia. "It's not always a good thing. I think it often is a
good thing, because it's transparent and honest."
Archbishop Welby was speaking on ABC Australia's Religion
and Ethics Report, during a one-day visit to the country, as
part of a ten-day stay in the South Pacific.
When asked about divisions in the Anglican Communion - the
previous Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, was an active
member of GAFCON - he said that there remained "a sense of unity".
In each of the 29 provinces he had visited to date as Archbishop,
he had found that the link to Canterbury had been "something that
people treasure and value to a huge degree".
He concluded: "I believe that Christ is calling us to walk
together, and that's what I am working on."
On Wednesday, the Archbishop preached at the service of
inauguration for the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, as
Primate of Australia, in St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne.
The Church of England was swimming against a cultural "rip
tide", and associated with "what is often seen as nasty, bad,
judgemental, condemning", Archbishop Welby said. In this tide,
"autonomy and existential self-invention tear through all
assumptions about everything from the proper conduct of government
to the nature of human sexuality, taking with it the ethics of our
The Church was "laden with our systems of governance, our
assumptions about how we act, our sins of the past, especially in
the treatment of children and vulnerable adults".
The Church must seek "positive holiness and liberation", he
said, which "sets us free from the sins of defensive
inward-looking, competitive argument". It must confess its faults,
"especially the abuse of power that lies behind the abuse of
children and vulnerable adults", and seek "liberty to be diverse
and yet full of love for one another".
During his visit to Australia, the Archbishop said that
decisions about changes were best made by the Communion as a whole;
and this included the next Lambeth Conference, "whenever that might
be". "There is nothing magic about the number eight," he said,
which suggested to some that the next Lambeth Conference might not
necessarily to be held in 2018, as would have been expected.
Supporting Dr Freier's call to the Australian government to
offer asylum to Christians from northern Iraq, Archbishop Welby
said that what was happening there was "off the scale of human
horror". The persecution in Iraq and Syria was "especially savage",
he said, but it was also part of a "rising and increasingly serious
persecution of Christians and other groups in many countries".