JUSTIN WELBY is the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In this interview with LEADERSHIP, he declares that the church loathes same sex marriage.
What is the position of Church of England on same sex marriage?
The current position of the Church of England is in the Canon of the Church of England, which says that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman. Full stop! I cannot speak for all other churches but the Church of England does not carryout same sex marriage.
Have you mended fences with the Anglican Communion in Nigeria?
There have been divisions. I think there are still things on which we disagree and we have to keep talking about those. We are all brothers in Christ and we know that fact. So, it is division within the family.
What is responsible for this division and how have you been able to manage it?
Well, how we manage it is remembering that we are saved by Jesus Christ. We belong to Jesus Christ and our future is in the hands of Jesus Christ. We see where we are wrong and learn how to repent.
Nigeria is a country with so much potential, what do think is responsible for the inability to realise her potentials?
Nigerians are the best people one can find around. I have heard a million times in this country, the challenges of the right handling of money, in other words: corruption; the challenges of violence and crisis, conflicts and terrorism. We have had terrorism in my own country for many years and we have 30 years in Northern Ireland, very serious terrorism. I know you don’t just wave magic wand to stop it. Terrorism holds back the economy and potential of every country very seriously. Then another thing is with the division within the society, whether is with economic, ethnicity, religion or historic arguments. Jesus said: “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. Cardinal John Onaiyekan spoke about the need to concentrate on common good, not my good, but the common good. And if you concentrate on common good, you never pay or take a bribe; you will not hate people because they are from another ethnic group. This country has so much potential and it can be achieved but it is a question of choice by the elites.
Nigeria is planning for the 2019 polls and political activities are picking up. From what you have seen so far, what do you think is likely going to happen?
Don’t predict especially about the future. So, I want to start by saying ‘I know what the choices are. There is a choice that can be made by the leaders of this marvelous country, which is a choice for peace and development for a robust election in which strong things are said, that borders on democracy and election in which strong things are said without personal hatred and without encouraging violence. That is the choice. I don’t know what will happen but people need to make the right choice.