Bishop Justin Welby chosen to lead Anglican Communion [CNA]

London, England, Nov 9, 2012 / 05:29 pm (CNA).- Bishop of Durham Justin Welby will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, succeeding the retiring Dr. Rowan Williams.

“I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger,” said the 56-year-old father of six, who was an oil industry executive before pursuing a religious vocation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office formally announced the appointment, saying he had been the “overwhelming choice” of the British Crown Nominations Commission, a body made up of clergy and laypeople.

Bishop Welby is widely hailed for his personal holiness and ability to sort out complex issues, which supporters hope will serve him well as church attendance continues to drop and the Church of England wrestles with divisive issues such as female clergy and bishops, ordaining practicing homosexuals, and creating wedding ceremonies for gays.

The future Archbishop of Canterbury got a warm reception from Catholic quarters, including Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols.

“I am sure that his ministry, like that of his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams, will provide an important Christian witness to this country over the coming years,” said the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The  President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, welcomed Bishop Welby’s appointment and will be traveling to England for his installation next March 21.

Bishop Welby’s press conference today underscored why Professor Paul Murray, director of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, described him to Vatican Radio as “a very unusual combination.”

On the one hand, he praised “the riches of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality, the treasures of contemplative prayer and adoration,” and being “confronted with the rich and challenging social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.” He mentioned no other branch of Christianity in his remarks.

He also admitted, like his predecessor, to taking spiritual direction from a Benedictine monk.

But Bishop Welby also took the occasion to voice his support for an issue that is further straining the theologically divided Church of England and is being hotly debated at its general synod, which will end later this month.

“I will be voting in favor” of ordaining women bishops, he said, “and join my voice to many others in urging the synod to go forward with this change.”

Dr. Williams is also pushing this measure, saying it is “inconsistent to exclude in principle a baptized person from the possibility of ordained ministry.”

The issue will be decided at a two-day meeting that will begin Nov. 19. If it fails to pass, it cannot be brought up for reconsideration until the next synod in 10 years. The Church of England allowed for the ordination of women in 1992.

Bishop Welby’s predecessor served 10 years in the position before announcing his retirement earlier this year. He struggled to maintain order in the Anglican Communion, which is divided over issues of sexuality and ordination.

In 2006 Archbishop Williams chided the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion, for its embrace of homosexuality, including ordaining an openly homosexual bishop living with his partner. “In terms of decision-making the American Church has pushed the boundaries,” he said.

Many disaffected traditional Anglicans have left for other churches rather than remain in a church where theology and morality seem up for grabs.

Full article…

Looking forward to finding out more about +Welby. This above all sounds very encouraging to me.

As a member of ACNA, I’m not overly interested. However, I do wish and pray that someday there will be a stronger bond with all Anglicans worldwide.

He’s only been a bishop a year and they make him Archbishop of Canterbury? The Anglican Communion is getting more and more radically non-Christian and this appointment of obviously non-qualified bishops seems to be a part of the repudiation of historic Christianity.

Well, I’ve heard a lot of reasons why we are supposedly “not Christian,” but most of them make relatively more sense than this. There’s no connection whatever that I can see. Are you aware that some of the greatest bishops in the early Church weren’t even baptized when they were elected bishop?


Would you explain what you mean by ‘not qualified’? I would also like to understand how the Anglican communion is not Christian.

While I do concur in that this is quite curious, be careful with that reasoning - Pope Leo X wasn’t even an ordained priest when he was elected to the papal office.

His Grace’s lack of episcopal experience is not why I am not overly excited about his nomination.


could you explain your reasons then?

They are academic, purely, since what happens in the CoE, or the official Communion, is not my problem. But while +Welby is on the evangelical side of the Anglican aisle, and Rowan *Cantaur *is more Anglo-Catholic (it is said) and His Grace of Durham comes from a business background, ++Williams from an academic one, the essential agreement they have on some theological points of interest make me shrug my shoulders at the change.

Females in miters, being the primary pertinent point. Apostolciae Curae is about to be rendered a prematurely prescient judgment, as I have said before.


posterus traditus Anglicanus, Anglicanus-Catholicus

Females in miters, being the primary pertinent point. Apostolciae Curae is about to be rendered a prematurely prescient judgment, as I have said …

GKC, sorry I haven’t seen your previous post again could you explain how this is so. Ty.

It’s a post that I’ve used many times, in varying ways, often is discussing
Apostolicae Curae, a hobby of mine.

In brief, and with no history or theology involved, the Bull Apostolicae Curae declared Anglican holy orders to be absolutely null and utterly void. Meaning, in turn, that all sacraments depending upon valid apostolic succession (orders) were also invalid. For various reasons, I don’t agree; most Anglicans, of course, are of the same mind.

But the judgment as to invalid orders rendered in AC will become eventually accurate, if and when and where Anglicans place miters on female heads. Female ordination as priests renders sacraments confected by such folk invalid (in the sense the undivided Church understood the issue), but females in miters render the orders of any priests whatsoever that they ordain problematic. And eventually, the pervasiveness of such priests, becoming bishops in turn, will render the judgment in Apostolicae Curae correct. Apostolic succession in such Churches will be broken.


Bishop Welby was earning a six-figure salary back in 1987 but gave it up to train to be an Anglican priest. He took a degree in theology at Cranmer Hall in Durham, where he studied from 1989 to 1992.

“I was unable to get away from a sense of God calling,” he told business publication Money Marketing in a recent interview. “I went kicking and screaming but I couldn’t escape it.”

The life-changing decision followed a personal tragedy in 1983 with the death of his seven-month-old daughter, Johanna, in a car crash.

“It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself, but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God,” he said in a local newspaper interview last year.

In 2002, Justin Welby became canon at Coventry Cathedral. He also became co-director for international ministry at the International Centre for Reconciliation.

He already had experience of Africa from his oil days, but he was now to witness at first hand some of the horrific results of civil war. On a number of occasions he came close to being killed.

He was able to develop a deep understanding of the nature of conflict, as well as an admiration for the Nigerian people who, he says, retain their faith and energy in the face of terrifying odds - something he says continues to inspire him.

The Church will hope that his passion for resolving conflict and finding workable solutions will equip him for some of the huge challenges confronting the worldwide Anglican community over the coming months and years. ]

Master Welby had a problem, according to a family friend. His erratic father had enough money to send him to the public school, but didn’t give any of it to Justin to pay his way, day to day. In a class that included two Rothschilds, he was almost certainly the poorest child. That cannot have been easy.

His father Gavin Welby, who was from a German Jewish immigrant family, had been put on a boat to New York as a teenager with £5 in his pocket and told to make his own way.

Back in England, this rakish man fell for Jane Portal, the private secretary to Winston Churchill and niece of the great Conservative politician Rab Butler.

Her family were not pleased. The couple split up when their only child, Justin, was four years old. The Eton schoolboy was from a broken home.

His father struggled with alcoholism and died when Justin was 21. Jane had gone on to marry the banker and Labour peer Lord Williams of Elvel.

Between school and university, Justin Welby spent a gap year in Kenya, working on a voluntary project. His motivation was not faith, because that did not come until his second year at Trinity College, Cambridge]

Fascinating man.May God bless him and guide him

Thank you GKC interesting. I had realised that the RC did not recognise Anglican orders and I believe it was to do with the wording of the ordination service. I also understand that the ordination of women per se is invalid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. However I also believe that God does call women to ministry and this call is specific in a context. The Catholic Church in its history has acknowledged the ministry of women and Paul was very clear that in Christ there is no distinction between women and men. What does concern me however is that the gulf between the RC and the Anglican Communion has the potential to widen the divide between the churches.

What makes a qualified ArchBishop today? Is it to do with years as a Bishop? I don’t think so. As a decision-maker I would not promote/qualify someone solely based on their time in a role, different people adjust to roles and responsibilities differently. Some take months/years and others days.

There is no real direct correlation between years on a job and competency or capability.

thank you for the brief background on him. :slight_smile: he certainly has had his share of tragedy.
he has led an interesting life so far with a lot of life experience. i pray that he will be a good leader for the anglican communion.

GKC isn’t RC. He’s a traditional Anglican belonging to a small jurisdiction that is not part of the “Anglican Communion.” His branch of Anglicanism does not ordain women, and indeed left the Episcopal Church in part over that issue.


Ah…thanks, that’s interesting.

The theological judgment (other factors were also involved) rendered in Apostolicae Curae was related, indeed, to the wording of the form of ordination in the Edwardine Ordinal, but the purported invalid sacramental form must be considered intertwined with the concept of invalid sacramental intent.

And the idea of what constitutes a valid sacrament/what constitutes a valid subject, for (say) receiving holy orders (which is not the same as the concept of females in ministry, per se), makes for a gulf between Anglicans, as well as between them and Rome.


*posterus traditus Anglicanus *

The Catholic Church should dream of having bishops as qualified as Welby.

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