An untroublesome priest?
Justin Welby is going places. Eton, Cambridge, the oil business and now running the Church of England at just 56 – the new Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t hang around. He’s only been Bishop of Durham for a year, only in the church since studying theology in 1992.
His manner is neither of the kindly vicar nor the wise bishop but of the dynamic chief executive.
In his press conference today the public school charm combined with a clear possession of what he did and did not want to say.
He’s in favour of women bishops but, for now at least, against gay marriage.
One suspects his own opinions might be flexible on this but as the leader, notionally at least, of Anglicans in Africa too he is clearly not going to rock their boat, yet.
And he was adamant that he would not answer any more questions about homosexuality for now.
In fact the archbishop is not intending to answer too many questions at all – his press officer (who perhaps had watched one too many episodes of The Thick of It) interupted the interview after five minutes to tell me to ask a final question.
When I asked if he, like Rowan Williams, is a bit of a leftie politically he seemed not to want to agree.
But when I asked if he was more socially conservative than his predecessor, given his views on gay marriage, he didn’t object.
On business and banking he firmly believes capitalism can be good and says he was dragged kicking and screaming from the oil business into the church by a calling from God.
So you get the impression, as I put to him, that he will not be such a troublesome priest. But equally, I couldn’t help but feel this man might move the church further than his predecessors.
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