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Welby recognises conservative view of marriage 'represents majority' but calls on bishops to remain committed to 'listening and walking together'

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recognised the conservative view of marriage represents the stance of the majority members of the Anglican Communion. 

In a letter sent to bishops on Tuesday, Most Rev Justin Welby stressed the validity of the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 from 1998 and insisted it is still part of the Human Dignity Call. 

"Given the deep differences that exist within the Communion over same-sex marriage and human sexuality, I thought it important to set down what is the case," he wrote. 

"The Call states that many Provinces - and I think we need to acknowledge it Is the majority - continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible. The Call also states that other provinces have blessed and welcomed same-sex union/marriage." 

Bishops gathered in Canterbury for the once-in-a-decade event are discussing "Calls" or motions, which represent the current challenges facing the Anglican Communion. 

Last week, the Call on Human Dignity was amended to remove the part of Resolution 1.10 which describes homosexuality as "incompatible with Scripture" following backlash from liberal voices within the Communion. 

Instead, the Call now states that many Provinces have blessed same-sex marriage "after careful theological reflection and a process of reception" while for many other "same-gender marriage is not permissible". 

However, conservative voices have accused the Communion of "going against Scripture" as they want Lambeth 1.10 in full recognised as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion.

But Archbishop Justin insists the Call reflects "the reality of life in the Communion today".

"There is no mention of sanctions, or exclusion, in 1.10 1998. There is much mention of pastoral care. We have a plurality of views. As Lambeth 1.10 also states: "all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ" and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998)," he wrote. 

In his letter, Archbishop Justin also recognised the "pain, anxiety and contention" the Resolution represents for many members of the Communion and called on bishops to "remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues". 

He continued: "To be reconciled to one another across such divides is not something we can achieve by ourselves. That is why, as we continue to reflect on 1 Peter, I pray that we turn our gaze towards Christ who alone has the power to reconcile us to God and to one another". 

Archbishop Justin concluded his letter with a call for bishops to focus on being "God's Church for God's World". 

"Let us abound in love for all, for our brothers and sisters are never our enemies. Let us above all focus on the great issues - which we discussed with much energy - of being God's Church for God's world, serving with humility and grace and bringing glory to the one who when we were still sinners died for us (Romans 5:8)."

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