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World News

'We must speak, we must act' Justin Welby encourages Church to find its voice

by Marcus Jones

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Anglican bishops to do more to speak out against oppression and wrongdoing across the world.

Delivering his final keynote address at the Lambeth Conference, Justin Welby said becoming more vocal isn't something the Church should be afraid of.

"Our approach springs from scripture," he told the once a decade gathering of senior Anglican leaders. "This is not the Church getting involved in politics, it's the church getting involved in God."

In recent years, Welby has been criticised for speaking into political issues.

Most recently he criticised government plans to send asylum seekers who illegally cross the channel to Rwanda.

Explaining the need to not stay silent, he said: "In history, in Empire, in politics, all too often all churches, not only Anglicans, have got sucked into supporting governments, colluding with injustice and upholding oppression at any and every level. 

"To stand up against oppression is frightening, because it is costly. And so many of you know that so well."

"We don't like it when governments speak forcefully against us - or do worse than that in many parts of the Anglican Communion - yet we must speak, and we must act."

"To be silent on the climate emergency and its implications for the economy today, not in 10 years - which is a political expression meaning 'after I've retired'. To be silent on the unethical treatment of migrants or on war or oppression, on the abuse of human rights, on persecution, is to be one of the oppressors."

His address wrapped up what has been a long week for the Anglican Communion.

The meeting has been described as positive by some who have welcomed the unity shown on a number of issues.

There are still questions about the direction of travel on the issue of sexuality. While many Anglican groups have already conducted same sex marriages, more conservative wings say differing views on the issue should not be accepted within the Church.

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