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Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Anglican primate who said homosexuality must be ‘expunged and excised’


The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has publicly condemned comments made by the Anglican primate in Nigeria, after he described homosexuality as “a deadly virus” that should be “radically expunged and excised”.

Justin Welby

Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, head of the Church of Nigeria, had suggested in February that “secular governments are adopting [an] aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture”.

Mr Ndukuba’s remarks came in response to a statement on the pastoral care of gay people issued by the Anglican Church in North America, which he claimed was “a clarion call to recruit gays”.

Mr Welby, who is head of the global Anglican Communion, issued a statement challenging the comments.

He said: “I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.”

The Archbishop confirmed he had written to Mr Ndukuba to clarify that his language was “incompatible” with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion, which condemned homophobic actions and words.

“I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.

“The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope.”

Significant divides exist within the Anglican Communion over LGBT inclusion.

Some liberal Anglican denominations, including the US Episcopal Church and Scottish Episcopal Church, permit same-sex unions and present themselves as LGBT-inclusive, while most Anglican leaders in the Global South continue to reject homosexuality.

Mr Welby has attempted to paper over cracks on the issue, but not without controversy – acceding to demands from primates in 2016 and 2017 to issue formal rebukes to the Scottish and US churches over their embrace of same-sex marriage.

In November, Mr Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell apologised for the “huge damage and hurt” caused to LGBT people by the Church of England, as the church published a package of teaching materials covering sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Church of England’s two most senior figures wrote that the church had caused, and continued to cause, “hurt and unnecessary suffering”.

“For such acts, each of us, and the Church collectively, should be deeply ashamed and repentant,” Mr Welby wrote.

Last week , Mr Cottrell commented that the Church of England should be more involved in politics.

He said he could not be part of a church which did not have a political voice, adding: “It’s so much at the heart of what I believe to be the calling of the church.

“Loving your neighbour is a profoundly political statement.”

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