The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken frankly about the legalisation of same-sex marriage during the launch of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese centenary celebrations in Bury.
Taking a question on the legislation which saw the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales held today, The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that”
The head of the Church of England added: “The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else. We need to be really blunt about that.”
Addressing the complexities the Church of England faces on the issue to an audience of 900 guests in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, he said: “We’ve a huge responsibility here for Christians all around the world.
“It’s complicated because throughout history the scriptures teach and the church is understood that sexual activity should be within marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman and to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually. It has to be done with profound thought and not just because as there is there’s a very clear majority in this country in favour of gay marriage.
“Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that and that’s right and proper.
“We have to be those who are faithful to the tradition we’ve inherited and adapt and change as each generation comes along in a way that’s faithful to the God who loves us and we do that in the context of the whole church.
“It is unbelievably difficult, unbelievably painful and unbelievably complicated.
“I haven’t got a quick one-liner that solves the problem - I wish I had and I would dearly love there to be one but there isn’t.”
He continued: “The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else.
“We need to be really blunt about that. We need to listen to them but we need to listen to Christians around the world and we need to listen to each other and in the discussions rather than shouting that one side’s homophobic and the other side’s betraying the gospel - we need actually to listen to each other as human beings.”
Watch the above video for his full answer on same-sex marriage.