UK & World News
'Church Has Harmed Gay People' Says Welby
The Anglican Church has caused "great harm" to homosexuals and is wrestling with the issue of gay marriage, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby warned Christians in some parts of the world find the subject "almost impossible" to deal with and said it may even have led to mass killings.
Same sex marriage became legal in England and Wales last month but is not supported by the Church.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Archbishop said: "There are different groups around the place that the Church can do - or has done - great harm to.
"You look at some of the gay, lesbian, LGBT groups in this country and around the world - Africa included, actually - and their experience of abuse, hatred, all kinds of things.
"We must both respond to what we've done in the past and listen to those voices extremely carefully.
"Listen with love and compassion and sorrow. And do what is possible to be done, which is not always a huge amount."
He added: "At the same time, there are other groups in many parts of the world who are the victims of oppression and poverty, who we also have to listen to, and who find that issue an almost impossible one to deal with.
"How do you hold those two things (in balance) and do what is right and just by all?"
Earlier this month, Archbishop Welby said he had visited the grave of 369 people during a recent visit to Africa, where he said people believe that if they leave a Christian community they "will all be made to become homosexual and ... will kill all the Christians".
He also told of religious figures in South Sudan pleading with him not to change the Church's policy on same-sex marriage because it would mean they could no longer accept help from England.
However, he insisted in the Telegraph interview this did not mean the Church should stop discussing the topic of gay marriage following the recent UK law change.
"What I said is that I have been in places where that has been the reason given for attacking people," the Archbishop said.
"Now, as I said then, that doesn't mean that you don't do certain things. That would just be giving in to that kind of terror.
"You can't say, 'We're not going to do X, which we think is right, because it will cause trouble'. That's ridiculous."
Although the Church is legally exempt from carrying out same-sex weddings, it is due to hold a consultation on whether to introduce informal blessing-like services.
Gay ordained priests have been barred from being wed.
However, this was defied when Canon Jeremy Pemberton married his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington last Saturday.
The move means Canon Pemberton may now face a disciplinary process for his defiance of Church rules.