In our new series, agony uncle Justin Welby answers your questions.
Questions should be addressed to:
The Most Reverend, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
London SE1 7JU
I am a former England rugby international who has recently undergone gender realignment surgery. I am now considering a future as a priest of the Church of England. How would you assess my chances of becoming Archbishop of Canterbury?
Samantha, (address withheld)
Dear Sam (if I may call you that!),
The current teaching of the Church of England on LGBT issues is, to be frank, less than clear. I don’t want to be invasive, but, since your surgical intervention, have you entered into a relationship with a man, or woman (or a former woman or man)? If so, I have to tell you that problems might arise. Same sex liasons genitally expressed are presently viewed by the Church of England as an impediment to proceeding to ordination. Of course, we would need to convene a meeting of the House of bishop to determine what would constititute a same sex relationship in any or all of the circumstances I have outlined!.
Nevertheless, the present state of affairs may change in the foreseeable future, and I for one would not wish to discourage you from proceeding (to ordination, that is).
You sound to me like a very responsible young person. Whether or not you could ever become Archbishop of Canterbury is, of course, not for me to judge. Who can tell who or what will be my successor? God knows – and the will of God will only be revealed to us by the General Synod in the course of time.
I recommend Westcott House, by the way,
Your friendly Archbishop,