Bishop Justin Welby Thought Archbishop Of Canterbury Role Was 'Absurd'

I Applied To Be Archbishop Of Canterbury 'As A Joke'

The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has joked how he thought it was "absurd" to give him the position, and he considers himself "just a very, very ordinary Christian".

Speaking to an audience at the Trent Vineyard church near Nottingham, he said he thought it would be absurd for him to be given the post, having only been Bishop of Durham for seven months.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

"I'd been a bishop, let alone the Bishop of Durham, for seven months,"

"I wrote a statement saying, well, if I was archbishop of Canterbury I'd do this, this, this and this," he said during the interview.

"The final paragraph said, I've enjoyed writing this, I hope you've enjoyed reading it but frankly it's a joke.

"Because it is self-evident that it is perfectly absurd to consider appointing someone to Canterbury who's been a bishop for seven months. I shall be praying for you to make the right choice."

"I know I will disappoint a lot of people in this job. The thing about the Church is that we are so human... I'm just a very, very ordinary Christian."

Earlier this week Welby spoke at a leaving ceremony at Durham Cathedral, where he addressed the banking crisis, women bishops and gay marriage.

He said the economic crisis was "the greatest moment of opportunity for the Church since the Second World War.. all the idols on which our society was based have fallen. They've been toppled."

The Church needs to be a place of peace if, now that the idols have fallen, we are to show people. That doesn't mean that we all agree; it means that we love each other when we don't agree.

"If you look back on some of the arguments we've had over the last few months in the Church of England, it is poison to the mind of those who are outside the Church. It anaesthetises them against the gospel."

The Church must find "a way forward" on women bishops and homosexuality, Welby said: "The Church at a national level has to be outward-looking and a body that is engaging, not looking inwards and consumed by its own problems."

Welby has moved into Lambeth Palace in south London, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury and an official ceremony will take place on Monday at St Paul's Cathedral. He is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

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