Anglican Church Names New Archbishop of Canterbury

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Anglican Christians have a new spiritual leader. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams retires this year. His successor will be Bishop of Durham Justin Welby.

Welby said he felt privileged and astonished to be chosen to lead the Church at "a time of spiritual hunger."

Welby is believed to be an opponent of same-sex marriage and the appointment of gay bishops. Those issues are credited for deep divisions within the 77 million-member Anglican Church.

But Welby has indicated his thinking on same-sex marriage may be evolving.

"We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church," he said, adding that he planned to "listen to the voice of the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking."

Even before formally becoming archbishop, Welby could face a test of his mediation skills later this month when the Church's governing General Synod votes on allowing women to serve as bishops.

Welby supports that change, but the latest proposed compromise has drawn fire from activists on both sides of the issue - either as being too weak or going too far.

The new archbishop was chosen by a church commission and formally approved by Queen Elizabeth II.

Welby and his wife, Caroline, have two sons and three daughters. Their first child, a 7-month-old girl, was killed in a traffic accident in 1983.

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