Easy to be despondent about Church – Welby

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The next Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted it is easy to be despondent, but he used his Christmas Day sermon to stress “the main job of the Church is never self-preservation, but glorifying God”.

The Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, said: “It is very easy to be despondent about the Church. Some speak of division and even of betrayal. The processes we go through are agonisingly wounding for many.

“There are profound differences of opinion about the nature of Christian truth and its place in society, about the right of an ancient tradition to dictate or even to advocate ethical values around the end of life, around marriage, around the nature of human relationships, inequality, our duty to each other.”

He went on: “It is even easier to be despondent about the world. From the horrors of forgotten Goma in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] to the atrocity in Connecticut, and from Aleppo in Syria to tribal struggles in Burma, and in so many places between, there is the usual diet of tragedy and loss.”

He also told the congregation at Durham Cathedral: “Near at home, we remain in the economic doldrums and seem to find a perverse pleasure in emphasising the impossibility of trusting any institution.”