The Archbishop of Canterbury told a meeting of bishops that members of the church “did not dissent without hatred” this week, “not as much in the press as we would like.”
This comes after the archbishop reaffirmed a 1998 Anglican declaration rejecting same-sex marriage, sparking controversy over the church’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.
The resolution states that marriage is “between a man and a woman” and that same-sex relationships are “inconsistent with Scripture.”
On Tuesday, the archbishop said he could not and would not punish churches for same-sex marriages.
He said: “I do not have and do not seek the power to punish or exclude the Church of the Anglican Communion.
“I will not do it”.
On Wednesday, however, comedian Sandy Toksvig criticized the church’s stance, saying that LGBTQ+ lives are at stake.
In response, the archbishop invited Toksvig to meet for coffee, adding that the threats she and other LGBTQ+ people “feel in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin.”
Speaking at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury on Friday, the archbishop appeared to refer to the scandal.
“We do not hate as our enemies want us to,” he said.
“And can I say, by the grace of God, this week we disagreed without hatred, not in the way that many in the press want us to,” he said.
The archbishop told the gathering that a journalist, a friend of one of his sons, said his editor was disappointed that the disagreements were so polite.
“A friend of one of our children, one of our sons, a Christian reporter, said: “I am happy and I am sad, I am happy because this week I saw something new, people who are not willing to love each other, but my news to the editor is very sad, because there is nothing to say about it.
The archbishop’s comments came during the second keynote speech at the Lambeth Conference, a 10-yearly meeting of Anglican bishops.
He also used his speech to list the church’s past mistakes, calling for the revolution to become part of the “institutional life” of the church.
“God’s church sought to destroy the first nations and indigenous peoples from the colonized territories.
“God’s church fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and provided the seabed and theology for the persecution of the Jews and ultimately the Holocaust.
“God’s church defended earthly strength by renouncing heavenly hope.
“God’s church has split and divided and treated those who were at odds as enemies to be tortured and killed, or today to be vilified on social media and abused in many ways.”
The archbishop called Christians “revolutionaries” who understand the “sinfulness of people.”
“We are revolutionaries,” he said.
“Communism began as a revolution, but as an atheistic creed, it ignored the sinfulness of the people and was consumed by the abuse of power without repentance.
“The Christian revolution must be a revolution of mercy and forgiveness, generosity and participation.
“Revolution must be part of the institutional life of those who proclaim Christ.”