Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, conducts the Bible Exposition on Resistance and Resilience in Venue 1 at The University of Kent during the 2022 Lambeth Conference in the United Kingdom. Photo: Neil Turner for The Lambeth Conference. Tuesday 2nd August 2022

The archbishop of Canterbury will not disclose his views on same-sex marriage, The Times reports.

Speaking to the Times of London during his trip to Kiev last week, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he had a higher role as a focal point of unity for the Church of England than as a teacher of Christian doctrine.

“I am not sure I will be able to say during my time in this job,” he explained. “I can express my own view as far as I know my own mind — and it doesn’t change.

“But the role of archbishop is to be a focus of unity. That isn’t just convenient or pragmatic. In Christian thinking, that is part of God’s call to church leaders. Therefore I have to be convinced before God that it’s the right moment to do it — and not just politically.”

The Church of England’s House of Bishops meets 12-13 December 2022 to discuss its common approach to the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process on same-sex relationships. They are expected to set forth their view on the probity and moral licitness of same-sex marriage as part of the 6-9 Feb 2024 debate on LLF at General Synod.

Activists for and against gay marriage have been pressing the bishops to take a stand on gay marriage. Two diocesan bishops, Oxford and Worcester, along with their assistant bishops have backed gay marriage, while the Bishop of Southwark has called for blessing same sex unions – a step short of marriage.

Conservative bishops have so far been silent within the Church of England as to their views, but overseas church leaders have warned Archbishop Welby the decisions taken by synod will impact his place within the Anglican world. The Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, led by the former primate of Alexandria, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis stated should England permit same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury would no longer be the de facto leader of the Anglican world.