The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has criticised the “unacceptable” language used to describe homosexual people by the Primate of Nigeria. In addition, Archbishop Justin has written to Archbishop Henry Ndukuba to remind him of the full Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10, which, while restating a traditional view of Christian marriage, also condemned homophobic actions or words.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement was issued in response to an open letter published last Friday (26 February) by Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, which referred to “the deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality”. Archbishop Henry’s letter said that “[homosexuality] is likened to a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough”; and stated that “secular governments are adopting [an] aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture.”

In his statement today, Archbishop Justin said: “I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.

“I have written privately to His Grace The Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998). This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words. It affirmed that ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’

Archbishop Justin continued: “The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.

“The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope.”

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