Archbishop of Canterbury apologises for Anglican 'hurt' to LGBTI community

  • Video report by ITV News reporter Rebecca Barry

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised to the LGBTI community for the "hurt and pain" caused by the Anglican Church.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said it was a "constant source of deep sadness" that people were persecuted because of their sexuality.

He said facing protesters, particularly those from Africa, was a reminder of the "pain and suffering of many LGBTI people around the world".

His comments came as he defended a decision to restrict a liberal US branch of the church for allowing same-sex marriage.

A meeting of Anglican primates in Canterbury reached an agreement on measures against the US Episcopal Church, which a statement said had made a "fundamental departure from the faith and teaching" by endorsing gay marriage.

The agreement upheld a "traditional doctrine" of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The summit aimed to avert a permanent schism in the Anglican Communion amid division dating back to the liberal church's consecration of Canon Gene Robinson, who is gay, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

Asked during a press conference if the church's position made it look outdated, Mr Welby admitted that it did in some parts of the world, but not in others.

He said: "It makes us look out of line in the US and UK, yes, but not in many other parts of the world, no. We are a global church and that means that there are different views in different places."

Asked about steps the church would take to continue to lobby against the attitudes in these countries he said: "We are not a centralised church which orders people what to do and how much time to spend on doing it.

"I spend an extensive amount of time on this subject both with fellow primates and elsewhere. It is a major concern."