LONDON — The new Archbishop of Canterbury is to be formally enthroned Thursday after using a radio interview to back Church of England positions on homosexuality, which include opposition to same-sex marriage.
But, Justin Welby told the BBC, he is aware that many gays have enduring relationships of "stunning" quality that have "deeply challenged" his own views.
He also said in a Channel Five interview that there will be a female archbishop in the future despite failure to pass legislation backing the idea last year.
These contentious issues have dogged his predecessors.
Welby is to be formally enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral before statesmen and religious leaders. Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and serves as head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the world's Anglican Communion.
Pope Francis sent a message congratulating Welby and calling for a meeting in the near future.
"Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities," the pope said.