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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby listens during a discussion on an amendment at The Church House on February 9, 2023, in London, EnglandPhoto by Leon Neal/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Anglican church leaders across the globe have rejected Justin Welby as their leader over the Church of England’s decision to allow blessings of same-sex unions.

A group of church leaders from the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA), reportedly representing around 75 percent of the Anglican population, released a statement on Monday in which they said they are “no longer able to recognize the present Archbishop of Canterbury,” Justin Welby, as the “leader of the global communion” following the decision of the recent General Synod to back prayers of blessing for same-sex unions.

READ: Anglican bishop in Rwanda: Church of England’s same-sex blessing decision the ‘last nail in the coffin’

The ten archbishops of the GSFA, who were joined by two breakaway provincial leaders in the U.S. and Brazil, argued “with great sorrow” that the decision of the synod “departed from the historic faith passed down from the Apostles,” has “taken the path of false teaching,” and added that the church has contravened its own canon law in the process.

Welby, they said, has “sadly led his House of Bishops to make the recommendations (blessing homosexual unions) knowing that they run contrary to the faith and order of the orthodox provinces in the communion.”

As a result, the leaders of the GSFA continued, the Church of England “has disqualified herself from leading the Communion as the historic ‘Mother’ Church.”

“We pray that our withdrawal of support for him to lead the whole Communion is received by him as an admonishment in love,” the group stated, adding that they can no longer “walk together” with what they called “revisionist provinces.”

On February 9 the Church of England, led by Welby, approved a vote to permit the blessing of same-sex unions while maintaining its teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Included among the signatories of Monday’s letter against the Anglican church is Stephen Kaziimba, the Anglican archbishop in Uganda, who delivered a scorching condemnation of the decision to bless same-sex unions a day after the vote, on February 10.

READ: Anglican Church of Uganda blasts Church of England for decision to ‘bless’ same-sex unions

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Kaziimba said the the Church of England “is very good at making contradictory statements and expecting everyone to believe both can be true at the same time. That’s what they have done with this decision. The only significant difference between a wedding and a service of ‘blessing’ is the terminology used. The Church of England insists it is not changing its doctrine of marriage. But, in practice, they are doing precisely that.”

Consequently they “are now false teachers,” he said.

On the same day, the primate of Rwanda, Dr. Laurent Mbanda, issued a statement calling the Church of England’s decision the “final nail in the coffin” in his congregation’s relationship with the global head.

So, too, did the Kenyan primate, Jackson Ole Sapit, condemn the decision of the Anglicans to “publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully welcome” same-sex unions into the church’s liturgy.

Slamming the decision as a contradictory attempt to appease both sides on the Anglican same-sex “marriage” debate, Ole Sapit said that it “is ridiculous that the Church of England affirms to remain faithful to the traditional teachings of marriage, yet have sanctioned the so-called prayers of love to be used in their churches to bless unions between persons of same-sex.”

“This is hypocritical and a blatant lie for there is only one truth and not many versions or opinions of it.”

READ: Anglican bishop in Kenya rejects Church of England’s decision to bless same-sex unions

Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, responded to the GSFA leadership. After noting that “deep disagreements that exist across the Anglican Communion on sexuality and marriage are not new,” a spokesman said that “we fully appreciate” the opposition of the bishops, but that “no changes to the formal structures of the Anglican communion can be made unless they are agreed upon” by all the body’s leaders and councils.

“Despite our differences,” the statement continues, “we must find ways to continue walking and working together as followers of Jesus Christ to serve those in need… It remains the Archbishop’s prayer and his call to Anglicans around the Communion.”

In 2021, the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now Dicastery) was asked whether the Church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.” In response, the CDF, with the assent of the Pope, called such unions “illicit,” explaining that the Church cannot “impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

God “does not and cannot bless sin,” the congregation affirmed.

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