Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Diagnosed With Pneumonia

Justin Welby, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, and his wife Caroline Eaton attend the Lord Mayor's Banquet at The Guildhall on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Carl Court/Getty Images Europe)
Justin Welby, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, and his wife Caroline Eaton attend the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at The Guildhall on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Carl Court/Getty Images Europe)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been diagnosed with pneumonia after failing to deliver his Christmas sermon at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday.

Archbishop Justin Welby was initially said to be suffering from a severe cold, but Lambeth Palace today confirmed that he was diagnosed with the respiratory tract infection on Thursday afternoon.

A spokesperson told the Telegraph that Welby now requires “bed rest for a few days”, while his daughter tweeted that the Archbishop is now “on the mend”.

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Robert Willis, delivered a homily yesterday instead. It is the first time in living memory that an Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to preach in the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion on the Christian festival that celebrates the birth of Christ.

It prompted speculation on Twitter of censorship that was condemned by sources as “ridiculous”.

The Responsible Citizens’ Alliance tweeted: “Rumors abound that @JustinWelby Archbishop of Canterbury refuses to give Christmas sermon as censored by govt. He will blame a bad cold.” The alliance then followed up with: “a doom and gloom message was expected warning of no fairytale soloutions.” A subsequent tweet read: “Would a cold stop u from doing ur job on most important day of your year?”

Downing Street declined to comment.

A source told Christian Today that it was “totally ridiculous” to suggest there had been any attempt at censorship and that it would be unheard of by both Church and State for any UK government to attempt such a thing.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace said: “Complete rubbish! Heavy cold is the absolute truth!”

In a statement, Lambeth Palace said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, is suffering from a severe cold and will, with great regret, no longer be preaching the sermon at Canterbury Cathedral this morning. The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Robert Willis, will deliver a homily.”

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SOURCE: Christian Today
Ruth Gledhill

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