Former oil executive now Archbishop of Canterbury

(Photo Credit: Lambeth Palance / Picture Partnership)The Rev. Justin Welby poses for a photograph at Lambeth Palace in London on Nov. 9, 2011.

The Rev. Justin Welby, a former oil industry executive, has become the new Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of some 80-million members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The legal confirmation of the 57-year-old on March 4 ended his role as Bishop of Durham and took place in a legal ceremony at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

His confirmation came the day before Britain's Parliament was to vote on the legalization of same-sex marriage. This same- sex marriage issue divides the senior partner in Britain's ruling coalition, the Conservative Party as well as the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

The new Anglican leader has previously said he supports the Church of England's position that marriage is defined "as being between a man and a woman."

Speaking to the media after Monday's ceremony Welby said he had "no idea" how Tuesday's parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage would go, but noted his stance was unchanged and he said, "I am not going to get into hypothetical questions.

"I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this."

Welby was confirmed as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury at a service under the cathedral dome in the presence of the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, the second ranking Church of England bishop. Seven other church bishops attended.

In a sermon Sentamu said: "Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. He has my prayers and my support as he assumes this challenging role in the service of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion worldwide."

Welby succeeded the 62-year-old Dr. Rowan Williams, who has been selected as a member of Britain's upper parliamentary chamber, the House of Lords, who has been appointed the Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University.

The public inauguration of his ministry, the enthronement, will take place at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March, and will be broadcast live on the BBC, Britain's national broadcaster.

Welby was ordained a priest in 1993. He is married with five children.

During Monday's ceremony, Welby took an oath of allegiance Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's monarch who is the supreme governor of the Church of England.

The Church of England and others in the Anglican Communion are divided on the role of women clergy. As did his predecessor, Williams, Welby voted in favor of the consecration of female bishops. The measure when voted on in November 2012 did not, however, get enough lay members' votes to pass, despite having sufficient support from bishops and clergy.

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