Bishop Justin Welby, a former oil executive who's emerged as a critic of corporate excess, was named in November as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of England and leader of the worldwide 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
A statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the appointment after two days of speculation. Welby, 56, succeeds Archbishop Rowan Williams, who will return to academia at Cambridge University.
Speaking at a news conference days following his appointment, Welby said he is "utterly optimistic" about the future of the Church of England.
He said the question of gay marriage in his global church was a complicated issue "and not one to be handled today, off the cuff."
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