The archbishop says the strict closure of church buildings initially of the pandemic was a "mistake".

The archbishop says the strict closure of church buildings initially of the pandemic was a "mistake".

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The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to a patient in St. Thomas in his role as chaplain.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted being "too risk averse" at the start of the pandemic.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Archbishop Justin Welby said he realized around "May" or "June" last year that it was a "mistake" to order churches to be closed unless even priests were allowed to pray privately .

"I got a few things wrong in the beginning and learned pretty quickly," he said.

"I did not put enough pressure on to keep the churches available for at least individual prayer during the first lockdown. We also said clergymen cannot go in and I personally feel that I made a mistake by doing this … I can do all kinds of things. I still think I was too risk averse. "

After the initial lockdown, churches across the country were forced to put services online. Since then, the Church has welcomed the success of virtual services in attracting newcomers.

When asked how the church could encourage these newcomers to physical churches when the pandemic ends, the archbishop admitted he was unsafe.

"I honestly don't know. I really don't have an answer. We have to keep doing hybrid things," he said.

The archbishop also expressed fears that the emotional impact of the pandemic will be felt for a long time.

"It's a monumental thing that towers above us. We have, in some ways, a national case of PTSD that is going to show up," he said.

The Archbishop has served as chaplain at St. Thomas' Hospital, which is adjacent to his official residence, Lambeth Palace, in London, throughout the pandemic.

There he prayed with patients who could not personally say goodbye to their loved ones, and the NHS staff were moved to tears with exhaustion.

The experience "changed life," he said.

Justin Welby receives the Covid-19 vaccine.

"I was there last night … I don't know what I did for anyone. But what it did for me brought me closer to God and people again. That was one of the highlights." Points, "he said.

When asked if he thought the last year was a spiritual time, he said it was "for a large number of people."

"It's this sense of fragility: some are realizing that unexpected, uncontrollable, extremely frightening external events don't just happen to distant countries," he said.

The archbishop said it was "human" and "perfectly okay" to be angry at God in the face of grief, but he also shared his advice on how people could avoid becoming "a helpless victim of grief" – having people to speak to, "Memories to Hold" and "Prayers of Lament and Protest".

"But you also have to seize moments of celebration. Attack the sensitive days or they will attack you," he said.

"We have a family member who died many years ago where we meet when we as a family can and we have a birthday party and we celebrate that person's life. A lot of people say they did it with that started and they found it really helpful.

"We also buy a family gift, something that is useless and that we probably wouldn't get, but that is fun. There's still the wrench and grief. But there's a real feeling of," I'd prefer to feel this pain as having never existed that person. ""

In the far-reaching interview, the archbishop also commented on the royal family, which has been on the news a lot since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Oprah interview last month.

After the interview, the Archbishop had to deny that he had secretly married her three days before the ceremony at St. George & # 39; s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

However, when he sympathized with Prince Harry, he said, “It's a life without parole, isn't it? If you go back to the 1930s, Edward VIII – he was still a celebrity and followed everywhere after he abdicated. Us expect them to do it. " be superhuman. "

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