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Archbishop Welby: ‘Pope Francis would beat me in a fight’

Archbishop Welby with Pope Francis (AP)

If you could ask Archbishop Justin Welby any question, whether or not he could win a fight against Pope Francis would probably not be top of your list.

But that’s exactly what a young child asked when then Archbishop of Canterbury attended the Greenbelt Festival.

Rather than dismiss the boy, Archbishop Welby gave him an answer: “For a lot of reasons, the Pope would (win). He’s got a bigger stick than me. He’s got a bigger hat then me. He’s bigger then me. He’s better than me.”

The archbishop also said that when he first met the Pope, he was teased by him. Talking about their meeting the archbishop said: “[The Pope] looked at me and said: ‘I’m senior to you.’ He was winding me up but I thought he was being serious. I said, ‘Of course you are’, because I was terrified. And he said, it was because he’d started on the Thursday and I started on the Saturday, ‘by two days’.”

Archbishop Welby is set to meet the Pope on October 5 in Rome to celebrate First Vespers in the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio.

While the meeting has not been made official yet, a high ranking member of the Anglican church in Rome confirmed to the Catholic News Agency that it was going ahead.

It has been suggested the visit will span two days – the first including Vespers, and the second, a private meeting to discuss ecumenical relations.

Archbishop Welby has already met with Pope Francis twice in the Vatican, the first time being June 14, 2013, and the second June 16, 2014.