What this makes clear is that there was profound disagreement. What it does not make clear is what actually was said, how matters now stand, or how they have been, or will be, resolved.
Bishop Holtam says the question was raised, "How we might go forward constructively when we are in such profound disagreement about the definition of marriage." At the same time he says he is committed to "Supporting marriage as it is currently understood."
Once again, the Dire Straits Principle ("Two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong"), would seem to apply. If the Bishop disagrees with his clergy about the definition of marriage, but supports marriage as it is currently understood, then presumably they have a different view of marriage from the current one. Either that, or the reverse is true. What seems clear is that they cannot both be supporting the current view of marriage (whatever the word "current" is supposed to mean) and be disagreeing.
Here is the statement:
The Bishop of Sherborne, the Archdeacon of Dorset and I met with 10 clergy from Dorset who had contacted me following my remarks on same-sex relationships in an interview published in The Times on 3 February, and on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme on 5 February.
Bishop Graham and I disagree about the appropriateness of using the word 'marriage' for same-sex relationships. He expressed his concerns to me privately and in the meeting. We are, however, committed to working together creatively.
I welcomed the open and robust conversation, which covered the following areas:
· My thanks for their constructive response to what I had said
· The context of the wider interview from which the published remarks were drawn
· The state of the debate about same-sex relationships
· My intention to encourage an honest conversation
· Our understanding of what marriage constitutes and means
· The place of same-sex relationships and couples within the life of the Church and our pastoral care of them
· The nature of same-sex relationships
· The difference between contractual and covenantal relationships and their relationship to Civil Partnerships and marriage
· The appropriateness of using the language of marriage for same-sex relationships
· Our understanding of the authority of Scripture and Tradition, and their immutability
· The significance of scriptural references to homosexuality
· The Church’s relationship with the wider community and its culture
· The current discipline and practice of the Church of England
· My role as Bishop and leader in the Diocese
· Pluralism, the width of the Church and the Bishop’s relationship to it
· How we address contentious issues within the Diocese
· Our relationships with the Church in other parts of the world, especially Sudan
· Concerns for local Ecumenical relationships
· How we might go forward constructively when we are in such profound disagreement about the definition of marriage
At the end of the meeting I reaffirmed my commitment to:
· Supporting marriage as it is currently understood
· Upholding the current discipline and practice of the Church of England
· Supporting those clergy whose standpoint differs from my own
I ended by welcoming future opportunities to continue the conversation.
Please give a full name and location when posting. Comments without this information may be deleted. Recommend: