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‘One-sided’ view of Scottish Synod report

26 June 2015


From the Revd Dr Harriet Harris

Sir, - Your coverage of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church (News, 19 June) quoted only the few criticisms made of the Doctrine Committee report, not the highly positive reception of it, and omitted the Doctrine Committee's official response to the debate.

You give some space to the Very Revd Francis Bridger, who sees the report as falling short regarding "embodiment and complementarity and differentiation". Arguably, in scripture and tradition, hierarchy rather than complementarity in marriage is more common, but the notion of becoming "one flesh" is theologically very rich, and receives attention throughout the paper.

The Doctrine Committee came to the view that it is difficult to find theological significance in arguments concerning complementarity and differentiation without reference to procreation (paras 38f), and the paper makes fuller association between marriage and procreation than do recent liturgical developments.

The Doctrine Committee Report invites extensive theological reflection on the causes of marriage as given historically and in our current liturgies, and you do the Synod an injustice by failing to capture its level of theological engagement, and the fact that it voted to receive the report as helpful by 103 votes to 17.


Doctrine Committee Convenor
Edinburgh University
Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX

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