The annual meeting of Australian bishops has agreed to a set of protocols on human sexuality, which conforms to the landmark 1998 Lambeth resolutions.

Australian bishops, including all Sydney bishops, met in Melbourne this month, several weeks after it was revealed that the Bishop of Gippsland had appointed a male priest living with a partner of the same sex to a ministry position in that diocese.

The introduction to the document says the protocols “express the common mind of the bishops as determined by consensus at our National Meeting.”

“We confirm our agreement to abide by them and renew this commitment annually by consensus” the bishops said.

According to the protocols, the Bishops

i)              accept the weight of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the 2004 General Synod resolutions 33, 59 and 61-64 as expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality.

ii)             undertake to uphold the position of our Church in regard to human sexuality as we ordain, license, authorise or appoint to ministries within our dioceses.

iii)           understand that issues of sexuality are subject to ongoing conversation within our Church and we undertake to support these conversations, while seeking to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In comparison with other Bishops meetings, especially those associated with the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States, the Australian agreement is being seen as a conservative stance.

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