What Does “Walking Together” Really Mean?

Much has been made in recent weeks about the Anglican Primates’ meeting and their decision to continue to “walk together” as a world communion despite disagreements, chiefly in the area of marriage equality. I join many in affirming that decision and yet, given the “consequences” suggesting that the Episcopal Church be excluded from sending representatives to certain global church forums, I wonder what “walking together” really means in this case.

In a recent press release from the Vatican headlined Pope extends new olive branch to China, “the pope explained that his view of dialogue is one in which neither side compromises or carves out its foothold, but both decide to ‘walk together’ respecting differences.'” The phrase “walk together” is obviously what captured my attention, but the fact that it is book-ended by “neither side compromises or carves out its foothold” and “respecting differences” is what is really important.

If the Bishop of Rome can foresee walking together with an officially atheistic nation, respecting the vast differences but not seeking to compromise or carve out its foothold, surely sisters and brothers in the Anglican Communion can find a way for its various Provinces to do the same.

Otherwise, what indeed does “walking together” really mean?

 

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