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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 February, 2004, 07:27 GMT
Primate in talks over gay bishop
Dr Robin Eames, Archbishop of Ireland
Dr Eames has been meeting clergy in the United States
Archbishop Robin Eames has met clergy in the United States divided over the consecration of a gay bishop.

The Church of Ireland Primate chairs an Anglican commission on the implications of the election of Bishop Gene Robinson, a practising homosexual.

He met Episcopalian representatives who plan to form a breakaway church.

"It is important that I hear at first hand the feelings of those in the US who are so divided," he said.

Traditionalists

The consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in November last year enraged many traditionalist Anglicans around the world.

Conservative clergy have threatened to leave the worldwide church if the appointment is not overturned.

Traditionalist leaders, many of them living side by side with conservatively minded Muslims in developing countries, insist the US church reverse its policy or be suspended.

Many think the survival of the 70 million worldwide church is at stake but so far there seems little scope for agreement.

Dr Eames said discussions had taken place over the last few days in Washington.

The international commission will meet throughout next week in England and is due to publish its findings next September.

Church of Ireland Bishops published an open letter on Wednesday offering to arrange meetings and receive written submissions on human sexuality issues.


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