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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 12:31 UK
Bishop Dr David Stancliffe to retire after 17 years
The Bishop of Salisbury, Dr David Stancliffe
Dr David Stancliffe has been Bishop of Salisbury for 17 years

As he retires after 17 years, The Bishop of Salisbury Dr David Stancliffe has been talking about the views that have shaped his approach to the job.

Dr Stancliffe is leaving the Diocese of Salisbury - which includes parts of Dorset - and says he is, still, "by nature" an optimist.

He preached for the final time at Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday.

He said: "I believe when you confront people it's almost impossible to say no to possibilities that are life giving."

Raising questions

Dr Stancliffe, who remains in post until December but will be working at the Church of England's General Synod, believes the roots of many of the world's problems stem from fear, and understanding this better will help bring about improvement.

He said: "[Peace] is not just about the absence of fighting but an understanding of the underlying causes of why people are frightened of each other, because that's when most people go to war or behave badly - because of fear.

"It's cheaper and better to talk than to chuck bombs."

He has also been known for holding some outspoken views - he criticised the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of Afghanistan in 2001, but he says expressing these views are part of the job.

He said: "I expect bishops are always likely to be in the loyal opposition because who else is there that can raise the questions of common sense that are being voiced around?

"Somebody has to ask the government the questions that hold them to account, particularly when there are big values at stake."




SEE ALSO
Bishop of Salisbury retires at 67
02 Jul 10 |  England

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