A couple of weeks ago I posted about a story in one of our papers concerning one of our bishops separating from his wife (here). For reasons of delicacy, and possible litigation, what I couldn't say then was what I and a significant number of people in the Diocese of Wellington and, seemingly, a large number of my clerical colleagues up and down the land knew. We knew, and not just on the basis of tittle-tattle, but reliably, that the story was worse than that, involving a "third person" and another broken marriage. Whatever our thoughts are about such things, it was not pleasant to find that the story as revealed previously meant the bishop had placed many people in the position of reluctantly going along with a half-truth being told as though it were the full truth.
Fortunately with the publication of the fuller story (here) the process by which many people were forced to act and speak as though the whole story had been told ends. People can choose, if they wish, to talk about the whole unfortunate mess rather than the half-version. Protestations about giving the poor bishop space to work out his own stuff, and congratulations on his integrity about handing in his licence in and the like can now be made on the basis of the full facts. But you won't find me making those protestations or congratulations.
Incidentally, there is an observation made in the story about when the relationship began. Any pastoral minister worth half a grain of salt knows something about transference, about our capacity to begin relational bonding long before some external sign of "beginning" occurs. So when a close friend of the family begins a sentence in the article with "unequivocably" the second half of Tui beer ads springs to mind.
While it is not pleasant for our church to face this story, at least we now face the whole story and not the half-true version.