The implication is clear: to Holloway, the certainties of organised religion have little meaning other than, perhaps, as metaphor or poetry. If anyone derives spiritual consolation from them, that’s fine. He doesn’t ”“ and no longer having to defend things he doesn’t believe in is one of the great joys of his later life ”“ but he doesn’t want to cut himself off from Christianity altogether. Indeed, he still goes to church on average a couple of times a month ”“ usually to Old St Paul’s in Edinburgh, where he was rector from 1968-1980, in what he says, looking back, was the happiest time of his life. Occasionally, he even preaches there. “I’m like a member of the family who doesn’t support everything the family stands for but still wants to be associated with it. At my stage in life, it’s quite difficult to give up emotional allegiances.”
It was only several years after he had become Bishop of Edinburgh in 1986 that the tensions between being expected to uphold the orthodoxies of faith and his growing disbelief in the certainties of the system became too great. The last straw came over the refusal of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 to countenance the ordination of [non-celibate] gay ministers.