Sunday, 6 July 2008

Lambeth and Bishopsthorpe Register

I had always thought it appropriate that army officers were cashiered and clergymen defrocked, as the offences of the former often involved the cashbox and of the latter matters of frocks. However, the media seems confused (and who can blame it) as to whether Ray Lewis was defrocked, disbarred or banned from 'being a vicar'.

In fact it seems he remains an ordained minister of the Church of England, but one whose licence to preach and minister has been revoked. The procedures current in the 1990s seem to have been as follows;

2.1 Currently, clergy discipline is very much in the hands of the bishops

2.2 Cases are often dealt with informally, and sometimes without reference to any statutory regime.

2.3 Serious cases may result in:

  • Resignation
  • Deprivation and disqualification, following criminal/matrimonial proceedings (under s 55 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963)
  • Withdrawal of licence (subject to rights of appeal to the Archbishop, under Canon C12, in some cases)
  • Deposition from holy orders (only following formal proceedings)
  • Censure by consent (under s 31 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963)

2.4 Following disciplinary action, the name of the clergy concerned generally appears on the Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Register:

  • Part I includes the names of those deposed, or deprived and disqualified, under the EJM 1963; it also includes those who have relinquished their orders under the Clerical Disabilities Act 1873
  • Part II comprises those who have not been the subject of formal proceedings, but whom bishops are advised to approach with caution in relation to any appointment.
Canon C12 of the C of E's Canon Laws allows that:
The bishop of a diocese may by notice in writing revoke summarily, and without further process, any licence granted to any minister within his diocese for any cause which appears to him to be good and reasonable after having given the minister sufficient opportunity of showing reason to the contrary; and the notice shall notify the minister that he may, within 28 days from the date on which he receives the notice, appeal to the archbishop of the province in which that diocese is situated.
Ray Lewis may well have a case in that these procedures were arbitrary justice indeed. The C of E has now revised them. But he remains, it seems, on the Lambeth and Bishopsthorpe Register along with all those vicars with too close an interest in choirboys, the Gin bottle or 'Strength through Joy' Christianity.

Fair or not? I don't know.


Anonymous said...

Come along, Raedwald. Keep up with the news!

Lewis is a disaster and an embarrassment for the Tories. The whole Tory Party is in disarray. The resignation of this fellow, who isn't even a party member and is almost totally unknown outside of (certain parts of) London, is a hammerblow to the Conservative Party's hopes. Boris' resignation is only a matter of days away.

This whole affair has guaranteed victory for Brown at the next election.

I know this to be true because I read it in the unbiased British media.

Anonymous said...

Ah, you can always tell an Englishman by their repressed humour.

I thought we're all going Colonial, that is, to dumb down every moral and educational standard and encourage a little corruption in everyone.

Not very multicultural then are we. No one thinks he done wrong from any person living in Africa. The boy done good, innit? So why are you so racist?