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Canons


Canon: OF JUDICIAL SENTENCES

Chapter:  C40 ECCLESIASTICAL TRIBUNALS and THE DISCIPLINE OF MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH


Part: C

Definitions of Sentences
1. Sentences passed on any bishop, cleric or deacon found guilty after due trial or informal tribunal shall be on an ascending scale of severity, depending upon the circumstances of each case. They are

Formal admonition
1. (a) formal admonition, being the implementation of a redemptive process by way of the delivery in writing of notice to this effect, either in public or in private, as the circumstances may seem to the bishop, or in the case of a trial of a bishop the Tribunal, to require;

Suspension
1. (b) suspension, being the suspension from all ministerial functions during the term of the sentence, with or without the partial or total loss of emoluments attached to the office if the bishop or Tribunal deems this appropriate to the circumstance;

Deposition
(c) deposition, being deprivation of the office held by the person on whom sentence is pronounced and the suspension from all ministerial functions within the area or sphere of jurisdiction of the bishop, or, for such period as the bishop shall determine; and

Degradation
1. (d) degradation, being the deposition of the person on whom sentence is pronounced from Holy Orders: this sentence shall only take effect after any appeal process has been completed, and after being confirmed by the Synod of Bishops.

Synod of Bishops to pass Sentence
2. If confirmation of a sentence of degradation is withheld, the Synod of Bishops shall substitute what it considers to be the appropriate sentence in the circumstances.

Deferred Sentence
3. The operation of any sentence of suspension or deposition in terms of section 1 (b) or (c) above may be deferred for such period and subject to such conditions as may be decided by the Bishop. Should such conditions not be breached during such period, the sentence of suspension or deposition shall not come into operation.

Breach of deferred sentence
4. Should it be brought to the attention of the Bishop that the conditions imposed for the deferment of a sentence in terms of section 3 above may have been breached, the Bishop may notify the cleric concerned thereof and summon the cleric to appear on a date and at a time and place specified in the notice. The Bishop shall investigate the allegation in the presence of the cleric, who shall be given the opportunity to be heard. If it be found that the conditions have been breached, the Bishop may declare that the sentence shall come into operation on a specified date.

Severer Sentence
5. A person on whom sentence has been pronounced and who refuses to submit to such sentence shall after written notice to comply by the bishop, or if the person be a bishop the Metropolitan or if the person be the Metropolitan the Dean of the Province, render himself or herself liable to the more severe sentence for such contumacy set out in the notice to comply, subject always to the provisions of section 1 of this Canon. An offence following on another or other offences, even if different in nature, may render the person liable to a more severe sentence than might otherwise be the case.

Recovery to loss
6. A sentence pronounced on a person shall be without prejudice to any right the Diocese or Province or other Church authority may have to recover a loss or to enforce any remedy available to it in the circumstances.

Publication of Sentence
7. Sentences of deposition or degradation shall be published widely in during the Diocese in which the guilty person was licensed, or in such other way as the bishop shall deem fit. A sentence of degradation shall be published in the Province as the Synod of Bishops shall see fit.

Guidelines for sentencing
8. The following are the guidelines for sentencing by the bishop, subject to any more moderate or severe sentence that may seem to the bishop or Tribunal appropriate in the circumstances of the case. The recommendations below relate to each of the offences reflected in the charges set out in section 1 of Canon 37 and are set out hereunder in the same order, using the first few words of each sub-section for ease of identification only (the entire provision of the sub-section being applicable in each case):

List of Offences
(a) sexual assault deposition or degradation;
(b) sexual harassment deposition or degradation;
(c) sexual immorality suspension for up to three years, deposition or degradation;
(d) assault or threat of assault suspension, deposition or degradation;
(e) heresy or false doctrine formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(f) schism deposition;
(g) apostasy degradation;
(h) conduct giving just cause formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(i) fraudulent or dishonest acts suspension or deposition;
(j) negligence or recklessness suspension or deposition;
(k) misappropriation deposition;
(l) violation of the Constitution and Canons formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(m) conduct amounting to breach of trust deposition;
(n) contravention of responsibilities or functions formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(o) refusal to obey formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(p) neglect of duties formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(q) incapacity formal admonition or reference to Canon 25(6), (7) and (8);
(r) performing church functions while under the influence admonition, suspension or deposition;
(s) breach of confidentiality formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(t) unauthorised absence formal admonition, suspension or deposition; and
(u) conduct and false statements formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(v) promoting dissension and disaffection - formal admonition, suspension or deposition;
(w) maligning Bishops or others in ecclesiastical authority - formal admonition, suspension
(x) any matter presented for trial by the Bishop- any of the sentences appropriate to the matter in question.

sexual harassment
(b) sexual harassment deposition or degradation;

sexual immortality
(c) sexual immorality suspension for up to three years, deposition or degradation;

assult or threat of assault
(d) assault or threat of assault suspension, deposition or degradation;

heresy or false doctrine
(e) heresy or false doctrine formal admonition, suspension or deposition;

schism
(f) schism deposition;

apostasy
(g) apostasy degradation;



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