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Ministerial Duty and Professional Discipline in the Anglican Church of Australia

  • Garth Blake (a1)
Abstract

This article considers the question whether ministry in the Anglican Church of Australia is a profession as well as a vocation. After considering the context of child sexual abuse in the Church, and the contemporary practice of ministry, it examines whether it exhibits the four commonly recognised sociological marks of a profession: (1) specialised knowledge and skills; (2) service of fundamental human needs; (3) commitment to the other's best interest; and (4) structures for accountability.

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2 The Anglican Church of Australia is referred to as ‘the Church’.

3 Fletcher, DB, ‘Professional ethics’ in Atkinson, DJ and Field, DH, New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois, USA and Leicester, England, 1995), p 692.

4 Gula, RM, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry (New York, 1996), pp 1011; Lebacqz, K and Driskill, JD, Ethics and Spiritual Care: a guide for pastors, chaplains, and spiritual directors (Nashville, 2000), pp 4049.

5 Redlich, M, THL325 Advanced Pastoral Care Study Guide (Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2008), p 16.

6 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 11–12.

7 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 51–64; Lebacqz and Driskill, Ethics and Spiritual Care, pp 38–39.

8 This context is set out in detail in Blake, G, ‘Child protection and the Anglican Church of Australia’, (2006) 4(1) Journal of Anglican Studies 81105.

9 The names and offences of Anglican clergy are listed on the website of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Australia online at <http://www.clergyabuseaustralia.org>, accessed 5 May 2009.

10 Chapter 11 entitled ‘The Churches’ of volume V of the Final Report called The Paedophile Inquiry can be found online at: <http://www.pic.nsw.gov.au/files/reports/VOLUME5.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

11 An edited version of Not the Way of Christ, the report of the Independent Pastoral Inquiry into Sexual Misconduct by Clergy or Officers of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania with particular reference to Paedophilia can be found online at <http://www.anglicantas.org.au/index.php?item=file&target=not_the_way>, accessed 27 August 2009.

12 The report of the Board of Inquiry into the handling of complaints of sexual abuse and misconduct by persons in authority in the Diocese of Brisbane can be found online at <http://www.anglican.org.au/docs/AnglicanReport.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

13 The report of the Board of Inquiry into the handling of claims of sexual abuse and misconduct in the Diocese of Adelaide can be found online at <http://www.adelaide.anglican.com.au/Downloads/morisonreport/24_5_04_final_boi_report_final.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

14 The Paedophile Inquiry, volume V, p 1026, para 11.144.

15 Ibid, pp 1026–1027, para 11.147.

16 The Forde Inquiry report can be found online at <http://www.communities.qld.gov.au/community/redress-scheme/documents/forde_comminquiry.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

17 The Committee report Forgotten Australians: a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children can be found online at <http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/report/report.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

18 The Mullighan Inquiry report can be found online at <http://www.service.sa.gov.au/ContentPages/sagovt/files/mullighaninquiry/CISC%20-%20Complete.pdf>, accessed 31 May 2009.

19 The transcript of this programme can be found online at <http://www.abc.net.au/austory/transcripts/s479623.htm>, accessed 1 June 2009.

20 Under Authority: the report of the General Synod Working Party reviewing clergy discipline and the working of ecclesiastical courts (London, 1996), pp 23–24, para 3.25.

21 The Constitution can be found on the General Synod website online at <http://www.anglican.org.au/docs/ACAConstitution-2003.pdf>, accessed 5 May 2009.

22 A canon of the General Synod which affects the order and good government of the Church in a diocese does not come into force in a diocese unless the diocese by ordinance adopts the canon: Constitution, s 30. In this chapter I have assumed that the canons of the General Synod are in force in a diocese.

23 ‘This Church receives all the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as being the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation’: Constitution, s 2.

24 The Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion are ‘the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church’: Constitution, s 4.

25 ‘The Anglican Church of Australia, being a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, holds the Christian Faith as professed by the Church of Christ from primitive times and in particular as set forth in the creeds known as the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed’: Constitution, s 1.

26 Constitution, s 71(2).

27 Some of this repeal was effected by the Constitution. Progressive repeal and re-enactment has otherwise been effected by the Solemnisation of Matrimony Canon 1981, Matrimony (Prohibited Relationships) Canon 1981, Canon concerning Confessions 1989, Canon Law Repeal Canon 1989, Canon concerning Vesture of Ministers 1992, Canon concerning Services 1992, Canon concerning Confirmation 1992, Oaths Affirmations Declarations and Assents Canon 1992, Canon Concerning Baptism 1992, Chancellors Canon 2001, Holy Communion Canon 2001, Holy Orders, Relinquishment and Deposition Canon 2004, and Canon concerning Holy Orders 2004.

28 Resolution 33/04(b).

29 Resolution 33/04(e). Faithfulness in Service can be found on the General Synod website online at <http://www.anglican.org.au/docs/PSCFIS-revd%20SCGS-October%202006.pdf>, accessed 5 May 2009.

30 Resolution 59/04.

31 Psychologists Board of Queensland v Robinson [2004] QCA 405 at [21].

32 Pastoral Guidelines with special reference to Child Sexual Abuse can be found on the General Synod website online at <http://www.anglican.org.au/docs/BISPrivateConfession%20080306.pdf>, accessed 10 May 2009.

33 Relevant legislation and State and Territory screening programmes are set out on the Resource Sheet of the National Child Protection Clearinghouse within the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which can be found online at <http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs13/rs13.html>, accessed 1 June 2009.

34 The scope of mandatory reporting of child abuse and the applicable legislation are set out on the Resource Sheet of the National Child Protection Clearinghouse within the Australian Institute of Family Studies which can be found online at <http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs3/rs3.html>, accessed 1 June 2009.

35 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 51–52.

36 Ibid, p 53.

37 Ibid, pp 52–53.

38 Ibid, p 56.

39 Ibid, p 56.

40 Oaths Affirmations Declarations and Assents Canon 1992.

41 Redlich, Advanced Pastoral Care, p 23.

42 Making Our Church Safe: a programme for action, Report of the Child Protection Committee of the General Synod of the Church (Sydney, 2004), section 10.

43 Blake, H, THL122 Pastoral Care Study Guide (Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2009), pp 89.

44 Making Our Church Safe, section 10.

45 Redlich, Advanced Pastoral Care, p 33.

46 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 65–66.

47 Ibid, p 66.

48 K Litchfield, Tend My Flock: sustaining good pastoral care (Norwich, 2006), pp 37–38.

49 Litchfield, Tend My Flock, p 39; Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 85–86.

50 Litchfield, Tend My Flock, p 40.

51 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, p 75.

52 Ibid, p 76.

53 Ibid, p 148.

54 Litchfield, Tend My Flock, p 81. Guidelines for boundaries in pastoral relationships are set out in Faithfulness in Service (paras 4.10–4.17).

55 Sperry, L, Sex, Priestly Ministry, and the Church (Collegeville, Minnesota, 2003), p 49.

56 Blake, H, THL228 Pastoral Care Interventions Study Guide (Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2008), pp 8990.

57 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, p 61.

58 Under Authority, p 33, para 4.15.

59 Ibid, p 16, para 3.2.

60 A person appointed by the bishop of a diocese or any five adult communicant members of the Church may promote a charge before the diocesan tribunal. If the offence is against an incumbent of a parish in reference to an offence alleged to have been committed within the parish, the communicant members must be bona fide members of the parish. Any charge relating to faith ritual or ceremony cannot be heard unless it is allowed as a proper charge to be heard by a board of inquiry: Constitution, s 54(3).

61 A charge against a bishop in the Special Tribunal may be brought by the Episcopal Standards Commission, another bishop or in respect of a diocesan bishop in accordance with the provisions of an ordinance of the synod of that diocese: Special Tribunal Canon 2007, s 43(1).

62 Where a charge has been promoted against a member of the clergy or licensed lay person before the diocesan tribunal, the bishop with the concurrence of the diocesan council may suspend a person until the determination of the charge (s 61(1)). In certain circumstances where it is proposed that a charge be promoted against a member of the clergy or licensed lay person, a bishop may suspend the person for a period not exceeding 28 days (s 61(2)).

63 Where a charge has been promoted against the bishop of the diocese before the Special Tribunal, the President of the Special Tribunal with the concurrence of the diocesan council may suspend the bishop until the determination of the charge (s 61A).

64 There are also offences specified in the Holy Orders Relinquishment and Deposition Canon 2004 (s 12) and the Canon Concerning Holy Orders 2004 (s 18(2)).

65 Resolution 54/04.

66 Recommendations include counselling, participation in a conciliation or mediation, an apology, an admonition, retraining of a specified nature, and reparation of a specified nature (s 69).

67 Recommendations include counselling, the holding of office subject to conditions or restrictions, and such direction as the Episcopal Standards Board sees fit (s 49).

68 Before such a relinquishment or deposition is available the bishop must be satisfied that the person is not currently the subject of any information, complaint or charge in any diocese concerning his or her conduct or fitness to hold any office (ss 3(b)(ii), 4(d)).

69 Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry, pp 13–14.

1 This article first appeared as a chapter entitled ‘Ministerial Duty and Professional Duty’ in Frame, T (ed), Called to Minister: Vocational Discernment in the Contemporary Church, (Canberra, 2009). It is reproduced with permission of the publisher.

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Ecclesiastical Law Journal
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