B005 Proposed amendment to Canon IV.10, Of Conciliation, to enhance the possibility that restorative justice and other reconciling practices are utilized early in the Ecclesiastical Discipline process

Canon I of Title IV sets ambitious and worthy aspirations for the Church’s process for Ecclesiastical Discipline. Experience has demonstrated that appointment of a Conciliator – defined in Canon IV.10.4 as “a person skilled in dispute resolution techniques and without conflict of interest in the matter” – can be an effective avenue for reaching the aspirations of the Title, particularly if utilized early in the discipline process. The current text of Canon IV.10, Of Conciliation, suggests that a conciliation is “successful” only if an Accord is reached. Arguably, the current text encompasses neither the possibility of a “successful” conciliation that results in some other type of agreement resolving the dispute, nor a conciliation that resolves the dispute but results in no formal agreement. This amendment expands the understanding of a “successful” conciliation to include any resolution that is “suitable” under the Title – that is, one that promotes “healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation.”