D053 Amend various Canons in Titles IV and V to provide for Notices of Sentences

This proposal incorporates parts of Resolution 2018-D079, which was referred to the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons but not reported to this Convention. Given its workload, this was only to be expected. Under the constraints imposed on the 80th General Convention , the proposer recommends that this proposal also be referred to the Standing Commission for study and perfection for the 81st General Convention.

The 2009 revision of Title IV provides for giving notice of Accords and Orders. The previous revision provided instead for giving notice of Sentences. With one limited exception regarding sentencing of Bishops, Accords and Orders are merely recommendations to the sentencing Bishop, who has discretion to impose a lesser sentence. So what is contained in an Accord or Order may not correspond to the actual sanction imposed on the member of the clergy. If the sanction is a suspension of ministry or deposition, this is a significant fact for those to whom the notice is directed. Yet the current requirements for notices of Accords and Orders only require a recitation of the subsections of Canon IV.3 or IV.4 that the Offense involved violated. Neither the facts of the Offense nor the sanction recommended need be specified (these must go into the Accord or Order but not the notice). All that is known is that a Title IV proceeding has come to a close.

This proposal returns to a system of giving notices of Sentences. Restrictions on ministry contained in the Sentence should be included in the notice in addition to any suspension or deposition, so that the recipients can know that the clergyperson in question cannot fully function as a cleric.

Current Title IV does not provide for when a Bishop Diocesan should pronounce Sentence following an appeal that affirms or modifies an Order. This is added by new Canon IV.14.8.c.

Pre-revision Title IV provided for notice to be given of Sentences and not of Trial Court Judgments (Canon IV.12.9 & .11 (2006)). Since the Sentence is the operative document, that is what should be noticed. This is included in the proposed changes to IV.14.12. In addition, since it is the president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that pronounces a Sentence on a Bishop, that person, rather than the Presiding Bishop, should be the person to send notices. The recipients of the notices for Bishops in IV.14.12.b and for other clergy in IV.14.2.a are conformed and the name of offices corrected. Restrictions on ministry are added to IV.13.12.c

As to modifications and remissions, since an Order or Accord is only a recommendation to the Bishop for sentencing, what really needs to be modified or remitted is the Sentence itself, which would include an admonition, suspension, or deposition, in addition to such "other terms" of the Accord or Order as the Bishop accepts. See Canon IV.13 (2006). While the current Canon only speaks to modifications or remissions arising from an Order, there is no reason that issues arising from an Accord should not be included as well. In IV.18.5, the reference to an "Order" is deleted, because a deposition for abandonment is not pursuant to any Order, which by definition (IV.2) can only be issued by a Conference or Hearing Panel. (This anomaly is an argument (there are many) for moving the Abandonment Canon (IV.16) from Title IV to Title III, since its procedures are outside the scope of the disciplinary structures established by Title IV.)

Canon IV.17.6 on Sentences for Bishops varies from sentencing for other clergypersons in that Accords or Orders that would result in suspension or deposition cannot be given any lesser sanction by the sentencing Bishop, but it is silent on recommendations for admonition or for any other terms that may be included in the Accord or Order, where the sentencing Bishop could presumably refuse to admonish or could reduce or waive any restrictions on the Respondent, and no review of this is provided for. ("The president shall have no discretion to decline to pronounce the Sentence or to pronounce a lesser Sentence" only refers to the defined term "Sentence" which does not include those "other terms".) Also, the sentencing Bishop is just one Bishop chosen to be the president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, chosen either by vote or by seniority (IV.17.3). For sentencing following an Accord, the terms of the Accord will have been approved by the Presiding Bishop and a majority of the entire Board (IV.17.9), and for sentencing following an Order issued by a Conference or Hearing Panel consisting of three bishops, one other clergyperson, and one lay person, and possibly affirmed on appeal by a Court of Review of nine bishops. Despite the limited language directing only two points of departure from IV.14.1(d) and IV.14.6(c), I believe that it is the clear intention is that sentencing under these circumstances is a ministerial act, and the sentencing Bishop should not have discretion to unilaterally impose a lesser burden on the Respondent than the Accord or Order shall provide. Language is inserted to clarify this.

New language is added parallel to that for new IV.14.8(c) to provide for sentencing following an appeal.

As to modifications and remissions, since an Order or Accord is only a recommendation to the Bishop for sentencing, what really needs to be modified or remitted is the Sentence itself, which would include an admonition, suspension, or deposition, in addition to such "other terms" of the Accord or Order as the Bishop accepts. See Canon IV.13 (2006). While the current Canon only speaks to modifications or remissions arising from an Order, there is no reason that issues arising from an Accord should not be included as well. In IV.18.5, the reference to an "Order" is deleted, because a deposition for abandonment is not pursuant to any Order, which by definition (IV.2) can only be issued by a Conference or Hearing Panel. (This anomaly is an argument (there are many) for moving the Abandonment Canon (IV.16) from Title IV to Title III, since its procedures are outside the scope of the disciplinary structures established by Title IV.)

Miscellaneous conforming changes are proposed for IV.19 and for V.4.1.