A letter in the Press this morning refers to the news item I commented on below and raises the prospect of the jailed priest being defrocked. That is a fair point to raise inasmuch as our church has disciplinary canons and these, following due and fair process, could lead to such an outcome for any of us who offends in such a serious manner. I hope our bishops (obviously, particularly the bishops of the diocese concerned) take up this possibility carefully and work through judiciously how they might or might not proceed.
My reason for expressing this hope is that if our church eventually finds itself in a situation akin to that unfolding in TEC and Canada (i.e. a situation in which priests, even bishops are feeling pressed into becoming dissidents in order to remain orthodox in faith and in practice) someone is sure to raise the matter of disciplining any dissident priests and bishops here in our lovely and peaceful islands.
At that point it would be very important that we were a church which was consistently rigorous in the application of its own rules and regulations.
For myself I lean towards mercy and hope that whether a priest is fraudulent or dissident our church can be merciful.
I will only publish comments on this matter which are general in the character of their discussion of the discipline canons of our church, or which particularly discuss the hypothetical situation of future dissidence in our church, or which refer to dissidence elsewhere in the Communion. I will not publish any comment which in part or in full discusses the particular case referred to below.