Thursday, March 24, 2011

Title IV and The Constitution: Dioceses’ Exclusive Authority for Clergy Discipline

In our previous papers we have shown that the new Title IV is unconstitutional in two key respects: it usurps the exclusive constitutional authority given to dioceses for the trial of priests and deacons and it gives the Presiding Bishop unprecedented and unconstitutional authority over diocesan bishops. These conclusions continue to be disputed, both publicly and privately, by those primarily responsible for drafting the revised Title IV even as these issues are under review by others throughout the church. Given the purposes of our previous papers, we have presented only the highlights of the extensive historical analysis that supports our conclusions. In light of the continued defense of the constitutionality of these revisions, however, we think it is important to present the full analysis. We begin with this review of the historical background of Article IX of the Constitution, the article that commits clergy discipline to the exclusive authority of the dioceses. We submit that this review demonstrates conclusively that Title IV as enacted is unconstitutional.1

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