ACI has long been concerned about the provisions of the new Title IV. We first raised our concerns about the constitutionality of the new canons in a memorandum circulated privately two years ago. This eventually made its way to those responsible for drafting and implementing the new canon, who later replied—unsatisfactorily from our perspective. Later, in September 2010 we began publishing a series of articles by Alan Runyan and Mark McCall addressing Title IV issues more comprehensively. The first of these “Title IV Revisions Unmasked” outlined the scope of the due process and constitutional problems presented by the new disciplinary canon. The second, “Title IV Unmasked: Reply to Our Critics,” focused primarily on the constitutional issues related to the unprecedented expansion of the authority of the Presiding Bishop. The third, “Title IV and the Constitution: Dioceses’ Exclusive Authority for Clergy Discipline,” demonstrated conclusively that clergy discipline is a matter committed exclusively to the dioceses. Messrs. Runyan and McCall also summarized these concerns when they were interviewed by a group of bishops and members of the Presiding Bishop’s staff as part of an investigation conducted by the House of Bishops.
The new title became effective on July 1, 2011, and already has been invoked in two proceedings against bishops of the Church. Given our past concerns, it is appropriate to take initial stock of the new canons as applied. Our succinct summary: it is even worse than we expected. We address three issues below: (1) what procedures are followed in initiating proceedings against bishops; (2) what standards are applied when restricting the ministry of bishops before trial; (3) what standards are applied in evaluating allegations before deciding to proceed with an investigation. To read more, click here.
To read the related ACI article, "A Response to the reported Title IV disciplinary process begun against Bishop Mark Lawrence," click here.