Resolution Number: 2012-A066
Title: On the Topic of Canon III.9 [Of the Life and Work of Priests]
Legislative Action Taken: Rejected
Final Text:

Resolution Rejected by Non-concurrence. See Legislative History for original text of resolution.

Legislative History

Author: Standing Commission on Ministry Development
Originating House: House of Bishops
Originating Committee: Ministry

House of Bishops

The House of Bishops Committee on Ministry presented its Report #12 on Resolution A066 (Add Canon III.9.14) and moved adoption with amendment.

Original Text of Resolution

(A066)

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That Title III, Canon 9 be amended by adding a new Section 14 as follows:

Sec. 14. Impairment of a Member of the Clergy

(a) If, in the Bishop’s judgment, there is sufficient reason to believe that the ministry of a member of the clergy serving a congregation of the diocese is severely impaired by physical, mental or substance abuse-related causes, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to raise this concern with the member of the clergy and the bishop may require a medical and/or psychological assessment.

(b) Should an assessment indicate that treatment is necessary, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to provide assistance in making that treatment possible.

(c) Should the Bishop, after laboring to assist the member of the clergy in securing treatment, have reason to believe that the impairment continues to cause distress in the congregation, the bishop shall consult with the vestry to enlist their help on resolution of the matter; and if, in the Bishop’s judgment, the matter is not resolved, then to present this concern to the Standing Committee and request that an independent assessment be made of the relationship of the member of the clergy and the congregation.

(d) Should that assessment indicate that the parish is sufficiently threatened by the impairment of the clergy and should the Standing Committee concur by a 2/3 vote with this assessment, the Standing Committee shall recommend a course of action to the bishop, which may include that the pastoral relationship of the priest and congregation be terminated, according to the provisions Section 13.d.6 through Section h.

Committee Amendment

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That Title III, Canon 9 be amended by adding a new Section 14 as follows:

Sec. 14. Impairment of a Member of the Clergy

(a) If, in the Bishop’s judgment, there is sufficient reason to believe that the ministry of a member of the clergy serving a congregation of the diocese is severely impaired by physical, mental or substance abuse-related causes, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to raise this concern with the member of the clergy and the bishop may require a medical and/or psychological assessment.

(b)The bishop may require a medical and/or psychological assessment and may provide assistance as necessary. Should an assessment indicate that treatment is necessary, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to provide assistance in making that treatment possible.

(c) Should the Bishop, after laboring to assist the member of the clergy in securing treatment, have reason to believe that the impairment continues to cause distress in the congregation, the bishop shall consult with the vestry to enlist their help on resolution of the matter; and if, in the Bishop’s judgment, the matter is not resolved, then to present this concern to the Standing Committee and request that an independent assessment be made of the relationship of the member of the clergy and the congregation.

(d) Should that assessment indicate that the parish is sufficiently threatened by the impairment of the clergy and should the Standing Committee concur by a 2/3 vote with this assessment, the Standing Committee shall recommend a course of action to the bishop, which may include that the pastoral relationship of the priest and congregation be terminated, according to the provisions Section 13.d.6 through Section h.

Motion carried

Resolution adopted with amendment

(Communicated to the House of Deputies in HB Message # 63)

House of Deputies

The House of Deputies Committee on Ministry presented its Report #31 on HB Message #63 on Resolution A066 (Add Canon III.9.14) and moved concurrence.

Deputy Hopkins of Rochester moved committal of the resolution to the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons. A voice vote was inconclusive. A paper vote was taken.

Motion defeated

Deputy Scott of West Missouri moved re-referral of the resolution to the Legislative Committee on Canons.

Motion defeated

Deputy Garner of Alabama moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

Deputy Fleener of Western Michigan, who voted in the prevailing group to defeat the motion to refer the resolution to the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, moved to reconsider that motion.

The President ruled that consideration of Resolution A066 be suspended as it was past the time certain for a Special Order of Business.

House of Deputies

Continuation of Debate on Resolution A066

The Secretary reminded the House that they were reconsidering a motion to refer when the debate on Resolution A066 had been suspended for a Special Order of Business.

The President ruled that the motion to reconsider referring the resolution to the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons was in order.

A vote was taken on the reconsideration.

Motion carried

Deputy Zamboni of New Jersey moved that the resolution be recommitted to the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons.

Motion carried

Resolution referred to a Standing Commission

(Communicated to the House of Bishops in HD Message #163)

Resolution Rejected: Adopted by One House Only.

Report Reference:   Standing Commission on Ministry Development, Reports to the 77th General Convention, 2012, pp. 475-496.
Abstract:   The 77th General Convention rejects a proposal to amend the canons to handle cases when a member of the clergy is impaired physically, mentally, or by substance abuse.
Notes:  

The House of Deputies referred the resolution for action by the House of Bishops, which chose not to reconsider the matter. Thus, the resolution was rejected by non-concurrence due to the conflicting actions.