THE Special Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia has found eight of the nine misconduct charges against the Bishop of The Murray in South Australia proven. The Rt Revd Ross Davies resigned on the eve of the hearing, held in Adelaide, and did not appear, citing ill health.
Press reports state that the hearing was told that the Bishop believed the charges against him should not proceed, given his resignation and his reported subsequent attempt to relinquish his holy orders.
The tribunal — which consists of Sir Robert Woods, a retired judge; the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier; and the Rector of St James’s, King Street, Sydney, the Revd Andrew Sempell — decided that it still had jurisdiction to hear the charges. The tribunal will report its findings and recommendations to the Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall.
The charges against Bishop Davies included six counts of disgraceful conduct, two counts of “wilful violation” of the ordinances of the synod of The Murray, and one count of “wilful and habitual disregard of consecration vows”. The charges were brought by the Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Dr Jeffrey Driver, and the Rt Revd Garry Weatherill, the Bishop of Willochra in South Australia (News, 12 March).
A statement from Dr Driver said that it was “always a matter of great sadness when it becomes necessary for the Church’s disciplinary processes to be used in regard to a clergy member, particularly a bishop”.