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Ross Davies: removal is official

06 January 2011

by Muriel Porter, Australia Corres­pondent

THE Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall, has officially removed the Bishop of The Murray, the Rt Revd Ross Davies, from office, after the recom­mendation of the General Synod Special Tri­bunal.

Bishop Davies resigned on the eve of the tribunal hearing, held in Adelaide in September (News, 1 October 2010); but the hearing pro­ceeded nevertheless.

The tribunal, consisting of a retired judge, Sir Robert Woods; the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier; and a Sydney rector, the Revd Andrew Sempell, found eight of the nine misconduct charges against the Bishop proven. The charges were brought by the Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr Jeffrey Driver, and the Bishop of Willochra, the third diocese in the province of South Australia, the Rt Revd Garry Weatherill.

The charges 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 tribunal recommended to the Primate that Bishop Davies be prohibited from functioning as a bishop, removed from office, and “rebuked”; the Primate has acted in accordance with the recommendations.

Dr Driver told the Church Times that the election process for a Bishop of The Murray had been automatically activated, now that the see was vacant. He had, however, “encouraged some discussion on the future of the province of South Australia”, he said. The Murray is a small diocese of 26 parishes in the south-east corner of South Australia, and includes some suburbs of Adelaide.

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