Is there any theological or missional rationale for
moving a diocesan bishop from one diocese to another?
A bishop's relationship to his diocese came to be compared to a
marriage - an analogy frequently used to forbid the translation
(movement) of a bishop from one see to another, as by Canon 15 of
the Council of Nicaea (325). The questioner may recall the old
saying that "a bishop is wedded to his diocese," whereby it was
unthinkable and officially uncanonical to move or be moved. That
strict rule was not maintained, and translation of bishops - not
always for the best reasons - became common from the Middle Ages
into modern times.
Despite obvious abuses in the past, there are positive reasons,
both theological and missional, that support a judicious movement
of bishops across dioceses. There was always a serious flaw in the
ancient insistence on permanent stability in one see: it overlooked
the essential relationship of a bishop's office to the Church at
large. This is a theological factor that serves the mission of the
Ever changing missional patterns and the need to respond to
fresh opportunities in other regions must allow sufficient scope
and freedom to move bishops to places where a particular gift of
leadership, be it intellectual, pastoral, or administrative, can
most effectively be used for the benefit of the Church's life.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
Among professional lay people outside Academe and the
laboratory, including politicians, lawyers, and bankers, it is
customary to eschew the use of doctoral titles. Ministers of
religion, however, seem happy to use them. Very few are doctors of
divinity, although a limited number havea lower doctorate in
religious studies. What is the reason for the difference in usage?
In Crockford's Clerical Directory, there is advice on
addressing the clergy. Regarding academics, the advice is that,
when a cleric holds more than one title, the ecclesiastical one is
normally used. Thus, when both Canon and Professor, in a formal
listing or on an envelope use "The Reverend Canon A. B. Smith", but
in informal usage either "Canon Smith" or "Professor Smith",
according to context - but not both together. Similarly for Canon
and Doctor when both titles are held.
Harry Marsh (Lay canon)
Great Baddow, Chelmsford
Our parish was established by an Act of Parliament in
Victorian times. Why was it necessary for an Act of Parliament to
be passed for the parish to come into being?
Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta
House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.