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Military service

by
24 March 2016

AT THE Mid-Staffordshire Military Appeal Tribunal at the Guildhall, Lichfield, on Tuesday, a student of Lichfield Theological College appealed against the decision of the local Tribunal. Applicant stated that he was to be ordained at Advent and claimed that he was exempt from military service inasmuch as he was in “immediate preparation” for Holy Orders. Applicant had also based his appeal on the ground that as a future priest he had a conscientious objection on religious grounds to the undertaking of combatant service, as he was bound to believe in the sacredness of human life and to preserve it. The Church had always recognised the incompatibility of the shedding of blood with the preparation for the ministry. The local Tribunal had not upheld this opinion as it was not an article of faith of the Church to which he belonged.

Applicant produced a letter from the Bishop of Lichfield stating that he (the Bishop) was prepared to ordain him in December, 1916, subject to the usual conditions. Applicant referred to the Army Council’s instructions, dated February 29, that Church of England students who had already entered on studies for immediate preparation for Holy Orders might be exempted from military service if they so desired. Applicant claimed that he had “already entered” on his studies as he was in his last year.

The Military Representative said there was no guarantee that applicant would be ordained in a certain time, as the Bishop said that this would be subject to the usual conditions.

The Military Representative said he thought there ought to be some sort of guarantee that applicant would be ordained. He thought that “in immediate preparation” meant that students had attained to such a position in their learning that nothing, humanly speaking, could stop them from being ordained.

The Chairman said that the Tribunal considered that applicant came under the Army Order and exemption would be granted conditional on his being ordained at Advent.

 

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