Out of the question

01 September 2017


Your answers

Can a patron of one parish in a bene­fice veto the appointment of a female priest if its stated position is that it does not support such min­istry? Does it make any differ­ence if the patron of one of the other par­ishes is the Crown or the bishop?


The Equality Act 2010 provides for specific exemption from its pro­­visions enabling Churches and other religious organisations to im­­pose relevant requirements when making appointments. Thus, under the House of Bishops’ Declaration, PCCs may pass a resolution “on grounds of theological conviction” for sacramental and pastoral min­istry in the parish to be exercised by a male priest ordained by a male bishop at whose consecration a male bishop presided.

The stated position of a patron on the issue of women’s ordination is not dealt with in the House’s De­c­lara­tion and therefore does not come within the exemption for Churches in the Act. It would, there­fore, be illegal for a patron to pur­­port to refuse to appoint a woman priest to a parish simply on the ground of gender. If, however, the PCC has passed a resolution under the Declaration, the patron will be bound by that decision.

In a multi-parish benefice, the patron(s) (including the Crown and the diocesan bishop) must ensure that arrangements are made that deal with the needs of the resolution parish while allowing the other par­ishes in the benefice to flourish in accordance with their own convic­tions.

(Dr) Brian Hanson


Your questions

If Michael Faraday was “The greatest scientist of early-Victorian England” (Professor Michael Wheeler, Faith, 25 August), who was the greatest scientist of later Victorian Britain: Lord Kelvin, Charles Darwin, or someone else?

A. B.


Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG. questions@churchtimes.co.uk

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