Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK


UK

Church brings back heresy trials

Clergy have been able to believe what they like

Heresy trials are to be brought back by the Church of England.

After a gap of 150 years tribunals are to be reintroduced for clergy accused of not believing in God.

The last heresy trial was in 1847, when the Bishop of Exeter accused the Rev A Gorham of being unsound on the doctrine of "baptismal regeneration". The Rev Gorham did not agree that a person was cleansed of original sin at baptism and born again into Christ.


[ image: The Rt Rev David Jenkins said he did not believe in the Resurrection]
The Rt Rev David Jenkins said he did not believe in the Resurrection
Since then clergy and bishops have been able to deviate from doctrine without punishment. The former Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev David Jenkins, caused a scandal in the 1980s when he said that he did not believe in the Church's doctrine on the Resurrection.

The new discipline procedure for clergy will include offences against "doctrine, ritual and ceremonial" matters after the General Synod meeting in York agreed legislation prepared by bishops.

The code of practice says clergy who profess atheism or deny the doctrine of the Trinity or the Incarnation should be disciplined.

The new legislation will create tribunals to be held in private although the judgements will be made public.

The tribunals, said to be based on the industrial model, will be cheaper and quicker than the Church's consistory courts.

'Powerful devil let loose'

But the Ven Robert Reiss, the Archdeacon of Surrey, warned of the threat of "new evil spirits" being unleashed into the Church if heresy trials are reintroduced.

He dismissed a claim by bishops that such trials would be rare and said the procedure would need to screen complaints from worshippers who would bring complaints against vicars with whom they disagreed on doctrine.

"Otherwise I feel a very powerful devil will be let loose in our Church," he told bishops.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

10 Jul 99 | UK
Church of England reaches out

09 Jul 99 | UK
Church synod gathers

17 Feb 99 | UK
Church seeks the secular view

01 Nov 98 | UK
Archbishop attacks dull church





Internet Links


The Church of England

Anglican Online


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online