Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of sexual abuse of children

Defrocking was abolished after church union leaders said it was unfair to those wrongly convicted as the process is supposed to be final

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The Independent Online

The Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of the number of clergy involved in the sexual abuse of children.

The Rt Rev Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, said the decision to abolish “deposition from Holy Orders” in 2003 may have been a mistake, The Daily Telegraph reported.

He said the move did not appear to have been “wise”, given the extent of abuse. Victims have complained that clergy with criminal convictions can still refer to themselves as priests.

Priests can be given a life ban from ministry, but there is no way to strip them of the status of ordained clergy.

Defrocking was abolished after church union leaders said it was unfair to those wrongly convicted as the process is supposed to be final.

During a question and answer session at the Synod on Sunday, Bishop Butler said he would suggest that the House of Bishops consider bringing it back but added that if it was decided to do so the process would “take some considerable time”.

Final approval was also given by the Synod to an alternative to the traditional baptism service. The new version does not include a reference to the devil.

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