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Union Among the Churches of the Anglican Communion - Encyclical Letter 2.7-11
As regards the very grave question of the trial of a bishop, inasmuch as any tribunal, constituted for this purpose by a province, is necessarily a tribunal of first instance, it would, in the opinion of your Committee, be expedient that, when any such provisions can be introduced by voluntary compact into the constitutions or canons of any Church, the following conditions should be observed:
- When any bishop shall have been sentenced by the tribunal constituted for the trial of a bishop in any ecclesiastical province, if no bishop of the province, other than the accused, shall dissent from the judgement, there should be no appeal; provided that the case be heard by not fewer than five bishops, who shall be unanimous in their judgement.
- If, in consequence of the small number of bishops in a province, or from nay other sufficient cause, a tribunal of five com-provincial bishops cannot be formed, your Committee would suggest that the province should provide for the enlargement of the tribunal by the addition of bishops from a neighbouring province.
- In the event of the provincial tribunal not fulfilling the conditions indicated in paragraph 8 of this Report*, your Committee would suggest that, whenever an external tribunal of appeal is not provided in the canons of that province, it should be in the power of the accused bishop, if condemned, to require the provincial tribunal to refer the case to at least five metropolitans or chief bishops of the Anglican Communion, to be named in the said canons, of whom the Archbishop of Canterbury should be one; and that, if any three of these shall require that the case, or any portion of it, shall be re-heard or reviewed, it should be so re-heard or reviewed.
- In cases in which an ecclesiastical province desires to have a tribunal of appeal from its provincial tribunal for trying a bishop, your Committee consider that such tribunal should consist of not less than five bishops of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, if His Grace will consent thereto, with the assistance of laymen learned in the law.
*That is, sub-paragraph (a) above.
[NOTE: The Lambeth Conference of 1878 did not adopt any formal Resolutions as such. The mind of the Conference was recorded by incorporating the Reports of its five Committees, received by the plenary Conference with almost complete unanimity, into an Encyclical Letter which was duly published. Recommendations embodied in the Committee Reports were evidently accorded equivalent status to formal Resolutions, and they are reproduced here as they appeared in the course of the Encyclical Letter, under appropriate reference.]