Friday, 26 October 2007

appointing cathedral deans

See earlier report here on the proposals for changing the way Crown Appointments are made. The full text of the document is here. The proposals relating to deans start at paragraph 31.

Three former deans wrote a letter to The Times this week:

Sir, Deans have been part of a system of checks and balances in the English Church, at least since the Reformation, when papal powers were divided between the Crown and the Archbishop of Canterbury (report, Oct 16).

Deans of cathedrals of the New Foundation (formerly monastic communities) are successors of their abbots and priors. Indeed, on the eve of the Reformation there were more abbots in the House of Lords than bishops. Canon law lays down that the government of the Church of England is by “archbishops, bishops, deans and archdeacons . . .” But suffragan bishops and archdeacons are already appointed by diocesan bishops: deans, therefore, appointed by the Crown, represent an independent focus in the life of the Church.

If the Crown wants to repudiate its responsibility in this regard, some other method of appointing deans should be found, because deans have a community rather than a purely ecclesiastical function.

Rather than abandon the appointment of deans by the Crown, consideration should be given to the appointment of all deans (including those of the parish church cathedrals, until recently called provosts) by the Crown.

John Arnold
Dean Emeritus of Durham

Richard Lewis
Dean Emeritus of Wells

Edward Shotter
Dean Emeritus of Rochester

The Church Times has a report by Bill Bowder Deans question power of diocesan bishops.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 26 October 2007 at 10:37am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

This is a powerful case for the Crown retaining some juristiction over ecclesiastical appointments. We do not need to look back to the Reformation for seeing the merits of this system of checks and balances: the case of the Dean of St Albans is an instance where the Crown was able to right a very serious injustice meeted out by a dithering archbishop.

This unfortunately, is the same Archbishop who now seems bent on pushing ever more power into the hand of diocesans, if his recent Fort Worth communique is anything to go by.

Posted by: John Omani on Sunday, 28 October 2007 at 12:35pm GMT

"If the Crown wants to repudiate its responsibility in this regard, some other method of appointing deans should be found, because deans have a community rather than a purely ecclesiastical function."
And surely parish clergy have a community rather than a purely ecclesiastical function - would the former deans wish them to be appointed by the state rather than by bishops?

Posted by: Audrey on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 10:10pm GMT

I hope that whoever has the responsibility for deciding who is to become the new Dean of Lincoln will choose an out-going friendly person.

Apparently the present Dean after chairing his first meeting of a prominent organisation within the Cathedral asked who he should speak to and was told anyone.

Apparently he appears to only be interested in those with money!

A very strange action by the present Dean was to move the Deanery from the buuilding where it had been for hundreds of years to a buuilding where he could do more enteertaining!

Posted by: John Ketteringham on Friday, 27 November 2015 at 9:06am GMT
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