Recent queries and comments, 8th January 2018

More answers to readers’ queries and comments

Here  is the first compilation of “Quick Answers” of comments and queries for 2018. Same format as last year, continuing with #171… 

General searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
retired vicars Conditions dependent upon faith group concerned. Age Limit Guidance (CofE), (171003); Methodist ministers and “retirement” – sort of, (141030).
meghan markle pre nup See Dr Sharon Thompson’s A prenup for Harry and Meghan? (171129). …and more broadly, Prenuptial agreements, the Church and the Law, (140226).
home burials in Scotland See Private Burial, ss22 to 25 Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016
neutral citation, who decides For consistory courts, Ecclesiastical Judges Association [in line with citing judgments of secular courts]. Neutral citations for consistory court judgments, (151228).
font from st catherine’s medieval church London – demolished St Katherine Coleman, demolished ~1926. Marble font now at St Peter’s, Grange Park, Enfield.
prayer and hymns in a civil ceremony Australia Not within our area of expertise, but… …inclusion of religious content civil ceremony is a personal choice. Celebrant cannot insist, nor may any religious content be included without couple’s request, here
incorporating religion into a civil ceremony Only to a very limited extent in UK. “Religious” content of civil marriage ceremonies, (130705).
c of e graveyard regulations Churchyard Regulations are specific to each diocese. For examples of operation,  see Ecclesiastical court judgments – 2017
Clerical disclosure on information from confession. Articles 8 & 9 and the “seal of the confessional”: are communications between clergy and penitents privileged? (130723). “Short unhelpful answer – maybe ‘yes’ but probably ‘no’…”

Case law related searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
uniao do vegetal uk Controlled drugs, religion and Article 9: Beneficent Spiritist Center União Do Vegetal, (170731).

Q&A on other areas of ecclesiastical law

Fr Z: ASK FATHER: Summaries of Fr Z’s more detailed responses are given below

Can modern architecture churches have “ad orientem” worship? (180107). “Celebrating “towards the East… ad orientem” is symbolic. It doesn’t have to be the literal geographic East. It is ideal to be able to face the literal geographic East, but we can create a liturgical East in any direction. So long as you are all facing the same direction, you are symbolically facing the East. Thus, we turn to the Lord who is coming.”

Are blessings, sacramentals from SSPX [Society of Saint Pius X] priests efficacious? (180106). In short, “Yes”, but “When it comes to rites like the exorcism of persons…if I were an SSPX priest I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot aspergillum without the explicit faculty of the local bishop”.

Links to sources of frequently sought data

For those not yet familiar with the architecture of the Church of England’s revised web site, we have posted some quick links to areas of potential interest to ecclesiastical lawyers (and clergy), here, (law & policy); here, (clergy and General Synod) and here, (legal opinions and other guidance).

Unless marked §, the questions are the search terms used, verbatim; questions arising externally to the blog, (twitter/other), are marked ‡; the dates in parentheses are in the format (yymmdd). As stated in our General Terms and Conditions, at L&RUK we do not give legal advice, or purport to do so.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Recent queries and comments, 8th January 2018" in Law & Religion UK, 8 January 2018,

One thought on “Recent queries and comments, 8th January 2018

  1. The indifferentism of the current papacy has in effect resulted in the lifting of any remaining sanctions against the SSPX as part of the Rainbow Coalition of Roman Catholicism

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