Recent queries and comments – mid-January 2018

More answers to readers’ queries and comments

Below is a further compilation of “Quick Answers” to questions which have arisen to date during January, with links to our blog posts addressing these issues. Also included are responses to queries raised on other sites.

General searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
church of england pastoral letter ‘who is my neighbour?’ The Lords debate the Bishops’ pastoral letter Who is My Neighbour? (150615).
 crematorium storage “Public health funerals” and “direct cremation” (160729)
national agreement between the church and hmrc See CofE Ministers of Religion tax return pages.
Ignorance – Invincible and vincible §, ‡. Issues of Catholic moral theology. Ignorance is invincible if a person could not remove it by applying reasonable diligence. Ignorance is vincible if a person could remove it by applying reasonable diligence.(more here)
after 4 years marriage still considered sham “sham” relates to the purpose of a marriage, not its validity. Sham marriage, the church and the law, (140915).
what is grossly offensive language “Grossly offensive” or merely “offensive”? DPP v McConnell: a note, ( 160117).
christianity and human rights Are human rights “Christian”? – a reflection, (130607).
how to complain to your council about phone mast planning/ phone masts in conservation areas Mobile-phone masts, planning law and faculty jurisdiction, (130508). Wi-Fi in churches – health effects, courts’ jurisdiction and locus standi, (150108).
listed as an asset of community value under the localism act Is a church a “community asset”? – redundant churches and the Localism Act 2011, (150217).

Case law related searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
chaplin vs united kingdom Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane: the end, (130528). Chaplin, Eweida, Ladele and McFarlane: the judgment, (130117).
definition of marriage hyde v hyde, criticism   Redefinition of Marriage – New Clause 9, (130510).

Q&A on other areas of ecclesiastical law

In the light of the law: A canon lawyer’s blog

Is the ‘Petrine Privilege’ an exception to Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage?, (180115).

A detailed consideration by Dr Ed Peters: “The Church herself has not yet fully articulated what happens when a marriage is dissolved by the ‘Petrine privilege’ or ‘papal dissolution’ so we cannot fully address here all of the canonical and theological issues raised thereby, but we can show that the Petrine Privilege does not, in any way, provide a basis for moving against Church doctrine and discipline on the indissolubility of consummated Christian marriage”.

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

If I confess to watching porn, must I say it was homosexual porn? (180115). “We must confess sins in kind and number and with necessary details. These make a difference to the confessor. These pieces of information tell the priest what sort of problems exist and what kind of counsel to give. However, knowing and confessing in kind, number and significant details tells YOU, the penitent, what your principle problems are. You can’t move forward if you don’t really know who you are” .

Should I tell a noisy penitent that we can hear everything said in the confessional? Only afterwards. Fr Z notes: “…anyone who overhears the content of a confession cannot reveal what she has heard to anyone else. Doing so could incur a censure, if the person is aware that it is wrong to reveal the content of a confession. (A person who is genuinely unaware of the law and the gravity of the situation does not incur a penalty. You have to know that it is wrong before you can incur the penalty).”

Canon Law Made Easy, Cathy Caridi

Can Children Have Any Input in Their Parents’ Annulment Proceedings? (1810010). As witnesses, yes; with regard to their rights, no.


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. 

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