Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bishop removed

Bishop removed for disgraceful conduct
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Mr Davies resigned from his position as
Bishop of the Diocese of the Murray in
September, citing ill health.14/12/2010

by Jane Still
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The former Bishop of the Diocese of the Murray is no longer "a priest in good standing in the Anglican Church," after a tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia handed down a judgement finding him guilty of disgraceful conduct charges.

The Special Tribunal, which has power to hear grievances over bishops' conduct, found that the charges made against Mr Ross Davies were proven on the balance of probabilities.

The charges included a complaint that he subverted the Professional Standards processes in the Diocese by failing to follow up on recommendations over allegations against a senior cleric in the Diocese of sexual abuse. The tribunal found that Mr Davies displayed a lack of commitment to the Anglican Church and acted at times in an abusive manner "inconsistent with his pastoral role as a Bishop of the Diocese".

Mr Davies was also found to have improperly influenced the composition of diocesan council in an attempt to gain financial advantage "at the expense of the interests of the Diocese".

A spokesperson for the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Dr Philip Aspinall, said "Dr Aspinall accepted the recommendation of the tribunal and approved the removal of Bishop Davies from office in accordance with these recommendations". Although media outlets have speculated that Mr Davies has been accepted into the Catholic Church as a lay member, Dr Aspinall said he has not received formal notification of this. However, he said, "One cannot have membership of both Churches at the same time".

Mr Davies resigned from his position as Bishop of the Diocese of the Murray in September, citing ill health. The tribunal found however that he remained a bishop in Holy Orders for the purposes of the proceedings, pursuant to the Special Tribunal Canon 2007. The tribunal recommended he be prohibited from functioning in the office of a bishop, and that he be rebuked. Its recommendation that he be removed from his office of Bishop of the Murray was pre-empted by Mr Davies' resignation.

The media spokesperson for the Diocese of the Murray Mr Darryl Warren said it was unlikely the diocese would be making further comment on the matter.

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