Legal Advisers' Consultation

Canonical Obedience

(Book of Common Prayer 1662, The Ordering of Priests: `Will you reverently obey your Ordinary…and submitting yourselves to their godly judgements?`)

Australia: `An oath or affirmation of canonical obedience shall be taken by a member of the clergy on…ordination…first licensing…consecration as an assistant bishop`. A form of oath or affirmation is prescribed. (Can. 15, 1998)

Brazil: `Dos Presbiteros e Seus Deveres…A responsabilidade e a autoridade pela celebracao do culto e pela jurisdicao das congregacoes, sujetas as rubricas do Livro de Oracion Comum, a Constituicao de IEAB e aos Canones desta Igreja, bem como a direcao pastoral do bispo`. (Can. 12)

Burundi: Clergy `promise obedience to the Diocesan Bishop` in `all matters honest and legal`. (Const. Art. 5)

Canada: `[E]very coadjutor, suffragan, assistant and retired bishop and every priest and deacon in The Anglican Church of Canada is subject to the jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop` (Can. XVII); `[D]isobedience to the bishop to whom such person has sworn canonical odedience` is an ecclesiastical offence. (Can. XVIII)

Central Africa: `I will pay due and canonical obedience` to the bishop of the diocese (Can. 9); `Every priest of the diocese has made an Oath of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop of the diocese`. (Diocese of Mashonaland, Pastoral Regulations 1978)

ECUSA: At ordination candidates are asked: `And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop`? (BCP, 1979); Disciplinary action may be taken when a `Priest or Deacon has disobeyed or disregarded a Pastoral Direction of the Bishop`. (Can. IV.1)

England: `[C]lergy who have received authority to minister in any diocese owe canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the bishop of the same`. (England, Can. C1; see also Can. C14)

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui: `Every person who is to be ordered priest or deacon, or to be instituted to any benefice or to be licensed…or to serve in any place…shall first take the Oath of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop of the Diocese`. (Canons of the Province, 2000, Can. 31)

Indian Ocean: `A sa consecration (ou sa translation) chaque Eveque pretera le serment d`obeissance canonique a l`Archeveque de la Province`. (Const. Art. 14.3)

Ireland: `All persons admitted to Holy Orders of deacons or priests, or licensed...or instituted…shall make…the declaration` that `I will render all due reverence and canonical obedience to...the Bishop of…` (Const. IV.67 and Schedule)

Jerusalem and the Middle East: `The Central Synod and the Constituent dioceses maintain this faith as embodied in the…Discipline of the Church as taught in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, and the ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons`. (Const. Art. 4): For canonical obedience in the BCP 1662, see above.

Kenya: Priests and Deacons who have received authority to minister in any Diocese of the Province owe `canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the Bishop of the same`. (Const. Art. V)

Korea: `The following declarations, in addition to the oath of Canonical Obedience, shall be made…` (Const. Art. 120)

Melanesia: `Priests and Deacons who receive authority to minister in any diocese of this Province must promise obedience under the laws of the Church to their Diocesan Bishop`. (Const. Art. 6.C)

Mexico: `De los Clerigos y sus Deberes…El control del culto y la jurisdiccion espiritual de la Parroquia recean en el Parroco, sujeto a…la Constitucion y Canones de la Iglesia, y la direccion pastoral del Obispo`. (Can. 28); `violacion de sus votos de Ordenacion` is an offence. (Can. 37)

Myanmar: Oaths to be taken by clergy include `canonical obedience to the Bishop`. (Constitution, Canons and Rules 1975, Ch. 18, Rule 7)

New Zealand: `I will pay true and canonical obedience, in all things lawful and honest, to…The Bishop of…` (Can. A.II.3)

Nigeria: `I…do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Bishop of…Diocese/Primate of the Church of Nigeria and his successors in all things lawful and honest`. (Constitution and Canons, 1997, Can. XVI.2(iii))

Papua New Guinea: `Priests and Deacons who receive authority to minister in any Diocese of this Church must promise obedience under the Canons of the Church to their Diocesan Bishop`. (Const. Art. 4)

Philippines: `Priests, Deacons and Lay Persons who receive authority to minister in any Diocese of this Province must promise obedience under the laws of the Church to their Diocesan Bishop`. (Const. Art. 1.4)

Rwanda: `I promise to be obedient to the Bishop of this Diocese in all things lawful and honest`. (Draft Const. 1996, Art. 43)

Scotland: `No person shall be ordained, licensed, instituted, or collated…without first promising…to render due obedience to the Code of Canons and to what is lawfully ordered thereunder`. (Can. 12)

South East Asia: `At his consecration or translation every Bishop shall take the oath of Canonical Obedience to the Archbishop of the Province who shall represent the House of Bishops` (Const. Art. IV). Quaere: Is there an equivalent for clergy-bishop relations?

Southern Africa: `The following declarations, in addition to the Oath of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop, shall be made`. (Can. 16.2); `Will you reverently obey your Bishop` accepting his `pastoral direction and leadership`. (Prayer Book, 1989, 588)

Southern Cone: Clergy declare to give `obediencia veridica y canonica` to the bishop`. (Libro de Oracion Comun, 1973)

Sri Lanka (Church of Ceylon): `I, AB…do swear that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the right Reverend…Bishop of…and his successors, Bishops of…in all things lawful and honest` (Constitution, Canons and Rules (1960), Canon 1 of Chapter 3)

Sudan: Clergy exercise functions `under the authority and spiritual jurisdiction of [the] Diocesan Bishop`. (Const. Art. 1(f))

Tanzania: `Priests and deacons…shall obey the directions of the Bishop of the diocese in all things right and lawful`. (Const. III.7)

Uganda: `Priests, Deacons or Deaconesses who have received authority to minister in any Diocese of the Province owe canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the Bishop of the same`. (Const. Art. 4)

Venezuela: `Yo…declaro bajo juramento por Dios Todopderoso que prestare obediencia veridica y canonica al Obispo…` (Canons, B.8)

Wales: `All persons admitted to Holy Orders of deacons or priests…and all clerics appointed to any ecclesiastical office in the Church in Wales, shall [make]…the declaration of canonical obedience to the Bishop`. (Wales, Const. VII.66)

West Africa: `Priests and Deacons owe canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the Bishop`. (Const. Art. II)

West Indies: `I, AB, do swear that I will pay true and Canonical Obedience to the Lord Bishop of…and his Successors in all things lawful and honest`. (Can. 14.3)

Zaire: Clergy `promise obedience to the Diocesan Bishop` in `all matters honest and lawful`. (Const. Art. 18)