Bishop Short presented a Proposed Rite of Christian Initiation which had been prepared for presentation to the General Synod 1973 by the Committee on Doctrine and Worship, and a proposed amendment to Canon XIV which this would require.
The new Rite departed from the Use customary in the Anglican Church over a long period of years. It was the result of a good deal of reflection on the general dissatisfaction with methods of Christian Initiation evident over a period of years. Much is said in our present liturgy which is not what we say in our teaching. Confirmation does not make any change in a person's membership in the Church and the Confirmation rubric in the B.C.P. has often led us astray in our thinking. The Orthodox Church has retained the integrity of the rite by baptizing, and using anointing with Chrism and an early communion. Our custom and that of the Roman Catholics, which separates baptism and confirmation, has developed out of practical need not out of theological considerations. Hence our present dissatisfactions. The proposed new Rite is an answer to an instruction from General Synod. It is not expected to replace the old rite immediately but will probably take some years to become the normal rite. It will be necessary to continue both old and new rites for it is impossible to wait until there is a definite moment when a new start can be made. A similar rite has been accepted by the House of Bishops (PECUSA) for use within limits set by General convention which accepted it for trial use. In addition to the new rite, there will be need for some form of personal commitment at a later period. The proposed rite restores the position of the Bishop as the chief minister of Christian Initiation. Bishop Short then led the House through the Rite with the Preface and Notes and Bishop Seaborn dealt with the General Synod 1973 proposed resolutions. The House then went into group discussion.
On re-assembling, the findings of the groups were given and are summarized as follows:-
- very real practical problems will arise if baptisms are added to the work load of the bishop.
- it was asked if the new rite would change the present norm for Baptism which is now Infant Baptism.
- the bishops felt there would be a good deal of confusion throughout the Church by a continuation of two rites.
- some felt a proposed Service of Commitment should be presented to General Synod at the same time as the new rite.
- some thought there is need for a trial period, under diocesan permission, before the rite is presented as a Canon.
- it was noted there are no instructions to Sponsors.
- some thought there would be difficulty in making the use of Chrism mandatory.
"That the House of Bishops' recommends to the Doctrine and Worship Committee that the proposed canonical change re Christian Initiation be not introduced at the 1973 General Synod." CARRIED
"That this House of Bishops' make a public statement in response to the request from National Executive Council -- November 1972, and as a further clarification of the motion of General Synod at Sudbury (1969) outlining the policy for communicant members of other Churches to receive Holy Communion in Anglican churches -- and for Anglicans to receive Holy Communion in other than Anglican churches." CARRIED
Recognizing the lengthy negotiations and careful attention devoted to the preparations and revision of "A Plan of Union" this House considers that to proceed now to "Recognition of Ministers" might improperly anticipate or circumvent proposals which the Plan will contain before the commitment made by General Synod that the Church as a whole will be given an opportunity to study them and express an opinion on them can be honoured. CARRIED
That this House recommends to National Executive Council that if a resolution proposing "The Recognition of Ministers" is presented to the General Synod in 1973 it should be accompanied by a plan of how that goal is to be achieved, and provide opportunity for testing the proposal throughout our Church". CARRIED
The Primate presented the report and linked it with the recommendations presented to the House in 1971. Bishop Bagnall had been replaced on the Committee by Bishop Somerville. The Report placed the ordained personnel of the Church into seven categories six and seven seemed to warrant the most attention. These are men who are employed in situations not requiring ordination but, in the case of (6) are officiating on occasions or, as in (7) are not exercising their priestly office. In most cases, these men are now on the House of Bishops' Clergy List but the Report suggests that the Anglican way is for a priest to be accountable to a person, rather than to a Committee.
"That the Report on Licencing be received." CARRIED
The House then proceeded to discuss seriatim the recommendations on pages 4 and 5 of the Report. Various motions were moved and amendments made.
(The recommendations as amended are in Appendix F).
Report of the Committee on Licencing
Recommendations as Amended
1. That if the recommendations passed in 1971 have not yet been implemented in any Diocese or by the Canons Committee, those responsible be encouraged to act upon them as soon as possible, with consideration of #6 in Appendix A (1971)
2. That clergy on the national staff or serving overseas be on leave from their Diocese, and be licenced or commissioned by the Primate for particular work. In the case of those serving overseas, the manner of licencing or commissioning be to indicate that they are serving as representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada. On their return to Canada from overseas service, it would be understood that the Primate should work in consultation with the Diocesan Bishops of the Diocese from which they are on leave, concerning appointment.
3. That the Primate communicate the policies adopted by this House to all men on the present House of Bishops' List, enquiring about their present exercise of the ministry of word and sacrament, suggesting to those who are not presently exercising or planning to exercise such a ministry that they should take steps to relinquish the exercise of their ministries under the provisions of Canon XX.
4. That the House agree upon a pattern of life which a priest in secular employment be expected to fulfill, it being understood that if this pattern is not fulfilled, the person concerned be recognized as having disqualified himself from the exercise of his ministry. This pattern could be used by a Diocesan Bishop in dealing with a man on his Diocesan List and by the Primate in dealing with a man on the House of Bishops' List.
5. That the House recognize that men in good standing may be exercising their ministries under regular Licences, or on the basis of written permission to assume or perform such duties as specified, issued by a Diocesan Bishop, the Bishop Ordinary, a Metropolitan or the Primate as is appropriate. [End of Appendix F]
The Secretary of the House stated that 145 names have been placed on the House of Bishops' List since its inception and thirteen have been removed for various reasons. The remaining 132 live in various parts of Canada with the greatest concentration in the Diocese and City of Toronto. The thanks of the House were offered to the Primate and to the Secretary.