HC Deb 26 February 1875 vol 222 cc943-4

asked the Honourable Member for Southampton, Whether, according to the intimation which he made last Session, he intends to introduce a Bill dealing with all offences by Clerks in Holy Orders against the Law Ecclesiastical?


, in reply, said, his hon. Friend was probably not aware that at the time the intimation was given it was universally believed— and there was every reason to believe—that in the month of November last the Judge who was appointed under the Public Worship Act would be also the Dean of Arches, and would, therefore, have to decide all matters of ecclesiastical offence. It was then thought desirable that, in all cases over which he had jurisdiction, the process should be the same. In consequence, how-over, of the postponement of the Judicature Bill, such was not the case, and at present the Judge appointed under the Public Worship Act had jurisdiction only over questions for which that Act provided. He had had, he might add, communication with the noble and learned Lord who filled that office, and that noble and learned Lord deemed it exceedingly desirable that there should be some experience of the working of the present system, before any change was made with a view to the extension of the Act. Under those circumstances, it was not his intention to propose during the present Session any such Bill as that referred to by his hon. Friend, and in taking that course he would, he believed, be consulting the wishes, not only of the House generally, but also of those who, during the last Session, pressed upon him a contrary course.

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