HC Deb 26 February 1886 vol 302 cc1372-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether, according to the Colonial regulations, a clergyman can be removed from the Ecclesiastical Establishment of the Island of Mauritius only upon the commission of some offence, or for a dereliction of duty; whether the head of the Ecclesiastical Department has asked him to deprive two clergymen of their appointments; whether the reason given for this course by the Chief Ecclesiastic is that these two clergymen were not incorporated in his diocese, or were only accepted for three years; whether it is true that the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, to whom an appeal was made in this case, has delivered to these two clergymen the highest certificates of good conduct and fitness for the discharge of their ecclesiastical functions; whether, in the case of one of these Reverend gentlemen a medical certificate was supplied to the Government before his appointment stating that he was fit for ten years' service in a tropical climate; whether this certificate was supplied by the Rev. Mr. Spencer, the representative of the Bishop in England; whether he, some time since, thought it his duty to inform the Bishop of Mauritius that, instead of removing these gentlemen from the Ecclesiastical Establishment, he was obliged to protect them from the persecution to which they were subjected; and, whether the Government intend taking any, and, if so, what steps to protect clergymen in the Mauritius holding a commission under Her Majesty's Government?


The Colonial regulations relating to the removal of public officers do not apply to clergymen on the Roman Catholic Establishment of Mauritius. If the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mauritius deprives a clergyman of his spiritual functions in the Island, he is removed from the Establishment unless the deprivation is reversed by a superior Ecclesiastical authority. The Civil Government does not review the decision of the Bishop. The Bishop recently deprived two clergymen of their spiritual functions. They were retained on the Establishment pending an appeal to the Court of Rome; and as the appeal did not result in their being reinstated in the diocese, they have been removed from the Establishment. The reason assigned to the Government by the Bishop for the removal of the clergymen was that he "could no longer conscientiously employ them in the sacred ministry." It appears, however, to have been held by the Court of Rome that they were not affiliated to the diocese, but only taken into the service of that Mission for three years. The clergymen have produced copies of certificates, from the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, of good conduct and fitness for the exercise of spiritual functions. A certificate was produced by Mr. Spencer, the Bishop's representative in England, upon the appointment of one of these clergymen, that he was "fit to undergo a lengthened service in a tropical climate." The Government are not aware that such clergymen require any protection, nor do they hold any commission under Her Majesty's Government.