HC Deb 02 August 1912 vol 41 cc2509-10W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Bishop of Bombay, whose jurisdiction is both conferred and limited by the Crown, under the 53 George III., c. 155, and 3 and 4 William IV., c. 85, publicly announced to his clergy at his diocesan conference in February last that vestments, lights, and incense may be used by them in divine service, and that what he calls eucharistic vestments are actually prescribed by authority, and that this bishop further claims a right to rule all such matters for his clergy and to forbid them even to speak against such illegal practices; whether the jurisdiction of the said bishop, limited to him by His Majesty's Letters Patent, authorises the Bishop of Bombay to lay down such laws for the clergy of the Established Church in his diocese; and, if not, whether the attention of the Bishop of Bombay will be called to the fact that he has exceeded his jurisdiction?


The duties, functions, rights and privileges of the bishops of Bombay are limited and prescribed by Statute, but the Letters Patent under which the present bishop was appointed do not define his jurisdiction except by the words that he is "to enter into and possess the said bishopric as the bishop thereof and perform the duties thereof and have and exercise and enjoy the rights, privileges and advantages thereto belonging." The present bishop is reported by the newspapers to have announced to his clergy on the occasion specified his decision, until a superior authority should decide against him, that certain ornaments are prescribed; and to have enjoined "that no man speak against his brother for wearing or not wearing the eucharistic vestments." It would appear that in issuing certain requirements to the clergy of his diocese the bishop followed the example of his immediate predecessor. It may be assumed that if he has exceeded his jurisdiction his attention will be called to the fact by the Metropolitan, to whom the Bishop of Bombay has by statutory-provision given his oath of obedience.