Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clauses 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.
Clause 7 (Deed of revocation).
said, the clause allowed a clergyman to resume his clerical functions after having relinquished them. He was surprised to find that such a clause was inserted in the Bill, and he believed that great pressure must have been brought to bear on the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) to induce him to admit such a clause; and he would probably admit that he had no particular affection for it. It should be borne in mind that a clergyman might retire for a time from the active performance of his clerical duties without having recourse to an Act of Parliament; but he (Mr. Monk) thought that when a clergyman had, after mature consideration, satisfied himself that the prohibition of the 76th Canon of 1603 against using himself in the course of his life, as a layman, under pain of excommunication, was no longer binding upon him, and had executed a deed solemnly relinquishing the clerical profession, such a step ought to be final. He protested against this mode of playing fast and loose with the clerical profession. He should divide the Committee on the clause.
said, he trusted that the Amendment would not be pressed. The highest officers of the Church might be allowed to exercise their discretion in the matter.
said, he wished to explain that if this clause were not permitted to remain in the Bill any clergyman who might relinquish his position in the Church would be in a worse position than any other man; and there was no reason why the House should put such a disability upon him.
Clause agreed to.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
On Motion, "That the Bill be reported,"
said, he regretted that its principle had not been extended to Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergymen as well. He thought it would be infinitely better to have Cardinal Cullen himself in the House than his nominees. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.