Laicized Bishop

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Has there been any discussion for creating a ritual when a bishop is laicized?

If we believe in the power of ritual, then perhaps part of what is missing in the Church’s mea culpa over clergy sex abuse is a ritual which is part of removing a bishop, for example, from the priesthood (although as a lay person it always seems insulting that becoming a lay person is considered punishment.)

The crozier could be publicly broken, the miter stamped on, and one of the vestments ripped. Or something like that. Dramatic and conveying the anger and disgust over such sinfulness and misuse of his authority.

If this isn’t being discussed, perhaps it is now time.


A: I haven’t heard of any discussion regarding such a ritual.

I’m trying to think of parallel situations in the secular culture. In politics or in places of work, if someone has misbehaved there may be a censure or immediate loss of position. But we rarely ritualize anger. Indeed, some angry actions are crimes.

The images you mention are sacred of themselves, not personal to a bishop. I would not support publicly destroying them.

As in all of life, when people are angry, they find the greatest relief when they express it in ways that are not just cathartic but constructive. Actions are most constructive when the offended directly addresses the offender.

Our Church has come a long way, but the wounds are deep, and healing takes time.