Priests and Deacons
Clerics who are participants in a Title IV proceeding are also directed to view the Structures and Procedures part of this website, found by selecting it in the menu at the top of this webpage or the website homepage.
The boundaries set by Title IV are further explored in several other topics of this website, most notably:
The rationale and history of Title IV are found in these categories:
- HISTORY and BACKGROUND OF TITLE IV
- THE THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION OF TITLE IV
- ECCLESIASTICAL VS SECULAR
- WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE PROCESS
Priests and Deacons are also recommended to read the following publications, available through these links:
- Safeguarding God’s People: http://www.safeguardingonline.org/
- Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/manual-business-methods
Title IV experts and church officials also suggest further study and questions meant to be directed to the following resources in a diocese:
- Canon to the Ordinary
- Clericus groups and other peer associations
The accountability of members of the clerical order is defined in Title IV.I: for Members of the Clergy, who have by their vows at ordination accepted additional responsibilities and accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship, and obedience.
The vows of ordination are foundational to the entire Title IV process. The ordinand vows to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship in the Declaration of Consent and takes vows during the Presentation and Examination. Title IV experts, church leaders, and longtime clerics believe the spiritual practice of periodically analyzing and reflecting on those vows is one of the most significant best practices that a cleric can undertake to prevent a Title IV claim.
The theologically based Title IV represents one of the most profound differences between the accountability of the laity and the ordained in The Episcopal Church. All baptized Episcopalians vow to respect the dignity of every human being. However, experienced clerics agree the vows of ordination call for accountability to a higher standard. The Rev. Dr. Molly James has examined Title IV as a member of the joint commission with responsibility for Title IV study. She also is the Dean of Formation for the Diocese of Connecticut. She says members of the clergy must live ethical lives and not just preach them.
The philosophical and religious aspects of accountability become tested as clerics engage in a secular world that is governed and judged by lesser expectations. Additionally, clerics will no doubt interact with some of the most vulnerable people in society and also become vulnerable themselves. They may well minister in unpredictable or even dangerous pastoral situations. Experienced members of the clergy and other experts offer best practices advice in related topics: