Monday, April 11, 2011

Antioch - Canon 15

If any bishop, lying under any accusation, shall be judged by all the bishops in the province, and all shall unanimously deliver the same verdict concerning him, he shall not be again judged by others, but the unanimous sentence of the bishops of the province shall stand firm.

Associated with the previous canon, this addressed the case where a unanimous verdict delivered by the local body of authority was binding with no appeal.  Noteworthy in both canons was the insistence of unanimity.  The practice of majority rule is relatively new in the church and most likely an outgrowth of the democratic process found in Western culture.  Most, if not all, church groups have a voting process with its ugly offspring politicking.  The majority rules rather than seeking a consensus.  Certainly, the latter can be more difficult, even strenuous, but the decisions are more binding and results more long-lasting.  Numerical advantage may change between divergent groups in a simple election, and political alliances are both tenuous and fleeting.  Better to work beyond a super-majority to the place where all in leadership can operate under the established decisions and guidelines.

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