Resignation, Ecclesiastical

Resignation, Ecclesiastical.

The ancient Church was very strict in the matter of resignations, and yet there were cases in which they were allowed:

1. When a bishop, through the obstinacy, hatred, or disgust of any people, found himself incapable of doing them any service, and that the burden was an intolerable oppression to him; in thatcase, if he desired to resign, his resignation was accepted. Thus Gregory Nazianzen renounced the see of Constantinople because the people murmured at him as a stranger.

2. When in charity a bishop resigned, or showed himself willing to resign, to cure some inveterate schism. Thus Chrysostom announced his willingness to resign if the people had any suspicion that he was a usurper. In such cases canonical pensions were sometimes granted. The following are the rules that prevail in the Church of England: It can be made only to a superior, and it must be to such superior as the one from whom it was immediately obtained; for example, where institution was required, the party having the right to institute is the same to whom resignation is to be made; and in the case of donatives, resignation is to be made to the patron. Resignation must be made personally, and not by proxy: that is, it must be made either by personal appearance before the ordinary, or by an instrument properly attested and presented to him. It must be made without any condition annexed; in the words of the instrument, it must be made "absolute et simpliciter," and it must further be, in the words of the same instrument, "sponte et pure." It must also be made voluntarily, and it must not proceed from any corrupt inducement. If an incumbent take any pension, sum of money, or other benefit, directly or indirectly, for or in respect of the resigning of a benefice having cure of souls, such a transaction is criminal in the view of the law, and both the giver and receiver in it are liable to legal penalties. No resignation can be valid till accepted by the proper ordinary, but the law has provided no remedy if the ordinary should refuse to accept. In as far as legal decisions have hitherto gone, the ordinary is no more compellable to accept a resignation than he is to admit persons into holy orders. Whien a resignation has been accepted, notice is to be given to the patron, if different from the ordinary; and lapse does not begin to run, as against the patron, until notice of the vacancy has been properly given to him. A Presbyterian minister resigns to the presbytery in whose bounds his charge is. See Bingham, Christian Antiq. bk. 6 ch. 4 p. 2; Eden. Theol. Dict. s.v.

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