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 Canon Thirty One

Code of Canon Law
of the
Evangelical Catholic Church

 

Canon 31:  Pastoral Sexual Ethics

31.1 From ancient times a penitent or individual seeking pastoral care and advice willingly puts themselves in the care and trust of priests and pastors. This sacred trust is given not to the man or woman, but the church cleric as an earthly representative of our Savior Jesus Christ and his apostles. This trust is a sacred and honorable duty to be maintained by the cleric. Breaking this trust is an act unconscionable to the Church as the Body of Christ. When a cleric breaks this sacred trust, they break the Body of Christ in this world.

31.2 A cleric is allowed to seek an intimate relationship, and within that context of a consenting relationship engage in conjugal relations. All clerics are strongly encouraged to ask their superior before engaging in any behavior about which they have any questions. Clerics of Evangelical Catholic Church are not required take a vow of celibacy. As St. Paul wrote "Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: It is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry…." (I Cor. 7: 8ff) A cleric in the Evangelical Catholic Church is called to responsible sexuality in which a person is neither used as a means of sexual gratification nor sexually objectified, but seen in the personal reality that God made them: as a son or daughter of God and a brother or sister of Jesus Christ. Conjugal relations must occur within the context of an adult consenting relationship. All physical relationships by an adult with a minor are illegal and grievously immoral, and immediate grounds for removal of clerical faculties and dismissal from clerical state or lay leadership in the Evangelical Catholic Church. Sex with a minor is never consensual. The Evangelical Catholic Church forbids any violation of this Canon. Any cleric or lay leader who violates this Canon and is reported to Church authorities as doing so, will be reported to the civil authorities for appropriate investigation and follow-up.

31.3 When abuse by any clergy of the Evangelical Catholic Church is reported or discussed in the confines of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that Sacrament is inviolable and no matter brought up in that Sacrament will be divulged to any person or authority by the priest Confessor giving absolution. The penitent making such statements and allegations in the Sacrament of Reconciliation fully accepts the limitations placed on the Confessor by the Church and may not seek civil, legal, or ecclesial damages when no civil report in made.

31.4 A cleric may not at any time engage in a romantic or conjugal relationship with any person who currently comes to that cleric for pastoral care. If either party realizes that the desire for a deeper more intimate relationship exists, the cleric must establish professional boundaries and follow professional ethics and refer the individual to another cleric for pastor care.

31.5 Any cleric who is accused of sexual impropriety with any person in their care shall immediately be put on a Leave of Absence. When and until such times as they are cleared of the charges through due process, be it legal, medical or psychiatric, they lose the use of public faculties and cannot portray themselves as a cleric of the Church. If after being accused of and found guilty for sexual impropriety with a person under their care the cleric shall be automatically suspended from all duties and their faculties revoked. All efforts shall be made to provide care of the souls to the individual and former cleric. The cleric involved will be responsible for any and all costs involved in resolving this matter since they knowingly and willfully violated this Church Canon.

31.6 For the purpose of this Canon, a cleric is defined as any minister of the church. This includes: bishop, priest, deacon, professed religious, Candidate, volunteer or lay leader.

31.7 In a person of the age of consent, sexual misconduct or impropriety is defined as any unwanted physical touching, language or behavior with another person then that person has asked for that behavior to cease. For the purpose of this Canon any inappropriate touching, abusive language or behavior as well as exposure to pornographic behavior or pornographic media are considered grounds for the suspension of the cleric and removal of their faculties. In persons under the age of consent any inappropriate touching, language, or behavior as well as forced exposure to pornographic behavior or sexual acts is illegal and grounds for immediate dismissal from the clerical state in the Evangelical Catholic Church. Any such allegations against a clergy person by a minor or their legal guardian must be reported to the proper civil authorities. The cleric involved will be responsible for any and all costs involved in resolving this matter since they knowingly and willfully violated this Church Canon.

31.8 Any evidence of sexual or physical impropriety with a communicant must be investigated and fully addressed before Incardination can occur. This includes legal findings, psychotherapy by a third party and inpatient treatment if necessary. If psychotherapy has occurred the applicant must release the findings of the psychotherapist to the Bishop Ordinary.

31.9 As a public representative of the Church, a cleric is advised that their actions speak louder than words. All clerics of the Evangelical Catholic Church acknowledges that they publicly witness a reality larger than themselves, and so must be aware of the philosophy of the organizations and clubs to which they belong and especially in which they hold a leadership role. All clerics of the Evangelical Catholic Church must not hold nor take a leadership position in any organization or club that endorses, openly or implicitly, licentiousness or unbridled and degrading sexual behavior.

 

 

National Church Office
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©2011