Law and religion round-up – 25th June

Factual rather than “patriotic” coverage of the week’s events…

EU-UK Brexit talks

Whilst it is premature to comment extensively on the Brexit talks between the UK and the EU, one outcome of Monday’s meeting was agreement on the EU’s insistence on “sequencing”. Article 50 TFEU envisages two agreements: an exit agreement concerning issues relating to the departure of the UK from the EU and an agreement on future relations, which for the UK essentially means trade. David Allen Green comments: ”The UK want(ed) both to be negotiated together, in parallel. The EU wanted a number of preliminary issues discussed before the parties moved on to discussing future trade relations”. The UK’s insistence on “sequencing” was likely to be, in the words of David Davis, “the row of the summer”. However, the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, stated:

“In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner. Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.”

This was confirmed by the Department for Exiting the European Union.

The Queen’s Speech and the Great Repeal Bill

The Government’s intention as announced in the Gracious Speech on Wednesday is that the (evidently no longer “Great”) Repeal Bill will allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU, ensuring that, wherever practical, the same rules and laws apply after Brexit as before it. The Bill will: Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: Application

Does Canon B 20 reflect current patterns of music in the Church of England?

The new and updated Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians, (“the Opinion”) was added to the Church of England’s Document Library on 4 April 2017 together with legal advice on other issues. This was covered in our two-part analysis: Parish Music Guidance: Ministers and organists and Parish Music Guidance: employment issues, the latter prompting a comment on the relevance to churches where there is no organist or choir. Whilst it is clear that both Canon B 20 and the Opinion encompass organists and “all musicians in similar positions” [though clearly not “all musicians”], in practice their application to “church music groups” is not necessarily straightforward.  Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: employment issues

Part II of our analysis of new CofE legal opinion on organists and parish music

An earlier post considered the Church of England’s updated legal advice Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians (*the Opinion”), focusing on the issues relating to organists (and “all musicians in similar positions”), music and the clergy. Here we comment the employment issues addressed in the document and consider in more detail the cases referred to in the Opinion: Sholl v PCC of St Michael’s with St James, Croydon, paragraph 12, and three German cases before the ECtHR – Obst, Schüth and Siebenhaar, paragraph 18. For completeness, additional material on of Ready-Mixed Concrete (South East) Ltd v Minister of Pensions and National Insurance and Neary v Dean of Westminster has also been included. Specific references to the canon law of the Church of England apart, much of the advice is relevant to other religious communities.

Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: Ministers and organists

Part I (of 2) of our analysis of new CofE legal opinion on organists and parish music

On 4 April 2017, new and updated legal advice on a number of issues was added to the Church of England’s Document Library. In view of its relevance at the time vis-à-vis the forthcoming wedding of Pippa Middleton, we first reviewed that relating to Celebrity Marriages shortly followed by a post on Royal Marriages, prompted by media speculation relating to Prince Harry. The document Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians, (*the Opinion”) concerns organists and “all musicians in similar positions” [though clearly not “all musicians”]. This is discussed below with regard to issues concerning the music and the clergy. A further post  considers the related employment law issues. Continue reading

Lenten tips for choristers

  • Erdinger Weissbier is an acceptable 0% alcohol beer.
  • On Ash Wednesday, always wipe off ash before removing one’s surplice.
  • Performance time of Allegri’s Miserere Mei, Deus is 12 to 13 minutes, and if sung during the ashing might be tailored to the size of the congregation, cut from end of v8 to the start of v17, i.e. only 4 top Cs in total if sop’s solo is shaky.
  • Remember during Friday practice, there’ll be a choir Mass at half-time rather than “graveyard ghosts”.
  • Wash your feet on Maundy Thursday, it might be you. Continue reading

Church music, Vatican II and the Council of Trent

Does a recent recording’s release mark a change in the Roman Catholic Church’s attitude to music?

On 7 October, il Bollettino reported that the Holy See Press Office held a press conference to present “Palestrina. Missa Papæ Marcelli – Motets”, the latest CD of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir.  Reading the presentation of  Archbishop George Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, we wondered whether the sentiments expressed can be regarded as more than a mere marketing  statement for the new Deustche Grammophon product? Do they represent a change in attitude to music in the Church post-Vatican II, reflecting views such as those of Damian Thompson who in the Catholic Herald asked Can a great composer revive a tone-deaf Church? Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 27th September

Faculties (& total ignorance), copyright, sharia, toe-curling church music – and that news story: a mixed week

Bishops in the House of Lords

House of Lords Business Papers for Thursday 17 September 2015 indicated that along with a the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE and Shaista Sheehan, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Lord Bishop of Gloucester, will be introduced to the Upper House on Monday 26 October at 2.30 pm. Bishop Rachel’s details are here. The new Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, will take the place vacated by the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield, who retires next week after forty years of ministry.

Bishop Christine’s Confirmation of Election Service took place after Evensong at York Minster on 22 September; the Consecration Service will be held on 30 November at York Minster; and the Inauguration Service in the Diocese of Newcastle will be held at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle on Saturday 12 December.

Further examples of clergy disregard for faculty jurisdiction

The cases reviewed in our September round-up of consistory court judgments and CFCE determinations all contained examples of clergy disregard for the faculty jurisdiction, to a greater or lesser degree, and all involved works under the provisions of an archdeacon’s licence. In Re St Peter & St Paul Bassingbourn [2015] Ely Const Ct, David Etherington Ch temporary changes under an archdeacon’s licence resulted in “Heath Robinson” arrangements for screen and projector, the latter “[sitting] on a dinner tray set on top of a temporary board placed on top of the pews”, and poor electrical installation for which “a hole cut in the Rood Screen with exposed cabling [was] but one example”.

A strong message was sent by Chancellor Mark Hill QC to the diocese in the judgment Re St Thomas Sutton-in-Craven [2015] West Yorkshire & The Dales Const Ct Mark Hill Ch, which concluded:

“This judgment is disproportionately lengthy for what is a relatively straightforward petition. It has thrown up several procedural matters, the exploration of which may not have been dispositive, but they have been addressed and explained as way marks in the legal landscape in which the consistory court of the newly-formed diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales must operate, in common with every other diocese in the Church of England.”

Complete disregard for the faculty jurisdiction resulted in a censure for the priest and PCC in Re St Bartholomew Kirby Muxloe [2015] Leicester Const Ct David Rees Dep Ch but as in the other cases, one wonders whether these situations would have arisen had there been the “rigorous enforcement … expected from archdeacons.”

Copyright

Coincident with David handing over his PCC copyright responsibilities this week was the news from the US District Court in California in relation to the song frequently sung, impromptu, at the end of Mass and on all sorts of other ecclesiastical occasion, “Happy Birthday”: see Rupa Marya et al v Warner Chappell Music Inc, et al US Dist CV04460 (CD Cal) 2015. As Jack of Kent points out, Continue reading