19 JUNE 1936, Page 3

Defaulting Incumbents The Church Assembly has succeeded in getting the

Ecclesiastical Duties Measure, dealing with proceedings against incumbents charged with " misbehaviour," away to a committee. Since there were 180 amendments on the paper that is just as well. The trouble is that while everyone is agreed as to the object to be attained there is a- vast diversity of view regarding the way to attain it. The object was adequately defined by Major J. B. W. Pennyman as action against a clergyman charged with inadequate performance of duty, neglect of duty, conduct prejudicial to the spiritual welfare of the parish or conduct unbecoming a clergyman, but as to the part to be played in the proceedings by a panel of brother clergy, the Archdeacon, the Bishop, ecclesiastical lawyers, there were almost as many views as speakers. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who described the measure as waterlogged (whatever that precisely means in such a context) urged with reason the case for simplification. It is to be hoped that the committee which now takes the measure in hand will heed his words. The measure is badly needed, but if the machinery set up is over-elaborate it will never be set in motion.