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Decision No. 248

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October 26 1967
In Re: Ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia Concerning the Legality of the Presidency of Bishop Shot K. Mondol in the Philippines Central Conference and the Legality of the Proceedings of that Conference

Digest of Case

Bishop Shot K. Mondol had the legal right to preside over the Philippines Central Conference at its session on February 17, 1967. The proceedings of that Central Conference are legal and effective. The ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia in this case is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

Under the provisions of Paragraph 424 the Council of Bishops assigned retired Bishop Shot K. Mondol to episcopal supervision in the Manila Area of the Philippines Central Conference. Bishop Mondol presided at the session of the Philippines Central Conference on Friday, February 17, 1967. On the following day Ezekias G. Gacutan, a lay delegate of the Conference, presented a written request to Bishop Jose L. Valencia for an episcopal ruling as follows: "1. Is the presiding of retired Bishop Shot K. Mondol over this Central Conference legal and contrary to the expressed authority granted by the General Conference to retired Bishop? 2. Are the actions and proceedings taken, acted, or done by this Philippines Central Conference during the time this retire Bishop presided, legal and effective, or illegal and without effect?" On February 18, 1967, Bishop Valencia responded to the request for a ruling. After setting forth the facts as stated above, Bishop Valencia's ruling was as follows: "1. Paragraph 424 of the 1964 Discipline, states: In the case of an emergency in a Central Conference through the death or expiration of term of service or any other disability of a bishop, the Council of Bishops may assign one of its number to furnish the necessary episcopal supervision for that field. "2. Paragraph 436.5. states: A bishop who has been retired under 1, 2, or 3 may, on vote of the Council of Bishops, be appointed to take charge of an episcopal area, or parts of an area, in case of the death, resignation, or disability of the resident bishop or because of judicial procedure... "Acting under these two provisions of the 1964 Discipline, the Council of Bishops reactivated Bishop Shot K. Mondol and assigned him to the vacant Manila Area. "3. Paragraph 437. 1. states: ... In case, however, a retired bishop shall be appointed by the Council of Bishops to take charge of a vacant episcopal area, or parts of an area, under the provisions of 436.5, he may preside over sessions of an Annual Conference, Provisional Annual Conference, or Mission, make appointments, and participate and vote in the meetings of the bishops. "A retired bishop who is reactivated by this provision fulfills the functions of an active bishop. RULING "I, therefore, rule that Bishop Shot K. Mondol, having been reactivated by the Council of Bishops to take charge of the vacant Manila Area is, for the time being, one of the active bishops of the Philippines Central Conference and, as such, is entitled to share the chair. The question of the right of Bishop Mondol to the chair does not validate or invalidate the action of the Central Conference in acting on the report of the Committee on Episcopacy. "This ruling was given in the afternoon session, Saturday, February 18, 1967. JOSE L. VALENCIA Presiding Bishop" JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 547 of the 1964 Discipline. ANALYSIS The authority for the appointment of Bishop Mondol to episcopal supervision of the Manila Area is fully covered in Paragraph 424 of the 1964 Discipline. The question arises only concerning the right of Bishop Mondol to preside at a session of the Philippines Central Conference, and the effect of his presidency upon the legality and effectiveness of the acts of the Central Conference under his presidency. We believe the intent of the bishop's ruling to be correct but call attention to other disciplinary provisions which serve to enforce his ruling. Paragraph 437.1 states in its first sentence that retired bishops "may take the chair temporarily in any conference if requested to do so by the bishop presiding." It seems clear that in view of Bishop Valencia's ruling, Bishop Mondol was presiding with his approval and implied request. Paragraph 20.5 of the Discipline, Section VI of the Constitution, "Episcopal Administration in Central Conferences," states: "The Council of Bishops may assign one of their number to visit any Central Conference. When so assigned the bishop shall be recognized as an accredited representative of the general church; and when requested by a majority of the bishops of a Central Conference may exercise therein the functions of the episcopacy." This provision of the Constitution applies to any bishop, effective or retired, who is in a Central Conference under the authority and appointment of the Council of Bishops, and makes it possible for him to exercise episcopal functions when requested by a majority of the bishops of a Central Conference. This limiting condition was fulfilled by the approval of Bishop Valencia who was at that time the only bishop of the Philippines Central Conference. We call attention to the fact that, in affirming Bishop Valencia's ruling, the Judicial Council does not accept all of his reasoning and deductions. For example, we do not find any authority for the "reactivation" of a retired bishop by the Council of Bishops. Nor do we share the bishop's view that Bishop Mondol "is, for the time being, one of the active bishops of the Philippines Central Conference." The special appointment of a retired bishop to supervision in a Central Conference does not alter his relationship as a retired bishop. He is simply a retired bishop under special appointment and derives his authority through disciplinary provisions covering such appointment. We are, therefore, in agreement with the general purport of Bishop Valencia's ruling in this case, and with the reservations referred to above it is hereby affirmed.

Decision

It is the decision of the Judicial Council that the presidency of Bishop Shot K. Mondol in the Philippines Central Conference on February 17, 1967, was legal and the proceedings of that conference under his presidency were legal and effective. The ruling of Jose L. Valencia in this case is hereby affirmed, subject to the reservations noted above.

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