Authority of the International Teaching Centre in Expelling Covenant-Breakers
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice1998-01-05
Date: 5 January 1998
To: Mr. ..., Canada
The Universal House of Justice has received your email of 27 November 1997 enquiring about the authority of the International Teaching Centre in matters related to the expulsion of Covenant-breakers, and has instructed us to send you the following reply, describing the procedures which have been in force since the Universal House of Justice decided upon them in June 1993.
In matters of protection, the authority to expel and reinstate Covenant- breakers, conferred upon the Hands of the Cause of God in accordance with the Will and Testament of 'Abdu11-Baha, remains with them, and their relationship with the Universal House of Justice continues unaltered. In view of the exigencies of the development of the Cause, however, the House of Justice has vested in the International Teaching Centre added responsibilities in the context of its overall responsibility for the protection of the Faith.
Most of the attention of the International Teaching Centre and the Continental Counsellors in relation to the protection of the Faith is directed towards the deepening of the understanding of the individual believers, the strengthening of their faith, the consolidation of their communities, and watching over the unity of the Faith. It is with such matters that the members of the Auxiliary Boards for Protection are principally concerned.
If a pattern of behaviour develops which appears to be in conflict with the Covenant, it is the responsibility of the Continental Counsellors, aided by their Auxiliary Board members for the protection of the Faith, to look into the matter and try to resolve it, reporting accordingly to the International Teaching Centre, which keeps the Universal House of Justice informed of the matter.
If, after earnest attempts to remedy the situation, the International Teaching Centre finds that the offender is intractable, it then evaluates the report rendered by the Continental Counsellors, determines whether the person should be expelled from the Cause of God or some other action should be taken, and submits this decision to the Universal House of Justice for its consideration and approval before an announcement is made. The House of Justice consults the Hands of the Cause of God, as circumstances indicate, before reaching its conclusion.
A similar procedure for deciding and announcing the reinstatement of a contrite Covenant-breaker is followed whenever signs of repentance are received.
cc: International Teaching Centre