Permission to officiate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A permission to officiate (PTO), also known as a licence to officiate, is a concessionary ministry licence granted by an Anglican bishop. It is most commonly issued to a retired deacon, priest,[1] or lay reader over the age of 70 years.[2] It allows the person to continue to perform the duties of their calling within the diocese (or part thereof, as may be specified in the license) for a limited period of time.

A cleric who was ordained priest or deacon by an overseas bishop needs to have permission to officiate from the archbishop of the province in which he or she intends to officiate before applying to the diocesan bishop for a diocesan licence or permission to officiate.[3]

A permission to officiate is usually only removed for egregious wrongdoing, such as breaking the law, although Jeremy Pemberton had his removed for marrying another man in a legal ceremony, but in contravention of the Church's canon law (which defines marriage as between one man and one woman only).[4]


  1. ^ "Supporting the Ministry of Retired Clergy" (DOC). Deployment, Remuneration and Conditions of Service Committee. London: Archbishops' Council. 12 April 2007. p. 7. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  2. ^ "On Being A Reader – What is a Reader?" (PDF). London: Central Readers' Council of the Church of England. pp. 3, 10. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Home > About Us > Structure > Legal Services > Frequently Asked Questions". The Church of England. London: Archbishops' Council. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  4. ^ Strudwick, Patrick (5 December 2015). "This Is What Happened to the First Priest To Marry Another Man". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 8 February 2021.