(RNS) Episcopal Church defends top bishop's record in abuse case

A statement issued by the Nevada diocese after the lawsuit was filed raised more questions than it answered, according to victims’ advocates, and said nothing of Jefferts Schori’s role in the matter.

“Parishioners deserve the whole truth about why (she) kept silent about Parry’s crimes and why she ordained him,” said David Clohessy, national director the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“Many church officials, not just Catholic bishops, fixate on self-preservation rather than on preventing abuse and healing victims and exposing the truth,” he said.

Read it all.


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21 comments on “(RNS) Episcopal Church defends top bishop's record in abuse case

  1. Cennydd13 says:

    I find it highly insulting that, while charges may not have been filed against Parry, the fact that he admitted his improper relations with young boys did not prevent his being accepted and ordained by Schori. She was dead wrong……even if she did specify that he must have no contact with them in the course of his work. She must be held accountable.

  2. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Given the trending approach to human sexuality and marriage in TEC, I expect that neither Ms. Schori or anyone of significant influence in the hierarchy believes that she has done anything wrong. Ephebophilia and sexual relations of any sort are all part of a natural progression from the current emphasis on same-sex relationships. The only question that remains is if there is any limit to self identified sexual expression that the Episcopal Church will not eventually cross.

  3. Pb says:

    Not far from the NAMBLA line about how loving it is for an older gay man to help a younger gay boy.

  4. cseitz says:

    What a mess. The Nevada Bishop’s comments raise more questions than they answer.
    1. He charges in effect that there is no proof of a psychiatric report that speaks of proclivity to abuse minors — that is a serious charge, made against the lawyers in the petition;
    2. He says if there was one, Nevada did not receive it; but why would a RC Priest who had left the priesthood because of sexual misconduct be appropriate for the Episcopal ministry?
    3. On this score, the present Bishop’s comments are confusing. He speaks both of ‘ordaining’ and of ‘receiving’ — which was it? Had Bede Parry left the priesthood? Was he therefore re-ordained?
    4. If he was deemed OK for service, why would he resign now; or was his resignation requested, and if so, why?
    5. why is the PB not available to speak herself on this matter?
    6. what does it mean to receive/ordain a priest who had admitted to sexual misconduct, and then place restrictions on his involvement with children? What kind of ‘priesthood’ is this?
    I have a hard time believing that this issue is going to go away based upon the Nevada Bishop’s comments. His tone however suggests that he thinks this is precisely what will happen. Or he hopes so. Another conclusion to reach is that he has opened a can of worms.

  5. Paula Loughlin says:

    #1, the reason why charges were not filed was explained in statements by the lawyer filing the suit “he could not help himself.”

  6. Paula Loughlin says:

    Creedal, At some point those churches that want to be completly inclusive in acceptance of GLBTQ persons will be faced with whether to accept what GLBTQ defends as proper sexual conduct or to allow “heterosexism” to determine what is right for the GLBTQ community.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when it comes clear that what we mean f,or example, by monogamy may be understood very differently by much of the gay community.

  7. Cennydd13 says:

    If the present Bishop of Nevada thinks that this issue will go away, he’s dreaming. It won’t, because we won’t let it go away. [b]It has to be dealt with![/b]

  8. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    Allowing “heterosexism” to determine proper sexual conduct for homosexuals and others who hold non-traditional sexual identities is no different from allowing any self-identifying group to determine proper sexual conduct for ANYBODY. As a christian body, the standards of moral and sexual conduct have been given to TEC by revelation in the words of Jesus in front of many witnesses. What we mean [i] as Christians[/i] by monogamy is not a concept subject to understanding or interpretation without denying the foundation of Christian faith, as is made perfectly clear in Matthew 19.

  9. Paula Loughlin says:

    Creedal, I agree with you and that is one reason I put heterosexism in quotes since it is their word not ours.

    My point is that the meaning and practice of being inclusive will be stretched more and more to accomadate different understandings of sexuality and sexual behavior.

  10. wildfire says:

    In his [url=http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/episcopal_church/bishop_of_nevada_on_history_of.html]statement[/url] explaining why Parry was ordained/received into TEC, the current bishop of Nevada offers this explanation:
    [blockquote]An incident with a late adolescent, while certainly morally wrong, and unquestionably a matter for serious concern, does not indicate pedophilia. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. It is a condition that is usually compulsive, so repeated misconduct is common. American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. 1994) (DSM IV) Pedophilia Sec. 302.2 pp. 527-528. Fr. Bede is not a pedophile. This is not a moral difference but it is a psychological difference that matters a great deal in determining whether someone is likely to err again.[/blockquote]
    It is useful to compare this statement with the findings in the [url=http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/]John Jay report[/url] on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church:

    “Unlike in the general population,” 81% of the victims were male (pp. 68-69).

    “The majority of alleged victims were post-pubescent, with only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children.” (p. 68)

    71% of the victims were abused more than once. (p. 74)

  11. cseitz says:

    I wonder if the real theme here is: ‘let’s move a man out of the backward and repressive Roman Catholic church into our Episcopal one.’ We have heard those notes sounded before, from a PB who left the RC church at age 8.
    Can one explain why the terms ‘ordain’ and ‘receive’ are being both used by the Bishop of Nevada? Which is it?

  12. wildfire says:

    One follow up to my #10:

    Although the John Jay report does not break this out explicitly, one can determine from the data on pp. 57-58 that slightly fewer than half of the RC priests who abused minors (45%) did so to more than one victim. And these “serial abusers” were “more likely to be reported to the police” than those who abused only one victim.

    Thus, far from being unusual, the allegations against Parry (which he has admitted according to the Kansas City Star) in fact fit a common profile for abusive RC priests: the victims were post-pubescent males; there were multiple instances and these multiple episodes were accompanied by one of the statistical correlates of multiple abuse: a police report.

    It sounds as if the bishop of Nevada has learned nothing from the RC experience over that last decade.

  13. Paula Loughlin says:

    I agree that it was not pedophilia. But that does not mean the behavior was acceptable.

  14. Cennydd13 says:

    The fact that Parry admitted his transgression to the PB at the time was [i]reason enough[/i] to deny him the Episcopal priesthood, and his quest should have ended [i]right then and there.[/i] It didn’t, and thus TEC and the Episcopalians have a situation from which they cannot easily extricate themselves without looking bad. If Episcopalians….clergy and laity alike….do not take action against her, the actions of the Presiding Bishop will reflect adversely on all members of TEC in the eyes of the rest of Christianity.

  15. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    [blockquote] thus TEC and the Episcopalians have a situation from which they cannot easily extricate themselves without looking bad.[/blockquote]
    [blockquote] the actions of the Presiding Bishop will reflect adversely on all members of TEC in the eyes of the rest of Christianity.[/blockquote]

    It has become evident since 2003 that these are not things which bother the Episcopal Hierarchy overmuch.

  16. Stefano says:

    To Fr Christopher, I don’t see how it matters much whether receive or ordain. What is apparent is he went from priesthood in one body (rc) to another (tec). The mechanics are important to canon law but arcane to people like me
    HOWEVER……your question Number 6 above;
    [blockquote]6. what does it mean to receive/ordain a priest who had admitted to sexual misconduct, and then place restrictions on his involvement with children? What kind of ‘priesthood’ is this?[/blockquote]
    THIS is a very interesting and penetrating question that goes to the heart of this mess. What did the PB know, when did she know it, and what did she do about it?

  17. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    “…‘let’s move a man out of the backward and repressive Roman Catholic church into our Episcopal one.’”

    Well, ok, but try to pick one that doesn’t have a history of sexual/boundary offenses.

  18. Townsend Waddill+ says:

    Dr. Seitz’s point #6 articulates well what I was thinking when I read the Bishop of Nevada’s response. The mere fact that they felt the need to place restrictions on him like that is proof positive, in my book, that TEC never should have received him.

  19. cseitz says:

    #16 — not about canon law but about the report given by the present Bishop. We are getting no word from the principals, but instead from a Bishop who is speaking to a case he was not involved with. Some defend this because he has access to the records (while the PB is in NYC). Yet how then can he confuse the situation by speaking of ordination? This does not instill great confidence. I was wondering whether there was some reason he was confusing the situation, other than simple misspeaking.
    AS Haley has done a good job showing what ought to have happened, according to canon law. The Bishop’s report does not address these omissions, but rather introduces further questions of its own. So the idea that his report is OK because he is ‘on the scene’ and the PB is in NYC is unconvincing and sounds like evasion, frankly.
    Now we learn that a ‘fact sheet’ is available from Church Center (815) yet it just reads like a summary of what the Bishop of Nevada has confusingly stated already.

  20. St. Nikao says:

    There are other offenders than just Bede Parry being given harbor and ministry in the Episcopal Church. Just a little research revealed these:
    This week, Franklin Huntress (from #8) was arrested for offenses committed in the Manchester, NH diocese. At the time of his arrest, he was still serving at Episcopal Churches in Marblehead and Swampscott (MA) despite his prior record and being a fugitive from justice, if the newspapers are correct:
    [Coincidentally, the Manchester, New Hampshire Roman Catholic Diocese has had over 60 priests accused and/or convicted of sexual abuse.]

    Another convicted sex-offender priest is a leader at a couple of Minnesota and Texas Episcopal retreat centers:

    Another was arrested in Maryland in April: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-04-12/news/bs-md-episcopal-priest-abuse-20110412_1_episcopal-priest-belcher-counts-of-sexual-abuse

    How many others who are tippy-toeing the line between ‘healthy’ homo/bi/trans/whatever-sexuality’ that the Episcopal Church (and Big Deal Jesuit James Martin) now approve and bless and predatory abuse are working in the church with the blessing of Shori and company?

    The age of consent is lowering as fast as Americans are being de-sensitized to the wrongness of homo/bi, etc. sex. In some states now, your 14 year old can have consensual sex! http://www.webistry.net/jan/consent.html

    The same year Vicki Gene Robinson was installed in New Hampshire, the state of Kansas legislature entertained a bill to lower the age of consent there to 12. Of course, this must have been inspired and heavily lobbied by such as Robinson, Parry, Huntress, and the NMBLA crowd.

  21. Don C says:

    #20, if I recall correctly, Franklin Huntress resigned his orders in February rather than face a church trial. The article you linked describes him as being deposed that month. He was a ‘fugitive of justice’ because he had to be extradited to New Hampshire to face the charges not because he was running from police.

    Inexplicably, The Diocese of Lincoln (CoE) never notified anyone in the States of accusations against him there: http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/diocese-chided-for-its-silence-over-1994-abuse-arrest-the-church/