I-WON-EE

Friday, June 24th, 2011 | Uncategorized

There’s this Christian bishop who has a bit of a sexual abuse scandal on her hands.  Here’s a hint: she’s not Roman Catholic:

After serving about two years as the music director at All Saints[Episcopal Church, Las Vegas, Nevada], Parry noticed “they needed clergy, and I felt called. I talked to the bishop, and she accepted me. And I told her at the time that there was an incident of sexual misconduct at Conception Abbey in ’87. The Episcopal Church doesn’t have a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy, so it didn’t seem like I was any particular threat. She said she’d have to check the canons, and she did.”

The bishop at the time was Katharine Jefferts Schori, now presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States. Parry said, however, that he did not tell her about the incidents before 1987 at Conception Abbey.

A spokeswoman at the Episcopal Church’s national office said Thursday that “we do not comment on lawsuits or allegations” and referred questions to the diocese in Nevada.

60 Comments to I-WON-EE

Katherine
June 24, 2011

A horrifying story, for both communions involved! On the Catholic side, it’s typical of the institutional cover-up which was so common in the 1980s. On the Episcopal side, in 2004, it’s unconscionable for Jefferts Shori not to have checked with the Benedictines and refused to ordain Parry. By 2004 everybody in the U.S. knew about these problems. The Catholic Church by that time was taking serious steps to correct prior sins. KJS, one assumes, simply accepted Parry’s lie about “only one incident” because the same-sex-attracted are an affirmative action group in TEC

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

It sounds like the current Episcopal Bishop of Nevada handled the situation well and I’m not ready to dog KJS that much, either. If it’s true that most of his partners were 18 or over, and none were under 16, then he is NOT a “child molester”, much less a “serial child molester”. The lawyers and the media are hyping this badly.

Sixteen year old males are not “boys”, but sexually mature young men. If he didn’t admit at the time to sex with anyone under 18 (maybe 17 in that jurisdiction), then police involvement was not even a factor. Not that they do anything most of the time anyway.

So let’s call him what he is: a predatory homosexual. I’m even leery of the “predatory” part of that, given that 25 years ago he was, I assume, a fairly young man himself, having sex with somewhat younger men. For this he was put out of the monastery and sent to “treatment”, which was the common response in those days. So while I am perfectly content to claim his sins as “ours” (Catholics, that is), I’m not sure – on the basis of the information at hand – that anyone did anything terribly wrong anywhere along the way.

Except, of course, The Rev. Mr. Parry. And even at that, he admitted it to his abbot at the time. For all I know, he was genuinely repentant. I will say that his remorse and public penitence seems relatively convenient, coming as it does after he was “outed” (so to speak).

By the way, Conception Abbey has some beautiful murals in their church that are well worth the time if you are in the area. I heard Mass there 5 years ago and the singing of the seminarians was really nice.

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

Katherine –

We cross-posted so allow me:

In the ’80s and before, everyone covered up sexual misbehavior – schools (still do), churches and other religious groups, the police and, most of all, families. It was felt then that a big public hoohah would damage the victim, so it was best handled privately. This was pre-Oprah, remember.

I’m not saying that’s good or right, since it left the real predators free to continue their business. I am saying it’s the way it was and the more thoroughly we deal with that, the more thoroughly we can make the societal changes needed to ameliorate the problem.

Katherine
June 24, 2011

FW Ken, you are right, if we’re talking about a layman, a sinner like all the rest of us. I am glad his activities were not with younger boys. But it was NOT all right for this to be going on while he was a Catholic priest, even if his partners were not underage. Twenty-five years ago, Parry, now 69, was in his mid-forties. This makes his contacts with 18-year-old males look highly inappropriate. I believe the current requirement that same-sex-attracted men should not be priests, for their own souls’ health as well as for their flock, is a proper position for the Church to take. Of course Jefferts Schori doesn’t see anything wrong with same-sex activity and so saw no need to inquire further.

Katherine
June 24, 2011

And, FW Ken, you’re correct that it was not only the Catholic Church which swept sexual sins under the rug in those days. It was still considered disgraceful, and talking about it in public was not done, not nearly as it is today. There ought to be a happy medium in which offenders are appropriately punished and not placed in positions where they could re-offend, but where the general public doesn’t have to hear the dreadful “therapeutic” talking it out on TV.

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

Katherine -

I missed his age. Yes, a 40 something man having sex with late teenagers definitely puts “predator” back in play.

And, of course, fornication is never “ok” and in addition to sinning against nature, a priest sins against his ordination vows. I didn’t mean to imply anything else.

I think I am reacting to that KC Star article, which is terrible (GetReligion material is what it is).

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

Actually, for a really horrible story, follow Damien Thompson’s two posts on the Rosminian scandal. Here’s the second post, which follows directly from the one below it. I posted that link recently:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100093612/rosminian-sex-scandal-order-shamed-by-bbc-into-issuing-wretchedly-inadequate-apology/

Maureen
June 24, 2011

It’s also a sin against his art. Church music isn’t like any other music. A church musician is supposed to be trying to serve God. A choir director is in a position of trust and authority who is supposed to receive obedience in exchange for guiding the music and developing the choristers — a sort of sensei.

It’s disgusting that someone would not only betray God and his choir students, but would then go around practicing his trade and getting ordained without any sort of shame or remorse. And lying about it, of course.

Gregg the obscure
June 24, 2011

Plenty of mess here. The former monk had violated his vows, committed the unspeakable crime against nature and lied quite blatantly in saying that he only had one “incident”. The Abbey should have required at a life of solitary penance, but released the perpetrator from all of his vows, freeing him to do the same thing again. Alternatively, the Abbey should have pursued a crminal prosecution, but they didn’t do that either. Schori failed to investigate – likely due to homosexual affirmative action policies as mentioned above. Now the perpetrator pretends he’s a good guy because he wants to help the people he victimized sue the Abbey that he had betrayed.

Dale Matson
June 24, 2011

Sorry Ken but read the article. It sounds like he was “received” by KJS without so much as a background check. Any Roman Catholic priest wanting to become an Anglican Priest in our Diocese MUST undergo a background check and a psychological exam in addition to Anglican coursework. There are no canons that allow “one strike”. He didn’t have to tell her about the other incidents since what he had already told her should have been a red flag that would have automatically called for a background check. I suspect there were problems in TEC that haven’t yet surfaced. Check Canon 10 Title III.

Amy P.
June 24, 2011

The Episcopal Church doesn’t have a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy

But how many hold that standard for the Catholic Church? More important: how many believe it’s ‘one strike and you have to toss out 2,000 years of doctrine’?

Paula Loughlin
June 24, 2011

Christopher, it is indeed a mess. But it is not the mess presented by the lawyer for John Doe. A couple of things set up a rainbow bordered flag when I read about this so I delved into the suit itself especially regarding the allegations of 4 former cases of sexual abuse.

There is nothing to indicate that those former incidents were non consensual. There is also nothing that spells out what sexual contact consisted of. In most states if the contact was consensual you have two possible scenarios. In the case of the underage teens if contact included penetration it does not matter if it was consensual. It is still the crime of statutory rape. If it was non consensual it was sexual battery. I think if it was non consensual Parry would be sitting in a jail cell right now and the lawyer would not claim “he couldn’t help himself”.

If however the sexual contact did not include penetration it would either be sexual assault if non consensual, or if consensual not a criminal offense at all. The incidents involving adults are either non consensual sexual assault or battery or non criminal consensual sexual contact.

I am not arguing that what Parry did was right. However if those prior incidents were consensual and/or did not rise to the legal definition of a crime the Abbot can not be faulted for treating those incidents as inappropriate sexual behavior rather than as crimes. He certainly did err in exposing vulnerable youth to Parry after knowing Parry had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior.

As those incidents showed he cleary had no appreciation of boundaries. Since he was in a position of authority over choir youth it can reasonably argued that no sexual contact would be truly consensual but always carried with it underlying if not outright threat of coercion. So even if this was not a religious institution such contact would be highly irregular and out and out wrong.

But the suit is not about Parry’s behavior. It is about the Abbey being at fault because they had prior knowledge “of sexual abuse”. Quite frankly I don’t see it. As I wrote I do believe they were at fault to some extent but the main fault is Parry’s.

I wonder too why sexually active homosexuals are so often lacking in the whole concept of boundaries. I’m sure this contributes to the high level of promiscuity in that culture. There, I’ve stepped in it now.

As icky as a 40 year old male pursuing a teenage boy is you better believe that there is a big school of thought that such relationships are examples of mentoring and a valid way for a teen with same sex attraction to be in a safe relationship. I imagine there is a whole body of queer literature for young adults that laud older adult and teen contact.

Dale Matson
June 24, 2011

Paula Loughin,
“There is nothing to indicate that those former incidents were non consensual.” This alone is incorrect. When there is an imbalance of power consent is not consensual.

Paula Loughlin
June 24, 2011

Dale I do bring that up. However was Parry in a position of authority in all the cases?

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

Dale Matson -

I’ve read the article three times now (my Friday penance), and I still don’t see that the guy admitted any crimes to the abbots of St. John’s, Conception, or the Episcopal Bishop of Nevada. He admitted to sins, but as disgusting as we might find his behavior, I don’t see crimes in what he has admitted until recently, and those I assume well past the statutes of limitations.

Yes, by 2004, you would think KJS would have the sense to do further investigations; perhaps she did do a criminal background check, which would have come back clean. Her known animus toward Catholicism arguably precluded her asking abbots or archbishops about this fellow. She just wouldn’t take them seriously enough. Bad for her, I agree. But this guy is ours (us Catholics, I mean), and by 2004, he had apparently developed some boundaries (good points, Paula) and was no longer abusing.

Another point: while it’s not clear that the abbots in question were hiding crimes, the actions they took were consistent with the behavior of Church leaders 25 years ago who were: they turned to psychology. An earlier, better era would have seen him living in a contemplative monastery doing manual labor away from potential victims rather than spending 90 days in “treatment”. Who knows, they may have offered him that option and he declined. I have no idea.

One last point: this read through, I picked up on the lawyers. It’s Jeff Anderson, who is making a pretty penny finding victims.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/jeff-anderson-one-mans-cr_n_516658.html

J. Stuart Little
June 24, 2011

If the results of the testing that indicated he still posed a danger to minors were in the hands of KJS why was he not respectfully told “thank you, but we cannot use you?

Matt Kennedy
June 24, 2011

I think this is the most damning part of the story:

“In 2000, the lawsuit says, Parry underwent psychological testing because he was considering entering another Catholic monastery.

“The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Parry was a sexual abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors,” the lawsuit says.

The results were provided to Conception Abbey, the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas and the Episcopal bishop for the Diocese of Nevada, the lawsuit says. Yet from 2000 until Thursday, Parry was employed by All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas.”

So, not only did this guy confess to an incident in 87, his psych profile–provided to KJS–identified him as someone with a proclivity to reoffend with minors.

Lynn
June 24, 2011

Think we know where you are coming from, FW Ken; and it is not a nice place.
You may be selling, but decent people are not buying.

The subject here is Schori, not excuses for perverts and those who aid and abet them.

Schori’s failure to do even minimal due diligence is appalling, but what else is new?

Surprise us, Katie, and when Title IV kicks in on July 1, toss Chuckie Bennison out on his ear.

Dale Matson
June 24, 2011

If it comes out that he continued the “sexual misconduct” as an Episcopal Priest, KJS will be implicated.

FW Ken
June 24, 2011

Lynn -

Perhaps you would care to expound on where you think I am coming from and what you think I am “selling”.

Let me give you a clue: I have about 10 years of working with sex offenders in the criminal justice system. We monitor offenders, who range from child molesters to rapists, from “romeo cases” to true predators. We do testing and evaluation, drop in on their lives in various ways (including GPS monitoring), and generally keep an eye on them. Those not in compliance with their program, I put in jail. What do you and all the decent people do to make kids safer in your community?

Again, I have to stress that preening and prancing about in self-righteous outrage feels good, but does little to actually protect children. Perhaps you are reading my concern for facts as “excuses”. Try reading again, because you are seriously mistaken.

Fr. Matt –

One caution: you are quoting from the lawsuit, which was prepared by a lawyer who makes a lot of money writing stuff like that. Assuming the business about the testing is not an outright lie (I doubt it is), I would want to know what tests were involved. Sex offender counselors (who do the testing) tend to be very cautious; someone with a known, admitted victim is likely to be labelled “likely to re-offender again”. In my heart of hearts, I think this guy probably has other, more recent victims. While he’s not a pedophile, I am comfortable with “predator”. There is something really manipulative about him, but, again, the story is so poorly written as to make difficult any reasonable judgement.

Paula Loughlin
June 24, 2011

Lynn, Your remark about FW Ken is completely uncalled for. No one here is defending perverts.

I am no fan of KJS but if the information she had access to was only that Parry had inappropriate sexual contact in consensual relationships with young men 16 or older (The current John Doe case would not have been filed at that time)and if no record of further inappropriate behavior was shown after the 1987 incident I could understand her believing he did not pose a danger to young children and that he had learned appropriate boundaries with older teens and young adults.

Maureen
June 25, 2011

Okay, let’s say it was all consensual and all with non-minors. Heck, let’s pretend he was sleeping with girls instead of boys. Is this professional behavior? Especially if his shrinks think he’ll do it again?

You are offering to hire an unprofessional slutpuppy as your choir director, with a near certainty that he will sleep with choirmembers in his new post. And then you are offering to ordain the slutpuppy, with a near certainty that he will sleep with church staff and/or parishioners. This means constant disruption.

You would have to be an idiot, to wish on any parish somebody who can’t keep his pants zipped with the volunteers and hired help, in a position of authority instead of a parishioner working on his sin problem.

Paula Loughlin
June 25, 2011

Re the test. It is entirely possible that those presented with the test decided to have Parry submit to further evaluation and those evaluations may not have been as damning is this one is alleged to be.

The lawyer for this case is not above lying, so he may be blowing a lot air up skirts with references to this test.

Katherine
June 25, 2011

How did this lawyer get hold of Parry’s psych test results? Something odd about this, and if the lawyer is an ambulance-chaser in this field, then this is all open to question. What isn’t open to question, because Parry has resigned, is that he has behaved inappropriately in the past and may have resigned as a preemptive measure to try to prevent legal action against himself. This is all very murky.

If KJS had been a traditional believer (and in that case, she wouldn’t have been a priest or bishop), she’d have gently told a prior sexual offender that it was not appropriate for him to be a priest.

Whitestone
June 25, 2011

“Sixteen year old males are not “boys”, but sexually mature young men.”

Have to disagree with you, FWKen, on that point. 16 year olds, male and female, are not sexually or emotionally mature and should not be treated as such.

The brains and bodies of adolescent males and females are undergoing massive changes (pruning of brain cells, etc), their brains, emotions and bodies are becoming accustomed to unprecedented massive infusions of sex-hormones and they are undergoing massive identity-crises due to changes of size and sensations of major body parts.

They are generally in a state of confusion and disequilibrium also due to differences in school environments from grade to middle to high schools, societal expectations and the (sometimes bad, ungodly and sexual agenda distorted) counsel they receive at home, school and church, media and peers.

This age group have widely varying degrees of maturity, emotional control, impulse control and judgement depending on the time of day, day of the week and the peer group they happen to be in or what or whether they have had a balanced meal or whether or not they received a hug or attention/affirmation/approval or neglect or ill-treatment from their parents and/or peers.

The media presents them with visual and audial media stimulation and scientifically designed manipulation full of ads, sexual agenda driven messages, the ignorance, lack of societal, church and parental teaching, modeling, permissiveness and lack of supervision – giving them suggestivity, stimulation and opportunity for experimentation.

In all, you have a complex recipe for lifelong negative consequences.

16 year olds, even with their increased sexual hormones, stature and age, if they lack rules/boundaries, supervision, guidance and support of affirming, interested, sexually healthy, biblically-congruent fathers, mothers or surrogate care givers are generally immature, emotionally needy, volatile, suggestible and thus vulnerable to sexual predators, manipulation, peer pressure, experimentation, addiction and diseases and snow balling (increasing cumulative/interactive) effects of negative consequences throughout their lives.

LaVallette
June 25, 2011

One of the injustices in all of this is that Parry is spilling his guts out with all the gory details of his obscene behaviour in the past because he personally is NOT being sued but he is indicting his previous monastic patrons. He the offender and the one persoanlly responsible gets away scot free while his previous “alma mater” cops the full brunt.!!! Even by earthly measures this screams “unfair”.

PS. Was the Abbey and its leaders “mislead” by the psychobabble of the psyschiatrists and psychotherapists who claimed a “cure” for such people and certifed them to their superiors as cured, upon which the church authorities in many parts of the USA and the world relied upon to give these people a second chance? One of the hidden scandals within The Scandal is how the purported science of Psychiatry mislead so many people and left them to “hang” with ALL the repsonsibility, while the profession itself washed its hand and avoided all accountability.

The Church should sue the profession for its “witch doctoring” disguised as professional advice for which the church authorities paid!!

Is there a statute of limitations over such confessions, that prevents the civil authpritites laying charges?.

Katherine
June 25, 2011

LaVallete, there may be a statute of limitations, and in addition, if his targets were 16, or 18 and over, depending upon state law, it was not criminal. Disgusting and inappropriate, but not criminal.

Smurf Breath
June 25, 2011

I wonder why people like this are let off so lightly so that they can become repeat offenders. They steal what can’t be replaced and destroy what can never be repaired. The whole pedophile/ephebophile distinction strikes me as somewhat bogus. There is no excuse for vile behavior like this. I don’t get the casual attitude of the law towards this. Damaging a young person like this for life is surely more serious than burglary, or even assault.

Fuinseoig
June 25, 2011

This story has a complicated timeline; he seems to have entered the monastery in his 30s (if he’s 69 now, that means he was born in 1942, so entering in 1973 would make him 31) which means he would likely have been older than the usual run of novices.

It’s not entirely clear if the “three relationships between 1973 and 1979 at Conception Abbey” were with fellow novices (who would be older than 16) or with the older choir members, and the one about a university in Minnesota means that the person involved would certainly be older than 16.

I’m hopelessly lost with finding out when he left the monastery and entered the Episcopal Church – he says something about leaving in 1987 but having to live outside for three years, so what was he doing between 1990 and 2000 when he joined TEC?

If he was having occasional sex with other young men (and I’m with Whitestone on this; 16 is not the same as 12, but even 18 or 20 is younger and less mature than a man in his mid-30s) – these three occasions he admitted to, and if these were his fellow-novices, not the choir boys – I can see why the abbey would send him for psychological counselling and think the treatment had worked. It was a bad idea not to dismiss him immediately, but let’s face it: through the 70s and 80s, the idea was that these kinds of attractions were less to do with old-fashioned ideas of “sin” and more to do with immature psychological states, so that therapy would “cure” the “sufferer”.

I imagine if he’d really been molesting young boys, they wouldn’t have kept him on, but the horrible thing about the scandals we’ve seen is that cover-ups did happen, so we can’t even assume that much.

What I don’t understand is how, after leaving the monastery and trying to gain admittance to another one, then admitting to the reason he had to leave was inappropriate sexual relationships, he was considered fit for ordination in the Episcopal diocese.

Unless they believed that he wasn’t a paedophile but a homosexual (which I think he more probably is, given what the paper says) and so long as he was out, things would be okay. He doesn’t seem to have any accusations from his work as an Episcopalian.

It’s a mess, and unless we get more details about did he have sex with young boys (younger than 16), it’s hard to tell what’s going on. But definitely he was not fit for monastic life.

Dave P.
June 25, 2011

. I imagine there is a whole body of queer literature for young adults that laud older adult and teen contact.

No imagination needed. It exists.

Katherine
June 25, 2011

Fuinseoig, I also agree with Whitestone about the vulnerability of 16-year-old males, or even 18s. This kind of predation aimed at very young men by males fifteen, twenty or more years older is a recurring problem which homosexual apologists don’t deal well with. A single relationship might be viewed as a personal attraction, but repeated with several young men it’s clearly predatory and as Whitestone says can have a devastating effect upon the younger man. If he was unsure about himself, this can settle him in the homosexual lifestyle which is so fraught with troubles.

I don’t, myself, excuse even the single attraction, but then, I’m a traditional Christian.

John
June 25, 2011

Liberal TEC schadenfreude at the agonies of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is common place. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, will +KJS be held accountable? Hardly. Rather ironic, now that her Metropolitical disciplinary powers are just days away from fruition.

By the way, surely your commenters realize that perps are notorious ‘minimizers’. Minimizing the # of victims, ages, and most especially the soul destruction they cause to children and vulnerable young adults.

Wonder how the SNAP protest outside his Nevada TEC parish went? Have suggested that they do the same at ’815′.

with prayers for the forgotten *victims* of this skandalon…

a victim’s Dad

FW Ken
June 25, 2011

Whitestone – the biology you describe is more typical of the 13-14 year old boy. It certainly was in my day (not to mention in my body), and I’ve read that onset of puberty is at even younger ages now.

If you believe the MSM, some large percentage (maybe half, per link below) of 16 year olds are sexually active, so I stick to my point: we are dealing with predatory homosexual behavior, not some sort of “sickness” that “drives” the actor.

http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/17/teen-sexual-behavior-quick-facts/

Of course, the physical and biological processes continue (perhaps “mature” is not the right word), and, of course, 16 year old young men should not be subject to homosexual advances, particularly from older men. The damage it can do to a 16 year old boy can be as bad as to a small boy, partly because the 16 year old will likely experience physical pleasure and think he’s “gay”.

The law in my state makes a distinction between sex with a minor under 18 and one under 14. Actually, I’m told the DA won’t prosecute cases where the partner is 17. Again, I’m describing legal realities, not the way we think it ought to be. But the clinical realities are there as well.

I read the benighted Star article again, and found this telling statement:

“Bede Parry wasn’t able to control himself, but it was the (Conception Abbey) abbot and the top officials who knew that and made the choice to protect themselves at the peril of many kids and young adults,” he said.

That’s Oprah psychology filtered through a predatory lawyer. “Wasn’t able to control himself” is a favored meme that excuses individual behavior in favor of attacking the community, where the money is. Of course, it suits the lawyer’s purposes to say it, but the facts at hand certainly don’t support it. Parry was a “chicken hawk”, as are most of the older gay men I know. Hopefully, Parry really did repent and is celibate now, or at least not pestering teenage boys.

Gregg the obscure
June 25, 2011

“Wasn’t able to control himself”. Not a defense that’s ever offered in earnest for heterosexual crimes, but one that’s ubiquitous for homosexual crimes. Once again the left portrays their favorite tools as somehow less than fully human.

jh
June 25, 2011

Not seeing what the big deal is. The TEC gets to operate by a different set of rules. A few years back there was A Bishop that ministered to the Indians as Diocese of Navajoland that abused a teenager was removed and then put back as Bishop. When he died there was glowing tributes and now there is a school named after him.

Different rules than the Catholics. Nothing to see here. Since it does not involve celibates I doubt the Press will do much of a follow up with the Primate.

Confessor
June 25, 2011

“Once again the left portrays their favorite tools as somehow less than fully human.”

Less than human, or less than fully responsible?

Not owning responsibility, denial, blaming, seeking exemption, dehumanizing the victim, lack of empathy and not owning responsibility for harm done are common symptoms of sociopathy and narcissism.

Whitestone
June 25, 2011

FW Ken, Again, I still disagree somewhat.

Sixteen year olds may be more physically/hormonally developed at an earlier age, but a typical 16-24 year old has less emotional, moral maturity often due to increase of fractured families, parents own issues, abuse, poor modeling, cultural expectations, longer studies, etc. and is not as ready to take responsibity for his/her decisions/judgments.

The Little Myrmidon
June 25, 2011

I have to disageee with Whitestone. Sexual mnaturity is the age at which one can reproduce. Period. Girls reach sexual maturity at 11-13 and boys at 12-14. This has nothing to do with whether they know what to do with it. The actions of Fr. Parry are that of a homosexual predator who seem to be trying to induct youg men into the gay lifestyle. The MSM’s continual use of the term “child” as in child molestation, is an attempt to blur what’s going on. Gay men seek out younger teen boys all the time. No one ever mentions that.

Paula Loughlin
June 25, 2011

Little Myrmidon. The movement for gay marriage is not about gays embracing traditional family structures within which to rear children. It is about further legitimizing and romaticizing homosexual behavior. If anyone thinks this is not to make gay relationships more attractive to teenage males they are very naive.

When something is given the approval of law it is that much easier for it to be argued that such a thing must be right.

Bill (not IB)
June 25, 2011

Back in 1999, I had to get a criminal background check if I wanted to get inside the Catholic school my duaghter attended while classes were in session. Mind you, this wasn’t just for those who served as volunteers – it was required even if I just wanted to come and bring her class a cake for a birthday lunch.

The obvious lack of background checks on the part of TEC is disgusting. It’s hard to say to what extent this involved KJS, but I suspect that as seems to be the case with many bishops, virtually any clergyman who walks in the door and wants to be received would get an automatic green light from the bishop. To be fair, the severe shortage of clergy exacerbates this issue, but in the end I tend to think that those in positions of authority should be subjected to more scrutiny that the average individual.

FW Ken
June 25, 2011

Whitestone -

I have no idea what you are arguing for? That Parry is not a homosexual predator? This is about him, not the kids.

Yes, SNAP has weighted in, without mention of the presiding bishop.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_press_releases/2011_press_releases/062311_accused_molester_worked_recently_at_local_church.htm

Katherine
June 25, 2011

Interesting. SNAP doesn’t handle the question of the ages of the victims at all, alleging “child abuse” and “crimes.” Even SNAP is capable of using cases for publicity, it seems. Perhaps with some time more details will emerge, including something about this mysterious psychological report which plaintiff’s attorney has but no one else has seen, or has admitted to seeing, at this point.

Even when something as egregious as this case is on hand, whether or not it was criminal in the legal sense, facts should trump propaganda — on either side.

The Pilgrim
June 25, 2011

“A single relationship might be viewed as a personal attraction, but repeated with several young men it’s clearly predatory and as Whitestone says can have a devastating effect upon the younger man. If he was unsure about himself, this can settle him in the homosexual lifestyle…”

We call it “predation,” it’s actually “recruitment.”

Whitestone
June 25, 2011

TLM, you are right that sexual maturity in it strictest sense is the age when reproductivity begins. I was thinking of sexual and emotional maturity such as responsible behavior, continence, self-control, etc.

FW Ken, I’m not arguing anything about Parry or this particular case, just observing that observing that as the age of sexual reproductivity is growing sooner, the age of emotional maturity seems to be getting later.

As for SNAP – this group and every other sexual abuse advocacy group I have found is connected to the American Catholic Council, a cover organization for every unbiblical activist group from LBGT, to abortion, to women priests. There are no Biblically orthodox abuse recovery and advocacy group that I have found. Someone also wrote that SNAP and the others are supported in part by the plaintiffs attorneys.

Abuse does not change reality and two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because a person is abused by a clergyperson of any tradition, doesn’t invalidate Scripture, doesn’t change God, or change good to evil and does not make homosexual behavior any less sinful, dangerous and unhealthy.

Abuse shakes the foundations of a person’s soul and identity, does make the victims have great difficulty trusting GOD, people and life in general. In fact, it would seem just looking on the outside that in this life at least, the millstone is around the victims’ necks rather than the perpetrators.

The perpetrators on the other hand, seem emotionally unaffected, without remorse, in complete denial about their responsibility and the harm they have done or else they blame their own hard childhoods to excuse themselves. Perhaps their own stone hard hearts and seared consciences are their millstones.

Whitestone
June 25, 2011

Also, sexual abuse has been highly correlated with development of same-sex attraction, possibly due to the child’s relationship with his/her parents, peers or an effect of the abuse or a combination of these factors. The John Jay study also said that 1/3 of the abusers had been abused.

John
June 26, 2011

Whitestone: your observations about SNAP and its ideological partners (VOTF etc.) are accurate. But frankly, there is virtually no place else to go for victims [and their families] who choose to deal with the abuse. The re-victimization by church authorities and their representatives only compounds the original trauma. Bishops and clergy of all the churches are hog-tied by their lawyers, who carefully script any response to victims or the public. God forbid a bishop act like a true father in Christ to former devout members of their flocks.

One sure and certain mark of the One, True Church – both Catholic and E. Orthodox – seems to be the utter indifference and veiled contempt with which the institution treats the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Maybe somebody else can do better? Please try!!! Give survivors a reason to come back to the church, because SNAP is certainly no long term answer.

… been there …

Paula Loughlin
June 26, 2011

John, One big problem is that when lawyers get involved you can be sure that the right Christian response by Bishops of apology and contrition is seen by their lawyers as admission of guilt and a door to punitive damages. It stinks. It truly, truly does, but lawyers have to represent what is in their client’s best interest in answering accusations. Unfortunately that sometimes does run smack dab against what our Christian duty call for.

I would love to see a group take a place of SNAP for advocating for the victims. I think SNAP’s tactics invite fraudalent claims. I’m also alarmed at their disregard for due process. Their common demand that Dicoeses publish the name of any priest accused of sexual abuse or misconduct is a case in point. Not all allegations stand up to scrutiny.

FW Ken
June 26, 2011

God forbid a bishop act like a true father in Christ to former devout members of their flocks.

Therein lies the real scandal of the Catholic Church in the U.S. We know that the number of priest, as a percentage is no higher than men in general, but the perfidy of bishops spreads across the theological and political spectrum, made worse by the process that produced the Dallas Charter wherein the bishops did a little side step without any serious penance on their part. Today, if I want to do more in the parish than hear Mass, I have to sit through a 3 hour “Keeping Children Safe” lecture. Priests are subjected to violations of basic due process, and absurd penalties: do we really need a priest out of ministry because 20 years ago he kissed a 16 year old girl, while the bishops go merrily along? Yes, there were a couple of forced retirements, but men like Cardinal Mahoney held on and retired with full honors.

It is true, as I said above, and have said for years, that the bishops by and large did what they did in concert with the larger society, and that’s true. It’s also the problem. We needed father’s and we got corporate executives. We needed the gospel of repentance and healing, and we got psychology. Not without cause do Catholics say that the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

John,

All of that said, I do have challenge you on one thing: in my opinion, it’s counterproductive to speak of the Church in institutional terms. Bluntly, the “institutional church” does not exist.

I think what we mean most of the time by the term is “the hierarchy”, or Church authorities in general. In my opinion, to speak of the Church as the hierarchy feeds the underlying clericalism which fed the abuse problem to start with. Sitting in Mass this morning, this thread came to mind, and I thought about how “the Church” isn’t those guys up at the altar, but all of us gathered to worship God. The pope isn’t “the Church”, nor the bishop. Nor, contra Voice of the Faithful and other heterodox groups, is the laity “the Church”. Together, we are the Church, not an institution, but a family – dysfunctional, too often, but by Grace, the Body of Jesus Christ.

A Boston blogger, I think it was, noted the irony of VOTF starting there, since the Archdiocese actually did involve lay people – heavily – in their response to the scandal. But, you see, they weren’t the right lay people. In my opinion, when we try to solve the problem their way, we feed the problem (as I noted above) and we also lose a full-throated, truly Catholic response to the bishops. When we settle for power, we are playing the game they’ve been playing.

The upshot of what I’m trying to say (poorly, no doubt) is that when we view “the Church” as us, it becomes easier to find our way back. We can find that good priest who soldiers on under a bad (or morely likely, flawed) bishop and find healing in his ministry. We can find the real saints in our parish who quietly go about the real work of the Church, proclaiming Christ in their lives and serving their neighbors. We can find release from the anger that perpetuates the abuse, not retreating into quiet pieties, but seeking justice and a safe place in peace and goodness.

None of which is easy. But life’s not easy.

FW Ken
June 26, 2011

John -

I hope that didn’t sound unkind. I’m not a very good writer and often say the wrong thing. Also, I deal with sex offender’s constantly and am, perhaps, callous. I don’t mean to be. I’m just challenged to remember daily but for the grace of God, it would be me on the other side of my desk. I am not so much different or better than the sex offender I’m talking to. That’s not helpful when talking to victims.

I’m also not a very good Catholic and have found all sorts of reasons to be angry at “the Church”. I have quit going to Mass a couple of times in my Catholic life, mostly in anger or disappointment. But I came back after awhile, hungry for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. When it became clear in ’02-’03 how widespread the bishop’s problems were, I considered leaving the Church, but could find no place to go. Today, I try to remember that “the Church” is me and you and Father and the bishop, and the pope, and stupid, even bad, people. We aren’t here because we are good, but because God is.

John I.
June 27, 2011

Ken and Paula especially, thank you for engaging the issues. One of the huge hidden ironies re: most victims of clergy sexual abuse whatever age or gender was their level of engagement in the Church(es). It wasn’t the cultural, Christmas and Easter parishioners who were abused. it was largely the ones that showed up every Sunday, had a passion for their faith (and often were considering a vocation of some sort). Thus the anger and betrayal is all the more acute; and why SNAP often sounds so shrill. Christ’s church was often the most important thing in their lives, and the loss of that sense of security and community is beyond devastating.
And I know you won’t believe me, but I wish I had a donut for every time I heard a survivor say something like: ‘I’m not a gold digger. I just want somebody to pay for my counseling, so I can start to get my life back; a-n-d I just wish “the Church” didn’t look at me as one of “those people”. Why am I seen as a ‘potential litigant’ and not one of the sheep/the baptized that is now lost? I miss the sacraments so much.”

Confessor
June 27, 2011

Thanks for your comment, John I. What abuse victims want most is for someone to believe them, express genuine sorrow for their hurt – and – remove and/or prosecute the perpetrator in order to protect other children. Unfortunately, that is not what they usually get.

If only parents, church members, priests and bishops were as outraged over clergy abuse/child pornography as these commentors.

Even Elizabeth Kaeton has expressed outrage on the Episcopal blogs about KJS’ appointment to the TEC priesthood of a known repeat child abuser from the RCC when she was Bishop of Nevada.

Smurf Breath
June 27, 2011

I’m just challenged to remember daily but for the grace of God, it would be me on the other side of my desk.

This isn’t really about you, or them. It’s about the lives they destroy. It’s idiotic to say, “they have a high recidivism rate AND we are going to let them go after a few years”. If they present such a danger, perhaps what they do should be a capital crime. Why would you let them back on the street if they admit they’d do it again? I have no problem with it being a capital crime. Does anyone else? This is a question of safety, not forgiveness.

Ed the Roman
June 27, 2011

If you make all that abuse a capital crime, you’ll get a bit less of it, but you won’t have nearly as many live victims.

Five hundred or so years ago, Russia executed robbers, and China imposed fines, imprisonment or bodily punishment. Almost all Russian robbery vitims were dead.

chris (not our esteemed host)
June 27, 2011

Quoth John: “And I know you won’t believe me, but I wish I had a donut for every time I heard a survivor say something like: ‘I’m not a gold digger. I just want somebody to pay for my counseling, so I can start to get my life back; a-n-d I just wish “the Church” didn’t look at me as one of “those people”. Why am I seen as a ‘potential litigant’ and not one of the sheep/the baptized that is now lost? I miss the sacraments so much.’”

i am quite willing to believe you, John, since you have been involved directly in the mess in a way which most of us have not.

When the Church attempts to redress the wrong by doing just what you say victims want, by making sure that the victims have access to counseling, SNAP and others of their ilk will accuse the Church of not doing enough. That has certainly been my observation of the situation in the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archbishops Dolan and now Listecki have sought to reach out to victims, and offered to pay for counseling rather than fighting battles in court. SNAP is most vocal in their disapproval of this approach to redressing wrongs.

Every time i hear SNAP quoted in the media, the group sounds like it’s composed almost exclusively of lawyers looking for lawsuits to file. They talk about justice, but it seems obvious to me that SNAP spells justice “m.o.n.e.y.”

Gregg the obscure
June 27, 2011

The high stakes of convictions based on false accusations also argues against executing these particular perpetrators, because you one of the first things that would happen after enacting capital punishment would be a raft of bogus charges against decent clergy so that the infiltrators could do more damage to the Church.

John
June 28, 2011

I suggest we are far afield of the original topic: Katharine Jefferts Schori and her dealings with known abusers.

VOL has this exclusive with some VERY serious allegations by Paul Marshall, Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem, PA

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14556

IF this is true – IF there is a cover-up, and IF this goes viral beyond the confines of the TEC inc. firewall; – I can think of a bishop who needs to be brought up on her own Title IV disciplinary charges!

I know that SNAP is mad as hell at her/TEC – for a change!

Mithrax
June 28, 2011

Since I deal with the victims of clergy sexual abuse on a daily basis (and with cultural, emotional, physical and emotional abuse as well) all I want to offer is this:

Pray for them, and love them like you would anyone else.

Listen to the stories, comfort them as best as you can. Respect them, and walk with them.

A respectful, listening, pastoral love will not make the pain go away, but it can and will allow for Grace to come in.

I’ve seen a lot of victims sadly treated as if they were children, almost with a proverbial pat on the head. Let SNAP yell and scream, but listen. Let them yell and scream at you, and listen. We cannot dismiss what they say, even if some of them have what seems to be a political agenda. We are the Church, regardless of denomination, and we have a duty and obligation to BE the respectful, loving Christians that Christ wants us to be.

We all know that vengance will never bring healing. Will never bring back what was lost, and will never turn back the clock.

But I know that Christ can bring healing, grace and peace. In a moment, or over decades, but it can come.

Paula Loughlin
June 29, 2011

John I

I have no reason not to believe you and I think most victims are looking for healing. My cricisim is not for them but for SNAP which I feel does invite false allegations by the tactics they use. Their approach seems to be cast a wide net and see what we pull in. They do not hesitate to ruin the reputation of good men on the flimsiest of allegations. I think ever false allegation harms real victims since the exposure of such allegations leads people to doubt the veracity of even legitimate claims.

One thing I am sure of the increased sexualization of children will lead to more abuse not less. We as Christians have to take back sex. We hav allowed it to be profaned. If we teach our children the rightness of God’s plan for sexuality they will be less vulnerable. If a child is taught that sex is just simply a matter of receiving pleasure and it is o.k. as long as STDs and pregnancy are prevented his attitude will be totally different than if he is taught his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Every abuse of the body is an insult to the Incarnation. Sexual abuse is also an insult to the what God has revealed to us about His very nature. I pray all victims will find hope in the love of Christ.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
June 29, 2011

I’ve been on the road so I’m coming to the discussion late. I feel a bit guilty injecting levity into such a serious topic, but this one had me rolling on the floor:

“She said she’d have to check the canons, and she did.”

JB
July 1, 2011

1. Thank the Good Lord for SNAP and people like David Clohessy, their National Director. He is a completely dedicated and extraordinarily persistent and decent man.

2. More often than not, it is the individual who fears exposure of his own criminal deeds either as the perpetrator, himself, or as an individual who has aided and abetted the perpetrator, who slyly attempts to defame, minimalize and marginalize SNAP and their extraordinary group of volunteers. Those engaged in attacking SNAP can be very convincing, indeed. Unfortunately, far too many people have been sorely misled by the rhetoric of the real culprits.

3. For an analysis of the new Title IV in the Episcopal in-house rules and regs in effect as of today, July 1, 2011 and its relationship to what Schori and others may face, see a most informative article at

http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/06/troubling-questions-raised-by-bishops.html

It was updated significantly on the 30th, so if you read the article previously, it is important to revisit the site and read about the statute of limitations.

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