Friday, October 28, 2011

New allegations surface regarding Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Father Bede Parry in the Diocese of Nevada

Bishop Schori and Father Parry
Over the last few days, more allegations have surfaced regarding Father Bede Parry, a former Roman Catholic priest with a history of sexual abuse of minors, who was received into the Episcopal Church by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori when she was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada in 2004.

She has so far made no statement.

Read it all here.


Anonymous said...

In all the discussion about Bishop Schori possibly facing charges over this I hope that people do not forget the courage of Pat Marker and his quest to ensure that children in the church are safe and don't have to endure the abuse he had to endure at the hands of clergy.

I hope people also remember that Bishop Edwards evidently also did nothing when this evidence was communicated to him earlier this year and that it was only when this went public with lawsuits and a protest at Parry's Episcopal church by SNAP that we saw this priest resign.

If there are charges to be filed both Bishop Edwards and Bishop Schori need to answer why they had to wait for things to escalate this far before this priest was removed from his ministry given what they apparently knew.

Bishop Edwards also has serious questions to answer about his misleading press release issued when this story broke, which appears to contain some major inaccuracies if not outright lies.

Why is it so hard for church leaders to say "sorry, we messed up"? It seems to always be cover up and hide and protect the abusers leaving the kids at the hands of predators? How many more children need to suffer like this before someone does something?

Steven in Falls Church said...

One of the criticisms of Bishop Schori (and Lord knows there are many) is that she had no experience actually running a parish before being tapped for diocesan bishop in Nevada. One wonders if (assuming the charges are true) she would have a better sense of the issues involving this priest if she had had such experience. Apparently, her tenture as Dean of the august Good Samaritan School of Theology did her no good, either.

Anonymous said...

I really think we shouldn't bother with her. It's not healthy. I hope this blog might become more about DOMA than TEC.

I knnow you deleted me before, but I really am concerned.

Anonymous said...

What exactly are the charges against KJS? I thought the allegations were that elements of the Catholic Church failed to protect victims of a pedophile priest when he was a Roman Catholic.


Anonymous said...


I think the questions that need answering are as follows:

1. Why did she admit Parry as a priest and allow him to work in the diocese of Nevada when the Catholic authories apparently contacted her personally explaining that this man had a proclivity to offend with youth in his prior position and had done so on more than one occasion.

She had a responsibility under the canons and policies of the diocese to ensure people with this sort of past would not be permitted to be admitted to the priesthood in the Episcopal church. That policy was introduced to safeguard children due to the many instances of priests moving from one church to the next and continuing their abuse.

The same question needs to be answered by Bishop Edwards as the Catholic authorities apparently took the time to contact him personally once he became bishop, but he likewise apparently did nothing, forcing Patrick Marker to contact SNAP who arranged a picket outside his church - the priest resigned the following day. Why did Patrick Marker have to go to this extent to do something that should have been done automatically by the authorities once they were aware of the situation?

2. She allowed him to work, but restricted his ministy to not work with children and ensured his supervisors were aware of that per Bishop Edwards. But the former rector of the parish was contacted by George Conger and reportedly said he had no idea this restriction was in place and was unaware of his past. So who exactly was supervising him?

It comes down to the fact many people have painfully learned that there are predators in the church and they have spent a lot of time and effort in getting policies changed to protect the children of the church. They expect their leaders to be following those policies.

The fact that the policies were not followed is shocking enough, but bishop Edwards then released a press statement that was extremely condescending towards those complaining that the policies had not been followed and saying was done wrong, the policies were followed.

Which proves that in his case he should not be in the position he is in enforcing those policies. Bishop Schori has been silent as to why she allowed this to happen, she needs to explain what went wrong here to see if she likewise is unable to enforce the rules put in place to protect children.

Until that happens there is a black mark over every priest as now we have no idea who has been properly vetted and who had not. And it means that children are not safe in the Episcopal church as the policies have not been enforced.

It is extremely serious.

John said...

This rush to judgement by 'Anonymous' is obscene.
I remember the rush to judgement about a California preschool owner and family accused of child molestation--
Peoples lives can be destroyed by paranoia and malice.
Please allow the facts to be discovered without hysteria and then let justice be done.
We know of your dislike of Bishop Schori. Do not let your hatred cloud you reason.

Anonymous said...

CANA hasn't made this mistake? I think they have. And will.

Anonymous said...


I don't believe this is a rush to judgement. See here:

"“Frankly, those allegations, most of them are true,” Parry said in a phone interview with The Star from Las Vegas. “As far as I’m concerned, great harm was done to those people. To lie and not recognize that would be a gross injustice to those folks.

“The whole thing is terrible. I feel so terrible. I’m just praying for everybody, and I ask for prayers.”

See here for the complete history

John said...

An accusation has been made against a Roman Catholic priest for an alleged offense committed in 1987 and this blog and several others are trying to drag Bishop Schori into the proceedings. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not very familiar with all the facts, but reading about this on more than one site (most of the furor seemingly coming from people outside the denomination), I'm a bit surprised that the core issue - how the Catholic Church dealt with this guy in the 1980s, is so subordinated to his subsequent relationship to the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada. Was he put in charge of children? Was anyone hurt? Is he still an active priest in the Diocese? What are his duties? Are kids at risk? Was the KJS involvement an element in further abuse? These kinds of information, depending on the facts, might convince me that this is a story, but this looks a lot to me like more Catholic Priests Gone Wild stuff (vile as that kind of abuse is - I don't mean to minimize it). Cramming it into a major Episcopal scandal seems to take a lot of hyperventilation. If the Diocese of Nevada, including KJS when she was bishop there, mishandled this, it bears review, I suppose, if for no other reason to ensure that there are not systemic flaws in that Diocese's vetting of priests. But I'm somewhat surprised that this would create a firestorm among Methodists, Baptists, ACNAnians, or CANA-nites. All these groups (and Episcopalians) have to be careful about who is in their clergy and what kind of behaviors lurk in persons who have custodial care of children. The appropriate response would seem to be to review their own internal systems.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it has the flavor of the kind of anti-TEC (or at least anti-KJS) emotionalism that seems to occur with Pavlovian predictability in certain circles. When people fly off at the slightest stimulus, observors tend to discount the reaction. The Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome is in play, to some extent. Of course, The Boy was right at some point, so I can't discount these concerns completely, and I'm no particular fan of the current PB. But I tend to think of her as less than the optimal choice for the job in the circumstances of the time. I doubt that the policies of the Church would be much different under anyone else. Focussing on her, moreover, tends bring ridicule on her rather programmable detractors and to obscure some of the underlying church issues that are far more important .


Anonymous said...


Bishops have a duty to protect the children in their care. In the Catholic church bishops have been enabling abuse by not removing clergy with that history. When someone shows this sort of history and you let them loose on a parish with inadequate supervision, if the person continues that abuse, the person who put them there shares in their guilt.

The courts are now coming around to that view - see here:

Once again we get the "shame on you for bringing this up". No - shame on you for not calling your leaders to be accountable for the care of the children in the church!

Knowing what we know now about the number of re-offenders we know that many of these people cannot help themselves. They cannot change no matter how they try.

The only person standing in their way are the authorities tasked with vetting new clergy and ensuring existing clergy do not have this history. When they fail in those duties the effects are often devastating for the victims.

It doesn't matter how long ago the actions happened, there has to be zero tolerance. If you show this history you do not belong in a clerical collar.

You won't stamp out abuse by going after the abusers, they cannot change - it will only stop when those who put these people in these positions are charged.

And Scout - read the conception abbey blog. It clearly says there that both Bishop Schori and Bishop Edwards were personally contacted by the Catholic authorities about their concerns with this priest and they apparently did nothing to remove him from ministry. Why not?

John said...

Anomymous. What makes you think that I do not want criminals and their abettors brought to justice. As a father and grandfather I most certainly do. What I do not want is people accused and found guilty by internet blogs.
What a strange statement you made- "You won't stamp out abuse by going after the abusers, they cannot change - it will only stop when those who put these people in these positions are charged." I am to take from that statement that the guilty should not be punished because they are unable to control themselves. I don't believe that is what you meant to say so I will not convict you by internet.
I have read the accusations by Pat Marker and what I read is one sides interpretation of conversations which may or may not have taken place. They are serious accusations and blogs are not the place to discover the facts.
Your bias against the Episcopal church is not proof of anything.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1124: what actually happened? Were kids abused by this guy after he joined the Church? Did the Diocese put him in a position where they were exposed to him? Is he still active in a context where kids might be victimized? As to the statements that Mr. Marker, a plaintiff in litigation against the Catholic Church, attributes to his opponenets in that litigation, memories (especially when liability attaches to them) can be fragile things. In Mr. Marker's litigation against the Catholic Church (or the Abbey or whomever), I'm sure there will be a tendency for defendants to remember events in a way that makes them seem as responsible as possible in mitigation of the apparently undisputed fact that Mr. Marker and others were abused by an RC priest or priests. The courts have processes that are designed to sort that kind of thing out. I doubt it will be of much relevance in his litigation what the Abbott told people in other churches. If children were abused by this pedophile priest in the Episcopal Church, that kind of information might be very relevant to any suit brought by them or their parents against TEC or the Diocese. But I haven't heard that that happened. One has to hope that there are some kinds of controls to protect kids from this sort of deviance. In my own parish, care givers are screened and instructed. I'm not sure that that's enough, but I'm not sure what more can be done.


Anonymous said...


What more can be done?

Simple. Don't employ people with this sort of history in the church, they don't belong there. It is not healthy for the parish as you don't know how reformed they really are, it is not healthy for the person with this history as it places them under suspicion and in many cases under temptation, and it is not healthy for the person employing them because if the person reoffends they can be prosecuted as an accessory, it is not healthy for the person supervising them, as if they lapse in that supervision they can be held liable.

Make that clear to all leaders and make sure that if these policies has not been followed that all clergy with this sort of history are removed from their positions. Make it clear to leaders that if they employ people with this sort of history in the future or fail in their responsibilies to adequately vet clergy that they will lose their jobs.

Make sure that the press release issued by Bishop Edwards is thoroughly discredited. It is not ok to employ people with this sort of history and he should issue an apology.

Always hobbits said...

For Scout and his fellows--

You offer us the boy who cried wolf. Allow me to counter that with another, the boy who saw plainly and spoke clearly, "The emperor has no clothes!"

Your predisposition to defend to the death KJS (your caveats here notwithstanding, as I have been reading you for years) and TEC-- even against the specific horror of child abuse in this case --makes me wish for more who might be willing to say what is plain and clear: she is not fit in any way to be presiding bishop, and she has led her church outside the mainstream of the historic faith. As the months and years pass, I am more sure that TEC is Hinduism with an Enlightenment face, and really has little to do with the Christian tradition. Sympathetic to transcendence, yes, but she and it no longer believe in truth.

One wonders what it is when someone is unwilling to see anything other than what one wishes. Always hobbits as we all are, Greg Jones of the Duke Divinity School has a sober word for all of us: "When we describe, we do so as active agents whose intentions and moral character pervade our descriptions."

Transformed Judgment: Toward a Trinitarian Account of the Moral Life

Hard to hear as they are, the Church needs more little ones and big ones who will say, "The emperor (and empress) has no clothes." Over time, it is just as much a problem as those who cry wolf.

Always hobbits

Anonymous said...

Always hobbits

Its not just Episcopalians that defend their leaders in the face of accusations of abuse. Have a look at the comments of any recent new story about abuse in the church whatever the denomination. The usual response:

- the abuser is a liar and just wants money, or
- let bygones be bygones it happened 20 years ago, get over it, or
- accuse the person raising concerns
- defend the abuser/ those in charge of the abuser "he was such a nice man" - read the Bishop of Nevada's press release.

Those who have suffered abuse have endured a long journey of ridicule and denial whenever they tried to raise their concerns. Leaders just want to stop the story leaking in an attempt to save their church.

And all that happens is those doing the abuse have free reign.

So the tactics have changed over the years - rule 1 - never report abuse to a church authority they will just try to cover it up, always report it to the police.

I stopped attending any church a few years ago when I watched this happen in my church. A young girl reported abuse, she was accused of lying by all the church leadership. As an abuse victim myself I don't believe the church has any answers anymore, it is just full of hypocrites who will defend the indefensible to save the face of their institution.

It happens in every denomination.

Anonymous said...

Scout, one other thing - Patrick Marker does not stand to gain anything from this lawsuit. His lawsuit is done and dusted. The victims of Bede Parry are other people. He is just making sure that all of the other offenders from the institutions where he suffered abuse are removed from a situation where they can repeat that abuse.

I urge you to read his whole blog

to understand why is is doing what he is doing, and the care with which he is taking in documenting his journey to help prevent anyone else suffering what he suffered.

Anonymous said...

AH and Anon 2037 - I am quite certain if you have stayed in touch with my comments you will see that I have consistently expressed my view that KJS was not the right person at the right time for this particular job. I think her selection in Columbus reflected politics within the Church that I am uncomfortable with. I would have preferred any number of others.

That said, my issue with these kinds of stories is that I fear there has grown up, largely outside the church in other denominations, a kind of personification/demonisation of the Presiding Bishop that is lacks merit both in its substance and how it reflects on those who manifest it. There are legitimate issues within the Church that require discussion and ventilation. But they are not ones well suited to ridicule and taunts about such things as oven-mitt mitres, or comparisons between KJS and the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. KJS is probably pursuing many of the same policies (e.g., with regard to protecting church property, or removing clergy who have determined to leave the Church, but who have lacked the moral courage to get out the door the second they reached their internal decision) that any PB would have pursued in the same circumstances.

This thing with Bede Parry, at least based on what I figure out about it, while not without some substantive content, seems in tone and proportion to fall in the category of personalized KJS playground spite. Perhaps you folks know far more about it than I do, but I keep asking (and no one answers): what did this guy do after he joined the Diocese? Was he placed in positions where he could harm children? Is he still actively involved in the Church? Isn't this controversy (especially the litigation) about actions (or omissions) of the Roman Catholic Church (and, if so, why are we talking about "charges" and "allegations" against KJS)?

Based on what I can tell, I don't think I would have let him in the door back whenever this happened, and I could understand posts and comments that question her judgement about her decision. But I think the shrillness of the discussion on this, and many other issues as they relate to KJS detracts from meaningful discussion of some of the problems that plague the church. I find this tendency to personalize these things, frankly, childish, and more reflective on those who indulge in it than on its target. My negative view of this kind of behaviour is accentuated by the fact that so much of it seems to emanate from outside the Episcopal Church. I have no idea why folks who long ago made a perfectly rational decision (from their perspective and mine) to reaffiliate with other denominations, get so spun up about this one woman. Would they devote this negative energy to a Presbyterian or Methodist Cleric? Maybe this is indeed the one time the wolf is really there, but I'm kind of with the villagers who tune out because of the lack of responsibility with which previous alarums have been screeched about.

Re anon 2037's last comment, I strongly sympathize with Mr. Marker's efforts and motivations. I am not sure whether or why you concluded otherwise, but there is no excuse for child molestation in any circumstances. It does enormous damage for generations. That it would ever happen once, let alone systemically, let alone a church setting is incomprehensible to me. I have no problem whatsoever with Mr. Marker's pursuing this vigourously.