Support the Café
Search our site

Bishop Sean Rowe on Penn State

Bishop Sean Rowe on Penn State

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, reflects on “How can institutional interests be placed above children” in the Erie Times-News:

In 2010, I learned that one of my predecessors, the Rt. Rev. Donald Davis, had sexually molested young girls while he was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. That wrenching experience, and my decision to make the news public, have been much on my mind as I follow the horrifying child-rape scandal that has convulsed Penn State University.

I can’t fathom how Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, the university’s former president, and other officials apparently justified their decision to place personal and institutional self-interest above the safety of vulnerable children. But it is important to understand their thinking, because, as Pat Howard detailed in Sunday’s Erie Times-News, their brand of reasoning is not confined to college football or even to the Catholic Church.

Most institutions prefer to keep their secrets, particularly the damaging ones. Leaders inclined to go public with allegations against a sexual predator, and to confess their institution’s culpability in the violation of children, encounter a cadre of lawyers, insurance specialists and other advisers opposed to any more transparency than is absolutely necessary.

When I learned that Bishop Davis had abused girls, I believe the grace of God and the gift of a good diocesan chancellor who saw the issue as I did helped me to make the right decision. It was not easy or pleasant. But even having learned about the ways in which institutions work to protect their most damaging secrets, the decisions made at Penn State still astound and distress me.

Episcopal Café’s article on Rowe’s actions in 2010 is here.

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
GrandmèreMimi

Bp. Sean Rowe's handling of the the abuse of young girls by his predecessor Donald Davis is a model that all those in authority could follow. I'm sure that doing the right thing is extremely difficult, but it must be done. I especially admired Bp. Rowe's outreach to the victims and offer to make amends.

June Butler

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café