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The Church waits for answer from Presiding Bishop

The Church waits for answer from Presiding Bishop

Questions remain unanswered surrounding the Presiding Bishop’s knowledge of the sexual-abuse history of a Catholic priest she made an Episcopal priest while bishop of Nevada. Her office refers questions to the Diocese of Nevada. The Bishop of Nevada has issued this statement:

A lawsuit was filed last week against a monastery in Missouri where Fr. Bede Parry, who has served All Saints for 11 years as organist and assisting priest, was a monk in another denomination in the 1980s. The suit alleges that Fr. Bede engaged in inappropriate relationships with youth in their late teens. In response to these allegations, Fr. Bede has resigned from his duties at All Saints and tendered to me his resignation as a priest.

To keep this matter in perspective, it is important to remember:

He is not accused of any misconduct in Nevada, in the Episcopal Church, or in any context since the 1980’s. The legal action is not a criminal prosecution but a civil suit for money damages. All Saints, the Diocese of Nevada, and even Fr. Bede are not parties to the law suit.

However, this situation is a reminder of the critical importance of our Safe Guarding God’s Children standards. It is essential for all of our people who work with children to receive Safe Guarding training on a regular basis and that vestries, clergy, and all church leaders insure that appropriate standards are in place – for example, minors should not be in the presence of only one adult at any time; doors should have windows in them; church members should be on the lookout for abuse symptoms in minors or suspicious behavior in adults. The purpose of these precautions is not so much to protect the church from liability as to protect the children from harm. Caring for the safety and well being of our children is a moral obligation of the utmost importance. The fact that there were no boundary violations at All Saints is a sign that the Safeguarding God’s Children standards have been effective. But the safety of our people, young and old, remains a matter of grave concern calling of constant vigilance.

We ask your prayers for all who are involved in the law suit and those whose lives have been affected by the events surrounding it.

The questions arise from a petition filed against a Catholic monastery; it makes no legal charges against the Presiding Bishop. All claims of sexual abuse arise while the man was still a Catholic priest.

The petition is now available here (PDF).

The part concerning the Episcopal Church is in the background facts of the petition:

28. In 2000, Fr. Parry underwent psychological testing relating to the possibility of entering another monastery. The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Pany was a sexual abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors. The results of this testing were provided to the Abbey, the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas and the Episcopal Bishop for the Diocese of Nevada. (ed. bold)

29. From 2000 through 2011, Fr. Parry has been and continues to be employed by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Questions that need answers:

Is it true, as the petition states, that Parry’s evaluation showed he had proclivities, and this evaluation was provided to the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada?

What process is in place to hear from those who may have been abused since Parry became an Episcopal priest?

How did All Saints monitor Parry? How did the rest of community receive protection? Did the church know there was an admitted child abuser in their midst? Did the community around the church know? How did the diocese protect the vulnerable?

See more questions in the comments on the Nevada statement at the website.

We await a statement from the Presiding Bishop.


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John Iliff

Give me a reason to tell my SNAP colleagues that we really do walk the talk.


Episcopalian and SNAP member

Howard Preston Burkett

We are ostensibly Christians.

Our Faith is supposed to be about forgiveness and redemption, not judgement.

The Church has historically been about judgment and power, and abuse of power and rush to judgement go with the territory.

Pedophilia and Ephebophilia amongst the Clergy are only part of the problem, though an especially egregious and monstrous part.

Are we Christians?


Marshall, the Roman Catholic Church had legal advice from the beginning, and look where it got them.

What did the PB know, and when did she know it?

Of course, those in authority must allow for due process, but we also need simple answers to simple questions.

June Butler

Paige Baker

Marshall–It is certainly important for us not to rush to judgment–but that is where the PB could make a huge difference. As June notes, she is the head of the church–and that gives her certain responsibilities that ought not to be abrogated by the mealy-mouthed disclaimer: “On the advice of my legal team, I cannot discuss this.”

We come from a long line of people who DIED to proclaim the Truth. It seems rather pathetic to be unable to tell the truth because you are afraid of legal consequences.

Benediction and consolation do not require leaving people who have made grievous errors in judgment in positions of leadership. We can show compassion without leaving the foxes in charge of the hen house.


Siblings, remember that everyone has a right to due process – including the Presiding Bishop. While neither she nor the Diocese of Nevada are defendants in the current suit, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a future suit. Living in a business where attorneys tend to add defendants and ask questions later (it’s not uncommon for a doctor to be included in a suit because he or she was in the chart, even though the doctor’s only note was to say that the patient was inappropriate for a consult and so was not seen!), I’m not shocked by caution.

I am also cognizant of the DSM IV definition that Don has provided, because to date none of the allegations against Parry, nor his admissions, are of actions involving “a prepubescent child.” He is certainly guilty of sexual misconduct. However, all of his victims are, or in law may be seen as adults(remember, laws of sexual “age of consent” vary from state to state, and may be younger than 18).

We certainly need to know a lot more, and we want to know it as quickly as possible. In this, as in other events, we may have to wait for the courts to decide what “as quickly as possible” means.

In the meantime, I would recall these words of G. K. Chesterton, put into the mouth of Fr. Brown (“The Chief Mourner of Marne.”):

“We have to touch such men, not with a bargepole, but with a benediction,” he said. “We have to say the word that will save them from hell. We alone are left to deliver them from the despair when your human charity deserts them. Go on your own primrose path pardoning all your favourite vices and being generous with your fashionable crimes; and leave us in the darkness, vampires of the night, to console those who really need consolation; who do things really indefensible, things that neither the world nor they themselves can defend; and none but a priest will pardon. Leave us with the men who commit the mean and revolting and real crimes; mean as St. Peter when the cock crew, and yet the dawn came.”

That includes even Parry and Bishop Katherine.

Marshall Scott

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