jQuery Slider

You are here

Jefferts Schori, Bede Parry, Charles Bennison, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky & RCC

Jefferts Schori, Bede Parry, Charles Bennison, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky and the Roman Catholic Church

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
November 11, 2011

What do Episcopal Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, Fr. Bede Parry, PA Bishop Charles Bennison, star football coach Joe Paterno, former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the Roman Catholic Church all have in common?

They all covered up or participated in sex crimes against children, mostly boys below the age of consent. Some were pedophiles; others were pederasts, but most were homosexuals.

The only one getting a pass is Katharine Jefferts Schori because no one is willing to hold her accountable.

Sandusky was charged on Saturday with sexually abusing eight young boys over more than a decade. Two other officials were charged with failing to report an incident. Sandusky is rumored to have been 'pimping out young boys to rich donors from the Second Mile Foundation for troubled young boys. The relentless deviate, former PSU defensive coordinator is accused of sexually assaulting children for years. According to the grand jury, he gained easy access to children and early adolescents through the foundation he founded in 1977.

Joe Paterno, the iconic football coach of Penn State knew and was informed of Sandusky's behavior. He passed the information up the line, but did not go to the police. He was fired. The president of the university has also been fired. This story is still unfolding with more horror stories yet to be revealed.

So what does this have to do with the Roman Catholic Church and The Episcopal Church? This. It is all about institutional cover up; it is about putting the organization ahead of the welfare of children. It is called covering their asses in the face of sexual predatory behavior and sin. Whether it is a football team attached to a state university that depends on the $50 million it makes to fill the university's coffers, to a church that claims to speak for God, the evil is the same. The institution first, the welfare of children and young people last.

Roman Catholic Church leaders, on learning of their priests multiple sexual crimes against mostly young men (epipedophiles), allowed priests to be shuffled from one parish to another without punishment. When it finally all blew up in their faces, the church paid out tens of millions of dollars to parents whose children were seduced by these priests with, in some cases, whole dioceses declaring bankruptcy.

Allegations about who knew what resulted in one cardinal, Bernard Law of Massachusetts, fleeing the US and hiding behind Vatican walls to escape extradition. More recent revelations have seen a number of Roman Catholic leaders being charged with cover-up and facing jail time for not reporting what they knew about their priests' sexual predatory behavior. The law should have no mercy.

The truth, as we have learned it, is that these Catholic priests were not interested in other men, but in young boys aged 11 - 15, below the age of consent, but too old to be called pedophiles. The head of the influential Catholic League, Bill Donovan says that a priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because 'the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent."

"Post-pubescent means beyond puberty," Donohue said. "In other words what homosexuals do and most of them - the molesters - have been homosexuals in the Catholic Church."

Which brings us to The Episcopal Church.

For more than a decade, Episcopal Church homosexuals have privately and publicly gloated over the Roman Catholic Church's situation arguing that if they honestly embraced homosexuality among its priests and accepted their orientation, the cover-up and silence would never have put the church in such moral jeopardy and compromising positions, and priests could have indulged their behaviors without fear of retribution.

Donovan points out that these priests were not pedophiles; they were homosexuals. They were never interested in women to begin with. Homosexuality has always been seen as "disordered" by the Roman Catholic Church. The church has never embraced any form of sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

While sexual abuse in The Episcopal Church is not rampant, it is widespread with incidents erupting from time to time in church run schools and the priesthood. (The embracing of (homo)sexual sin in the persons of Bishops Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool is an attempt to legitimize what Scripture clearly proscribes.)

The most public case is that of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison who witnessed his brother's (a priest) seduction of an underage girl and then failed to inform authorities. The whole mess caught up with him 30 years later when he was inhibited and deposed after two trials. He only escaped final deposition when it was learned that the sexual abuse occurred beyond the statute of limitations.

Bennison returned shamelessly to power. He has spent most of his time trying to rewrite his twisted and deformed legacy while diocesan officials have shuttled to New York to ask the Presiding Bishop how they might elicit her support in getting rid of him. All to no avail.

VOL first broke the news that former Nevada Episcopal bishop Jefferts Schori, now presiding bishop, received into the priesthood a known sexual predator from the Roman Catholic Church, one Bede Parry.

This news has galvanized the blogosphere -- both liberal and conservative. Despite complete stonewalling by the Presiding Bishop, the story won't go away. Bishop of Bethlehem Paul Marshall has publicly blasted her for her silence.

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP, released a detailed, typed, two page admission by the "outed" predator priest Parry who was named for the first time in a civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit. The alleged abuse took place in western Missouri in the 1980s.

The two page confession by Parry says that four men who are now Catholic prelates knew of - but kept silent about - his crimes. The confession names at least ten other Catholic and Episcopal officials in California, Nevada and Minnesota who were all told of Parry's crimes, including the nation's highest ranking Episcopal figure, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

She did nothing about it except to mouth platitudes that he should not be allowed near children even though psychiatric reports reveal that Parry would act out again, if a situation arose where he could.

Still, Parry was able to work as music director and priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, NV, until May of this year.

The confession was obtained by clergy abuse survivor Patrick Marker who runs a website called Behind the Pine Curtain - http://www.behindthepinecurtain.com/wordpress/?page_id=2882

How is it that the highest official in The Episcopal Church can slam the door in the face of allegations that she knew about Parry's behavior and still received him into the Episcopal Church?

The simple question for the Presiding Bishop to answer is: Why?

As attorney A.S. Haley notes, "And why, as Episcopalians on both sides of the aisle are asking, will she make no public response to these valid -- and genuine -- concerns? If one is maintaining impartiality, one does not presume that she is trying to hide anything. But the longer she maintains her silence on a crucial subject which only she can fully explain, the more it looks as though she is the one who is trying to hide something."


At that time, Canon III.11 of the Episcopal Church required that before he could be received into the Church, Bede Parry had to furnish proofs of his "godly and moral character", and that his departure from the Roman Catholic Church had not been on account of "any circumstance unfavorable to moral or religious character . . .".

It is inconceivable that the full information made available to Bishop Jefferts Schori could have satisfied either of these requirements before she agreed to receive Parry in the fall of 2004.

2003 was a year of intense examination in the Episcopal Church concerning its standards to prevent sexual abuse of minors and children. First, General Convention enacted Resolution B008, "Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse." This recommended that dioceses obtain "a written application, public records check, an interview and reference checks" for every applicant who would "regularly work with children." (Bede Parry had been functioning as the organist, and assisting with the choir, at All Saints, Las Vegas, before applying to be received as a priest.) Next, the Episcopal House of Bishops, of which Jefferts Schori was a member, met in August 2003 and promulgated a pastoral letter that said in part, "We your bishops are steadfastly committed to seeing that the Episcopal Church is a community of safety and health for all people. The Body of Christ, the Church, must be a place where adults, children, and young people find the love and blessing of God, and where no one might be hurt and where their hurts may be healed."

As if these statements were not enough to raise the red flag in the Diocese of Nevada, the Pastoral Letter from the House of Bishops went on to discuss the kind of abuse with which Bede Parry had been most prominently involved.

Following this letter, exactly as stated, (a) the Diocese of Nevada under Bishop Jefferts Schori adopted in October 2003 its own Manual of Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Misconduct, and then (b) the Church Pension Group promulgated a nationwide set of model standards for dioceses and parishes to follow. Those standards required a full application that included the inquiry: "Have you ever been accused of physically, sexually or emotionally abusing a child or an adult?" It also required a background check, including a check of references.

Bishop Dan Edwards, the current Bishop of Nevada, says that a review of Bede Parry's file shows that Bishop Jefferts Schori placed a restriction on his ability to work with children -- which shows that she had been made aware of his tendency to prey upon young males; but an interview with his most recent employers at All Saints in Las Vegas disclosed that they had been unaware of any such restrictions.

Amazingly, Bishop Jefferts Schori appears to have allowed him to wipe his slate clean and proceed to function as a priest in her Diocese without further concern or ado.

So the question is why is she not being hauled up on Canon Title IV charges and where are the Episcopal bishops who should be calling her to account?

It is long past time for the PB to "come clean" about this whole sordid affair - Title IV requires it - and the ongoing cover-up is unconscionable, wrote one blogger. It is dangerous for the church to behave as though it will. The Presiding Bishop must be held to the same high standards she demands of all her priests and bishops.

The silence is deafening, dangerous and precedent setting.


Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top