David Duggan, a retired attorney in the Chicago area, has filed a Title IV bishop disciplinary complaint against bishop Chilton Knudsen. The complaint alleges that Knudsen:
- Improperly shared confidential communication between Duggan and Knudsen, thus violating the Title IV requirement that clergy preserve confidences.
- Engaged in abuse of legal process by filing a false and malicious request for a protective order against Duggan.
We have covered Knudsen’s abuse of power and unethical conduct on multiple occasions, including her efforts to oust Duggan from the Episcopal church. Among the documented issues involving Knudsen’s behavior:
- Obstructing the Title IV clergy disciplinary process by refusing to consider charges of criminal conduct on the part of Episcopal priest Bob Malm in Virginia. Refusing to cooperate in a Title IV proceeding violates Title IV.
- Two instances of failing to report child sexual abuse, including a case in Maryland and the better-known one in Chicago.
- Stating that she reported the Diocese of Chicago incident to the police. Her testimony in this matter is facially inconsistent and implausible, and we believe she lied under oath.
- Failing to provide the pastoral response required under Title IV in multiple cases.
On inclusion — of every sort
Anglican Watch also supports Duggan on an issue central to his Title IV complaint: his right to disagree on issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion, including marriage equality and suitability for ordination.
It is no secret that we ardently support the inclusion of all persons in the church. That extends to our support for marriage equality and equal access to ordination.
At the same time, we cannot advocate for an open door to all persons and impose our own orthodoxy on Duggan.
We also are greatly troubled that Knudsen and the diocese have not sought a positive path forward, like having coffee with Duggan, listening to his concerns, and mapping out a path forward.
Legal action against a parishioner should be an option of last resort, deployed only in the rarest circumstances.
We have dealt directly with Duggan and find him courteous, honest, and articulate. We therefore believe there is no reason Knudsen and the diocese could not have handled things without going to court.
And nowhere have we seen any concern for Duggan and his family. That should be a starting point in resolving any dispute or disagreement.
Paula Clark: just as bad
Also of concern is the failure of the current bishop of Chicago, Paula Clark, to lead by cleaning up this mess.
Indeed, Anglican Watch has written Clark directly to ask that she resolve this issue but didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.
So, as Clark bloviates about “Grow the church. Form the faithful. Change the world,” we cannot even get her to take basic steps towards doing precisely that in this matter.
Time for some integrity from the Diocese of Chicago. We stand with David Duggan.