You have to hand it to the Episcopal Church: No one lies like the denomination. And that’s particularly true of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, which just posted a profile in its search for a new bishop that contains an outrageous lie about the Diocese’s commitment to safety.
This fabrication is unhelpful and unacceptable.
So what is the lie?
In a nutshell, the lie is that the Diocese has a “robust safe church training program and Title IV process.”
Here is a screen cap of the exact language:
To be clear, the Diocese has one of the most appalling Title IV processes in the denomination and currently is ignoring multiple cases in which clergy have engaged in criminal activity.
- Bishop Alan Gates routinely ignores the Title IV requirement that he forward complaints about clergy misconduct to an intake officer.
- The Diocese consistently ignores the Title IV requirement that it provide an immediate pastoral response in all cases in which a Title IV complaint is filed–even if the complaint ultimately is dismissed,
- The Diocese routinely ignores the state’s mandatory reporting laws for cases of child abuse.
- The Diocese has repeatedly ignored allegations of child rape by a priest who, at the time of the incident, served in the Diocese of Massachusetts.
- The Diocese routinely ignores the Title IV provision that, during intake, the facts alleged will be presumed to be accurate.
- The Diocese tells complainants to take their complaints to court versus fulfilling its Title IV obligation to work within the church for healing, justice, and reconciliation.
- At least one priest known to have credible criminal allegations against him continues to serve within the Diocese.
- Bishop Alan Gates deliberately slow-walks Title IV cases in order to provide miscreant clergy with full retirement benefits. Doing so is an abuse of church resources and the trust of church members.
- The Diocese routinely improperly dismisses complaints it doesn’t want to deal with.
- The Diocese ignores parishes that violate church canons.
The details of these situations are covered elsewhere on Anglican Watch, so with one exception, soon to come, we won’t bore readers with specifics.
Meanwhile, we note that there’s something worse than lying to others, and that is lying to oneself.
Why? Because lying to oneself prevents one from dealing with the underlying issues. As a result, self-deception is the worst kind of deception.
Tragically, our experience is that many in the Diocese actually believe the BS about having robust Title IV and safe church programs. Thus, the only safe path forward for persons who don’t want to risk abuse — or exposing their loved ones to abuse — is to avoid the denomination altogether.
Nor should anyone minimize the issues at hand. The example we previously promised is illustrative.
In that case, “Jack” (a pseudonym to protect the victim’s identity) was allegedly raped by an Episcopal priest, Richard Losch, in the 1970’s. The resulting criminal case is now going to trial.
Yet Gates, the diocesan intake officers, and others repeatedly ignored pleas from the victim for help. Even when an ELCA bishop waded into the fray, the Diocese ignored the allegations. And while there recently has been a pastoral response by local church officials, Gates and his minions still have done nothing to address the victim’s suffering.
In short, the situation with clergy discipline in DioMass is shocking and appalling.
Anglican Watch calls on the Diocese and its standing committee to retract the fabrications in its bishop search profile, apologize to those it has hurt through its willful mishandling of clergy disciplinary complaints, and make restitution.
Specifically, we want the Diocese to:
- Review all disciplinary complaints filed during Gates’ tenure.
- Follow the provisions of Title IV to the letter.
- Stop slow-walking Title iV cases.
- Apologize to those it has hurt by sandbagging clergy disciplinary complaints.
- Hold Gates and other diocesan officials accountable for their misconduct.
- Make reparations to those it has hurt.
Will any of these happen? Not bloody likely. But it would be the Christian thing to do–which speaks volumes to the real priorities of the Diocese under Gates.
In other words, the long history of corruption at the top echelons of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts continues. We’ve had enough of this corruption and demand that it stop immediately.