Earlier today, we received an email from the Safeguarding team in the Diocese of London. It was sent in response to our request for comment on our previous coverage that defrocked priest Adrian Parry is being allowed to officiate at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, and that the church is covering up Wheeler’s use of pornography on church property.
True to form, the email is defensive and misses the mark, but here it is:
However, the email raises several questions. So we’ll start with the easiest and go from there.
- Given that we are accusing the Diocese of cover-up, why would we believe its assertion that there’s no evidence that Parry is officiating? The question is not whether Parry is licensed. Instead, the question is whether Wheeler, who appears unsavory at best, is letting him officiate. And the photo Parry posted of himself in clericals in front of the church is highly probative. So, if laity wants to contact us and say they have seen no evidence that Parry is officiating, we’ll gladly retract that part of the story. But the Diocese is not in a position to ask us to do anything, and we’ve heard this allegation from multiple sources. So, for now, we are sticking with it.
- It’s telling that the safeguarding team wants people to send complaints directly to it. Given our belief that it covers up misconduct, why would anyone do that? The request is about power and control and the ability to sandbag issues, not safeguard fellow Christians.
- The response fails to address our allegations of a cover-up of Wheeler’s misconduct, including a lack of transparency.
For the record, we don’t care about Wheeler and Parry’s sexual orientation. But we do care about their conduct:
- Accessing porn in a church is always wrong.
- Running an online porn business is always inappropriate for clergy.
- Holding yourself forth as a priest when you have been defrocked is wrong. And again, why is Parry posting photos online of himself in clericals?
Anglican Watch has heard numerous additional complaints about these two. And while some of these complaints may be rooted in homophobia, they are all appear to be based on conduct. Add in the travel to Thailand, a notorious sex tourism destination described as a “pedophile’s paradise,” and we become profoundly uneasy. Make that a double shot, straight up, given Parry’s extensive work in educational settings.
To be clear: Allegations of clergy misconduct must be dealt with as early as possible before they become crises. Just the bit about Parry wandering around London in clericals should set off warning sirens across the Diocese.
But then, this is the famously dysfunctional Church of England.
Let’s hope the Safeguarding team in London gets off their lazy arses and does something about this situation before it winds up with another Bishop Ball on its hands.