The Episcopal Church revises clergy misconduct protocols for fairness, transparency

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Religion

(RNS) — As it elected Bishop Sean Rowe its new presiding bishop at last week’s General Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the Episcopal Church adopted more than 20 resolutions related to Title IV, a section of the church bylaws that governs its response to allegations against clergy of abuse or misconduct.Over the past year, a spate of public Title IV cases prompted concerns about the complexity and effectiveness of the denomination’s approach to clergy discipline, particularly in cases involving bishops’ decisions or misconduct of their own. Less than two weeks before General Convention, the denomination disclosed that three of the five presiding bishop nominees had faced current or prior Title IV complaints. (Rowe was one of the two nominees not listed in the disclosure.)
“There’s been a lot of activity and action of distrust by the wider church, in the way Title IV has been adjudicated with bishops,” said Bishop Ian T. Douglas, retired bishop of Connecticut. He added that some bishops, on the other hand, are concerned that they might be unfairly targeted. “I think, and I hope and I pray that these changes can help rebuild trust in the system,” he said.
Some hope that the election of Rowe, who has procedural expertise and a history of bringing abuse to light as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York, signals a broader shift toward a more streamlined, consistent application of Title IV.
Douglas, for one, noted that Rowe is an expert on the church’s bylaws and has years of …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn(RNS) — As it elected Bishop Sean Rowe its new presiding bishop at last week’s General Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the Episcopal Church adopted more than 20 resolutions related to Title IV, a section of the church bylaws that governs its response to allegations against clergy of abuse or misconduct.Over the past year, a spate of public Title IV cases prompted concerns about the complexity and effectiveness of the denomination’s approach to clergy discipline, particularly in cases involving bishops’ decisions or misconduct of their own. Less than two weeks before General Convention, the denomination disclosed that three of the five presiding bishop nominees had faced current or prior Title IV complaints. (Rowe was one of the two nominees not listed in the disclosure.)
“There’s been a lot of activity and action of distrust by the wider church, in the way Title IV has been adjudicated with bishops,” said Bishop Ian T. Douglas, retired bishop of Connecticut. He added that some bishops, on the other hand, are concerned that they might be unfairly targeted. “I think, and I hope and I pray that these changes can help rebuild trust in the system,” he said.
Some hope that the election of Rowe, who has procedural expertise and a history of bringing abuse to light as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York, signals a broader shift toward a more streamlined, consistent application of Title IV.
Douglas, for one, noted that Rowe is an expert on the church’s bylaws and has years of …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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