Sunday, April 15, 2018

Good Article On Clergy Discipline

In The Episcopal Church, the clergy disciplinary canons are referred to as Title IV. Applying only to clergy and not laity, these provisions may not be reviewed in civil courts.

Some years ago, the church transitioned to a clergy disciplinary model that is restorative in nature, versus based on retribution or punishment. Specifically, the process focuses on healing and repair, both for the clergyperson and for those affected by his or her betrayal of trust.

Unfortunately, the Diocese of Virginia has shown that it is neither familiar with Title IV, nor committed to its goals. As a result, we see lasting harm to all parties involved, much of which will be difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

In the article, I find the discussion about clergy placing their own needs ahead of those they serve. While I want to be clear that there is no suggestion that Bob Malm has engaged in sexual impropriety (as was alleged with the rector who is the subject of the article), Bob’s continued focus on his own perceived needs, and his desire to “discipline” those he apparently sees as wayward former parishioners, betrays the trust of his parish, his family, and others.