Episcopal Church announces new measures for increased transparency in matters of bishop misconduct

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In response to calls for greater clarity and accountability in The Episcopal Church’s disciplinary process for matters involving bishops, the church announced today a new three-part protocol aimed at increasing trust in and understanding of Title IV, the church’s canons that govern ecclesiastical discipline.

These measures include high-visibility paths on episcopalchurch.org for reporting misconduct; viewing the procedural status of some current matters involving bishops; and reading an annual statistical report on complaints involving bishops and their outcomes.

Over the past few months, and prior to his recent health procedures, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry elected to exercise his broad canonical discretion to make information public in disciplinary matters involving bishops when he deems it pastorally appropriate.

Curry notified The Episcopal Church House of Bishops of this newly designed protocol and attendant resources in a letter sent earlier today, noting, “As you are aware, experience over the past several years with Title IV matters involving bishops has given rise to calls for more transparency in the process. The canons prescribe some measure of transparency throughout the process, with increasing transparency if a matter moves to public trial.”

He added that, “In the canons we see a balancing of the benefits of transparency against the benefits of some measure of privacy. Striking the right balance may help us get closer to the lofty goals set out in Canon I of Title IV—‘healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and, reconciliation among all involved or affected.’”

In view of these goals and decisions, the progress of Title IV matters involving bishops will now be disclosed in situations where the matter becomes public such that the presiding bishop deems that disclosure of its procedural progress is warranted. Examples may include situations where a sitting bishop has had their ministry restricted or been placed on administrative leave, among others.

The procedural chronologies of such current cases are now posted here. Past matters, including those that church canons require be made public because they reach the stage of a public trial, are now posted here.

Additionally, Episcopalians seeking to understand the Title IV process the church follows for complaints against bishops will find several links and other informational resources on these pages.