February 27, 2008

Paul Moore and a Thought for 02.27.08

Given that the church is not a society of the perfect but a hospital for sinners, it is good to remember that doctors and nurses too suffer with their own illnesses and injuries.

Tobias Haller BSG
I snapped the photograph of Bishop Moore in the fall of 1983


Christopher said...

Could you elaborate. I'm not familiar with Bp. Moore.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you've now adjusted your blog for the visually impaired.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

There is an article in the March 3 issue of The New Yorker that is creating quite a stir; it is based on Paul Moore's daughter's soon to be released biography. Google Honor Moore and Paul Moore and you'll see the details. It is a complicated story and I cannot do it justice here.

Thanks for noticing. I was doing a bit of tinkering in the effort to make it all a bit easier to read!

Anonymous said...


Did you receive the letter from your (current) bishop, that "the Priest who is Mad" has posted, here?

I would very much like to know what you think of it (I already expressed my disappointment at MP's site)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

I am disappointed, but only because a response became necessary. This is a very painful situation for many of us who regarded Paul Moore as a personal friend as well as as a mentor. I can say the same for Bishop Sisk, who in his letter is trying to make the best of being handed a very large hefty-bag of unwanted revelations to deal with. These revelations were not wanted by Paul either. For right or wrong he tried to keep his private life private, and his daughter has chosen to perhaps do a bit of personal exorcism at the expense of his memory; and let's face it, infidelity is infidelity. His double life did have impact on his ministry, and he was not as effective a witness for gay and lesbian people because of it.

Before anyone mentions Ellen B., also a personal friend, and Paul's "courage" in ordaining her, you can read his abandonment of her when the House of Bishops wanted to censure him for his actions. It was not his finest hour.

That being said, let me tell you that Bishop Sisk is as personally saddened by all of this as I am, perhaps more. And that sadness is chiefly for Paul, who had been his colleague and mentor when Mark was Archdeacon in NY. He wanted to allow Paul to rest in peace, but Honor's breaking the story made a response necessary. Some may not like the tone of the response, but it is honest and true to what happened. Bishop Sisk did not "break" this story; the New Yorker did.

So please don't blame Bishop Sisk for doing his job -- which is to protect the living, even as much as he would have liked to honor the dead.

Christopher said...

Sorry to say, now I know. As I wrote at MP's:

First, I agree with denis that the same standards apply to us all, but I don't think anyone here would expect less from me.

Second, this is a grievious and sad situation with a lot of complexity, that indicts all of us as a church that was and is still willing to live with or impose the closet on the same-sex affectioned. The closet leads to all sorts of malformations, and not only of the same-sex affectioned, but of all of us.

Third, all who counsel others have a responsibility not to get involved sexually with those whom they counsel. For all of the complexity in regard to Bp. Moore's family, I find this even more deadly as it is a form of abuse on the part of a clergy person.

Fourth, this isn't damage control. Damage control implies too often cover up or dampening. This seems a forthright letter about the situation given the revelations, which is to say, I agree with Frs. Haller, Carroll, and MP that Bp. Sisk would have been negligent in his duty as bishop if he hadn't offered a word. And a fair word it is that helps us see Bp. Moore as both sinner and saint.

I pray for all of us, for this affects us all.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't "indict us all" at all. While there is such a thing as corporate sing, cosmic brokenness--call it what you will--this kind of overstatement cannot command assent and shifts focus away from the personal responsibility, and enhanced responsibility, that Moore couldn't live up to fully.

We can still say that we are ALL bound in sin, that we all go to the grave with some measure of conflict, guilt, etc., but let's knock off the hyperbole.

JOHN 2007

Gary Paul Gilbert said...

What about Bishop Grein?

Murdoch Matthew
spouse of Gary

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

I'm not sure I understand your question. Obviously Bishop Grein was and is a man like any other, with his faults as well as virtues. It is certainly true that his marriage, though long, ended in a failure for which he admits the lion's share of responsibility.

But as far as I know, there were no complaints of sexual misconduct raised against him, as was the case with Paul -- in multiple instances. The charge raised against Grein in connection with the alleged coerced resignation of a priest was dealt with in civil and ecclesiastical court, and I believe led to a dismissal of the charge and a settlement. If my recollection is mistaken, I'm open to being corrected.

In short, the situations are, in my opinion, entirely different.