Thursday, November 09, 2006

Episcopal Chaplain Loses Job for Running Gay Website

A news item from the Miami Herald:
An Episcopalian chaplain resigned from his job at a Palmetto Bay private school after explicit images of him appeared on a gay wrestling website that was circulated this week around the school, school officials said.

Father Adrian Parry, 47, of South Miami, quit his post at Palmer Trinity School on Monday after almost two decades as its chaplain and head of the humanities and history department, according to school headmaster Sean Murphy.

Parry ''had been engaging in what, in our opinion, were inappropriate and unacceptable outside activities,'' Murphy wrote in a statement.

A former Palmer Trinity student who is now in college found a website called - lucha is a Spanish word for fight - with photos of Parry and forwarded the link to some former and current students, according to Mike Casey, an attorney for Palmer Trinity.

The website, which records show is registered to Parry, was taken offline Monday, but archived pages have links to gay nude wrestling DVDs for sale, Parry's e-mail address and an invitation to participate. (If you think I'm going to link the site, think again. Go find some cached pages if you are interested; better yet, go to confession.)

''If you want to wrestle me, simply send me an e-mail,'' Parry wrote on the site, which contains a disclaimer about adult content. ``I can host . . . or travel to you. All serious challenges will be responded to. Let's wrestle!''

The Episcopalian Diocese of Southeast Florida defrocked Parry of his duties as a reverend as the group investigates him. He can choose to renounce his priesthood or face a trial among church leaders, said Bishop Leo Frade, head of the Diocese.

''The evidence that we received . . . shows conduct unbecoming a clergy person,'' Frade said. "There are certain promises a priest needs to fulfill, and according to what was presented to us, we had no choice but to take the action we have with Father Parry.''

[…] Parry's resignation and the unearthing of his website shocked students and parents, many of whom described him as a dedicated teacher who led humanitarian efforts in Thailand after a tsunami struck the country in December 2004.

Parry was vacationing in Thailand with friends, as was his tradition every year, when the deadly natural disaster hit the region. Murphy, the Palmer Trinity headmaster, agreed to let Parry stay in the country an extra two weeks to help with the recovery. Other teachers substituted for Parry in his economics and modern history classes.

While he was in Thailand, Parry e-mailed journal entries to Palmer Trinity students. In one dispatch, he said he didn't have the courage to help pick up and move dead bodies, so instead he concentrated on reconnecting victims who had lost track of their relatives.

Good for him in helping with the recovery, but did anyone at the school ever stop to think that Thailand is the sex-tourism capital of Asia? Having a tradition of going there with friends every year, though possibly totally innocent, ought to have raised an eyebrow somewhere.

[…] ''I just hope the parents and kids will be able to move past this and understand that something like this can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any school,'' Casey said.

No, I’m sorry. Things like this can’t happen to anyone, anywhere. They can be committed by anyone, anywhere. They are a product of our sinful nature, not happenstance, and therefore they don’t have to happen to anyone. When they do, they reflect our sin and not our victimhood.

I feel sorrow for this perpetrator, especially since it seems that he did indeed manage to keep his perversions separated from the school, and I hope that his (appropriate) defrocking and job loss will lead him to real repentance. Evil flourishes in the dark and secret places, and now that it is open to the light perhaps it can be healed. He won’t be able to do it on his own, any more than Ted Haggard could deal with his demons in secret.

I am somewhat pleasantly surprised at the immediate response of the school and the diocese. If Vicki Gene Robinson, having left his wife and family to run off with a gay lover, is an appropriate model for a bishop and a shepherd in the Episcopal Church, then I am not sure on what logical grounds they can go after this guy as a priest.