Controversy over the Bishop of Iceland’s handling of a sex abuse case has compelled many priests to call for his resignation.
As many Grapevine readers are probably aware, how the Church of Iceland has handled cases of sexual abuse received increase media attention last year, when Guðrún Ebba Ólafsdóttir, daughter of former bishop Ólafur Skúlason, spoke out about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Numerous other women then came forward, saying the same. This prompted the start of a church investigation, with findings released earlier this month.
Among the findings that have come to light, Vísir reports, is that current Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson – at the time of the incident just a priest on the church council – hid the initial letter of complaint submitted by Guðrún Ebba, and in fact did not file it with the church office for a year and a half. The investigative committee who submitted the findings believe that this was a violation of the law, and Guðrún Ebba told reporters that she finds it sad that the bishop has still refused to accept responsibility for his actions.
Vísir reports that numerous priests they spoke with believe the bishop should resign from his position, and that for him to remain where he is is an insult to the nation. In addition, two priests have resigned from the church council altogether, among them Ólafur Skúlason’s own son, and parish priest Baldur Kristjánsson, who said in part, “I was a part of the church machinations at the time, although I was just an official and not yet a priest, I was still a part of this and am ashamed of it. … Such cases of course never end. They live on in the minds of everyone related to the story. Not least of all, the victims.” Baldur then apologised to the former bishop’s victims, asking forgiveness.
The bishop has not, at the time of this writing, responded to the investigation’s findings or to the calls for resignation.