Church Council Lets Bishop Stay On - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Church Council Lets Bishop Stay On

Published June 15, 2011

Not one priest attending the church council yesterday put forth a formal proposal that Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson resign for his part in a sex scandal. As such, the bishop officially retains his position.
As Grapevine reported, the bishop did apologise yesterday for hiding a letter from Guðrún Ebba Ólafsdóttir, daughter of former bishop Ólafur Skúlason, who accused her father of sexually abusing her. Karl, at the time just a priest, did not file the letter with church authorities for a year and a half.
After she and other women came forward last fall, speaking up about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Ólafur, an investigation was launched which reached the conclusion that the current bishop had broken the law.
These findings led to a couple priests resigning from the church council, and some strong words from other clergy, including Rev. Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir, who said that the bishop remaining on hurts the image of the church, and Rev. Toshiki Toma, who took issue with the bishop sharing responsibility for his actions with the church as a whole.
However, RÚV reports that not a single member of the church council has submitted a formal proposal calling upon the bishop to resign. Instead, it approved a proposal expressing regret for how the church handled the sex abuse case, and asked for forgiveness.
Council president Pétur Kr. Hafstein furthermore expressed his absolute support for the bishop, saying that the best the church can do is learn from its mistakes.


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