As evidence mounts of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s misconduct, including his myriad fabrications, one thing is clear: It’s time for Bishop Susan Goff to resign. As in right now. Not 2023. Not in a few months.
Under Goff’s watch, we have seen Title IV intake officers say with a straight face that clergy will only be held accountable for misconduct if they face criminal charges. Melissa Hollerith, wife of Randy Hollerith, the dean of the National Cathedral, agrees. Sven vanBaar, one of the great ding-a-lings of the church, is serving as a delegate to general convention. And JP Causey, who has consistently advised church officials to ignore church canons when, in his mind, doing so would protect the diocese from liability, continues in office.
In short, under Goff the situation in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has been astonishingly similar to the Church of England, which has long covered up abuse of every sort, trashing victims in the process, while protecting clergy. In other words, the diocese is corrupt at every level.
And in the midst of this, Susan Goff is tut-tutting around, telling clergy to engage in self-care and proclaiming that God rejoices when we take our sabbath. It’s this sort of narcissistic clericalism that is killing the Episcopal Church, for one sees no similar concern for victims of abuse in the diocese, whether the abuse is sexual, spiritual, emotional, or other. In fact, when the rector of St. Thomas’ McLean left amidst a Title IV case in 2015, the diocese basically provided no pastoral response to the parish. When he later offered a perfunctory apology, Bishop Shannon Johnston said the diocese made that decision on the basis of the advice of legal counsel.
Susan Goff, it is time for your resignation. You have placed the reputation of the church ahead of its obligation to care for and serve its members, and you have done so knowingly. You are a fraud and hypocrite, and you are destroying the diocese.
And while you’re at it, take JP Causey with you, as well as that ding-a-ling Sven van Baar and the moronic Melissa Hollerith.