Lexington Bishop Douglas Hahn suspended for one year

Posted Mar 29, 2016

[Episcopal Diocese of Lexington] Douglas Hahn has been suspended for one year from his duties as bishop of the Diocese of Lexington and from ordained ministry, effective March 9.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, working through the canonical disciplinary and pastoral processes of the church, took this action after learning that Hahn had a sexual relationship with an adult female parishioner and intentionally withheld this information when seeking the position of bishop. Hahn has admitted to these charges against him. He and Curry have reached an official “Accord” or agreement providing for terms of the suspension.

The Standing Committee, which is the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese in the absence of a bishop, acknowledges that the relationship between the diocese and Hahn has been seriously strained by Hahn’s actions.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, the Rev. Peter D. D’Angio, President, said, “As members of Christ’s holy church we believe in confession, repentance, and forgiveness. We also understand that actions have consequences.”

The Standing Committee, with the assistance of the presiding bishop’s office, has already begun the process of discerning the selection of a bishop to serve the Diocese of Lexington during the suspension. Under their leadership, the diocese will continue God’s mission of compassion, mercy, reconciliation and evangelism.

Editor’s note: A copy of a letter that Hahn wrote to the diocese is posted here on the website of Trinity Episcopal Church in Covington, Kentucky, where D’Angio is rector.


Comments (10)

  1. Douglas Register says:

    These releases mystify me. What was the sin? Adultery or fornication? The Church establishes that “actions have consequences,” and that withholding information is more wrong than what emotional harm the information may do to others. But here, obviously we are not being told everything–but wasn’t that the main offense to the Church? Fortunately, Jesus taught us that it is hypocrisy (those who are without sin cast the first stone) which truly is the highest sin.

  2. Tom Eshelman says:

    So here we have a Bishop in our church who lied to his wife, the search committee, Oxford background, the people in the Diocese and he gets a year off. Tell me what is wrong with this picture. Shame on our church and on this man.

    1. Kevin Miller says:

      He confessed it to a priest. It should have gone no further from there. Can people find it in their hearts to forgive him?
      “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

    2. Sean Storm says:

      Oh tell me he will ever be trusted again by his Diocese or his people? I think a year suspension is the least of his troubles. His career as a Ordained Minister is done.

  3. Doug Kerr says:

    It is comforting to know that the carefully-thought-out canonical disciplinary and pastoral machinery of The Episcopal Church has worked to ameliorate the adverse effect on humankind of Bishop Hahn’s actions.

    The search committee must feel especially “satisfied”.

  4. Selena Smith says:

    More and more I see that forgiveness is a sparse spiritual commodity in our Church. Instead it’s accord, therapy, transparency. Truly sad.

  5. The Rev'd Nancy C. Betz says:

    Clergy like every other human being make mistakes and commit sins. He has acknowledged his sin before God and God’s priest. He has received forgiveness from God and told to go and sin no more. He has received punishment from the Church and he is making every effort to get his life back on track. If God forgives him why can’t humanity forgive him. “Let the first among you without sin cast the first stone.”

    1. V. Heard says:

      To be considered as candidate, he concealed this prior fact from the search and standing committees of the diocese of Lexington. Thus, he lied to become a bishop. God forgives, but good order in the church requires great trust in leadership. It appears that he betrayed that trust four years ago, seeking status and authority.

  6. The phrase “actions have consequences,” i’d be interest to learn its etymology: earliest known use, in re what, by whom?
    It’s long bothered me that my own religious tradition, episcopalian, offers very little guidance on how to repent, atone, repair wrongs we have wrought, whereas Catholics, Jews and Muslims do. I think of this particularly in relation to slavery and complicities of silence as new strains of racism perpetually mutate. But the lacuna infects personal morality too. I sense an excess of forgiveness admonitions and expressions. Beaucoup observations of reconciliation. Premature sans Repentence. Cheap Grace.
    Public confession, transparency, ok if not Oprahesque, crocodile tears. But the consequence should be action that rights the wronged. Righting the wrong abstractly may be twisted.

  7. Nellie Mullikin McRoberts says:

    The American Civil War ended in 1865. What does Bishop Hahn have to do with slavery? If one is that concerned with those in bondage, what about all the humans in the world who still are slaves? Quit worrying about what happened over 150 years ago, and worry about those who are being sold into some sort of slavery at this very moment-even in this country. If people were that concerned about this supposed affair, why was something not said sooner-rather than later? It would seem the fact his sin can never be forgotten would be bondage enough.

    Regarding repentance, how the individual handles that should be a private affair-unless they have committed a serious crime.

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