Clergy and laypeople in the Diocese of Haiti have published an open letter calling on standing committees and bishops of the Episcopal Church to reject Joseph Kerwin Délicat’s election as bishop coadjutor. The letter follows a ruling by the Court of Review of Province II that allegations of electoral interference were credible as the diocese elected a successor to Bishop Zaché Duracin.
The court dismissed specific allegations against Délicat, which had alleged his complicity in a serious act of misconduct by another priest of the Diocese of Haiti.
“We have been given clear documentary (stamped passport) proof that Father Délicat was not in Haiti at the time of the alleged offense, and we have been given sufficient evidence to demonstrate a substantial investigation of the charges by the Standing Committee,” the court said.
The group first contested the election in a letter that described “total chaos” emerging after an April 2017 covenant of reconciliation was reached between Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Duracin, and Suffragan Bishop Ogé Beauvoir. The group portrayed the election as “an electoral coup d’état that exceeds what is done in secular politics” marked by intimidation and corruption. [TLC, Sept. 2]
In the latest letter, sent to TLC and addressed to all in a “position of responsibility in TEC,” the group questions the court’s decision to clear Délicat while ruling that “allegations regarding efforts to manipulate, control, or unduly influence the election of the Bishop Coadjutor are credible” and [t]here is credible evidence that the Covenant among the Presiding Bishop and Bishops Duracin and Beauvoir has been ignored and violated by both sides.”
The group said Délicat has begun signing documents as bishop coadjutor-elect.
“We have protested many times against those confused positions and we will protest until our voices are heard,” the letter says.
“The least we could expect of our pastor in chief is the ability to say no when evil forces want to use him for their own gain,” the letter adds. “To partake and support the maneuverings of his party and mingle with all the wrongdoings, removes all credibility and makes him unfit to lead the laity and Clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.”
“The findings of the court of Review say it loud and clear: the process has been a failure. Our letter is to request that no Standing Committee and no bishop should support such a corrupt candidate for consecration.”