jQuery Slider

You are here



Special Report

By David W. Virtue

A retired Episcopal bishop says that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank T. Griswold consorted with known drag queens and homosexuals in Paris in the late 80's, bringing a dozen of them to the American cathedral, where he was ordered by the then Bishop of the American Convocation to leave his cathedral and to take his gay friends with him.

The bishop told the story to VirtueOnline but asked that his name not be mentioned in the article. VirtueOnline confirmed that he held the position that he states he did. The bishop said he was finally glad to tell someone the truth about Griswold, as he had watched with dismay the decline of The Episcopal Church under his tenure.

The bishop said Griswold would come with his wife Phoebe to Paris and then disappear into the Left Bank leaving her with the wife of the American Bishop of Europe.

"Griswold told me he wanted to preach sermons at the cathedral. I let him preach once and it was terrible. I said he could never preach again. The next Sunday he turned up with a bunch of bad looking people, dressed in odd clothes with heavy black make-up around their eyes and I told him not to bring those people from the other side of the river into my cathedral."

Griswold never returned.

The bishop said he discovered what Griswold was up to by accident. "I was supposed to go to Germany that weekend but circumstances forced me to stay in Paris. I was at the cathedral early Sunday morning where I was celebrating and I looked out over the congregation and saw Frank Griswold with a group of very gay looking men with no signs of his wife. They were dressed in drag and did not fit in. How could a good man bring those queers into the cathedral and leave his wife in Paris?"

"He thought he had the guts to bring them to the cathedral because he thought I would not be there and the Dean would preach. But I stayed and celebrated and saw Griswold in the midst of the people he brought from the Left Bank."

The bishop said Griswold was very friendly. "They left the cathedral right after the service because he knew I would confront him."

Later, the bishop spoke with Griswold and told him how furious he was about what he had done. "Griswold went back to the United States and did not return," he said.

"I didn't trust Griswold at all. I said to my Dean 'keep that friend of yours away from the cathedral.' The dean replied, "He's not my friend." He said he thought we had to have him preach because he was a bishop. The cathedral bishop said he had no respect for Griswold, "and neither did my Dean."

"Griswold used to come during his vacation I would let him preach when he was Bishop of Chicago, but I denied him after the first time. I would not let him in the cathedral or preach because I wanted to protect my cathedral. We had nuns coming regularly to the cathedral and then we had this group of queers come in. It was a huge contradiction."

The retired bishop then said he relayed the whole scene to an orthodox American bishop when he returned to the U.S. who spoke to VirtueOnline and confirmed what the American bishop had told him.

The retired American bishop said he was good friends with Paul John Paul II. "I saw him once every month on my visits to Rome. The Pope gave me a Bible; the Pope was my friend. I went every month to Rome and met and talked with him privately."

The American bishop said Griswold wanted to come with me on his visits to Rome to meet the Pope, but he flatly refused to take him along. "I would never let him come."

Asked what his overall impression of Griswold was, the bishop said his impression was that Griswold was a sort of sissy. "I was very surprised he became Presiding Bishop. John Allin [former Presiding Bishop] told me he didn't like him. My memory of him is that he was a weak man."

"At the cathedral in Paris we always had a tea in the garden, but Griswold didn't show up that day. He knew better. When I finally confronted him, I told him he couldn't come back to the cathedral to preach."


EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article noted the period of time as the early 90's. This has been corrected to the late 80s.

Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top