Long Island Bishop Meets with Priests

By Frank Eltman
The Ledger [West Islip NY]
January 19, 2004

WEST ISLIP, N.Y. The leader of Long Island's 1.5 million Roman Catholics met with 190 priests Monday to address what some had said was a lack of confidence in his leadership over a sex abuse scandal.

Bishop William Murphy, who joined the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2001, agreed to meet with the priests after a group of them wrote to him last month citing "a general malaise" and anger in the diocese following the scandal.

A grand jury last year issued a report alleging that the diocese repeatedly protected priests accused of sexual abuse by transferring them to other parishes. No indictments were handed down because the statutes of limitations had expired.

Some have called for Murphy's resignation over the scandal, a notion he has repeatedly rejected.

"This has been a good day for all of us," Murphy told reporters after Monday's meeting, which he described as "an open discussion that I found to be very helpful."

Rev. Peter Pflomm, one of a group of priests who requested the meeting, said he left Monday's session feeling hopeful.

"I think a beginning was made and (there was) a very good and fruitful dialogue between the bishop and 190 priests," Pflomm said.

Nearly half of the priests in the diocese attended the meeting.

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