|Whitestone Parish Shocked by News of Priest Sex Abuse
By Pete Davis
Queens Courier [Whitestone NY]
June 6, 2007
A week after a retired Monsignor at St. Luke's parish in Whitestone was put on administrative leave after a Diocesan review board found evidence tying him to sexual abuse of minors more than 30 years ago, the aftershocks are being felt within the community.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn announced the decision to remove Monsignor Nicholas Capua of his priestly duties in a letter read aloud to the parishioners by Monsignor Sean G. Ogle, Territorial Vicar for the Queens Vicariate, during masses on the weekend of May 26-27.
"I was shocked," said a woman who only gave her first name as Mary Ellen, but has been a parishioner at St. Luke's, located at 16-34 Clintonville Street, for more nearly 37 years. "I found him very, very unapproachable, but you would never think this."
Capua, who served as the pastor of St. Luke's from 1983 until 2005, denied the allegations, but under the terms of administrative leave, he is not allowed to celebrate Mass publicly, present himself as a priest or perform any of the other sacraments.
The alleged inappropriate conduct with minors occurred when Capua was at another parish, and according to DiMarzio's letter, the Diocese will send materials on their finding to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican for review and for "direction on further action it may wish us to take."
Still, parishioners felt betrayed by the actions of their former pastor.
"My daughters were very upset," said Neven Baus, 59, who has lived across the street from St. Luke's for 30 years and whose two daughters attended St. Luke's school. "They used to give their confessions to this guy, and you find out he is a sinner. You don't want to believe it is true."
In his letter, Bishop DiMarzio apologized to those who made the allegations and urged parishioners to pray for those who may have been victims of Capua's alleged abuse.
"Even the passage of time has not dimmed their memory of a difficult experience encountered at early stages in their lives," the letter said.
While parishioners said they would never have expected this type of behavior from Capua, the numerous stories involving priests and sexual abuse of minors has made an impact on them.
"I'm shocked, but today you never know what is going to come up with the priests," Mary Ellen said.
Pete Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
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