Retired Priest Permanently Removed from Ministry
October 30, 2014
Effective Oct. 1, 2014, Daniel Wetzler (pictured, left), a retired priest of the Spokane Diocese, has been permanently removed from active ministry by Archbishop Blase Cupich.
Earlier this year, Wetzler was put on administrative leave after the diocese received an accusation by an individual who claimed he was abused as a minor. This matter was referred to the Diocesan Review Board, which scrutinizes cases of alleged sexual abuse, and to civil authorities, in accord with diocesan procedures. After an investigation, the Board unanimously recommended that Daniel Wetzler be permanently removed from active ministry and submit himself to a monitoring program. Archbishop Cupich accepted these recommendations.
Another accusation was made against Wetzler in 2002. The results of that civil investigation were inconclusive; insufficient evidence existed to verify the accusation. Wetzler denied that accusation.
Following the recommendations of the Diocesan Review Board, Archbishop Cupich ordered that parishes and institutions, especially those where Wetzler served, be notified of the sanctions against the priest. The archbishop is urging anyone abused by Wetzler to come forward for healing either directly to himself or to the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Roberta Smith (509-353-0442; email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wetzler was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1963, and served at a variety of parishes and institutions: St. Anthony/Holy Ghost Parish, Spokane, 1963-64; Bishop White (High School) Seminary, 1963; St. Ann Parish, Spokane, 1964; Mater Cleri Seminary, 1965 and 1975-76; St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, 1966-69; Catholic Youth Organization, 1967; Marycliff High School, Spokane, 1969-75; Sacred Heart Parish, Tekoa, 1976-1982; Charismatic Renewal, 1976-2013; Sacred Heart Parish, Othello, 1982-92; St. Vincent Parish, Connell, and St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Eltopia, 1991-1992; St. Paschal Parish, Spokane, 1992-2002.
He retired from active ministry July 1, 2002.
Archbishop Cupich took the occasion of this announcement to once again apologize to all victim/survivors of sexual abuse of minors by clerics. “I have visited with scores of victims/survivors over the years and each time I do so I leave the meeting heartsick for the harm done to them and the pain they continue to experience. I am so sorry. At the same time, these meetings leave me even more convinced that transparency and pastoral care of those abused are the best approaches and we should not be afraid to address such issues openly and with candor,” he stated.
The sanctions prohibit Wetzler from presenting himself publicly as a priest. He may not wear clerical clothes and may not celebrate the sacraments of the Church. His name is to be posted on the diocesan website as a priest credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.