Ousted Priest, Woman Linked

By Virginia Culver
Denver Post
November 23, 1994

A Denver Catholic official who has lost his right to serve as a priest was involved with a woman, according to a source close to the Denver Archdiocese.

The Rev. Lorenzo Ruiz can no longer function as a priest and was removed from his official position with the Denver Archdiocese by Denver Archbishop J. Francis Stafford for undisclosed reasons.

But yesterday an informed source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Denver Post that Ruiz, 55, had been involved with a woman.

When asked about the allegation, Ruiz's superior in the Franciscan Order, the Rev. Gilbert Schneider, said, "I won't refute that."

Ruiz had been head of Hispanic Affairs for the Denver Archdiocese.

Rumors were swirling after last week's announcement in the Denver Catholic Register that simply said Ruiz had lost his job and his "faculties" had been withdrawn, in effect denying him the right to serve as a priest.

The decision was Stafford's, Schneider said. " I was consulted but I wasn't asked to agree or disagree," he said yesterday from the Franciscan regional office in Albuquerque.

He declined to say whether he agreed with Stafford's action. But he said Ruiz will "absolutely not" be removed from the Franciscan order.

"The archbishop apparently made his decisions based on some issues he felt would interfere with Father Ruiz's ministry," said Schneider.

He said Ruiz, who has lived in Denver for seven years, will return to Albuquerque.

"We will continue to minister to him. This is very traumatic for him. He has been very faithful in his job," Schneider said.

He said there never have been any civil charges filed against Ruiz and he has no police record.

Stafford's spokesman, Fran Maier, said it would be inappropriate for the archdiocese to comment about why Ruiz was removed. He also said there's been no decision on whether the action will be permanent.


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