Ousted Pastor Didn't Belong on Altar at Holy Week Services, Rigali Says

By Patricia Rice
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 4, 2002

St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali has had a serious talk with the pastor of St. Roch Church about welcoming the Rev. Michael A. Campbell on the altar at three Holy Week services at the parish last week, an archdiocesan spokesperson said Wednesday.

Campbell is one of three priests that Rigali removed from parish ministry in March because a complaint of sexual misconduct with a minor had been substantiated against him.

The archbishop explained to St. Roch's pastor, Monsignor Salvatore E. Polizzi, that Campbell cannot say Mass in parishes or other public places, the archdiocese said.

Campbell and other priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse can only say Mass privately in their own residence or in a private chapel alone or with priests, Monsignor Dennis Delaney said in a statement.

The archbishop did not know in advance that Campbell was going to participate in the services, officials said. Archdiocesan officials learned about Campbell's participation late Monday, the spokesperson said.

Campbell was removed March 2 as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in south St. Louis. In a letter of apology read by Bishop Timothy Dolan to the parishioners March 2 and 3, Campbell admitted having "inappropriately touched" a 17-year-old boy 13 years ago while Campbell was serving at St. James the Greater Parish in the Dogtown neighborhood in St. Louis.

In a letter dated March 27 that many of the parishioners received Wednesday, Campbell wrote that he wants an active ministry role in the church.

"I want to continue to be a priest of the archdiocese of St. Louis and I love the church with all my heart and soul," the letter read. "I hope, that as we go forward, there will be a place for me in our church."

Polizzi did not return phone calls Wednesday. Campbell served as Polizzi's associate pastor at St. Roch in the 1980s. Campbell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


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