Final Decisions Issued in Nine Abuse Cases

By Robert Delaney
Michigan Catholic
May 27, 2005

Detroit — Eight priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit have been permanently removed from ministry and one laicized in a series of recent Vatican decisions confirming archdiocesan recommendations, Auxiliary Bishop Walter Hurley said Monday.

In his statement, Bishop Hurley said, "In accord with the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, the following priests have been permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry, are prohibited from wearing clerical clothes and publicly presenting themselves as a priest: Robert N. Burkholder, Michael J. Daly, Jude T. Ellinghausen, Joseph P. Femminineo, Robert W. Haener, Walter J. Lezuchowski, Peter J. VanderLinden and Robert F. Wyzgoski.

"Ralph Quane has been dismissed from the clerical state in accord with the provisions of the above mentioned documents."

The dismissal of Quane from the clerical state is popularly called laicization. He is no longer able to function in any way as a priest, nor is he under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese. Even a laicized priest retains his pension rights, however.

In the other eight cases, Bishop Hurley said these current decisions, after consultation with the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "basically make permanent restrictions that have been in effect for some time."

They had already been removed from any public ministry, and forbidden to wear clerical attire or represent themselves to be Catholic priests, pending the final resolution of their cases; the final resolution neither lessened nor added to those restrictions.

The resolution of these nine cases leaves 14 of the original 28 cases that were sent to Rome still unresolved. In four of those remaining cases, canonical trials were held locally by the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal as instructed by the CDF. "The canonical trials have been completed; the decisions have been made and submitted to Rome for confirmation," Bishop Hurley said.

In the other 10 cases, Bishop Hurley said he is expecting the CDF to respond by the end of the year. In a number of cases, decisions have been reached and have been submitted to Rome for confirmation. He added that there are no current cases under review by the archdiocese.

The clergy sex abuse crisis has been "a particularly painful time for all of us in the Church, but we hope we can move forward and grow stronger, and be all that the Lord wants us to be," Bishop Hurley continued.

He added that the archdiocese continues to provide counseling and support to victims of clergy sex abuse, and that anyone who has been the victim of clergy sex abuse is encouraged to report it by calling, toll-free, (866) 343-8055.


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