Detroit Archdiocese: Priests
and Policy Status Report
[Note: The names of accused priests have been bolded by BishopAccountability.org.]
* recent events and experiences
"As written, the provisions of the Dallas Charter and The Essential Norms to permanently remove a priest from ministry are to be utilized when the sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, certified either through an admission from the priest himself or by a determination that can be proven to a canonical standard. (See Canon Law Backgrounder [by Rev. Gregory Ingels])
"This process, as required by Church law, involves canonical investigations that are reviewed and confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) at the Vatican. For a majority of its cases, the Detroit archdiocese has received responses from the CDF. The following priests have been permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry, are prohibited from wearing clerical clothes and publicly presenting themselves as a priest: Edmund Borycz, William Brennan, Gary Bueche, Michael Daly, Jude Ellinghausen, Joseph Femminineo, Robert Haener, Richard Kelly, Dennis Laesch, Michael Malawy, Alfred Miller, Timothy Murray, Ronald Williams, and James Wysocki. Anthony Conti, Dennis Duggan, Ralph Quane, and Joseph Sito, along with former deacon Frank Mullen, have been dismissed from the clerical state— laicized— in accord with the provisions of the above mentioned documents.
"In their current status, these clerics are currently restricted from any public ministry and not allowed to present themselves publicly as a priest or deacon. In some cases, additional restrictions have been placed upon them. Monitoring duties are handled by Ina Grant, who serves as the Promoter of Ministerial Standards. Additional contact and communication with these clerics is coordinated by the archbishop's delegate, Msgr. G. Michael Bugarin, with assistance from Msgrs. Patrick Halfpenny and Michael LeFevre of the Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life.
Frs. Pat DeAngelo, Robert Burkholder, Lawrence Edwards, Walter Lezuchowski, Lawrence Nawrocki, Thomas Physician, Gerald Shirilla, Timothy Szott, Peter Van der Linden, and Robert Wyzgoski, whose situations were previously handled under the archdiocesan policy, are deceased. Gerald Vesnaugh, whose case was processed years before the establishment of the archdiocesan policy, has left the priesthood.
"Harry Benjamin and Dennis Martell
(deceased) were ordained for the archdiocese but was previously laicized
by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
A backgrounder from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
on the 'Loss of the Clerical State' offers more detail on what it means
for the priest — and his former resident diocese — when he
is dispensed from his sacramental obligations and returned to the status
of a layman. (See
USCCB Backgrounder) [by Rev. Gregory Ingels])
"In describing the status of those archdiocesan priests whose cases remain under review, examples can be found in how the media describes a lawyer who has been disbarred, a doctor who has had his license revoked, or a police officer who has been suspended. And to clarify the role of the archdiocese in these situations, it can be said that while the Church is responsible for these priests' ministerial assignments, they themselves, as private citizens, are responsible for their personal behavior and society rightly holds them accountable.
"Additionally, the names of these priests have been made public
by the archdiocese and shared with civil authorities. Their stories have
been reported in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Michigan Catholic, and
more often than not in the major daily newspapers, and on radio and television;
their current status is posted on the archdiocesan web site. In most of
these cases, the priests have been offered and accepted professional counseling
or treatment protocols. These individuals, who are not in public ministry,
may not want to share their addresses and/or current living arrangements
with reporters or the public.That is their choice to make; the archdiocese
will not try to influence that decision.
Process and Prevention
"In September of 2002, the newly constituted Board of Review was introduced; it is led by a lay chairman, and its members include a psychologist, a prosecutor, a retired judge, a health care executive, and a canon lawyer. Four of the board members are parents.
"In November of 2002, the canonical norms that accompanied the Dallas Charter received Vatican approval (or recognitio); they became effective March 1, 2003. Polices & Procedures Regarding Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests, Deacons and Other Church Personnel, as published by Detroit's archbishop, Cardinal Adam Maida, is considered "particular law" for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
"Since 2003, the Detroit archdiocese has been audited annually by the Boston-based Gavin Group for the USCCB. The on-site reviews are meant to assess how the nation's dioceses have complied with the Dallas Charter. The first report was issued in early 2004. That year and every year since, the Detroit archdiocese has been found to be in full compliance.
"Over the years, the Detroit archdiocese has received special recognition from the auditors for its agreement with civil authorities in the six counties of the archdiocese for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Additionally, the Detroit archdiocese also received special commendations for its mandated background check requirements for employees and volunteers; for its safe environment programs; for its communications policy and procedures assisting parishes directly affected by abuse; and for its written sexual abuse policy dating back 20-plus years.
"In February of 2004, the Detroit archdiocese published 'Promise to Protect. Pledge to Heal,' a special supplement of The Michigan Catholic newspaper which included: the number of clerics involved in sexual abuse allegations since 1950; the percentage of clerics involved in sexual abuse allegations; the number of victims known to the Archdiocese of Detroit; and, the costs of settlements and counseling. Also published was a letter from the Archdiocesan Review Board to Cardinal Maida summarizing their deliberations since September 2002.
"Also in February of 2004, two ground-breaking reports were issued in Washington, D.C. The John Jay Study, a report commissioned by the USCCB on the sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons in the United States between 1950 and 2002, and the Report on the Causes and Context of the Current Crisis in the Catholic Church from the National Review Board.
"The Detroit archdiocese's audit results, local figures, and other child protection materials are posted elsewhere on this website. The John Jay Study and National Review Report, along with additional resource materials, are available via the USCCB website of The Office of Child and Youth Protection."
from Ned McGrath
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.