Sixth Diocese-Related Priest Suspended
St. Louis Chaplain: Worked in Joliet Diocese When Abuse Allegations Surfaced
By Ted Slowik firstname.lastname@example.org
The Herald News
May 1, 2002
JOLIET — For the sixth time in a month, the Joliet Diocese said Tuesday that a priest associated with the diocese has been suspended from his ministry because of a past allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The Rev. J. Anthony Meis resigned April 24 as chaplain at a St. Louis hospital because of a previously reported and resolved allegation of inappropriate behavior with a minor. The allegation involved an incident in the late 1980s and was reported to the diocese in 1994. A settlement was paid to the alleged victim, the diocese said in a statement.
Meis was pastor of St. Mary and Joseph Parish in Chebanse from 1988 to 1994, when he resigned because of the alleged misconduct. Chebanse is a small community located on the border between Kankakee and Iroquois counties, about 10 miles south of Kankakee. The Joliet Diocese serves more than 600,000 Catholics in seven counties that have a combined population of about 1.6 million.
Meis underwent therapy after the misconduct was reported in 1994. In December of that year, Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch informed administrators at St. Anthony Medical Center in St. Louis that Meis had completed treatment for sexual abuse of a minor.
"We had been made aware of that by Bishop Imesch," David Seifert, president and chief executive of St. Anthony's, said Tuesday night.
St. Anthony's does not have a pediatric ward, and Meis did not minister to minors, Seifert said. There have been no allegations of sexual misconduct by Meis since 1994, the diocese said.
At St. Anthony's, Meis dedicated himself to tending to the needs of the ill and terminally ill, the diocese said.
Meis wrote an article about funeral liturgies that appeared in the December 2000 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, a San Franciso-based periodical that publishes articles about moral, theological and liturgical matters facing the Catholic Church.
"Not all priests are especially gifted in the ministry of consolation," Meis wrote. "Funerals are marvelous opportunities for compassionate priests to exercise the healing and consoling ministry of Christ."
Meis wrote about the importance of choosing appropriate music for funerals and delivering homilies that honor the deceased.
"If a priest properly prepare his homilies through prayer and personal reflection, has a good message and speaks from his heart to the hearts of the listeners, the message will be well received," he wrote.
The periodical's biography of Meis states that he has held various ministries, including high school teacher, pastor and nursing home chaplain.
Ted Slowik can be reached at (815) 729-6053 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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