Religion News Service
Mark Mueller / The Star-Ledger | Apr 30, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Amid calls for a Vatican investigation, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers is facing fierce criticism for his handling of a priest who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors in defiance of a court-ordered lifetime ban on ministry to children.
At St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Colts Neck, where the Rev. Michael Fugee had been spending time with a youth group, angry parishioners said they were never told about Fugee’s background, and they questioned Myers’ defense of the priest, the subject of a lengthy story in The Star-Ledger.
“It’s complete craziness that the church can let this happen,” said John Santulli, 38, a father of two at St. Mary’s. “I’m a softball coach, and I need a background check just to get on the field. Every single person I spoke to today said, ‘Oh my God. I didn’t know about this.’ It’s incomprehensible.”
Fugee, 52, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark and under Myers’ supervision. His work at St. Mary’s, however, was in the neighboring Diocese of Trenton, where Bishop David O’Connell has ordered the pastor of St. Mary to bar Fugee from any church activities, a spokeswoman said in a statement.
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