RI Priest Removed From Barrington and Cranston Churches After Allegations Now at New Church

GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 1, 2022

Priest Eric Silva was removed from two Rhode Island Catholic churches in February of 2022 for improper behavior. Now, he is back at another Rhode Island Catholic church offering mass.

Earlier this year, Silva had been assigned to St. Luke’s Church in Barrington and was a visiting priest in Cranston.

Parents alleged that Silva was asking inappropriate questions to children about their sexual orientation and sexual activity.

According to a WJAR report in February of 2022, a parent, who requested anonymity, said Silva asked male children if they were gay and accused them of lying if they said no.

And, Silva asked females were asked if they were sexually active and, according to the report, similarly accused of lying if they answered in the negative. He made the comments when he was offering confession.

Silva made the comments to children while he was a visiting priest at Immaculate Conception Catholic Regional School in Cranston. But, there were also complaints at St. Luke’s too.

During the controversy, Reverend Edward J. Wilson Jr.,  of Immaculate Conception Parish in Cranston, announced that Silva was barred from offering mass or returning to the school due to his behavior.

As the controversy spiraled, the Diocese of Providence finally interceded.

Bishop Thomas Tobin announced that Silva was placed on administrative leave.

“The Church places great responsibility on the priest as confessor to exercise prudence, discretion, and attentiveness to the age of penitents. Confession must always be an opportunity to experience God’s mercy and peace. It is truly unfortunate whenever that doesn’t take place in confession,” Tobin said in a statement. “I have asked Fr. Silva to take this period of leave as an opportunity to reflect on these priestly responsibilities and to engage in additional formation.”

At Sunday Masses on February 13, St. Luke Pastor Father Tim Reilly shared the news about Silva, referring to his behaviors as “errors in pastoral judgment.” 

Now in Narragansett

Now, according to parishioners at St. Thomas More Parish, Silva is now offering Mass at its St. Veronica’s Chapel in Narragansett. On Church schedules, Silva is only listed as “Father Eric” while all the other priests at St. Thomas More are listed by their last names. Silva has been offering mass for the past few weeks in Narragansett.

An article in the Diocese’s newspaper reported on July 14, on new pastoral assignments that “Reverend Eric Silva, to Assistant Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish, Narragansett, effective August 15, 2022. 

Diocese Refuses Comment

The spokesperson for the Diocese of Providence, Michael Kieloch, refused to provide comment about Silva’s new assignment and what steps the Diocese has taken to protect children.