Statement of Bishop Daniel E. Thomas Following The Sentencing of Rev. Michael Zacharias

Diocese of Toledo [Toledo OH]

November 17, 2023

Today’s sentencing of Michael Zacharias in federal court marks another step towards justice for all of those harmed by his actions. As I expressed in my May 12, 2023 statement following his conviction, “The acts of which Rev. Michael Zacharias has been found guilty are reprehensible, morally deplorable, and manifestly contrary to the dignity due to each human person and the dignity of the priesthood.”

At the conclusion of the federal trial and the conviction of Zacharias, the diocese, in accord with Canon (Church) Law, had requested the imposition of the penalty of direct dismissal of the clerical state (returning him to the lay state), transmitting the case to the Holy See who alone has the authority to make a final determination concerning his status as a priest in the Church. We are awaiting the response.

With this sentencing, and as we await a decision from the Holy See, it is my hope and prayer that healing may continue and justice be restored, as we remain vigilant in confronting evil.