Statement of the Diocese of Toledo Announcing Dismissal from the Clerical State of Michael Zacharias

Diocese of Toledo [Toledo OH]

March 18, 2024

At the conclusion of the federal trial and conviction of Michael Zacharias, the Diocese of Toledo, in accord with Canon (Church) Law, had transmitted the case to the Holy See along with the request to the Holy Father to impose the penalty of direct dismissal from the clerical state (returning him to the lay state). The Holy Father alone has the authority to impose this penalty of direct dismissal from the clerical state when the case warrants such an action.

The Diocese was recently informed that the Holy Father has imposed upon Zacharias the perpetual penalty of direct dismissal from the clerical state (returning him to the lay state), for the sexual abuse of minors and other reprehensible immoral behavior.

Bishop Daniel E. Thomas reiterated, “with the imposition of this penalty, it is my hope and prayer that healing for victims may continue and justice be restored, as we remain vigilant in confronting evil.”

The Diocese of Toledo remains vigilant and committed to protecting children and providing a safe environment for all young people, as well as to ensuring the dignity and integrity of the priesthood. Any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, staff member or volunteer affiliated with the Diocese of Toledo should first be reported to local law enforcement where the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Please also report any such allegation to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 419-214-4880.,and%20other%20reprehensible%20immoral%20behavior.