Holy See Defrocks 8 from Boston

By Robert J. Carr
Catholic Online
March 17, 2006

BOSTON, Mass. (Catholic Online) The Archdiocese of Boston announced on March 17, 2006, that the Holy See has defrocked eight men from the clerical state.

The defrocking means that they are no longer able to celebrate any form of public ministry. They will also no longer receive any financial compensation from the archdiocese. They may only celebrate the necessary sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick in the case of someone who is in imminent danger of death.

This defrocking comes in the aftermath of the sex-abuse crisis in the archdiocese. These men have been on administrative leave and are now permanently removed from clergy rolls. The highest ranking member, the former Msgr Frederick Ryan, was the vice chancellor of the archdiocese. He was accused in 2002 of allegations of sexual abuse during his tenure as chaplain at a Boston area Catholic high school.

Such defrocking is defined in the Code of Canon Law Canon 290. The ordained man, specifically bishop, priest or deacon, who loses the state, also loses all rights and responsibilities pursuant to the clerical state. He does not however, become unordained, as that is a permanent condition of the soul imparted by the sacrament of holy orders.

In a statement released through Bishop Richard Lennon, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal-designate Sean O'Malley of Boston described the actions of priest abusers as "a source of profound shame" and has expressed "deepest sorrow for the grievous harm done to the survivors of priestly abuse."

Citing the current Lenten season as a time of repentance and conversion for Catholics, the Boston archbishop encouraged the continual healing of the victims of clergy sex abuse. "I pray and hope that the emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds carried by survivors will be healed and their trust renewed. I pledge the ongoing commitment of the archdiocese to accompany those, who have been abused, in their healing work."

According to the Archdiocese of Boston, the eight men are: Anthony Buchette, Joseph Crowley, Paul Finegan, Thomas Forry, Robert Morrisette, Frederick Ryan, Ernest Tourigney and Patrick Tague


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