Priest's Abuse Case Goes to Vatican for Review

By Elizabeth Fisher
PhillyBurbs [Pennsylvania]
August 29, 2006


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has forwarded the case of a local priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor to the Vatican for review. The archdiocese has concluded that one allegation is credible.

When the charge first surfaced in January, the Rev. James J. Brennan, associate pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Feasterville, was relieved of his duties, pending an investigation by the archdiocesan review board.

The abuse against a minor allegedly happened eight years ago and is the only accusation against Brennan. The case was forwarded to civil authorities. The archdiocese did not release where Brennan was stationed when the alleged abuse occurred or which civil authorities are investigating.

Brennan was ordained in 1989 as a young priest and had served at St. Andrew parish in Newtown Township (1989-1991), Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield (1991-1996) and St. Jerome parish in Philadelphia (1997-1998).

A statement issued Monday by the archdiocese said Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, accepted the conclusions of the review board "that there was sufficient information to substantiate an allegation of sexual abuse" as defined by the U.S. Bishops 2002 charter.

If the Vatican agrees, Brennan could be permanently removed from the priesthood.

Parishioners at Assumption were told on Sunday about the board's conclusions and counselors were available after the Masses.

A woman who answered the phone at Assumption's rectory on Monday said the pastor, the Rev. Daniel Devine, was not available.

Elizabeth Fisher can be reached at 215-949-4173 or


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