Cleric Now Advises Couples on Untying Knot

By Laura Crimaldi
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
June 21, 2007

The high-ranking church judge who granted an annulment to Joseph P. Kennedy II in 1993 became embroiled in the archdiocese's sex abuse scandal in 2002 and has since moved to Florida, where he advises couples on annulments.

Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, now 52, a trained canonist and one-time judicial vicar for the archdiocese's Metropolitan Tribunal, formed Annulment Consultants LLC in Osprey, Fla., on Jan. 26, according to records kept by the Florida secretary of state.

Foster left the Archdiocese of Boston not long after he was accused of sexual abuse by Paul R. Edwards of Winchendon, charges he vehemently denied. A church review board dismissed the allegations against Foster but Edwards was awarded settlement money for accusations against another priest, the late Rev. William Cummings.

The Coalition of Catholics & Survivors, an advocacy group for clergy abuse victims, backed Edwards during the episode, saying his claims were unfairly dismissed in part because Foster's supporters launched a media campaign attacking Edwards' credibility.

Foster has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. He obtained a real estate broker or sales license from the Division of Real Estate at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on March 10, 2005, records show. The license, which expires Sept. 30, 2008, is listed as "inactive."

In 1999, Smith authored "Annulment: The Wedding That Was," described in a review by "Library Journal" as a "basic primer on canon law and the mechanics of the church's court system in determining the nullity of marriage."

Laura Crimaldi


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