Parish Finds out Their Priest Is on List

My Fox Philly
March 9, 2011

[with video]

Link: List Emerges Of Suspended Priests

Shockwaves are still rippling through Catholic parishes across the Philadelphia region on Wednesday as church members learned the names of 21 priests suspended by the archdiocese on Tuesday.

The suspensions came after the Philadelphia church's own investigation into a grand jury report on widespread accusations of abuse and cover-ups.

Church members are just finding out the names of the suspended priests, and in some cases through e-mails.

The principal of a school in Wayne, Pa., sent one to parents, which read, "I will tell them what I know: Monsignor Close has been placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese. He has been accused of a wrongdoing. Any decision as to his guilt or innocence has yet to be determined."

Fox 29 was at that church, St. Katharine of Siena, earlier on Wednesday.

Cardinal Justin Rigali decided not to release the names to the media on Tuesday, because he allowed churches across the region to break the news on each priest to the faithful at Ash Wednesday services.

In Wayne, Catholics flocking to church for Ash Wednesday services at Noon were shocked and disappointed to hear that their pastor, Monsignor John Close was one of the 21 priests placed on administrative leave by Rigali.

"I think he's a great man you know you hate to see priests have this problem, I hope everything's fine and I'm sure it is," said one parishioner.

News spread quickly beginning Tuesday night at a school meeting where parishioners first found out the monsignor was removed.

Then on Wednesday morning children at the K-8 grade school here were informed by their principal. Finally others got the news on their way to church.

"I was shocked, and I was deeply saddened. I know Monsignor Close very well. He's the reason I came back to the catholic church," said Laura Childress Kerr, a Eucharistic minister, a cantor and a loyal catholic who believes Close has been wrongly accused and suspended.

Other lifelong Catholics were angry and calling for the ouster of Cardinal Rigali.

Many parishioners didn't want to talk about the scandal


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