Three Laicizations Announced by Worcester Diocese

Catholic Free Press
March 5, 2013

Three laicizations announced by Worcester Diocese

Three men whose faculties to serve as priests had already been removed by Bishops Harrington and Reilly have been laicized, according to a statement from Bishop McManus.

Bishop McManus announced that David Blizard, Thomas Kane, and Robert Shauris are no longer in the clerical state.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted the voluntary laicizations of Thomas Kane and Robert Shauris prior to resigning.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the decision in the case of David Blizard.

As a result of the laicizations, the three men may no longer function in any capacity as priests.

The decisions were reached in late 2012. The announcement was held until the period for appeals was concluded, according to a press release from the diocesan Office of Communications.

“I ask the Catholic community to join with me in prayer for healing for anyone who has been abused by these men or anyone in the Catholic Church,” Bishop McManus said. “Allow me to echo the poignant words of Cardinal Francis George at the meeting of Cardinals in Rome on Monday, that ‘The wound is still deep in their hearts, and as long as it’s with them it will be with us.’ May we never lose sight of this.”

Along with asking for prayers for healing for all those who have been harmed in any way by any member of the clergy, the bishop encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling 508-929-4363.

David Blizard was removed from ministry in 1988 by Bishop Timothy Harrington following the determination of credible allegations of abuse having occurred in the 1970s and ‘80s. Blizard has not had faculties as a priest since 1988. He was ordained in 1974 and served in the following parishes: St. Roch, Oxford; Our Lady Immaculate, Athol; Christ the King, Worcester; Holy Angels, Upton. He was in residence in various parishes while assigned to the Catholic School Department from 1983 – 1988.

Thomas Kane was removed from ministry in 1993 by Bishop Timothy Harrington after learning of credible allegations of abuse which had occurred in the 1970s and he has not had faculties to serve in priestly ministry since 1993. Kane was ordained in 1969 and was resident in various parishes while continuing advance studies in psychology. These included St. Mary, Uxbridge and St. Joan of Arc, Worcester followed by assignment to the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. He was serving as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart in Gardner beginning in 1992 when he was placed on leave.

Robert Shauris was removed from ministry in 1995 by Bishop Daniel Reilly after learning of credible allegations of inappropriate behavior in the 1990s and subsequently learning of credible allegations of abuse dating to the 1970s and 1980s. Shauris has not had faculties to serve in priestly ministry since then. Shauris was ordained in 1974 and served as an associate at St. Mary, Uxbridge and was in residence at Immaculate Conception, Fitchburg; St. Anthony of Padua, Fitchburg and Our Lady of Fatima, Worcester during teaching assignments at St. Bernard Central Catholic High School, St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic High School and Anna Maria College.

In a related matter, the Diocese of Worcester announced that it had been found compliant in the national compliance audit regarding the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese is committed to creating safe environments in all diocesan parishes and institutions and continues to work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community resources to support that commitment. That the diocese performed more than 30,000 background checks for employees and volunteers over the past decade is but one example of how it has been fully supportive of the Charter.

Diocese found compliant in national audit for abuse prevention

The Diocese of Worcester has been found compliant with the national Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the 10th consecutive year, following an on-site audit of its records and procedures by an independent auditing firm.

The Charter was established in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during their meeting in Dallas which focused on the issue of addressing past incidents of child abuse by members of the Church and its prevention in the future.

The audit firm of Stonebridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., which was contracted by the USCCB as a result of a national search process, conducted the nationwide audits. During its onsite audit in the Diocese of Worcester, it reviewed records for the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. Auditors also interviewed both internal and external people involved in the issue, including local law enforcement, review board members, and social workers.

“I am grateful to the pastors, the parish safe environment coordinators and the thousands of staff and volunteers around our diocese who have been willing to assist in making our schools and parishes safe for children,” according to Bishop McManus. “Our audits are helpful in seeing what works and give us an opportunity to learn what is happening nationwide so that we can continue to improve our efforts to safeguard children. It is my fervent prayer that this annual audit process is underscoring our commitment to the safety of children and young people under our pastoral care and may serve as a model for other organizations in our society.”

Last year, in marking 10 years since the Charter was implemented both nationally and locally in nearly 200 dioceses and eparchies in the United States, the national Office for Child and Youth Protection issued a report which highlighted some of the areas of accomplishment. These reflect both national issues as well as local ones.

The national summary reported the following:

• Safe Environment training is taking place in 193 dioceses of the country. Over 2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it.

• Over 5 million children have been equipped with the skills to help them protect themselves from abuse.

• Background checks are conducted on Church personnel who have contact with children. Over 2 million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.

• All dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior. This serves to let people know what can and cannot be done as well as letting others know what behavior can be expected. It encourages the reporting of suspicious behavior.

• All dioceses/eparchies have Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard. In 2011, $6,142,810 was spent nationwide on therapy for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

• In addition at least $30,129,584 was spent nationwide for child protection efforts such as training programs and background checks.

• All dioceses/eparchies have Safe Environment Coordinators who assure the ongoing compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

• Bishops are meeting with victims.

• There is a zero tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. When even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry.

• Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological testing for those wishing to enter the seminary.

In a related announcement, the Diocese of Worcester has announced the names of three priests who have been laicized by the Holy See, after having been removed from ministry in the 1980s and 1990s for acts of sexual misconduct in the past.








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