Church panel substantiates sex-abuse allegations against former Blessed Sacrament pastor

By Maura Grunlund
Staten Island Advance
October 08, 2018

Monsignor Francis Boyle, former pastor of Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church in West Brighton, faces allegation of sex abuse.

Monsignor Francis Boyle, the former longtime pastor at Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church in West Brighton, “will never serve as a priest again” after a church panel substantiated sex-abuse allegations against him, according to the Archdiocese of New York.

The fall from grace is a stunning turn of events for the man who served crucial leadership roles on the Island and throughout the archdiocese during more than 60 years in the priesthood.

He was an administrator at seminaries and held sway on archdiocesan organizations that determined the job assignments for priests and finances for parishes.

Public records indicate that Monsignor Boyle, 89, lives in the Bronx while he awaits a decision by the Vatican on whether he will be defrocked or absolved by penance.

The “allegations of abuse” were brought against Monsignor Boyle through the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) that assists victims of alleged priestly abuse, according to a notice posted on Sept. 16 in the Blessed Sacrament bulletin.

The notice does not provide any details about when, where and how the alleged abuse occurred, but says the findings of the investigation were confirmed by the Archdiocesan Lay Review Board.

“The Lay Review Board has concluded that the allegations were credible and substantiated,” the notice said.

“Msgr. Boyle has been suspended, and may not function or present himself as a priest. The Holy See will decide an appropriate penalty, which could include dismissal from the clerical state or imposing a life of prayer and penance. However, it is certain that Msgr. Boyle will never serve as a priest again.”

“As part of the IRCP, we have stated that we will not be releasing information on those who come forward, so as to protect their anonymity,” said Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the archdiocese.

However, Zwilling noted that a victim-survivor is free to tell his or her story without any restriction from the archdiocese.

The notice said that Monsignor Boyle ministered at Blessed Sacrament from 1991 to 2004. However, Monsignor Boyle participated in events in later years as “pastor emeritus,” including at a Feast Day celebrating the 100th anniversary of Blessed Sacrament in June 2010. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, was the main celebrant of the Mass for that feast, according to Advance records.

Previously, he was pastor from 1979 to 1991 of Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Parish in Pelham Manor in Westchester County, according to Advance records. A similar notice of the abuse allegations was disseminated by that Westchester parish.

In 1995, he was one of eight Island priests elevated to the title of monsignor by then Cardinal John J. O’Connor during a service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

Monsignor Boyle was honored “for his contributions to the Church and the community as a person of Irish descent” at a ball in October 1996, according to an Advance article about the event.

“Since his appointment as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church six years ago, Monsignor Boyle has been highly visible in parish and community affairs and has taken a special interest in the development of enhanced educational programs at the parish school,” the 1996 article said. “It is his wish that proceeds for the ball and its companion journal be used for a new computer center in the school.”

Monsignor Boyle served on the Priests' Personnel Board of the Archdiocese of New York in the 1990s and the Priests' Council from 1985 to 1990. He was chairman of the Commission of Inter-Parish Finances from 1983 to 1985, and the Priests' Senate from 1979 to 1983. He was also assistant director of the Priests' Conference on Pastoral Life from 1966 to 1970, according to Advance records.

Earlier in his career, he was a procurator of the former Cathedral College Preparatory Seminary in Manhattan. At St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Yonkers, N.Y., he functioned as director of field education and dean of students for 12 years. He also served at St. Malachy’s Parish in Manhattan and St. Gabriel’s Parish in the Bronx, based on Advance records.

Born in Manhattan, Monsignor Boyle studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie before his ordination on May 28, 1955.

Spokesmen for Blessed Sacrament and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests could not immediately be reached for comment.



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