Catholic Priest Forcibly Retired Just before 50th Anniversary

Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 22, 2002

The former pastor of San Antonio's largest Catholic parish, accused of having a sexual affair with an adolescent girl more than 20 years ago, was forced into retirement just a few weeks shy of his 50th anniversary as a priest.

Monsignor John Flynn, 74, announced his retirement Sunday as pastor of St. Matthew's Parish in Longview at the request of Tyler Bishop Alvaro Corrada, the San Antonio Express-News reported in Wednesday editions.

Flynn served as pastor of the St. Matthew's Parish in San Antonio for nearly 17 years before the sexual misconduct was reported.

Corrada told the San Antonio newspaper that no new allegations had been made against Flynn, but that two female congregants told him they felt uncomfortable with him.

"A lot of parishioners are upset that I removed (Flynn)," Corrada said. "They wanted to be able to celebrate his 50th anniversary June 12, but when these women approached me, I had to deal with it. I moved immediately."

Corrada said Flynn will have no more parish duties and no pastoral contact with parishioners.

Flynn didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press at his Longview home on Wednesday evening.

In San Antonio, Flynn built St. Matthew's into the largest and one of the most active local parishes.

He left that church in 1997 after an unnamed female accuser notified Archbishop Patrick Flores that he had had a sexual relationship with her more than 20 years earlier, when the woman was a minor.

The woman did not file a lawsuit and sought no out-of-court settlement other than Flynn's removal from ministry, which Flores granted after an investigation.

Bishop Edmond Carmody, who preceded Corrada in Tyler, allowed Flynn to minister in the diocese after Flores had sent him for more than a year of psychiatric counseling at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Spring, Md.

A psychiatrist there certified to Carmody that Flynn was not a threat to anyone, Corrada said.


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