Fugee update: Newark priest laicized

Details from The Star-Ledger in Newark:

Acting with uncustomary speed, the Vatican has expelled a New Jersey man from the priesthood for repeatedly defying a lifetime ban on ministry to children.

Michael Fugee, 53, who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors despite signing a court-sanctioned decree forbidding such activities, has been returned to the lay state, said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Very recently all the procedures were completed,” Goodness said Monday night. “He is no longer a priest of the archdiocese.”

The Vatican typically takes a year or longer to expel priests, a process known as laicization. In some cases, the procedure drags on for several years.

Fugee’s removal comes just four months after the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Officeagreed to drop criminal charges against him in exchange for his expulsion. He remains under lifetime supervision by the prosecutor’s office.

Asked about the swift pace of Fugee’s removal, Goodness said the former priest’s petition for laicization was “given a good amount of attention when it was submitted.”

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