He would see them up close and personal when I asked questions like, “Isn’t there an abbot in a remote monastery who needs a permanent dishwasher in the scullery for work while said dishwasher is not praying the Divine Office? Why is this man not sent there?”
Who is Father Michael Fugee, and why should you care? Folks in New Jersey are pretty familiar with him and his story. His handling, or mishandling, by Archbishop John J. Myers is pretty much the thing of which legends are made. Legendary ineptness, I mean.
Amid calls for a Vatican investigation, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers came under fierce criticism Monday for his handling of a priest who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors in defiance of a lifetime ban on ministry to children.
At the Monmouth County church where the Rev. Michael Fugee had been spending time with a youth group, angry parishioners said they were never told about Fugee’s background and they questioned Myers’ defense of the priest, the subject of a lengthy story in the Sunday Star-Ledger.
“It’s complete craziness that the church can let this happen,” said John Santulli, 38, a father of two at St. Mary Parish in Colts Neck. “I’m a softball coach, and I need a background check just to get on the field. Every single person I spoke to today said, ‘Oh my God. I didn’t know about this.’ It’s incomprehensible.”
Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell, who previously said Fugee was operating in the diocese without his knowledge or permission, has ordered the pastor of St. Mary to bar the priest from any church activities, a spokeswoman said in a statement Monday.
The bishop of Paterson, Arthur Serratelli, has likewise said Fugee was on a retreat at Lake Hopatcong without permission.
For the first time in his many years as an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, Mark Crawford, New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on the archbishop to resign, characterizing Fugee as the latest in a string of problem priests shielded by Myers.
“The archbishop continues to insist it’s fine for Fugee to work with children. It’s a very dangerous message,” Crawford said. “When will it be enough? When someone gets hurt? What does it take when you have a man who has admitted groping a child on more than one occasion?”
Common sense, dear reader, and the diligent exercising of the priestly, prophetic, and kingly offices of Christ, is what. Let’s just say that if it was up to me, they would both be put on permanent mess duty in a location where there are no children who could possibly come within their orbits. Obviously, that isn’t the case today.
“Lifetime ban on ministry to children.” I don’t think that means what you think it means, Your Excellency. We’re trying to be disciples here, see, and have been tasked by Christ Himself to make disciples of others. How are you helping this mission along by enforcing “lifetime bans” like this?
Deacon Greg Kandra, Report: priest who admitted to groping teenager continues to work with children
Mark Shea, What is the *matter* with this guy?
A little post I wrote about transplanting dandelions, back in the day.