January 06, 2005

Fitzpatrick: Porter is ‘permanently’ a priest

Herald News

Kathleen Durand, Herald News Staff 01/06/2005

A victim of convicted pedophile priest James Porter has charged that Porter was permitted to "permanently" remain a Roman Catholic priest even after he was found by church officials to have sexually molested children across the nation decades ago.

According to published reports, in 1973 Porter petitioned to the Vatican to be released from the priesthood, citing incidents of sexual misconduct with children in several states and episodes of psychiatric counseling. Pope Paul VI granted the petition on Jan. 5, 1974, and Porter began pursuing a layman’s life in Minnesota.

But in a statement released to The Herald News Wednesday, Porter victim Frank L. Fitzpatrick wrote, "Differing from what everyone except the Diocese of Fall River knew and allowed us to believe, clear evidence shows that Father Porter was permitted to permanently remain a Roman Catholic priest even after being caught sexually assaulting children all over the country by church officials in the 1960s and ’70s.

It states, "With regard to future functions and ministry, and of association with religious education, I recognize in the first category that by my petition and this return to the lay state, I may exercise no specific function confined to Sacred Order, with the exception of absolution from church penalties and from sin, in a circumstance of danger of death."

Posted by kshaw at January 6, 2005 07:39 AM