January 26, 2005

Vatican accepts retirement of Auxiliary Bishop Rueger

Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff

WORCESTER— The Vatican announced yesterday that Pope John Paul II has accepted the retirement of Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger.

Bishop Rueger, who turned 75 on Sept. 3, is retiring because he reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops. He said he intends to stay in the area and will continue to assist at the chancery and participate in Confirmation ceremonies throughout the diocese.

The Vatican did not say whether a new auxiliary bishop will be appointed.

The diocese has had two auxiliary bishops: Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, who served with Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan, and Bishop Rueger, who served with three bishops.

No announcement was made by Bishop Robert J. McManus on future plans for the Office of the Moderator of the Curia, a position that the auxiliary bishop now holds. Bishop Rueger will continue to assist as needed until another administrative appointment is made by Bishop McManus. The Moderator of the Curia oversees the chancery offices.

“I am most grateful to God for the many years he permitted me to minister both as a priest and bishop,” Bishop Rueger said yesterday. He thanked Bishop McManus and Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, along with diocesan priests and religious men and women for their support and for “the wonderful laity in our diocese.” ...

In 2002, Bishop Rueger was named in a civil suit by a Shrewsbury man, Sime M. Braio, alleging sexual misconduct. The case was dismissed at Mr. Braio’s request in 2003, after no evidence surfaced indicating that Bishop Rueger had done anything improper or had been where the alleged incidents occurred.

He is named in a Texas lawsuit in which two men, named only as John Doe I and John Doe II, allege sexual abuse by the Rev. Thomas Teczar, a priest of the Worcester Diocese. The allegation is that Bishop Rueger helped get Rev. Teczar moved to the Fort Worth, Texas, diocese after Rev. Teczar was accused of sexual misconduct with minors in the Worcester area.

Correspondence shows that the late James G. Reardon, diocesan lawyer at the time, wanted Rev. Teczar moved out of the state and quickly incardinated into another diocese to remove liability for the alleged misconduct from the Worcester diocese. That suit is ongoing.

Posted by kshaw at January 26, 2005 06:44 AM