March 03, 2005

Norwich bishop called lenient in Maine case

Journal Inquirer

By Tom Breen, Journal Inquirer March 03, 2005

Is it worse for a Roman Catholic priest to give muddled homilies and run a private charity inefficiently, or to post graphic descriptions of his homosexual encounters with a subordinate on an Internet site featuring photographs of naked men and a priest with his arm around a young boy?

That's a question parishioners at St. Bernard Catholic Church in the Rockville section of Vernon could ask, based on the difference in treatment accorded to the Rev. Justinian B. Rweyemamu, a parochial vicar there, and to priests in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, where the current bishop of Norwich was an auxiliary bishop until 2003.

The bishop, the Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, has never been accused of any wrongdoing in Maine. But some Catholics there say Cote and his superior, Bishop Joseph Gerry, were too slow to discipline three priests involved with a pornographic Internet site -- including one priest who lived with Cote.

By contrast, the Norwich diocese has been swift in its efforts to remove Rweyemamu from the parish, charging him first with ministerial problems like poor homilies and later with unspecified mismanagement of a private charity.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2005 06:48 PM