March 17, 2005

Diocese apologizes over Rovira's involvement in Mass

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Associated Press

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - The Vatican is reviewing the case of a former priest in the Brownsville diocese to determine if he should be defrocked, a spokesman for the diocese said Wednesday.

Monsignor Ivan Rovira took a post at a Catholic university in Mexico after Brownsville Bishop Raymundo Pena removed him from the ministry under the one-strike-and-you're out rule, which permanently bars priests confirmed to have sexually abused a minor.

"We did discover evidence that these allegations were substantiated," the Rev. Heberto M. Diaz Jr. said Wednesday at a news conference. "So then he was removed from ministry immediately."

He said Rovira's case was sent to the Vatican for consideration of whether he should be defrocked. Rovira could also petition the Vatican to become a layperson, The Brownsville Herald reported in its Thursday editions.

The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that Rovira was among priests celebrating Mass last month as the new bishop was installed in Matamoros, Mexico.

"He was vested as priest, celebrating Mass and that is where the problem was," Diaz said Wednesday in Brownsville. "The Diocese of Brownsville is profoundly sorry for the pain it has caused them (Rovira's accusers) and their families."

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2005 08:24 AM