May 09, 2005

Archbishop warns churches about priest ordered freed

Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - The head of the St. Louis area's Roman Catholics is warning certain churches about the possible release of an imprisoned former priest, saying the case "has raised grave concerns about possible acts of child sexual abuse which he may have committed."

The man's attorney worries that his client, James Beine, may be "a sitting duck" targeted for violence once freed.

Archbishop Raymond Burke last week sent letters to three St. Louis-area churches where Beine once served and asked priests to read them during Masses next weekend. The letters ask any possible Beine victims to come forward, archdiocese spokesman Jamie Allman said Monday. The letter also will be published in the St. Louis Review, the archdiocese's weekly newspaper.

While calling the step "unusual," Allman said Burke "believes this was absolutely necessary."

"The urgency's there," Allman said. "Abuse by priests has done irreparable and untold harm to the fabric of trust in the Catholic Church and the preponderance of really wonderful priests. There will never be a time the archbishop lets his guard down on these types of matters."

Posted by kshaw at May 9, 2005 07:10 PM