February 01, 2006

Must church keep tabs on its ousted priests?


Wednesday, February 1, 2006


An official with the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference said Tuesday the church has no obligation to monitor defrocked priests, such as James Hanley of Paterson, who has admitted molesting 15 boys.

"I don't know what that obligation would be," said Teresa Kettelkamp, the executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection. "The ties have been severed, and they are private citizens."

Nevertheless, at least one New Jersey diocese said it keeps a close watch on ousted priests and will withhold their support payment checks if they fail to attend counseling.

"There is leverage," said Andy Walton, a spokesman for the Diocese of Camden. "If the penalty calls for laicization, that doesn't have to mean there is no further contact. The diocese still has to look out for the well-being of the community and the priest."

Posted by kshaw at February 1, 2006 08:13 AM