March 17, 2006

Holy See Defrocks 8 from Boston

Catholic Online

3/17/2006 - 5:00 PM PST

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Catholic Online

Boston--The Archdiocese of Boston announced on Friday that the Holy See has defrocked eight men from the clerical state. The defrocking means that they are no longer able to celebrate any form of public ministry. They will also no longer receive any financial compensation from the Archdiocese. They may only celebrate the necessary sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick in the case of someone who is in imminent danger of death.

This defrocking comes in the aftermath of the sex abuse crisis in that Archdiocese. These men have been on administrative leave and are now permanently removed from clergy rolls. The highest ranking member, the former Monsignor Frederick Ryan, was the vice chancellor of the Archdiocese. He was accused in 2002 of allegations of sexual abuse during his tenure as chaplain at a Boston area Catholic high school.

Such defrocking is defined in the Code of Canon Law Canon 290. The ordained man, specifically bishop, priest or deacon, who loses the state, also loses all rights and responsibilities pursuant to the clerical state. He does not however, become unordained, as that is a permanent condition of the soul imparted by the sacrament of Holy Orders. Similarly no one can become unbaptized, but one may choose to no longer be a Catholic.

In a statement released through Bishop Richard Lennon, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Boston, Archbishop Cardinal-Designate Sean O’Malley described the actions of priest abusers as "a source of profound shame" and has expressed "deepest sorrow for the grievous harm done to the survivors of priestly abuse."

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2006 06:05 PM