March 20, 2006

Suppressed society of priests surfaces in South America

The River Reporter


SHOHOLA, PA — A suppressed society of Roman Catholic priests has moved out of Shohola Township in the Diocese of Scranton to the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. According to its current website, the suppressed Society of Saint John (SSJ) has reestablished itself in the Paraguay diocese with the apparent permission of the local bishop, Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who presides over the diocese of more than 500,000 Catholics.

The act of suppression, which dissolved the society’s status in the structure of the Catholic Church, came in 2004 by action of the Bishop of Scranton, the Most Rev. Joseph Martino. Also in 2004, the society defaulted on a mortgage loan held by the diocese and was the subject of a civil lawsuit by the parents of a youth who was allegedly molested. The society’s property on Route 424 in Shohola had to be sold, costing the diocese several million dollars.

The society claims it has a mission to maintain traditional Catholic values and express its liturgy in the Latin language. For this reason, it had attracted financial support from conservative Catholics, but lost much of that support when two of its priests were accused of the sexual molestation of several young seminarians under their charge.

The two priests, Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity and Rev. Eric Ensey, who were forbidden from exercising their priestly duties, are now with the society in Paraguay.

Posted by kshaw at March 20, 2006 07:50 AM