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Newark archdiocese unveils policy for funerals of priests accused of abuse

Catholic World News - March 17, 2014

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey has announced new policies governing the arrangements for funerals of priests who have been suspended from ministry because of sex-abuse allegations.

Funerals for accused priests should not be held in the parishes where the alleged offenses were reported, the archdiocese said. A letter to the priests of the archdiocese explaining the new policy indicating that it was adopted to avoid causing new negative publicity.

Priests of the archdiocese will be invited to attend the funerals of the accused priests, the new policy says. But public announcements will not give the details of the time and place for the funeral, saying only that the services will be private. Private viewings of the deceased must be held in funeral parlors rather than in churches. Prayer cards may be distributed, but they may not have a photo of the deceased priest.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: normnuke - Mar. 19, 2014 3:39 PM ET USA

    This is Kabuki theater. Maybe in some distant future, textbooks of abnormal behavior will carry a paragraph of this stuff as an example of how the guilty and ashamed buried those who were caught.

  • Posted by: duineachaidh - Mar. 18, 2014 5:35 AM ET USA

    Love, compassion and forgiveness. Is that not what Christ taught? I believe we need to stop running from the anti-Catholic attitude of a secular society. The Church tries so hard to accommodate modern society they have removed priests on accusations from people 30 years after the fact with no proof. Now we want to hide a death of a person to avoid confrontation. The apostles and thousands of martyrs did not avoid confrontation. It's time we started acting like true Catholics again.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Mar. 18, 2014 12:56 AM ET USA

    OK, weird. Like a policy to avoid "negative publicity" on such a commonsense issue doesn't provoke negative publicity. Wow.

  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Mar. 17, 2014 9:50 PM ET USA

    While some victims' advocates are understandably upset at the idea of a church funeral for suspended, credibly accused priests, I am more distressed at elements of the diocesan policy that in my view exceed ecclesiastical authority. I don't believe the diocese can mandate the deceased's family not run an obituary with a photo in a secular paper, or that a viewing in a private funeral home cannot be open to the public.

  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 17, 2014 9:18 PM ET USA

    I hope the Church is not being intimidated by false accusations.

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