Archbishop John Myers has ended his public silence on the Michael Fugee affair. He makes reference to another job lost, this time in his chancery:
So, effective immediately, the vicar general, Monsignor John E. Doran, has resigned his post and will no longer hold a leadership position with the archdiocese. As a result of operational failures, both Monsignor Doran and I felt that the archdiocese would be best served by his stepping down as vicar general. This action clears the way for making more effective changes in our monitoring function. I am transferring that function to the Office of the Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese.
This is the first time I’ve seen Msgr Doran’s name mentioned in any of the stories. It’s hard to know if the man was at fault in any of this. Did he give the inter-diocesan thumbs-up to the hospital and parish priests that had Michael Fugee on board as a minister? On the other hand, maybe leaving a chancery position is a reward for a diocese that can’t get its story straight.
Archbishop Myers prescribes more strictness, more reviewing, more advisers, more training, more reminders to pastors, more expansion of effort. But none of these were really the problem. The problem was that a man who admitted inappropriate sexual conduct was given a green light for ministry. And none of his superiors seemed to understand this is a problem.
Archbishop Myers seems to be dodging his critics. He’s certainly not addressing the big questions: Why did he approve Michael Fugee for ministry, appointing him as a hospital chaplaim? Why has the chancery’s story changed so much in response to public criticism? And given the words and spirit of the letter, why has he delegated this responsibility to others? He signed the Charter, did he not?
All presbyters, both diocesan and religious, participate in and exercise with the bishop the one priesthood of Christ and are thereby constituted prudent cooperators of the episcopal order. In the care of souls, however, the first place is held by diocesan priests who are incardinated or attached to a particular church, for they have fully dedicated themselves in the service of caring for a single portion of the Lord’s flock. In consequence, they form one presbytery and one family whose father is the bishop.
This is more than a nice metaphor from Vatican II’s Christus Dominus 28. A bishop, not his vicar general, and not his lawyers, are responsible for the formation of a family. A bishop, as father of that family, is responsible. It seems simple. Why is it so hard to get straight answers?