An American pastor in Oregon has filed an appeal against his forced removal from that post by the diocese bishop, reports NCR/Ucanews.
Fr James Radloff, pastor of Oregon's largest parish - St Francis of Assisi in Bend - was removed by the Bishop of Baker, Liam Cary, on August 1.
According to a statement last Wednesday provided to NCR through his canonical advisor, Fr James Radloff is also asking the Vatican Congregation for Clergy for permission to publicly divulge the reasons Bishop Cary used to justify the formal decree of removal.
Bp Cary has refused to discuss reasons for the dismissal, writing in an October 1 letter to St Francis parishioners that he was "not at liberty" to do so. That letter also lauded Radloff for his hard work and accomplishments at the parish, declared that he remains a priest in good standing, and said the priest did nothing illegal.
Fr W Thomas Faucher, a canon lawyer advising Fr Radloff, said Bp Cary had ordered Radloff to obtain the Bishop's permission to celebrate Mass or do other ministry, but because the priest remains in good standing and has not been convicted of or charged with any church crime, the Bishop could not make such a demand.
According to Fr Radloff's statement:
- On August 1, he was asked by Cary to resign as pastor; the priest 'responded by asking for mediation and reconciliation, which requests were rejected';
- Frs Radloff and Faucher were consequently 'informed of the five reasons for my removal' by Bp Cary;
- In response, FrFaucher 'submitted a long legal brief rejecting all of the reasons,' arguing that they did not meet the criteria for removal found in Canon Law;
- Those 'detailed objections were simply dismissed by Bishop Cary in one-sentence rejection of them;'
- On October 18, a brief was filed with the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy.
'Bishop Cary ... has forbidden me or my canonical advisor from revealing what the reasons are,' Fr Radloff's statement notes.