Sunday, April 7, 2013

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: has found Monsignor Richard T. Powers, Unsuitable for Ministry

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has found Monsignor Richard T. Powers, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, not suitable for ministry following a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred approximately 40 years ago outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Today's announcement regarding Monsignor Powers is not directly connected to the cases of priests placed on administrative leave following the February 2011 Grand Jury Report.

Background Information

In March of 2012 an internal document was discovered in response to a subpoena following the February 2011 Grand Jury Report and turned over to the courts as soon as it was found. That document included a list of priests, among whom were those who had allegations of sexual abuse against them. All of those priests were either deceased, laicized, or living a life of prayer and penance with the exception of Monsignor Powers.

Subsequent to turning the list over to the courts last year, the Archdiocese placed Monsignor Powers on leave, and began its customary investigation. During that time Monsignor Powers was not permitted to exercise his public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical garb, or present himself publicly as a priest.

An announcement concerning this situation was made last year at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia, where Monsignor Powers had been residing. The Archdiocese was not permitted to make a broader public announcement due to the court imposed gag order in the trial taking place at the time. An announcement regarding the final decision in Monsignor Powers' case was made at the parish this weekend. Crisis counselors were made available.

Following Archbishop Chaput's determination of unsuitability for ministry, Monsignor Powers will have no public ministry in the Archdiocese. He does have the right to appeal the decision to the Holy See. If he does not appeal, or if his appeal is unsuccessful, he could be laicized (removed from the clerical state) or live a life of prayer and penance.


Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia