newark

Accused Priest at Center of N.J. Scandal Resigns

Religion News Service photo by Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

Newark Archbishop John J. Myers faces fierce criticism. Religion News Service photo by Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. — The Roman Catholic priest at the center of a public furor enveloping Newark Archbishop John J. Myers has resigned from ministry, a spokesman for the archdiocese said May 2.

The Rev. Michael Fugee, who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors in defiance of a lifetime ban on such behavior, submitted his request to leave ministry on Thursday, said the spokesman, Jim Goodness. Myers promptly accepted the resignation, Goodness said.

Fugee, 52, remains a priest but no longer has authority to say Mass, perform sacramental work, or represent himself as an active priest, Goodness said. It was not immediately clear if Fugee or Myers would petition the Vatican to remove him from the priesthood altogether, a process known as laicization.

Asked if Myers had requested that Fugee step aside, Goodness said, “I only know that he offered to leave ministry and the archbishop accepted.”

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