The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has put a Roseville priest on leave after receiving what it is calling a credible allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.We are parishioners at St. Rose of Lima -- we joined the parish earlier this year after we'd grown disenchanted with our previous parish. I can't say that I know Fr. Fitzpatrick well, but we really like him and the other priests at St. Rose. I had no inkling that he might have trouble in his past. Fr. Fitzpatrick is pastor at both parishes because, frankly, there aren't enough priests to go around these days. Corpus Christi is significantly smaller than St. Rose and probably not large enough to have a pastor, especially now, but it's also a vibrant community.
The Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick is pastor at Corpus Christi parish and St. Rose of Lima parish and school.
Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced the decision on Thursday and says police have been notified.
|Father Fitz and the Archbishop|
Fr. Fitzpatrick had invited Archbishop Hebda to come to St. Rose for the upcoming 75th annivesary celebration of the parish school. Hebda was unavailable that day, but he came to St. Rose earlier this month -- the picture I've posted is from the parish website. St. Rose was the first parish that Hebda has visited since he became the interim archbishop. Now, less than a month after he came to St. Rose, he has to take action against Fr. Fitzpatrick.
It's going to take a while for me to process this information. It's possible that the allegation, while credible, may turn out to be false. I hope it is. We are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness, which is why this scandal is so deleterious. I understand that the Church is much, much larger than any individual priest, but it has to rely on its priests to survive. And with every revelation of misconduct, people are drawn away from God, just when we need Him the most.