On 20th Anniversary of ‘The Dallas Charter’, Newark Msgr. Begs Bishops For Justice for Accused Priests

Msgr. Paul Bochicchio

Fighting injustice: Msgr. Paul Bochicchio of The Archdiocese of Newark

In a recent impassioned letter in the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Msgr. Paul L. Bochicchio of the Archdiocese of Newark implored the leadership of the Church in the United States to address the grave injustices being committed against priests merely accused of abuse.

While the 2002 "The Dallas Charter" started with good intentions, Bochicchio correctly notes that twenty years later the "zero tolerance" policy enacted by bishops has now resulted in "an atmosphere of injustice" where priests rights are being routinely violated.

Ruptured relationships

Msgr. Bochicchio lists the many negative consequences of the U.S. bishops' "no tolerance" policy, including how bishops have become "more accountable to lawyers and law enforcement" than they are to their own priests and how diocesan review boards exhibit a complete lack of urgency to resolve issues quickly. Fairness and due process for priests are simply no longer on the radar.

In the end, Bochicchio notes, the relationship between bishop and priest has become completely ruptured, and "every priest lives with the fear of being accused, and with the consequences that result from that accusation even if there is no credible evidence to support it." A single accusation, however utterly meritless, has the power to destroy a priest's reputation forever.

Msgr. Bochicchio is correct. As regular readers of this site know, we have chronicled countless cases of falsely accused priests, many of whose cases were handled poorly by the dioceses. The priesthoods of many good men have been irreparably harmed by the excesses of the "zero tolerance" policy and the witch hunts which ensued. Balance must be finally restored and the rights of the accused honored and respected. Justice requires no less.

A voice in the wilderness

There is even more to Msgr. Bochicchio's letter, and we hope that it finds a wide audience, and, most importantly, that it is seen and taken to heart by the Church's bishops and diocesan "abuse panels."

And while we know that comments on the Internet should be taken with a grain of salt, a particular one under Bochicchio's letter caught our attention. Do you believe it? Let us know in the our own comment section below.

Fraud against Catholic priests————————————-

Want to learn about the rampancy of false accusations against priests?:
- "False Accusations Against Catholic Priests Are Now At Epic Proportions" (May 2019)
- The book: The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church by David F. Pierre, Jr. (Amazon.com)


  1. Malcolm Harris says:

    Ed Graveline finishes his interesing comment with the words "so much corruption in our church". If he means that there are many former classmates who have sold their souls to the devil, I would agree with him. No loyalty left for Jesus, and his priests.  But please don't assume corruption is in the leadership of our Church. Often the Bishops are just trying to save the accused priest from being wrongfully convicted…and  imprisoned. Hence the settlements.  Little evidence is needed to convict a priest, because of the witch-hunt mentality out there. Even if it is not  a criminal case, the Church is told they will lose a civil case as well. If you doubt the atmosphere loaded against the hierarchy, just remember Cardinal Pell. Convicted with no real evidence… an annonymous accuser?. Describing something that only the most prejudiced of minds would accept as plausible?. A cruel travesty of justice.

    But I certainly agree that more must be done to protect our parish priests.