Within minutes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issuing the press release announcing that three priests were removed from ministry, it was obvious to anyone capable of doing a Google search that the information contained in the statement was not accurate. The press release of January 13, 2019 can be read here: http://archphila.org/archdiocese-of-philadelphia-places-one-priest-on-administrative-leave-and-announces-two-others-have-been-found-unsuitable-for-ministry/.
While we wait for the Archdiocese to correct the inaccuracies, we’ll take a closer look at one removed priest, Fr John Meyers, and some information we found of interest. Fr Meyers resigned his position as pastor of St Martin of Tours parish for health reasons in January 2017 and was assigned as a parochial vicar to St Anthony of Padua parish. Just a few months later in June of 2017 he was assigned as Rector pro tem of the Malvern Retreat House. Somehow, even though Fr Meyers needed to resign from his parish just a few months earlier due to health reasons, he was able to take on the position as Rector of the largest retreat house in the country. Even more interesting is that Fr Meyers was replacing the former rector of the retreat house who needed to step down due to his own health issues. In this case the former rector truly did have health issues, but why would the Archdiocese replace him with Meyers who had his own “health issues?”
Within a few months Meyers went from a pastor, to a parochial vicar, to the rector of a retreat house. We have repeatedly emailed John Delaney, Delegate of Investigations, asking him to clarify when the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor involving Meyers was received by the Archdiocese. No answer so far from Delaney and the questions about Meyers continue. Did the Archdiocese allow Meyers to act in the role of rector of the Malvern Retreat House while an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was being investigated? Many Archdiocesan students attend the overnight Kairos retreats at Malvern Retreat. Is this a new low, even for the Archdiocese?
Another interesting twist is that when Fr Meyers resigned from St Martin of Tours parish in January 2017, he was replaced by Fr Armand Garcia. Garcia is now on administrative leave after the police searched the parish rectory last year, investigating him for possible misconduct with minors.. We broke that story after we were tipped off that Garcia was removed from the parish. An announcement had been made at the parish but no statement issued from the Archdiocese or notification to Garcia’s past assignments.
Folks, you simply can’t make this stuff up. We will post the corrected press release from the Archdiocese when it becomes available. For now, we wait.