Missouri Catholic Church Finds Priest Guilty of Soliciting Sex During Confession ‘Grave Form of Abuse’

Addressing Church Abuse with Prayer and Action

Bishop McKnight emphasized the imperative role of faith and concerted effort in the ongoing battle against abuse within the Church.

He urged the faithful to join him in prayer for those enduring pain and confusion due to the misuse of authority by trusted leaders.

McKnight highlighted the collective responsibility to eliminate abuse from all spheres of the Church, emphasizing the need for divine guidance in this endeavor.

Investigation Initiated on Sacramental Abuse

The investigation into the abuse of the sacrament of confession commenced on April 15, 2022, prompted by a victim’s report through an abuse hotline.

Oversight and approval of the decree, declaring Father Medina guilty, were carried out by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Nov. 27, 2023.

The diocesan statement outlines the specific timeline and authoritative bodies involved in the investigation process.

Unappealed Decree and Permanent Consequences

Father Medina chose not to challenge the verdict, and the period for appeals has concluded, resulting in the permanency of the imposed penalties.

The diocese clarified that the immediate and lasting repercussions for Medina involve a permanent prohibition from hearing confessions, as well as a restriction from publicly celebrating or concelebrating Mass without explicit permission from the bishop.

Additionally, Medina is forever barred from holding any official position within the Church.

Pastoral Measures for Restricted Ministry

Bishop McKnight personally met with Father Medina to communicate the limitations on his public ministry.

The bishop specified the occasions on which Medina is permitted to celebrate or concelebrate Mass, including funeral Masses for immediate family, the priests’ annual conference in October, and the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.

These measures reflect a balance between acknowledging past pastoral roles and ensuring the protection of the Church community.

Vatican’s Decision on Priestly Faculties and Retirement Support

Contrary to expectations, the decision to allow Father Medina to retain his priestly faculties and continue receiving retirement support from the Church was not made at the diocesan level.

Jacob Luecke, a diocesan representative, clarified that this choice originated from the Vatican, underscoring the complexity of such cases and the involvement of higher ecclesiastical authorities in determining the priest’s ongoing relationship with the Church.

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