Vatican City, the seat of the secular religion faith Roman Catholic church, has defrocked three priests from Central Massachusetts over allegations of sexual abuse.
David Blizard, Thomas Kane, and Robert Shauris no longer function as priests in any capacity, Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, announced on Tuesday.
Mr Kane and Mr Shauris voluntarily offered to "laicize" or defrock themselves, which now retired Pope Benedict XVI accepted and approved before his actual resignation took effect on Feb. 28. The Vatican's Congregation of the Faith, meanwhile, decided to oust Mr Blizard from the priesthood.
Although all three have been removed from ministry for nearly two decades, it was only late last year that the Diocese of Worcester in Central Massachusetts decided to defrock the priests as the diocese had to entertain individual appeals made against the three in the course of investigation.
Mr Blizard was removed in 1988 from ministry work by Bishop Timothy Harrington when allegations of sexual abuse lodged against him, that occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, seemed credible. Mr Blizard became priest in 1974. He served in the parishes of St. Roch in Oxford, Our Lady Immaculate in Athol, Christ the King in Worcester and Holy Angels in Upton, all located in Central Massachusetts.
While serving as associate pastor of Sacred Heart in Gardner, Mr Kane was called to go on leave in 1992 and then consequently removed from ministry in 1993, also by Bishop Harrington, for credible allegations of abuse committed in the 1970s. Mr Kane was ordained in 1969.
In 1995, Bishop Daniel Reilly removed from the ministry Mr Shauris due to credible allegations of inappropriate behavior during the 1990s. The Diocese of Worcester further learned the allegations have been ongoing two decades prior. Mr served as associate pastor at St. Mary's of Uxbridge and was in residence at Immaculate Conception of Fitchburg, St. Anthony of Padua in Fitchburg, and Our Lady of Fatima in Worcester while on teaching assignments at St. Bernard Central Catholic High School (CCHS), St. Peter-Marian CCHS and Anna Maria College.
''I ask the Catholic community to join with me in prayer for healing for anyone who has been abused by these men or anyone in the Catholic Church,'' Worcester Bishop Robert McManus said.