Vatican denies removed Bend pastor's appeal

BEND, Ore. - The Vatican has declined to intervene in the matter of Fr. James Radloff, a priest who was removed as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Bend last fall and later barred from public ministry, the National Catholic Reporter reported Friday.

In a Jan. 31 decision the publication learned of Friday, the Vatican Congregation for Cergy confirmed that Diocese of Baker Bishop Liam Cary was justified in removing Radloff as pastor last Oct. 1.

The National Catholic Reporter story quoted Radloff's canonical adviser, Fr. Thomas Faucher, as saying the Congregation of Clergy "also declined to order Bishop Cary to make public the reasons for the removal," or "to order Bishop Cary to rescind his ban on Fr. Radloff from celebration of Mass and from all public ministry."

Cary has refused to publicly disclose the reasons for Radloff's removal, but wrote that the priest, who lead the church for 21 months, remained a priest in good standing and had done nothing illegal.

Cary's move led some church members to resign from the parish council, stewardship group and finance council. On New Year's Eve, about 100 parishioners who support Radloff and opposed his removal gathered outside the old St. Francis church in downtown Bend, saying they believed he was treated unjustly.

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