There is a public smearing of Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark that is now ongoing because of something that occurred in the Diocese of Trenton without the approval of either Archbishop Myers or Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton. People engaged in this campaign against Archbishop Myers would do well to understand the jurisdiction of a bishop is within his own diocese and that the civil authorities are ultimately responsible in ensuring that Michael Fugee live up to the terms of his agreement with them.
Father Pius Pietrzyk does a good job of explaining that a report on the case of Michael Fugee which casts harsh blame on Archbishop Myers represents anti-Catholic media bias in that it raises no questions of the civil authorities who are responsible in this particular case. There is only one problem with Fr. Pius’ article and that is that he doesn’t acknowledge, maybe because he wasn’t aware of it when he wrote the article, that these violations occurred outside Archbishop Myers’ diocese.
Why was Fugee in the Diocese of Trenton? Was he sent there by Archbishop Myers or approved by Bishop O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton? No. He was not sent there by Archbishop Myers nor approved by Bishop O’Connell. He was invited by a priest and two youth ministers within the Diocese of Trenton. All three of them have now resigned, but the attack on Archbishop Myers in the media continues.
Despite there being no involvement by either the Archbishop of Newark or the Bishop of Trenton in the decision to allow Fugee access to children, Archbishop Myers is being attacked as if he has done something wrong. Even some prominent Catholic bloggers are saying Archbishop Myers has failed in his duty to ensure the protection of children. Bishops and Archbishops are not omnipotent, and they don’t have the role of putting tracking devices on people like Michael Fugee. The prosecutor may have the authority to do that, but the bishops don’t.
If anyone is responsible here, it is the prosecutor and Fugee himself, along with those who have now resigned who invited Fugee to have access to children. Having said that, it isn’t clear how much they were aware of Fugee’s record when they invited him.
I grow weary of the rush to smear Catholic bishops, but especially when Catholic bloggers jump on board with it. Let’s try to use our brains more, folks. If I’m wrong about anything I’ve written here, I am happy to be corrected, but these are the facts of the situation as I understand them.