Archbishop sacks priest accused of gay sexual relationship with church worker

(Facebook/St. Rose of Lima Miami Shores)The St. Rose of Lima Church in Miami Shores, Florida.

The archbishop of Miami, Florida has asked a priest to resign due to allegations of gay sexual relationship with a church worker.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski announced on Thursday, May 26, that he has asked Father Pedro Corces of St. Rose of Lima Church in Miami Shores to step down following the presentation of a 129-page dossier on the priest by a group of parishioners who call themselves Christifidelis, Raw Story reports.

In the dossier, the group accused Corces of having sexual relations with a man he hired as a maintenance worker for the church.

In a letter, Wenski said these events have "fractured the spirit and unity at this long established parish and school."

He said he met with the group on May 16 when they presented to him materials to back up their allegations.

"I promised a prompt and thorough investigation and met with Father Corces the following day," he said.

Wenski said much of the materials presented by the group were "old, long since discredited gossip" and some were false, including that background checks that were not done on the workers hired.

However, he said, the allegations on Facebook postings in violation of the employee handbook, hiring of friends and improper socialising with employees are serious and are being investigated.

Wenski said the chain of events "was instigated by a small group apparently in the hope of retaining the services of the IHM Sisters whose decision to leave the parish is irreversible."

"Slanderous gossip, calumny, detraction—all sinful behaviors—have fomented division in the parish and school communities," he said.

Aside from asking Corces to resign, Wenski appointed Dr. Donald Edwards, associate superintendent of the Archdiocese of Miami, as interim principal of St. Rose of Lima School until the close of the school year.

Miami lawyer Rosa Armesto, who represents Christifidelis and has children at the parish school, denounced Wenski's letter.

"It's such a shameful letter. The archbishop is not upset at what the priest has done but that it has been uncovered. The church isn't upset by the sins of their priests but by the fact that the faithful have had the audacity, the temerity, to bring this up," she told the Miami Herald.

In the dossier, the group accused Corces of enjoying frequent, lavish trips and dinners with the maintenance worker who, they said, lives in a condominium that he could not possibly afford with his meagre salary.

They also questioned Corces' financials, saying that he "increased secrecy and reduced controls by dismantling the Financial Oversight Committee of the parish, by changing the financial administrator three times in a year, and by changing the security code of all video cameras as soon as he became pastor of St. Rose of Lima."

The group asked Wenski to remove Corces and three maintenance workers of the church. They also asked to retain the nuns and investigate Corces' financial dealings.

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