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Springfield Pastor Placed On Administrative Leave Over Concerns Of His ‘Suitability For Ministry’

By Elizabeth Hur

SPRINGFIELD, Pa.(CBS) — A Delaware County priest was abruptly placed on administrative leave by the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

In a statement, the Archdiocese explained:

“Father Louis C. Bier, Pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Springfield, Delaware County, has been placed on administrative leave by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. O.F.M. Cap. in response to concerns regarding his suitability for ministry at this time. These concerns are not connected to any complaint of inappropriate behavior with minors. An announcement regarding this situation was made at all Masses at the parish this weekend.

While on leave, Father Bier will not exercise his public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical garb, or present himself publicly as a priest. Father Bier has not been living at the parish since prior to this weekend. A parochial administrator will be appointed by Archbishop Chaput as soon as possible.

A private meeting for parishioners will be held at the church this evening. This gathering will be an opportunity for prayer, clarity, and open discussion about how the parish will move forward. There are a variety of reasons why a priest could be found unsuitable for ministry. As Father Bier’s situation is currently under thorough examination, and no determination has yet been reached, it is not possible to provide further information at this time.”

Still hoping to get some answers, parishioners of St. Francis of Assissi packed a private meeting Monday evening that lasted about an hour.

When it was all over, most chose to keep their thoughts to themselves while some conveyed compassion for their leadership.

Jim Murray, parishioner said, “I believe in my faith. I believe in St. Francis of Assisi. There are great men and women in there and I’m proud to be a member of St. Francis of Assisi.”

Proud but others admit they can’t help but wonder why their pastor, Father Louis Bier has been placed on administrative. We are told the 62-year old served as the parish’s assistant Pastor from 1990 to 1997 then returned last June as their Pastor.

Barbara Mulhern said, “He was a very nice person.”

Helen Berlingis added, “He seemed to be doing his job. There was no reason to suspect anything.”

And so they hoped to learn on this night what went wrong to no avail.

Berlingis said, “They’re not answering. They’re just saying they’re not aware of what’s going on.”

Mulhern added, “Just a little bit unusual that there’s not a representative from the Archdiocese here. We’re all just wondering what happened and is it going to happen again and will he come back and how do we prevent it in the future whatever it was.”

Monday afternoon, Eyewitness News learned from sources that a male friend of Father Bier was arrested in September and has pled guilty to dealing prescription drugs in the vicinity of a home and car owned by the priest in Rehoboth, Delaware. Father Bier has not been charged with any wrongdoing and is not under investigation for drugs or any other illegal activity.

When we reached out to the Archdiocese for more information based on this new information, church officials declined to comment.

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  • jd

    Father Bier Is a good man. I’ve known him most of my life and I don’t know what exactly he has done for this to be happening but I do know that he is NOT A pedophile. Everyone makes mistakes and If you looked into his career you would see that he has done many things to help people in need, including my family, and numerous other parishioners at SFA.

  • Morgan

    The reason they’d enter the priesthood is to have a haven even if they act like criminals, including pedophiles. Marriage has nothing to do with pedophiles. A pedophile is sheltered, fed, clothed and accepted in the Catholic Church – They are not shunned. They are prayed for and forgiven, however a divorced person is not welcome to be remarried in the church. Marriage would be great for priests, I agree. Pedophiles however should NEVER have a safe haven to be fed, clothed and sheltered. THAT IS WHAT THE CHURCH DOES. Read the archdiocese website – they have those pedophiles on there and it says they are living a life of prayer, but guess what – they have a place to live, food and amenities on the parishioners dime. SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DISGUSTING

  • Sharon

    The catholic church needs to stop being an institution that denies change and start conforming. Sexuality is innate in humans. Asking for Oathes of chastity unfortunately promotes these behaviors seen by these priests. There would be less hiding behind the cloak for these pedophiles and no reason for them to enter into the priesthood. A man can still preach his faith as well as have a wife. Who is the catholic church to deny this? Weren’t the apostles all married?

  • Peter

    On Monday KYW said the meeting was going to be on Monday night

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