By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Monsignor who urged the Catholic Church to do something about alleged ‘problem priests’ in the mid-90’s has testified top church officials punished him for complaining.
Monsignor Michael Picard told jurors he felt he was looking out for his parish, St. Andrew Church in Newtown, Bucks County, when officials were going to transfer a priest who had issues, including an alleged “inappropriate relationship with a male friend.”
When he raised those concerns in 1996 to defendant Monsignor William Lynn, who supervised priests, Picard testified Lynn told him it was just “hearsay.”
Picard says in two disciplinary meetings with Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, he felt he was on trial, for being “disobedient.”
While Picard saw many contemporaries elevated to Monsignor in the years that followed, he didn’t become a Monsignor until 2009. He recalls Lynn approaching him after the ceremonies, telling him “everyone deserves to get out of the penalty box.”
Picard also recalls telling Lynn at the time the church should “review the process of transferring problem priests,” to which he says Lynn responded “that’s not your job.”