Thursday, February 12, 2004

Why the Bishop of Springfield, MA Resigned

And why it was accepted immediately on a Wednesday...


In a press release and a press conference, the diocese said that Dupre had resigned because of failing health and that he had requested permission to resign last November and was only informed of the pope's decision yesterday.

But in a series of interviews late yesterday, a diocesan spokesman and Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk, who was named yesterday as the diocese's interim administrator, confirmed that Dupre had been made aware Tuesday of allegations made against him by the mother of one of two men who say Dupre abused them about 25 years ago when he was a priest and they were boys in Holyoke.

The allegations were contained in a series of questions submitted to the bishop Tuesday by The Republican newspaper in Springfield. The newspaper reported last night that the mother of one alleged victim, who it described as a longtime diocesan school worker, had written to the bishop about the allegations last year. The newspaper reported that weeks after the woman said she wrote to the bishop, Dupre told the newspaper last spring he was considering early retirement because of a heart condition and other health problems.

Mark E. Dupont, a spokesman for the diocese, said he understood that the timing of Dupre's resignation was coincidental. He said Dupre, 70, had told him in either late November or early December that he had requested the pope's permission to resign five years before the mandatory retirement age of 75 because of his declining health. Dupont said Dupre checked himself into a hospital Tuesday after receiving a copy of the questions about the allegations and left without issuing a denial or any other statement.