Disgraced priest still rankles former parishioners

world | Feb 26, 2007 | By Martin Barillas

Feelings about a disgraced Roman Catholic priest remain high at his former pastorate at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton MI near Flint. Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo, who admitted in 2002 to having “inappropriate sexual contact with a minor”, was pastor for 14 years of the large parish that served Burton and Flint “The Vehicle City”. His portrait normally hangs just outside the parish office, along with those of other former pastors, but has frequently gone missing – removed by persons unknown.


Parishioners and others in the community theorize that someone, or a group of persons, feels that Rev. DeLorenzo’s legacy is disgraceful to the Holy Redeemer parish and the Catholic Church at large. This, they theorize, would explain the serial disappearance of the former pastor’s portrait.


The current acting pastor, Rev. Paul Cummings, just as frequently replaces the purloined photographic portrait. Speaking to the Flint Journal newspaper, Rev. Cummings said “I haven’t a clue who is doing it”, “Maybe they figure they are doing their thing for God.”


Rev. DeLorenzo, who abruptly resigned in January 2002, made a written admission months later, saying “This has caused harm to that young person. I am sorry it happened and now publicly apologize for what I did”, in response to allegation to criminal sexual contact with an 8-year-old boy over a five-year period in the 1970s at St. Pius X parish in neighboring Flint Township. Local prosecutors however did not pursue the case, stating that the statute of limitations put the priest beyond earthly justice.


Bishop Kenneth J. Povish was head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing, which encompasses Flint and Burton MI, from 1975 until his death in 2003. Over 30 priests of dioceses of Lansing, Detroit, and elsewhere in Michigan have left their duties or have been removed or suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct since 2002. Bishop Carl Mengeling now leads the diocese of Lansing.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.