Church official accused of shielding priests placed on leave

A Downingtown Catholic church has a new administrator.  It’s another ripple effect of the Philadelphia grand jury report about abuse allegations against local priests.

Parishioners at St. Joseph parish in Downingtown learned over the weekend that their pastor, Monsignor William J. Lynn, has been placed on administrative leave.

The grand jury said Lynn, formerly an administrator in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, endangered children by shielding priests accused of abuse. He is not charged with any direct abuse himself. His lawyer disputes the charges.

Monsignor Joseph C. McLoone, now St. Joseph’s temporary administrator, said his job is to help the parish move forward.

“It’s embarrassing.  I am saddened. One case of child sexual abuse is too many but especially by a member of the clergy,” he said. “They do a great dishonor to the church and to the clergy but I’m still proud to be a priest and God wants me to be a priest.”

Msgr. McLoone said he’ll try to maintain the normal life of the parish.

“What we don’t want to stop is the good the church was doing in Downingtown and leading people closer to Jesus Christ and the work of the school and the youth group and senior citiizens,” he said. “People are dying and and people need to get married.”

Msgr. McLoone, who also serves as pastor of a parish in the city of Chester, said he will work to answer any questions that members of St. Joseph’s have about the situation.   He said another priest will help serve his Chester parish, but he’ll check in from time to time on his Chester parishioners.

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