Father John Duffell, who retired July 1 as administrator of Blessed Sacrament parish in Manhattan, has been directed not to exercise his priestly ministry “due to an allegation from the past that he abused his position of authority in a violation of his promise of priestly celibacy.”
Cardinal Dolan, writing to parishioners of Blessed Sacrament July 1, went on to say that the allegation against Father Duffell was first made to the district attorney, who brought it to the archdiocese’s attention. “This allegation involves an adult; it does not involve a minor,” the cardinal said. “It is important that the archdiocese take such allegations seriously.”
In the letter, the cardinal also said “Father Duffell’s rights under canon law are being protected, and he had the opportunity to defend himself against the allegation during a penal process that the archdiocese initiated.”
The administrative penal process concluded with Father Duffell’s removal from ministry.
Retired Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh has agreed to serve as temporary administrator of Blessed Sacrament until a new pastor is appointed.
Father Duffell, 75, had served as administrator of Blessed Sacrament since 2014. He was pastor of Ascension parish, also in Manhattan, 1994-2012, and St. Peter’s, Yonkers, 1981-1994.
The cardinal concluded, “Please keep Father Duffell, the accuser and all those involved in this matter in your prayers. I am sorry that you all have to go through this.”