Last week we provided background information on the situation that led to Father Christopher being placed on administrative leave by Bishop Dewane. Many of you, like us, have been appalled by this action, indicated your strong support for Father and asked “What can I do?” This week we hope to answer that question.
It is our understanding that whenever the Bishop starts proceedings to potentially remove one of his priests from office, he utilizes a canon lawyer in the process. For that reason, it is essential that Father Christopher be similarly represented by his canon lawyer. And, since the diocese is using information gathered by the Lee County and Florida State Attorney offices, both of whom have chosen not to prosecute and have closed the case because of lack of evidence, it’s critical that a criminal lawyer review the County and State files to prepare a brief that can be used in Father’s defense with the diocese.
Father now has both a canon lawyer and criminal lawyer representing him but is forbidden by the Bishop from soliciting funds to support his defense. That is one place where your help is urgently needed. We have set up a special bank account, “Parishioners for Justice” at Bank of the Islands at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Casa Ybel Road. Please make checks payable to “Parishioners for Justic” and use the enclosed envelope to make a donation to this account – any amount will be very sincerely appreciated. To avoid any misunderstanding, please be aware that a donation to this account is NOT tax deductible. Should there be residual funds in the account when the issue is brought to closure, they will be donated to Catholic Charities. But again, time is of the essence since both legal and administrative expenses are mounting.
The second thing that we need your immediate help on is to sign the petition which is being mailed to you in a separate envelope. Please sign the petition and mail it at your earliest convenience to Parishioners for Justice, PO Box 302, Sanibel, FL 33957. The collected petitions will be delivered to the Diocesan office in Venice as well as to the Papal Nuncio in Washington.
Thank you in advance for your help and support, and please let us know if you have any questions or recommendations on other steps we might take to ensure Father’s return to St. Isabel. With sincere thanks,
President, St. Isabel Men’s Society
President, St. Isable Women’s Guild