Three Chicago priests step aside from ministry amid investigations of inappropriate acts with adults

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Three priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago have been asked to step aside from ministry pending investigation of their inappropriate acts with fellow adults, which they have acknowledged.

Blase Cardinal Cupich sent letters Sept. 4 to parishes where the priests have been assigned, informing them of the decisions.

Fr. Orlando Flores Orea had an inappropriate relationship with a woman, while Frs. Pedro Campos and René Mena Beltrán each engaged in “inappropriate behaviour with an adult man”.

Each of the priests will “enter a period of prayer, spiritual healing and discernment,” and each “is cooperating with this direction,” the cardinal wrote.

Fr. Flores has served at St. Paul’s and at Ss. Genevieve and Stanislaus parishes. His relationship took place while he was at St. Genevieve’s.

Fr. Campos was serving as pastor of St Gerard Majella, St John the Baptist and Ascension-St Susana, and was previously at Our Lady of Nazareth and St. Kevin’s parish. The inappropriate behavior which is being investigated occurred while he was pastor at St. Kevin’s.

He was ordained a priest in 2002, and had been led to the Chicago archdiocese after being told about the city’s Casa Jesus program. The discernment house for prospective Latin American seminarians was suspended in 2016. That year, NBC 5 Chicago reported homosexual activity among Casa Jesus participants, and said that in 2015 three participants had been dismissed after visiting a gay bar.

Fr. Mena was serving as pastor of St. Gall and St. Simon parish.

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