Fr. Szarek said further that Fr. Phillips should not return to St. John Cantius Parish as its pastor, considering both his age "and out of respect for the Cardinal's own preference."
The superior also wrote that it "seems fair and just to restore the canonical faculties of Fr. Phillips" because "no civil or ecclesiastical crime had been established."
He noted that Fr. Phillips' accusers "thought that his removal from the parish was all that they desired."
Fr. Szarek also wrote that since Fr. Phillips is founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, "the ideal would be his restoration as their superior general."
The Canons Regular are incardinated in the Chicago archdiocese, and their assignments are made by the Archbishop of Chicago, Fr. Szarek noted, so "there is no fear that Fr. Phillips could possibly interfere in some way" with the archbishop's decisions.
"The historical reality of his being the Founder and his ongoing provision of spiritual leadership would be salutary for all," Fr. Szarek stated, adding that Fr. Phillips "would obviously not reside" at St. John Cantius Parish.
"If the above recommendation is unfeasible, then at least he and the Canons should not be prevented from communication." A prohibition on communication between Phillips and the Canons Regular had not previously been reported.
Despite Fr. Szarek's proposal, Cardinal Cupich declined to allow Fr. Phillips to minister publicly. Ordinarily, a priest prohibited from public ministry is able to celebrate Mass only in private, and not able to hear confessions or celebrate other sacraments, unless a person is in immediate danger of death.
"We accept the Archdiocese's decision that Fr. Phillips' faculties for public ministry will remain withdrawn and that he not return as pastor of St John Cantius and as Superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius," Fr. Szarek wrote in a June 24 letter to the parishioners of St. John Cantius parish.
Paula Waters, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune June 25 that though Fr. Phillips had not been found to have violated civil or canon law, there was other information that justified barring him from exercising public ministry.
"There are standards for behavior," Waters told the Tribune.
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Stating that the review board recommended that Fr. Phillips not return to St. John Cantius as pastor "and on other factors, the cardinal decided that his faculties to minister would remain withdrawn," she said.
When asked about the removal of Fr. Phillips' faculties, a Chicago archdiocese spokeswoman told CNA June 26 only that "it was recommended that Fr. Phillips not return to ministry at St. John Cantius" in the Resurrectionists' investigation report.
In his letter informing the St. John Cantius community of Cardinal Cupich's decision, Fr. Szarek wrote: "While we know this news will disappoint some of Fr. Phillips' supporters, we hope everyone will come to understand that this process was conducted with prayerful deliberation and sincere compassion."
Protect our Priests, a group formed to support and assist Fr. Phillips had issued a statement June 20 saying that Fr. Phillips had been "exonerated", saying the review board "concluded that Fr. Phillips has not violated any secular criminal, civil or canon law."
Protect our Priests stated that the review board, consisting of three leaders from the Chicago area who are not members of St. John Cantius parish, interviewed "the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who came forward to testify in defense of Father Phillips' integrity."
The group added that Cardinal Cupich had directed that members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius not be interviewed by the board.