Pope Francis accepts resignation of NY auxiliary under investigation for abuse

Pope accepts resignation of NY auxiliary under investigation for abuse

Bishop John Jenik. Courtesy photo: Archdiocese of New York.
Bishop John Jenik. Courtesy photo: Archdiocese of New York.

.- Pope Francis accepted Thursday the resignation of Bishop John Jenik as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York and appointed two New York priests as auxiliaries of the archdiocese.

Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry last year after the archdiocese found credible an accusation of sexual abuse against him. The bishop, who has been an auxiliary of New York since 2014, maintains his innocence.

Neither the Vatican nor the Archdiocese of New York have announced the results of a preliminary investigation into the abuse allegations against Jenik, nor did the Vatican make mention of the allegations in the notice accepting his resignation. Bishops customarily submit a letter of resignation to the pope at age 75; Jenik turned 75 in March.

Jenik’s alleged victim, Michael Meenan, 53, said last November that the bishop cultivated an inappropriate relationship with him during the 1980s that involved dozens of trips upstate to Jenik's country house, where Jenik allegedly groped him in bed.

Meenan’s allegation was reviewed by the Lay Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York, which concluded “the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated.”

Jenik, who has served as pastor at Our Lady of Refuge parish since 1985, wrote in an Oct. 29 letter to his parishioners that he continues “to steadfastly deny that I have ever abused anyone at any time.”

Jenik’s case is being reviewed by the Vatican, most likely at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sources say, before being passed to Pope Francis for judgment.

Pope Francis Oct. 10 also appointed two New York priests, Fr. Edmund J. Whalen and Fr. Gerardo J. Colacicco, to serve as auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese.

Whalen, 61, has been the vicar of clergy for New York since January. He was previously dean of Monsignor Farrell High School on Staten Island for eight years.

From Staten Island, Whalen studied at Cathedral College in Douglaston, New York and at the Pontifical North American College and Gregorian University in Rome. He later received a doctorate in moral theology from the Alfonsianum, a graduate school of theology in Rome. He was ordained a priest of New York in 1984.

Fr. Gerardo J. Colacicco, 64, is from Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers and has a license in canon law from Rome's Angelicum university.

He was ordained a priest in 1982. In addition to serving in parishes, Colacicco has worked in the archdiocesan tribunal as a defender of the bond and a judge. Since 2015, he has been pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish in Millbrook.

Tags: Bishop Appointment, Catholic News, Archdiocese of New York, Bishop John Jenik