Bishop Tobin: We have questions.
During the Masses held on Aug. 6 and 7 at St. Veronica’s chapel and St. Thomas More church, the pastor of St. Thomas More/St. Veronica’s made a statement to the parishioners about the removal of Father Eric Silva. But the statement offered parishioners no real information, and offered victims of sexual abuse by priests no real comfort.
The pastor essentially said that Father Eric is a nice guy, that Father Eric’s recent parish audition at Mass had gone well, and that the parishioners liked him. That’s great – but who is Father Eric, and what is his background?
There are many reasons why we deserve to know more about this priest. What we have learned so far has left us with more questions than answers.
Prior to Father Eric’s audition at St. Veronica’s, there was no mention to the parish community about this priest’s very recent history. No mention of why he had been moved from one parish to another.
Why would the Principal of Immaculate Conception School in Cranston, where Father Eric spent time as a visiting priest, state that she was “angry, frustrated, and sad” about Father Eric’s behavior while he was there? Why would that same principal write in a memo to the school community that Father Eric “will never be invited to our church or school again under our leadership?” Why were there complaints from St. Luke’s school of Barrington where Father Eric had originally been assigned?
While the pastor apologized to his parish community for the pain and anguish they have experienced this past week, he had no words of apology or prayers for the victims of sexual abuse.
The parishioners of St. Thomas More and the community as a whole deserved transparency. Instead, there was none.
Until the facts and full background of Father Eric Silva are made public, there is too much risk in allowing him to serve in any parish.
In light of all that has been revealed over the last several years about sexual abuse in the Catholic church, how could Bishop Tobin make such a bad decision and place this man in another parish? Yet he planned to do just that.
Stephen and Christina Brophy of South Kingstown are the parents of child sexual abuse survivor Ryan Brophy, who in early August publicly protested against the assignment of the Rev. Eric Silva to a Narragansett parish.