Monday, October 28, 2002

Priest who blessed three-person relationship reassigned.

Archbishop John Vlazny has reassigned a Catholic priest who resigned as pastor of his Forest Grove parish after blessing the relationship between a married couple and a single woman who were later convicted of sex crimes. The Rev. Elwin Schwab will be assistant pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Roseburg, said Bud Bunce, a spokesman for Vlazny and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland. The parish also serves St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sutherlin. The new assignment is effective Friday. Schwab was out of the country on vacation and unavailable for comment. Schwab said in June that he resigned from St. Anthony Catholic Church to avoid dividing the parish between his backers and opponents. The church's council supported the resignation after Vlazny referred the matter to them. [ed. note: FINALLY!]....Schwab said in June that he shouldn't have used the word "blessing," a term associated with the sacrament of marriage. He did not intend the ceremony as a wedding, but the single woman later told others she was married to the couple. The three adults whose relationship Schwab blessed in January 2001 -- Kimberly Ann Tasa-Ralph, Howell William Marsh and Bonny Marie Marsh -- pleaded guilty in July to sex crimes involving two teenage girls and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years. Schwab said he knew nothing of the abuse by the three.

But...what was he doing? What did he think he was doing? What did he know he was doing? Why is he still a priest? Why doesn't he stay out of the country? I'm sure the Netherlands or somewhere would be glad to have him.

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