Tuesday, December 17, 2002

A "gray area"

They told the priest to stop saying Mass after he was convicted of possessing child pornography. They said he stopped. He didn't.

They found out when parishioners called in compliments on his homilies

The Rev. Edward M. DePaoli was barred from celebrating Mass in public, hearing confessions and performing marriages after he was found guilty in 1986 of receiving a child porn magazine called "Joy Boy 33" through the mail.He was never formally defrocked, however, and has continued to live in church residences for 16 years. During that time he has been allowed to wear clerical garb, but he's been prohibited from all public priestly duties.In recent years, however, DePaoli had occasionally participated in Masses at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Stowe, with the permission of the church's regular pastor, according to Catherine Rossi, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.Rossi said the permission was withdrawn about a month and a half ago after the archdiocese received phone calls from parishioners who said DePaoli was taking part in Mass. "Actually the calls that came in were people complimenting him on a great homily," Rossi said.

DePaoli had no active assignment at the church, but lived in its rectory, she said.

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