Reader Protests the Defrocking of Priest

I am writing about Bishop Paul Loverde’s defrocking of Fr. Andrew Krafcik, who was Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Hampton, VA for many years before moving to Arlington. I have known Father for over 35 years and do not believe he was given fair legal representation. His accuser (not the 12-year-old girl or her parents) was someone he never saw before the alleged event occurred (kissing the child at a public swimming pool). A witness who was also present was never called. On the advice of the diocese’s attorney, Fr. Krafcik pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge even though he had done nothing wrong. After the court’s decision, Father asked me to be silent since the documents were sealed and he feared for his reputation.

I tried to contact Bishop Loverde for a private meeting to clear this up, but he did not agree to see me. The bishop violated canon law by refusing to release Fr. Krafcik's records to his canon lawyer, so he could defend him in a Church court. The diocese also violated the secular court’s order by publicizing the sealed court records.

Heaven only knows how many priests and other individuals have been caught in the vise of false witness without adequate counsel or funds to pursue an appeal.

This note is sent as a plea for your prayers for Father Krafcik, the family who was involved, Bishop Loverde and Fr. Krafcik's Church attorney so that the truth can come to light. I know the family involved in this case, and out of concern for them, will not name them.

I will add, however, that I am appalled at the merciless disregard of the Bishops to the souls of accused priests. Many accusations may be false. Are not priests, being human, entitled to redemption, forgiveness and loving concern for their welfare as any other sinner, as we all are?

May Heaven soften our hearts to be followers of the One Who died for our sins, so that reason and love may prevail.

Mary Faith West
Williamsburg, Va.

Editor’s note: We know nothing of the merits of this case, but in 1995, the founders of Les Femmes were arrested for “disrupting” a meeting of the heretical group, Call to Action, at Christ the Redeemer in Sterling. The diocesan attorney, through our lawyer, pressured us to plead guilty to the criminal misdemeanor. We refused considering it a lie. Perhaps the moral is don’t trust diocesan lawyers.

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