PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There have been quite a few priests removed from active ministry since last summer’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on abuse in the Church.
The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese removed another priest from active ministry just yesterday.
Fr. James Holland, who worked alongside Fr. Thomas Wilson at parishes in Allegheny County, shared his thoughts.
“The parishoners are devastated many of them are just angry as to why there is no clear reason why he’s gone and that’s because he was so beloved,” he said.
Parishioners got the news last night in time for Saturday evening mass that 74-year-old Thomas Wilson, the Senior Parichial Vicar at Saint Victor Parish in Bairdford and Transfiguration Parish in Russellton, Allegheny County has been removed from ministry.
Fr. Holland says he got the call Thursday morning from church officials that Father Wilson was to be removed.
“So we facilitated that and had him out of the rectory that day, so talking about stunned, I was pretty stunned,” Father Holland said.
Fr. Thomas Wilson admitted to an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor that did not involve sexual contact while serving as a seminarian at St. Mary of the Mount on Mt. Washington decades ago.
“I’ve been a nurse over forty years and I’ve dealt with many victims of different types of abuse and so I feel for the victims to be sure, but at the same token I don’t know how one defends himself over fifty years,” Father Holland said.
The diocese says this was the first allegation ever received against Father Wilson and while little other explanation was given, Father Holland did have a chance to speak to Father Wilson about his removal from ministry and the allegation.
“I understand they are protecting the victim and also for Father Wilson not being able to put the two of them together,” Father Holland said. “I have to say he readily admitted it and again he is a man of truth. He may be a sinful man but he is at least a man of truth as well, and he told me it should have never happened.”
The diocese says Father Wilson may no longer engage in public ministry, dress as a priest or present himself as a priest in good standing or even come near the church.
The Diocese says law enforcement has been notified.