More than two dozen priests were removed from parishes in 2002 under a strict new archdiocesan policy for handling allegations of clergy sex abuse. While some may be reinstated, a provision banning even one-time offenders from public ministry is likely to exclude many whose records were clear for decades.``No one expected it,'' said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocesan spokesman.Some older priests who might have delayed retirement to help maintain parish staffing announced over the past year that the stress of the abuse crisis led them to step down.A higher-than-usual number of priests died over the past year.
The newest class in the pre-theology program at St. John's Seminary is far smaller than what is necessary to maintain parish staffing. In most years, at least a half-dozen men enter pre-theology; six years later, nearly all become priests. But this past fall only three students entered, making it all but certain that the archdiocese will produce a tiny ordination class at the end of this decade.
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