VENICE - "The local chapter of a national Catholic organization is asking Pope Francis to issue an investigation of Bishop Frank Dewane, the leader of the Diocese of Venice.
The Southwest Florida chapter of Call to Action has authored a letter and online petition that accuse Dewane of violating Canon Law, terminating at least two dozen employees without good reason and creating an environment of intimidation among subordinates.
The Venice Diocese, which represents 240,000 Catholics in 10 Florida counties, including Sarasota and Manatee, issued a stern response.
A statement from the diocese denied the accusations and discredited Call to Action as an excommunicated organization seeking to advance its own agenda.
The petition “simply reiterates the sweeping, unfounded, general accusations from several months ago by a few anonymous priests,” the Diocese's statement reads.
Those accusations were made in a letter sent to papal authorities from at least 10 priests and pastors in January. Those priests and pastors have not come forward.
"The letter alleged there was a lack of financial transparency in Dewane's office and that the bishop “repeatedly ruled those under his authority with intimidation, the use of fear, shaming, bullying and other non-Christian behaviors.”
Dewane has been the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida since he became bishop of the Venice Diocese in 2007.
As of Thursday, Call to Action's online petition for an investigation had around 1,400 signatures..."
Bridget Mary's Response:
In this article, CTA Leader Michael Rigdon recommends that an investigation of Bishop Dewane be conducted in response to the priests' accusations. I agree.