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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ray Delisle
508-791-5357

Three laicizations announced by Worcester Diocese

March 5, 2013, WORCESTER, MA -- Following the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, has announced that David Blizard, Thomas Kane, and Robert Shauris are no longer in the clerical state. The Holy Father accepted the voluntary laicizations on the part of Thomas Kane and Robert Shauris prior to his resigning as the Roman Pontiff. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the decision in the case of David Blizard. As a result of the laicizations, the three men may no longer function in any capacity as priests. Although the decisions were reached by late 2012, formal announcement waited until the period for any individual appeals was concluded.
I ask the Catholic community to join with me in prayer for healing for anyone who has been abused by these men or anyone in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop McManus. “Allow me to echo the poignant words of Cardinal Francis George at the meeting of Cardinals in Rome on Monday, that ‘The wound is still deep in their hearts, and as long as it’s with them it will be with us.’ May we never lose sight of this.”

Along with asking for prayers for healing for all those who have been harmed in any way by any member of the clergy, the bishop encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling 508-929-4363.

David Blizard was removed from ministry in 1988 by Bishop Timothy Harrington following the determination of credible allegations of abuse having occurred in the 1970s and 80s. Blizard has not had faculties as a priest since 1988. He was ordained in 1974 and served in the following parishes: St. Roch, Oxford; Our Lady Immaculate, Athol; Christ the King, Worcester; Holy Angels, Upton. He was in residence in various parishes while assigned to the Catholic School Department from 1983 – 1988.

Thomas Kane was removed from ministry in 1993 by Bishop Timothy Harrington after learning of credible allegations of abuse which had occurred in the 1970s and he has not had faculties to serve in priestly ministry since 1993. Kane was ordained in 1969 and was resident in various parishes while continuing advance studies in psychology. These included St. Mary, Uxbridge, St Joan of Arc, Worcester followed by assignment to the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. He was serving as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart in Gardner beginning in 1992 when he was placed on leave.

Robert Shauris was removed from ministry in 1995 by Bishop Daniel Reilly after learning of credible allegations of inappropriate behavior in the 1990s and subsequently learning of credible allegations of abuse dating to the 1970s and 1980s. Shauris has not had faculties to serve in priestly ministry since then. Shauris was ordained in 1974 and served as an associate at St. Mary, Uxbridge and was in residence at Immaculate Conception, Fitchburg, St. Anthony of Padua, Fitchburg, and Our Lady of Fatima, Worcester during teaching assignments at St. Bernard Central Catholic High School (CCHS), St. Peter-Marian CCHS and Anna Maria College.

In a related release, the Diocese of Worcester announced that it had been found compliant in the national compliance audit regarding the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese is committed to creating safe environments in all diocesan parishes and institutions and continues to work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community resources to support that commitment. That the diocese performed more than 30,000 background checks for employees and volunteers over the past decade is but one example of how it has been fully supportive of the Charter.