Defrocked priest says he'll appeal to pope
A defrocked priest ordered by the Vatican to leave St. Vincent Archabbey near Latrobe and enter a treatment center said he's not going anywhere until the pope hears his appeal.
Mark Gruber on Wednesday challenged Archabbott Douglas Nowicki's contention that Gruber coerced a former junior monk into making false sexual allegations against Nowicki.
Under oath, the former monk later recanted stating, “Father Gruber pressured me to execute this false affidavit to discredit the archabbot. ... I remain fearful of Gruber to this day.”
Gruber has been ordered to leave St. Vincent on Tuesdayand report to the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Mo. The center offers treatment for priests with drug and alcohol addictions, depression and other vocational issues. His dismissal stems from a lengthy case that began when photographs of naked men were discovered on his computer in 2009.
Nowicki said the decree “very clearly states there is no appeal” and he is relying “on (Gruber's) good judgment. I probably would just refer it back to the Holy See.”
In July, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith relieved Gruber of his monastic and priestly duties. He is no longer allowed to wear clerical garb, celebrate Mass, dispense Holy Communion or administer certain sacraments, except in special cases.
During an interview, Gruber wore a dark blue T-shirt and black jeans. He said he has no money and is allowed to eat at the seminary, adjacent to St. Vincent Basilica, where he has lived for four years under “ecclesiastical house arrest.” He spends his days meditating and praying, he said.
He said he is not permitted to leave the seminary grounds or be on the campus of St. Vincent College, where he had taught anthropology. He said he is shunned by other priests and monks and is not allowed visitors.
“I speak to no one. Virtually, it's a hermital life. I'm treated as a criminal,” he said. “I'm not allowed to go out.”
Nowicki disputed Gruber's description of his life at the seminary.
“He comes and goes as he pleases, as he always has,” he said. “It's my hope he can get on with his life. It's been a painful experience for everybody. He's no longer a member of the Benedictine community.”
The first Vatican decree, issued July 2, 2012, ordered Gruber to report to a monastery where he would spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. Later, he learned he would be sent to the Missouri treatment center.
Nowicki said an internal investigation by the archabbey discovered that Gruber was behind a plan to discredit him by forcing the former monk to level charges against Nowicki. The former student, now married, later signed an affidavit stating that the allegations were false.
Nowicki said Gruber and the former junior monk were very close.
“When Father Gruber realized the trouble he was in, he got him to make the false statements,” Nowicki said.
Gruber denied he was behind the allegations.
He said he was in contact with the former monk as recently as July 17 when he received a text message from him. The message made no reference to the affidavit or the recantation, Gruber said.
“I didn't know any document had been signed. I had no knowledge of that until I saw the press release,” he said.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Knife-wielding man attacks 2 in Sheetz lot in Greensburg
- Scottdale’s Friends of the Library will meet tonight
- Groups sponsor candidates forum in Monessen
- Franklin Regional stabbing suspect could leave Pa. for treatment
- Hribal will be transferred to Allegheny County psychiatric facility
- Ex-clerk convicted of stealing more than $116K from WCCC avoids jail
- Bolivar couple charged with endangerment; baby nearly drowned, police say
- Chief says Youngwood house fire is suspicious
- Youngwood Council to pick solicitor from ‘good mix’
- Police: Jeannette woman tried to steal family’s safe
- Fundraising under way for Indiana County newborn struck by stray bullet