NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Jesuit priest in New York has been barred from public ministry following allegations that he committed "boundary violations" against an adult.
Father Bob VerEecke served as pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan, a notoriously pro-gay parish.
Recently, an adult came forward with allegations that Fr. VerEecke violated boundaries. This was reported to the archdiocese of New York, who shared the information with the province of the Society of Jesus. The head of the province removed Fr. VerEecke from public ministry, announcing his removal in a letter dated Sept. 15.
Jesuit provincial Fr. John J. Cecero announced:
I deeply regret to inform you that I am removing Fr. Bob VerEecke as Pastor of the Church of St. Francis Xavier. About a week ago, the Archdiocese of New York communicated to me complaints by an adult of boundary violations by Fr. VerEecke. I reviewed these complaints with Fr. VerEecke, and he acknowledges a lack of good judgment in his behavior. Consistent with our Province Ethics in Ministry policies, I am removing Fr. VerEecke from the Church of St. Francis Xavier and restricting him from the exercise of public sacramental ministry.
Father Cecero continued, "I anticipate that many of you will share my regret in taking this action, but we as a Church have learned the hard way that boundary violations must be met with a swift and decisive response from church leadership."
Details about the alleged "boundary violations" are being kept under wraps. It is unclear to the public what Fr. VerEecke did exactly. It is equally unclear whether the person who filed the complaint about Fr. VerEecke is a man or a woman; all that has been said is that the accuser is an adult.
In some circles, Fr. VerEecke is known for his involvement in dance and choreography. Videos can also be found online of Fr. VerEecke being the celebrant at Masses with rampant liturgical dance.
For instance, there was one Christmas midnight Mass in 2015 that Fr. VerEecke celebrated which featured a handful of young women in dresses dancing barefoot in the sanctuary at various points throughout the liturgy.
In June of 2017, Fr. VerEecke (wearing liturgical vestments) and a band of liturgical dancers broke out in dance to an '80s pop hit and encouraged the congregation in the pews to join in.
The parish where Fr. VerEecke served, St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan, is a hotbed for pro-gay dissent and LGBT activism.
When same-sex "marriage" became legally recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, St. Francis Xavier Church's Facebook page shared a photo of a rainbow flag draping the steps up to the altar.