1 Fort Lauderdale
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A Catholic priest has resigned from his position as pastor of a Miami church amid allegations of a “serious boundary violation” with a woman and possible mishandling of parish funds, according to Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
Father Cristóbal de Paola agreed to resign as pastor of St. Joachim Church last week, Wenski said in a statement released Sunday.
Wenski said de Paola had been on administrative leave for the past three months while an investigation was made into the allegations made by the woman. He had been placed on leave in October 2016 because of the same allegation but was returned to the ministry after civil authorities investigated and found no other information, Wenski said.
The investigation was reopened in May after the accuser contacted the Archdiocese again and her testimony was determined to be credible, Wenski said. Father de Paola has denied the substance of the allegation but agreed to resign from St. Joachim, Wenski said.
“Currently, Father has no Archdiocesan assignment and no faculties to exercise priestly ministry here or anyplace else. A canonical trial will be initiated that might result in his being permanently barred from ministry,” Wenski said in the statement.
Wenski said as part of the investigation, the finances at the parish were examined and some financial irregularities were discovered due to de Paoloa’s “apparent disregard for Archdiocesan policies on the proper handling of parish funds.”
The irregular practices have been corrected and the investigation into de Paoloa’s actions is still ongoing, Wenski said.
“Any type of misbehavior by a priest or anyone else in authority is deeply disturbing but such failures are a reminder of our common humanity and the frailty of our human condition,” Wenski said.