Norfolk priest suspended of ‘priestly faculties’ due to complaints

NORFOLK, Va. – The former pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church has been suspended of ‘priestly faculties’ after complaints were made against him that went against the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors.

Fr. Joseph Metzger

In December 2018, Joseph H. Metzger III took a leave of absence amid non-sexual complaints against him, Richmond Diocese Bishop Barry Knestout wrote in a letter to members of the parish.

On July 5, another complaint was sent to the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment regarding a recent violation of the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors.

While the complaint does not involve an accusation of sexual abuse, in accordance with diocesan policy and practice, the complaint was reported to law enforcement.

After an investigation conducted by the Office of Safe Environment and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry Knestout met with Metzger and suspended his priestly faculties.

The suspension means that Metzger cannot present himself publicly as a priest, wear clerical attire, administer the sacraments or celebrate Mass publicly, nor is he allowed to have any interaction with minors or youth.

During Metzger’s leave of absence, he was assigned to serve as ecclesiastical notary in the Office of the Chancellor and as assessor in the Diocesan Tribunal along with the celebration of Mass at diocesan elderly housing facilities and communities of women religious in the Richmond area.  As a result of this new complaint and suspension, he is now unassigned.

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