Miami Archbishop Asks Priest to Resign, Laments "Adults Behaving Badly"

Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, has put an end to a salacious Catholic school scandal by asking a controversial priest to resign. 

Since early this year, there has been turmoil at St. Rose of Lima, a Catholic church and school in Miami Shores. After it was announced in January that several nuns who work at the school would be leaving this June, parents upset at the change began focusing on the pastor, Father Pedro Corces, who, some believed, had orchestrated the nuns' ouster. 

Several families pooled money to hire a private investigator to tail Corces, photograph and videotape his movements, and sift through garbage at the rectory. The surveillance resulted in preparation of a "dossier" on the priest. It accused him of having an intimate relationship with a maintenance man he hired, as well as two other maintenance men and a deacon. The families presented their findings to Wenski on May 16 and asked him to remove Corces from the parish. 

Archbishop Wenski yesterday sent a letter to parents of children at St. Rose's K-8 school. He dismissed some of the accusations against Corces as gossip, but said other allegations such as Facebook postings, hiring of friends, and "improper socializing with employees" were still being investigated. He asked Corces to step down. 

Wenski said St. Rose's principal, Sister Bernadette Keane, has also been relieved of her duties and that Dr. Donald Edwards, associate superintendent of the archdiocese, would serve as principal for the remainder of the school year. St. Rose in March announced that it had hired Mrs. Brenda Cummings, currently an employee of St. Anthony School in Fort Lauderdale, as principal for the coming year. Cummings did not return a call and email for comment from New Times. 

The nuns are part of an order called the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania. Wenski wrote that "their decision to leave the parish is irreversible." 

Wenski — a Harley-riding, Scotch-drinking, Kreyol-speaking priest with a reputation as a hard worker — lamented that St. Rose families had engaged in "slanderous gossip, calumny, detraction — all sinful behaviors" and that children had "been dis-edified by the spectacle of adults behaving badly." 

Here is the letter in full: