Parishioners react to former St. Vincent de Paul priest removed from ministry

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St. Vincent de paul Church in Richboro. (Bill Reed/Staff)

The Rev. George Cadwallader, who most recently was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul Church in Richboro, was one of the five priests removed from the ministry Friday by Archbishop Charles Chaput.

Richard Janowski of Joshua Drive in Richboro said Cadwallader "never impressed me. I don't know -- there was something wrong with him. The pastor, Father Joseph McLaughlin, is the opposite, very intelligent, very devout."

Janowski, who helps with the parish collections once a month and has been a parishioner for about 25 years, said Cadwallader was at the parish for about a year. One of the priest’s jobs was training altar boys and girls, Janowski said.

Jeff Schuck, 48, of Joshua Drive, did not know Cadwallader or that the priest had been removed from the parish during the archdiocese’s investigation. But, "it is very disheartening the way the church is going,” he said. “I worry about the kids -- can you leave them alone? I don't think I will."

The only parish activities Schuck's children, ages 7, 16  and 20, have participated in is CCD, "and moms are always with them," he said.

Parishioners were told about a year ago, when the investigation was announced, that Cadwallader would not return regardless of the finding, said Ed McFillin, 64, of Joshua Drive.

"I thought he was a good priest -- a little standoffish in his demeanor, but a good priest.

"He was a typical parochial vicar -- he assisted the pastor.

"I had him to my home for parish visitation," which allows a priest to introduce himself, ask for a donation, and ask whether he can help with the person's faith, said McFillin, who has been a parishioner for 22 years.

"He conducted himself appropriately."

Kristie Ferguson, 33, of Holland, who has a 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, said she would like to know Cadwallader's offenses.
"If it was something with a child, I would want to know, just to be an advocate, and to ask [my child], 'Did you see anything specific?' "

Details of the alleged offenses did not need to be in graphic terms, she said.

Cadwallader was Ferguson's father's priest in the Northeast, she said.

Parish business manager Diana Sherman said the church office had no comment about Cadwallader or the archdiocese’s ruling.

Four of the 27 priests investigated by the archdiocese were last assigned to parishes in Bucks County. County District Attorney David Heckler said he had not seen that list but had talked to the archdiocese.

“The matter is under active investigation,” Heckler said, declining to name the priests. “We don’t talk about investigations until the time is right.”

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