January 29, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
As your shepherd, which I am privileged to be, I wish to publicly state that I am deeply grateful to our extraordinary staff of competent people in regard to the protection of children, who are committed to their role not as a job, but as a calling, and give their time and attention in a manner that gives us all cause for great reassurance. As some of you are aware, a great deal of disappointing media attention has been focused on Father John Gallagher, a priest of this Diocese, who has made unfounded allegations against the Diocese of Palm Beach and the Church in general. Our Diocese in no way, as Fr. Gallagher erroneously asserts, tried to “cover up” the inappropriate behavior of a visiting priest, Father José Palimattom, who was assisting at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, which Father Gallagher administered. In fact, in accord with our very rigorous policies pertaining to the protection of children, we not only immediately reported the incident to the police and State Attorney, but cooperated as fully as we could in the investigation.
The matter referred to had nothing to do, as Father Gallagher again erroneously asserts, with his not being named pastor of the parish. His assertion of this is but another one of his fabrications, which is causing harm to the Church. I truly regret Father Gallagher’s behavior for which there is no founded reason. We have wonderful, hard working and dedicated priests in the Diocese of Palm Beach to whom I am deeply grateful. Father Gallagher’s harmful assertions are an embarrassment to my brother priests as well as to me.
I wish not only to clarify this unfortunate matter, but also to ask that you pray for Father Gallagher. As always, he will be given every opportunity for appropriate priestly ministry, based on his willingness to tell the truth, accept assistance, and apologize for the harm he continues to cause.
As the family of Christ in the Diocese of Palm Beach, I thank you for being a community of great faith, mercy and truth, which has always been a personal inspiration to me.
With gratitude for your support and prayers in this and every matter, and with every prayerful wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach