Edward Michael Cardinal Egan † Edward Michael Cardinal Egan †
Former Archbishop of New York, New York, USA
Cardinal Priest of Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Apr 02, 1932
Feb 21, 2001
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English Letter of Resignation of Rev. Fr. Charles Murr
Oct 21, 2004
On Friday, April 2, 2004, I resigned as pastor of the Parish of St. Francis de Sales. I am writing to you now to explain the circumstances that led me to make this decision.




April 5, 2004

To the Parish of St. Francis de Sales and the Children and Parents of the St. Francis de Sales School/St. Lucy Academy:

On Friday, April 2, 2004, I resigned as pastor of the Parish of St. Francis de Sales. I am writing to you now to explain the circumstances that led me to make this decision.

Our parish school, the St. Francis de Sales School/St. Lucy Academy, currently faces some grave problems. One concerns financial management. Contrary to the policies of the Archdiocese, no financial statements for the school have been prepared for any period after August 31, 2001, and thus no one knows what the financial condition of the school actually is. It is clear, however, that for several years the school has not been making required payments for insurance and pension benefits, and the Archdiocese calculates that the school owes the Archdiocese over $638,000. Although I attempted to work with the administration of the school to prepare the needed financial statements, the school’s administration consistently failed to cooperate with me, and, on the advice of the Parish Council, I notified the Archdiocese in January that I intended to replace the principal and vice principal of the school. The Archdiocese accepted this decision and last week resolved to send officials from the chancery to begin preparing and auditing financial statements for the school.

The second problem at the school concerns religious instruction. On the most recent administration of the Archdiocese’s standardized religion test last June, approximately 66% of our students failed. The major reason for this was that several of our teachers were not committed to teaching the Catholic faith. One teacher, for example, was taking her students to non-Catholic religious services on Sunday mornings. Another refuses to teach her students to make the Sign of the Cross. Others do not teach those doctrines of the Catholic faith with which they disagree. To rectify these problems, I appointed a new Director of Religious Education for the school this year, but the teachers who were hostile to Catholic doctrine disrupted his classes, belittled him in front of his students, instructed his students to ignore him, and even spread slanderous reports about him. I thus determined that the employment contracts of these teachers would not be renewed for the coming academic year, and on April 1, I informed these teachers accordingly.

It has been reported to me that, on April 1, at least some of these teachers held their students after school, read to them my letter declining to renew their employment contracts, and provided their own comments on the matter. Predictably, they reduced many children to tearful hysteria. The behavior of these teachers was reprehensible; they intentionally inflicted harm on innocent children in order to advance their own private interests. On behalf of the school, I apologize to these students and their parents for the grossly unprofessional conduct of these teachers.

On Friday afternoon, Msgr. Thomas Gilleece, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, informed me without further explanation that, by order of the Cardinal, I was to renew the employment contracts of the principal, the vice principal, and all the affected teachers. Since I could not in good conscience, as a pastor charged with the care of souls, comply with this order, I resigned as pastor of the Parish of St. Francis de Sales and as administrator of the Parish of St. Lucy. On Saturday, April 3, the members of the Parish Council wrote Cardinal Egan informing him that they shared my views regarding the need to reform the school and had concluded that they could not in good conscience as faithful Catholics be associated with his order to reinstate the principal, the vice principal, and the affected teachers. The members of the Parish Council thus resigned their positions. The Parish Trustees likewise resigned. As of the date of this letter, none of us has received any reply from the Cardinal.

It has been a great honor to serve as your pastor. You will all remain in my prayers.

Servus, in Christo Jesu,

Fr. Chas. Theo. Murr
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