Lincoln Diocese accepts resignation of 1 priest, removes another

Published: Aug. 13, 2018 at 8:58 PM CDT
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The Catholic Diocese of Lincoln has removed another priest from the ministry as concerns and allegations are reviewed, and another has resigned.

Bishop James Conley announced the news at a listening session in Wahoo on Friday, saying Rev. Patrick Barvick has been removed, at least temporarily, and Rev. Steve Thomlison submitted his resignation.

Conley’s statement comes just a week after he announced that

from the ministry for engaging in an “emotionally inappropriate, nonsexual relationship” with a 19-year-old. Townsend had been the priest at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in South Lincoln.

“I previously instructed Fr. Patrick Barvick that he was not to be alone with females,” Conley wrote in his statement. “His behavior concerns me and the Diocesan Review Board. I have asked him to temporarily step aside from his parish while I evaluate this situation.”

Barvick had been the pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Davey, Nebraska, and had previously served at St. Joseph’s Church and Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, and St. Michael’s in Hastings. Bishop Neumann’s website says he also taught at Lincoln Pius X High School, Hastings St. Cecilia’s High School, and Bishop Neumann High School.

Conley said Thomlison had a “past incident in the military that was a concern to me and the Diocesan Review Board.”

Thomlison resigned as pastor of St. Stephen in Exeter and St. Wenceslaus in Milligan in a meeting with Conley.

“I want to make it clear that Father’s behavior did not involve an offense against a minor or a parishioner,” Conley wrote in his statement. “Father received an honorable military discharge. I am committed to getting Father the care he needs.”

It’s unclear who will take Thomlison’s spot. Conley said Barvick will be replaced by Rev. Cyrus Rowan while Barvick’s matter is evaluated.

Conley wrote that he promised to be transparent about the allegations, and that is why he wanted to communicate to the Diocese about the allegations.

The Diocese has been hit by a series of sexual misconduct and abuse allegations recently, particularly over the past couple weeks.

Conley also noted that he is limited in what he can say about Townsend while the investigation into his matter is ongoing, but will share more when it concludes, and said the Lincoln Diocese investigated accusations that Rev. James Benton touched a minor on a camping trip, but they “could not be substantiated. Benton resigned in 2017.

You can read Conley’s full statement