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Jakarta Post

Atambua Diocese confirms troubled priest moved to vocational school for 'self-management’ sessions

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 10, 2020   /   04:48 pm
Atambua Diocese confirms troubled priest moved to vocational school for 'self-management’ sessions Felix Nesi (Facebook/Felix Nesi)

The Atambua Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has responded to concerns raised by author Felix K. Nesi, confirming that a Catholic priest under its pastoral care who "caused trouble for a woman" had been moved to a vocational school to undergo "self-management" sessions.  

Literary award winner Felix was detained in NTT on July 3 after allegedly vandalizing a Catholic parish clergy house in a fit of rage upon learning that the parish had retained a priest whom he accused of "mistreating a woman". 

The diocese justice and peace commission head, Paulus Nahak I., and judicial vicar Mateus da Cruz said in a statement on Wednesday that the diocese had handled the matter concerning the priest in October last year in accordance with the 1983 Code of Canon Law as well as local customary law. The priest, who was identified as "Romo A" by Felix, was suspended from pastoral service.  

“The priest, who is undergoing a pastoral suspension, is temporarily assigned to the SMK Bitauni Catholic vocational school for self-management sessions, while waiting for the opportunity to attend a spiritual refreshment course that will determine our next decision regarding him," Paulus and Mateus said as quoted in the statement.

Read also: NTT author vows to keep fighting sexual abuse amid vandalism case

Felix previously condemned the decision to transfer the priest to the vocational school as it had a number of female students. The vocational school is located only 700 meters from the clergy house.

The writer raised his concerns with the school's principal, who reportedly told him that the accused priest would be transferred again shortly as his short tenure at the school was only for "refreshment". However, after nothing had changed months later, Felix damaged the school's property in anger over the diocese’s inaction. The police detained him for vandalism.

Representatives of the Atambua Diocese confirmed that Felix had been apprehended on July 3 to make a statement to the police and was discharged a day later.

The representatives expressed dismay over "subjective reports, comments and analysis" of the case, arguing they had failed to comprehend the full background and information regarding the matter.

"The legal process against Felix as well as his concerns can be solved amicably, in line with the principle of openness, so that the truth can be revealed in order to achieve justice and peace," the diocese representatives said.