Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beauty and the Priest



Scandal priest resigns post

Monsignor Eugene Clark and Laura DeFiilippo head to a room at the Sands Motel.

A 79-year-old monsignor named as "the other man" in a Westchester County divorce case resigned Thursday as rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York archdiocese said.

Cardinal Edward Egan accepted Msgr. Eugene Clark’s resignation despite Clark’s denials that he has been carrying on an affair with his 46-year-old private secretary, the church said.

“He offered his resignation for the good of Saint Patrick’s and the Archdiocese,” the statement said. “He will not be celebrating Mass or the sacraments publicly until this matter has been resolved.”

Clark was named in divorce papers filed in Family Court in White Plains by Philip DeFilippo, 46, of Eastchester, who claimed that a private investigator taped his wife, Laura, and the monsignor entering and leaving a hotel in Amagansett, on Long Island. The videotape was shown Monday to New York City newspapers.

DeFilippo also claimed that the DeFilippos’ teenage daughter was exposed to the relationship.

A call to Clark’s lawyer, Laura Brevetti, was not immediately returned. Laura DeFilippo’s lawyer, Michael Berger, said he would not comment on Clark’s resignation. Both lawyers have previously denied that the monsignor and his secretary had a sexual relationship, accusing Philip DeFilippo of distorting an innocent event.

Clark has been rector of St. Patrick’s in midtown Manhattan since 2001 and has often celebrated Mass there when the cardinal was away. In 2002, he blamed the church’s sex-abuse scandal on “the campaign of liberal America against celibacy.” “Homosexuality became in the American exchange of views a protected area,” he said.

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling had said Wednesday that Clark was not asked to step down as rector because unlike priests who were accused of molesting boys, he was not accused of anything illegal and was denying the allegations.

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MM

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