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St. Benedict Church in Baltimore holds final service after pastor removed

By Tommie Clark

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WBAL) — A century-old church held its final service Tuesday evening after its pastor was removed last month.

Saint Benedict Church in west Baltimore has been without a permanent pastor since their leader was removed from service in October. The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced that the Rev. Paschal Morlino would not be replaced.

“We’ll miss this place,” parishioner of 23 years Donald Sadler said. “The parish does a lot here for the community, and where’s the community going to get that?”

Morlino has been under scrutiny since news surfaced of a secret settlement involving inappropriate behavior surfaced in October. The archdiocese revealed a separate, third-party, unconfirmed complaint from 2018 that alleged Morlino sexually harassed an adult man. Another claim of sexual abuse dated back to 1993. No charges have been filed.

While St. Benedict falls under the archdiocese, the church is run by the Order of the Benedictines. The order said it is unable to find a new priest due to “limited number of clergy.”

“A lot of people, they don’t believe Father did this. I don’t,” Sadler said.

“I kind of almost don’t believe it, but they have to do an investigation, and the church, they’re not trying to hide people anymore. They’re taking that kind of stuff seriously,” parishioner Bernadette Hoffman-Wild said.

The archdiocese said they are continuing to help parishioners transition to new churches while investigating claims against Morlino alongside the Baltimore Police Department’s own investigation.

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