Former bishop's name to be removed from church building

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) -- The name of a former Roman Catholic bishop who resigned last year after admitting to sexually abusing a student will be removed from a church's family life center.

Michael Woods, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church, announced at Sunday Mass that he and the parish council had decided to remove the Rev. Anthony J. O'Connell's name from the center.

O'Connell, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, resigned from the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., in March after admitting to sexual contact with an underage student at the Missouri seminary O'Connell led.

Woods said O'Connell had been notified of the decision and ''gave his blessing.''

O'Connell served from 1988 to 1999 in the Knoxville diocese. The date to remove his name from the building, which is now called the Bishop O'Connell Family Life Center, has not been set. However, Woods said it would likely be done as part of a ceremony to promote ''healing'' in the Catholic community.

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