THE DIOCESE of Ferns has severed its ties with the Institute of the Incarnate Word following allegations against Father Ignacio Mikalonis, who formerly served as a curate in Kilmyshall.
Father Ignacio left the parish under suspicious circumstances last month, without notifying the Bishop or anyone else within the Diocese.
A statement issued by the Diocese yesterday (Monday) suggests that the investigation may focus on internet usage. The statement said: 'Bishop Brennan sought information from the Institute in regard to the reasons for Father Ignacio's departure from Kilmyshall. The response of the Institute gives rise to concern that violations of Diocesan Internet Policy and of Safeguarding Children, the Church's Standards and Guidance Documents may have occurred.'
The Gardaí and the HSE have both been notified and an independent investigation will be carried out.
Father John Carroll, Communications Officer for the Diocese of Ferns, refused to be drawn on the specific details of the case and has said that he will await the outcome of the investigation.
'Basically we can't pre-empt the independent investigat ion . We'll have to let the investigation take its course but what we can say is that under Section 13 of our policy for the safeguarding of children, we are entitled to ask for this independent investigation and we commit ourselves to co-operate fully with it.'
As a result of the confusion in relation to Father Ignacio, Bishop Brennan has deemed it necessary to suspend the ministry of the Institute of the Incarnate Word whilst the review is under way. Father Carroll said, 'Father Ignacio is answerable to the institute first. Recent events left us in the position where we've asked for clarification on some of the issues surrounding Father Ignacio. When the necessary clarification was not forthcoming, the decision was taken to suspend the ministry of the Institute while the investigation is under way.' As a direct result of this, Father Marco Mikalonis, Father Ignacio's cousin and also a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has left his post at Kilmyshall. However, Father Carroll has moved to stress that Father Marco is in no way implicated in anything, saying, ' Father Marco has departed for a new parish. This is no reflection on him however, and we wish him all the best in his next appointment.'