At Divine Mercy Parish in Gardner, church officials announced Sunday morning that the pastor has been placed on leave amid an investigation of “financial irregularities.”
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said in a written statement that it had been told of allegations concerning the church’s finances this week. An initial investigation by the archdiocese did not show whether money was missing, the statement said, but that financial controls were not observed.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann has placed the pastor of the parish, the Rev. Joseph Cramer, on administrative leave pending further investigation. Church officials also notified the Johnson County District Attorney’s office of the allegations.
Cramer maintains that he is innocent of any wrongdoing, the archdiocese said.
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News of the investigation and Cramer’s administrative leave was announced during Masses at Divine Mercy this weekend. The Rev. John Riley, chancellor of the archdiocese, has been appointed administrator of the parish, effective immediately.
Included in the statement from the archdiocese were comments from Archbishop Naumann.
“I never forget that it is a privilege to be entrusted with the hard-earned money of our parishioners,” Naumann said in the statement. “I take the management of their financial gifts very seriously. As we pursue this matter to completion, I ask for your prayers and patience, and, in turn, promise a transparent and timely report.”