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Pope Accepts Bishop’s Retirement

August 17, 2002

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VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II has accepted, for reasons of age, the resignation of an Illinois bishop who investigated allegations that proceeds from parish fund-raising were misused.

The Vatican said Saturday that the pope two days earlier had accepted Monsignor Roger Louis Kaffer’s request to retire. The Vatican requires bishops to offer their resignation when they turn 75 and it is up to the pope to accept or ask the bishop to stay on.

Kaffer turned 75 on Wednesday.

In June, an employee at St. Anthony Church in Joliet, Ill. filed a lawsuit against Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch stating that he was fired from his job because he accused his boss, the Rev. Arthur LaPore, of misusing funds from spaghetti-dinner fund-raisers to finance the purchases of a $537,000 home in Oak Park, Ill.

The employee, David Pretto, ran the dinner events.

In December 1999, Pretto received a letter from Kaffer stating that an audit of St. Anthony found no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Pretto and about 30 parishioners approached police about the allegations in April 1999 and said they did so in frustration after attempting to handle the matter privately with diocesan officials, Police Chief David Gerdes said.

No charges were filed after the police investigation, but authorities contacted the Internal Revenue Service, which seized several church documents in February 2000 and is still investigating Pretto’s allegations, Gerdes said.

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