Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Former St. Anthony Priest Found Unsuitable for Ministry

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia places one priest on administrative leave and announces two other have been found unsuitable for ministry. Rev. John Meyers, who once served at St. Anthony Parish in Ambler, has been determined to be unsuitable.

In late 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed Reverend John F. Meyers on administrative leave and restricted his priestly faculties following receipt of an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s.

It was the first allegation of this kind lodged against Father Meyers. The allegation was referred to law enforcement and the Archdiocese cooperated with authorities in the course of their work. No criminal charges were filed.

The required canonical (church) investigation of Father Meyers was launched after law enforcement declined to press charges. The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations (AOI) undertook that canonical process.

The AOI is responsible for conducting internal and canonical investigations following the conclusion of work performed by civil authorities. Currently, the AOI is led by a former First Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia. The AOI also performs investigations in matters that center on alleged activity that is not illegal in nature, but that may violate The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries established by the Archdiocese.

The Director of the AOI oversees the work noted above and is the liaison between the Archbishop and the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board (APRRB). The APRRB was established in 2002 and functions as a confidential advisory body to the Archbishop. It is composed of 12 men and women, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who possess extensive professional experience in investigation, prosecution, child abuse prevention, victim services, and the treatment of sexual offenders. Information regarding the credentials of the APRRB’s members is available here.

The APRRB receives the results of canonical investigations conducted by the Office of Investigations. The APRRB then evaluates all facts and makes a recommendation to the Archbishop regarding an individual cleric’s suitability for ministry so that he can make a decision in the matter.

This board recently recommended to the Archbishop that Father Meyers was unsuitable for ministry based on a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Archbishop Chaput accepted that recommendation and determined that Father Meyers is unsuitable for ministry. His case will now be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in keeping with procedure for the formal canonical process.

The information above was shared with Malvern Retreat House as it is the last place Father Meyers served prior to being placed on administrative leave.

Father Meyers is 64 years old. He was ordained in 1983. He has served at the following parishes, schools, and offices in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Saint Michael Parish, Philadelphia (1983-1984); Saint Joseph Parish, Aston (19884-1985); Saint Gabriel Parish, Norwood (1985-1988); Archbishop Prendergast High School, Drexel Hill (1988); Saint John Bosco Parish, Hatboro (1988-1990); Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia (1990-1992); Saint Mark Parish, Bristol (1992-1993); Saint Philomena Parish, Lansdowne (1993-1997); Saint Dominic Parish, Philadelphia (1997-1999); Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Chester (1999-2000); Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry for Bucks County (2000-2005); Saint Mark Parish, Bristol (2003); Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Philadelphia (2005-2011); Saint Martin of Tours Parish, Philadelphia (2011-2017); Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Ambler (2017); Malvern Retreat House (2017-2018); placed on administrative leave and priestly faculties restricted (2018); found unsuitable for ministry (2019).