Word on Fire issues statement on allegation, employee firing

By Rhina Guidos | Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, founded by Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron, issued a brief statement May 2 saying it had fired an employee possibly over an incident involving some unwelcome advances.

“The accusations against this employee surrounded events in the employee’s personal life, not the Word on Fire workplace, and did not involve any other Word on Fire employees,” said the statement on the organization’s website.

The statement was issued after accusations of unwelcome sexual advances involving the employee surfaced in a substack — an email newsletter platform — and were widely discussed on Twitter.

Word on Fire did not name the employee or go into into much detail about the incidents. It said that after hearing about “accusations against this employee,” he was put on leave pending an investigation by a third party and he was subsequently “terminated.”

“As with any investigation of this sort, the process took time and required strict confidentiality in order to protect the reputations of those involved, to respect their right to privacy, and to ensure a fair and objective investigation,” the statement said.

“Word on Fire did not ignore or bury any accusations; rather, it took swift and decisive action to ensure that an independent investigation moved forward without interference.”

The newsletter detailing the accusation called to task the ministry because of Bishop Barron’s efforts, via the book “Letter to a Suffering Church,” to combat abuse in the church.

“Ultimately, Word on Fire and Bishop Barron have been leading voices for accountability in the Church. The organization has zero tolerance for abuse or harassment of any kind,” the organization’s statement said.

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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