Citing concerns about his "suitability for ministry," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has removed the Rev. Louis C. Bier as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Springfield, Delaware County.
The archdiocese declined to identify the concerns about Bier, who has been a priest of the archdiocese since 1976, other than to say that these did not involve allegation of misconduct with minors.
"There are a variety of reasons why a priest could be found unsuitable for ministry," it said in a statement. Bier's "situation is currently under thorough examination, and determination has yet been reached."
An announcement of his removal was made at Masses at the parish during the weekend, and a closed parish meeting was scheduled for Monday evening.
Parishioners have been asked to not discuss the matter with the media, and a call to the assistant priest at the parish was not returned.
While he is on administrative leave, Bier will not be permitted to administer sacraments, wear clerical garb, or present himself as a priest. Chaput will appoint a parish administrator shortly, according to Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
For the last year, 27 priests of the archdiocese have been on administrative leave pending investigations into allegations that they engaged in misconduct with minors. Chaput recently announced that he hoped to dispose of all those cases by May.