BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Fr. Jonas Romea, the priest at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church who made controversial comments about Muslims wanting to behead everyone, has now been removed from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Many people are asking why, but neither the church or the Archdiocese is talking.
Back in March, the church said the situation with Fr. Romea’s remarks had been handled. However, it appears a new situation with Fr. Romea was brought to the attention of the church within the last week.
It was also brought to the attention of Belen Police. They confirm with KRQE News 13 that they got an anonymous call involving Fr. Romea and a claim of possible sexual harassment. Chief Conner said detectives are looking into the matter to see if a full investigation is warranted.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe would only send a statement regarding Romea’s dismissal, saying he is an active priest from the Diocese of Tagbilaran in the Philippines. The statement went on to say he served as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Belen, then thanked him for his ministry and wished him well.
The announcement was made to parishioners at Sunday Masses that Fr. Romea was no longer the Parochial Vicar at the church.
Parishioners were shocked, but still confused as to the exact reason for Fr. Romea’s departure.
“What I heard was the choosing of his words, were not the right words you should say in front of children and their parents,” said parishioner John Lopez.
Although the parishioners say the church’s explanation went further.
“They didn’t elaborate on the inappropriate part,” said Lopez. “But they said there was more investigation, it’s not only got to deal with what he said, that’s all we know.”
Romea was at the center of controversy back in March for his negative remarks about Muslims during his homily at a Wednesday children’s Mass. However, the church kept him on the job.