Former area priest suspended

Published 7:30 am Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has suspended a Norfolk priest who once served as a pastor at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Farmville. 

Joseph H. Metzger III

Effective Friday, July 12, Father Joseph H. Metzger III was suspended by Bishop Barry C. Knestout. Father Metzger was a pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Norfolk.

The Farmville Herald reached out to the current Pastor of St. Theresa, Stefan Migac but was referred to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and Director of Communications.

According to The Catholic Virginian, Office of Communications Editor Brian Olszewski, Father Metzger served as pastor of St. Theresa, from June 5, 1995, until Nov. 1, 1999.

According to a March 21, 2014, blog post on Hampden-Sydney College’s website, Father Metzger graduated from the college with a degree in political science and briefly pursued a career in politics.

According to a release from Bishop Knestout, while the complaint does not involve an accusation of sexual abuse, in accordance with diocesan policy and practice, the claim was reported to law enforcement. Following an inquiry into the complaint by the Office of Safe Environment and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board Metzger was suspended.

The suspension means Father Metzger cannot present himself publicly as a priest, wear clerical attire, administer the sacraments or celebrate Mass publicly, nor is he to have any interaction with minors or youth.

“On Dec. 8, 2018, Father Metzger was placed on a temporary leave of absence from his assignment as pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Norfolk, due to previous violations of the Diocesan Code of Conduct with Minors,” the release from Bishop Knestout cited.   

On July 1, Father Metzger was assigned to serve as an ecclesiastical notary in the Office of the Chancellor and as an assessor in the Diocesan Tribunal along with the celebration of Mass at diocesan elderly housing facilities and communities of women religious in the Richmond area.

On July 5, a complaint was sent to the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment regarding a recent violation of the Diocese’s Code of Conduct with Minors.

As a result of this new complaint and subsequent suspension, he is now unassigned.