Why Is Msgr. Walter Rossi Still in Public Ministry?

Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Bambera are potentially putting the public at risk.

Msgr. Walter Rossi is Rector of the largest Catholic Church in the country, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception located in Washington, DC.  In September 2018 George Neumayr of the American Spectator reported that he had heard of allegations of sexual abuse against Msgr. Rossi.  Following this initial report, the following events have subsequently occurred:

Rossi is also connected to two proven homosexual predators: Michael Bransfield (his immediate predecessor as rector of the basilica) and Theodore McCarrick (who handpicked Rossi to replace Bransfield).  While Rossi lost his position on the board at CUA, he is STILL acting as Rector of the National Shrine.

This past summer at a Theology on Tap event, Archbishop Wilton Gregory was confronted about the question of why Rossi remains in active ministry.  Gregory appeared to defend Rossi in his response and claimed that responsibility for taking action on Rossi resides with the Diocese of Scranton where Rossi is incardinated. Gregory’s response was misleading.  A bishop has the power to remove a cleric from ministry who is assigned to his diocese.

Allowing Rossi to continue to serve as Rector of the Basilica is inconsistent with the typical practice of temporarily removing a cleric from ministry when credible accusations of abuse have been received by a diocese, as evidenced by the numerous suspensions that have been announced over the past year.

Partial List of Clergy Suspend in Past 12 Months Due to Allegations of Sexual Abuse


Any misconduct of a sexual nature with a minor is always sexual abuse. When adults are involved, sexual abuse occurs when the adult victim is considered to be a vulnerable person, when the cleric takes sexual advantage of another adult, when the cleric engages intentionally in sexual contact of any kind in the context of providing pastoral care, or when the cleric is guilty of sexual harassment, such as unwanted sexual advances or suggestions.

The bishops failure to remove Rossi from ministry is a dereliction of duty and puts the public at risk.


Contact Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC and Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton, PA asking them to remove Msgr. Walter Rossi from ministry pending the outcome of their investigation.

For extra impact, call Bishop Bambara at 570.207.2238 and Archbishop Gregory at 301.853.4500.