Chicago priest removed after ‘inappropriate relationship’

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says it has removed a Roman Catholic priest because of an “inappropriate relationship with an adult man.”

A statement Sunday says the Rev. Marco A. Mercado was removed as rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines. The brief statement provided no details.

It says Archbishop Blase Cupich knows the disclosure “will be difficult to hear” and the archdiocese “is committed to ensuring those serving … parishioners are fit for ministry.”

The Chicago Tribune cites a statement from Mercado saying his priority has always been “the work of the gospel and the struggle for immigrants and the most vulnerable.” He says he prays “this issue is resolved soon” and he apologized if the “scandal has caused any hardship to the faithful.”