Bishop's letter on reinstatement of Msgr. Raymond L. Cole

12 Nov 2015

Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph Parish,

Today, I wish to provide an important update on the status of your pastor, Msgr. Raymond L. Cole.

The ecclesiastical tribunal that heard the charges of sexual abuse of a minor against Msgr. Cole recently returned a verdict of not guilty. The tribunal was composed of three priests from outside the Diocese of Metuchen, who are expert in the Church’s law and experienced in the Church’s judicial process.  I am satisfied that they conducted the trial in an impartial and professional manner.

While there can be neither victory nor victor in a situation such as this, the outcome of the trial means that Msgr. Cole is again a priest in good standing in the Diocese and I hope this decision will be the first step in fully restoring his reputation.

True to his character, Msgr. Cole fully cooperated during the investigation of the charges against him and never displayed any animosity toward his accuser or the process. 

Looking to the future, Msgr. Cole’s decision to put the stability of the parish before his personal preference and not return to St. Joseph Parish as pastor is to be commended and viewed as a clear sign of his abiding affection for the community which he shepherded for three decades.  I have no doubt that his desire to be involved in the critical area of Hispanic ministry will contribute greatly to the overall mission of the Diocese in the years to come.

I am most grateful for the patience and support shown by your parish community and Msgr. Cole’s family and friends throughout these two difficult years.  The wheels of justice in the Church, like those in our secular society, sometimes turn more slowly than we would like.  At the same time, swift justice is not always perfect justice.

Together, let us continue in our earnest prayers for Msgr. Cole, for all our priests, for all parishioners of St. Joseph’s parish and, most especially, for all who are victims of the evil of sexual abuse.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Most Rev. Paul G. Bootkoski
Bishop of Metuchen


Bishop's letters to Parishioners of St. Joseph Parish Millstone-Hillsborough:

Nov. 12, 2015: Bishop's letter regarding reinstatement of Msgr. Raymond L. Cole as a priest in good standing. (PDF)
Oct. 25, 2013: Bishop's letter regarding temporary removal of Msgr. Raymond L. Cole due to allegations brought forth. (PDF)