Priest removed from pulpit for taking hiking trip with children, no adults

CONWAY SPRINGS, Kan. (KWCH) A Catholic priest was removed from his ministry at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway Springs for taking children on a hiking trip without other adults.

In a letter to the parishioners of St. Joseph, the diocese of Wichita says, Rev. Andrew Seiler was removed from his ministry last month after a hiking trip on Oct.9.

The Diocese says there are no allegations of abuse or any harm to the children but being alone with a minor is against behavioral rules for priests.

“My pledge to you and to all the people of the Diocese is to maintain a safe environment, one in which even the appearance of impropriety and potential scandal is avoided,” says Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme in the letter.

Bishop Kemme says father Andy will participate in a personal and priestly assessment, which will involve a period of counseling beginning Nov 14.

"The period is uncertain, but I am hopeful Father Andy can return to action as soon as possible," says Kemme.

During Reverand Seiler's absence, Father John Lanzrath will serve as temporary administrator of St. Joseph Parish.