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Former Spokane Tridentine Bishop Arrested

May 14, 1987 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A former bishop of the Latin Rite Catholic Church has been charged with possession of drugs and stolen property, officials said.

Francis Schuckardt was arrested during a raid last weekend at his rented priory near Greenville, Calif., 100 miles northwest of Reno, Nev. Authorities seized Demerol, morphine, Dilaudid, Percodan and a bag of marijuana labeled ″tea,″ said Detective Sgt. Rod DeCrona of the Plumas County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department.

Schuckardt settled in California after losing a church power struggle in 1984 to the Rev. Denis Chicoine, who alleged that drug use crippled Schuckardt’s ability to function as bishop. There also were allegations that Schuckardt had sexual relations with boys whose parents were members in the church.

Schuckardt denied all allegations.

Church members, known as Tridentines, consider themselves traditional Catholics who reject modernizations that occurred in the Roman Catholic Church during Vatican II in the 1960s.

Tridentines still hear a Mass conducted in Latin. They abide by strict dress standards. Dancing and dating are forbidden.

After Schuckardt’s departure to California, some of his followers stripped his mansion at Mount St. Michael and took the items to him in California. But church members who said they paid for the items with church donations said that constituted theft of church property.

DeCrona said the raids in California turned up gold coins; silver bars; U.S., German, Swiss and Canadian currency; and records of 15 to 17 bank accounts around the world. The amount seized was estimated at $200,000, he said.

Assets in the bank accounts have not been determined, he said.

Schuckardt and four others were released on their own recognizance. Seven others were being held in the Plumas County Jail.