-Postal Inspector T.L. Cullivan
...Our objective is to prevent future mailings. Continued mailings of the threatening communications may result in the presentation of the matter to the United States Attorneys Office for criminal prosecution...
Just two weeks prior to receiving the postal inspectors letter, RCF received, from a Chicago area postal employee and RCF member, a copy of Great Lakes Area UPDATE, a newsletter for postal employees. On the front page of the newsletter was a photograph of Archbishop (sic) Daniel Ryan standing on the back of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Celebrate The Century Express train during its scheduled stop in Springfield on May 20, 1999. Also pictured in the photo with Ryan were Great Lakes Area Operations Vice President J.T. Weeker, USPS Governor Eimar Dyhrkopf, Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, and Springfield Postmaster Don Babb.
James Bendell, RCFs legal counsel, responded to Cullivans threat the the same afternoon on which RCF received it:The Hon. Janet Reno
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
RE: Grievance against Postal Inspector T.L. Cullivan
Dear Ms. Reno:
I am the legal counsel for Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc (hereinafter RCF). This is a religious activist organization with members in all 50 states and 9 foreign countries.
On July 15, RCF received the enclosed threatening letter from Postal inspector T.L. Cullivan. In this letter, he threatens RCF with criminal prosecution for distributing informational postcards concerning Bishop Daniel Ryan (a sample postcard is enclosed for your review). As you can see, there is no possibility that 18 U.S.C. § 876 could apply to this postcard. Among the reasons are:
1) The postcard was obviously not mailed with the intent
to extort money or a thing of value.
I am also enclosing a photocopy of flyer from the Chicago Regional Post Office in which, coincidentally, Bishop Ryan is promoted in a group picture for a postal tour by students. Naturally, we are disgusted that the Post Office would promote a teen sex abuser in a student activity. However, what we find suspicious is that this flyer was published just a month before the Post Office sent RCF the letter threatening criminal prosecution.
At this time RCF is requesting that your office investigate the connection, if any, between the Postal authorities in Illinois and Bishop Ryan. We are also requesting an investigation into why our religious organization received a frivolous threat of criminal prosecution. It is hoped that this matter can be straightened out without our filing suit against Mr. Cullivan and the Post Office for violating the civil rights of a Catholic religious organization.
To date, no response has been received.
As we look around at all the confusion brought on by the lack of strong moral leadership both within the Church and our government, we must ask ourselves if the failure of Church leadership is not responsible, in some way, for the corruption of the government. Or could it be that individuals from both institutions have become so corrupt as to become bed partners in an effort to camouflage their sins? Does the American Church hierarchy have the credibility or clout to challenge or admonish our political leaders? I think not.
Can there be any doubt that many positions of authority within the American Catholic Church are now held by individuals completely void of any sense of shame? Has the National Conference of Catholic Bishops become a mouth piece for the homosexual community?
On July 22, 1999 Bishop Patrick Ziemann resigned as bishop of Santa Rosa, CA after Fr. Jorge Hume, a diocesan priest who was brought into the diocese by Bishop Ziemann, filed a lawsuit against the bishop charging him with sexual coercion. The bishop defended himself by claiming the two year sexual relationship he had with his priest a representative of Christ was consensual. Perhaps that makes it all O.K.
Bishop Levada, Ziemanns temporary replacement, said of the homosexual bishop: As a longtime friend and colleague of his, I want to recognize his tireless service to the diocese of Santa Rosa over these past seven years as pastor and teacher. I am sure I can speak for all in the diocese of Santa Rosa, as well as for his brother bishops, his many colleagues and friends throughout California and beyond, in thanking him for the energy [unnatural sexual appetite ed.] and gifts [scandal of the highest order ed.] he has shared far and wide. Not to be outdone by Bishop Levada, Ziemanns attorney Piasta referred to the homosexual bishop as a very holy man and as what a modern American Catholic leader should be.
Can there be any doubt that the American Catholic hierarchy has lost all sense of shame and betrayed the trust Christ place in them?
In all of this shame and failure of moral leadership; what do we tell our children when they ask us to explain Gay Pride month, partial birth abortion, or oral sex in the oval office? All are the products of a Catholic-educated president who could not have found his way to the oval office without the Catholic vote. This man who, with the same hand that clutches the Bible as he exits church on Sunday, signs into law bills that deny the most innocent of Gods children the right to life.
How do we defend the lack of action on the part of the hierarchy, many of whom seem to live very comfortably in their plush apartments with their fine meals while so many suffer at the hands of Catholic bishops and priests without so much as a word of condolence from any so-called Prince of the Church?
Are we too harsh or asking too much to expect those who have authority to exercise it?
What is the purpose of Canon Law? Does anyone enforce it? Do apostasy or heresy mean anything, or are they just words discarded in favor of ecumenism? On Christmas of 1998, ABCs Nightline ran a story about Cardinal OConnor giving his blessing to a Catholic man who had decided to leave the Catholic Church. How do parents explain this contradiction of Catholic faith to their children?
These are just a few questions asked by many Catholics who wonder what or whom the hierarchy fears. This is the same hierarchy that protects, defends, and embraces homosexual and/or pedophile bishops and priests while treating the child-victims as the enemyall the while using social justice programs to ease their conscience. This is the same unmanly, clueless hierarchy that has stolen the innocence from a countless number of children while blasting parents who dare to challenge them. Enough is enough!
ˇ Cardinal OConnor Blesses Apostasy
The story of Stephen Dubners journey from Catholicism to the Jewish faith appeared in several Catholic publications including a report by Dr. Thomas Droleskey that appeared in the January 21, 1999 issue of The Wanderer and also one by by John Vennari, in the May 1999 issue of Catholic Family News.
Stephen Dubners parents, Paul and Veronica, were both Jews who had converted to Catholicism before Stephens birth. Their 8 children were raised in the Catholic faith. In 1974, Stephens father died suddenly in Church.
Eventually Stephen decided to leave the Catholic faith and convert to Judaism. In 1996 he wrote an article about his conversion to Judaism that appeared in Time magazine.
New Yorks Cardinal John OConnor, who had been inspired by what Dubner had written about his mother, quoted from the article at Christmas Mass 1996 in St. Patricks Cathedral. Dubner then sought a private meeting with the Cardinal.
On Christmas night, 1998, ABCs Nightline told Stephens story. Nightline, within the same Christmas broadcast, spoke to Cardinal OConnor about this meeting. The Cardinal said:
He [Dubner] clearly had something going on his heart, in his mind, his conscience.
OConnor felt Stephen had come looking for his blessing to become a Jew. Nightlines John Donovan asked the Cardinal if he had his blessing. His Eminence responded:
Oh yes. Oh yes. He doesnt need it, but he has my blessing, if were going to call it such, because I believe thats what the Church teaches Christ came into the world as a Jew. Ethnically, religiously, a Jew. We believe He was the Son of God. But He came for everybody.
Nightline reported that the Cardinals encouragement calmed the fears of Dubners mother, who had been rightly worried that her son had left the True Faith.
What are we to believe? Two thousand years of Tradition and Church teaching tell us that Cardinal OConnors public comments amounted to his approval of apostasy. Am I missing something here? Can a baptized, educated, confirmed Catholic leave the One True Faith without risking the loss of his salvation? Cardinal OConnor must believe so.
ˇ Admitted Pedophile Bishop Leads Retreat
Acting on a tip from a Michigan RCF member, RCF contacted the St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, Michigan to confirm that fallen bishop J. Keith Symons, former head of the diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, was to lead a retreat there on May 19, 1999. The retreat was entitled: A Marian Day of Prayer (On June 2, 1998 bishop Symons resigned as bishop of Palm Beach, Florida after admitting he molested 5 boys during his tenure as a priest).
Once RCF confirmed Symons was leading the retreat, we contacted newspapers in West Palm Beach, Florida who then sent a reporter to Michigan to cover the story.
In the last week of May, The Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal covered the Symons story which prompted a response from retired bishop Kenneth J. Povish, who had approved of Symons leading the retreat. In an editorial, published in the June issue of the Lansing diocesan newspaper, Bishop Povish referred to Symons as the Wounded healer. According to Bishop Povish, The Holy Fathers representative in the U.S., the nuncio in Washington, was consulted. Povish referred to RCF as A self-appointed vigilante group based in Springfield, IL [who] got wind of this and notified the media in Michigan and Florida that Bishop Symons was back into public ministry. Povish ended his article by stating: I believe a bishop who has suffered as much as Keith Symons is likely to do an excellent job as a retreat director for adults. RCF can think of 5 men who may disagree with Povishs thinking.
ˇ The Best Priest In Springfield
Fr. Kevin M. Laughery dissolved the Sacred Heart Parish Council at the beginning of the council meeting, Tuesday, April 20, 1999. Why?
Born July 8, 1957 in Decatur, IL and ordained May 28, 1983, Fr. Laughery was installed as pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Patricks Parishes in Springfield, IL on July 21, 1998.
Sacred Heart parish had been one of the last parishes in Springfield where a communion rail that was still in use could be found. Lines for confessions were long and the rosary was still a part of Church tradition at the parish. Orthodox Catholics of the Springfield area had migrated to Sacred Heart after other parishes in the area had been gutted by renovation forced upon them by the bishop. That all changed when Laughery came to town.
On New Years eve 1998, Father Laughery, with the help of his parents, removed the communion rail at Sacred Heart without so much as a word of warning to his parishioners. The congregation, for the most part, was devastated. In the January 16, 1999 bulletin Fr. Laughery stated:
It was time. The new look brings an openness to the approach to the altar, and a sense of inclusiveness for the congregation in the celebration of the Mass.
Without the communion rail, communicants are now urged to stand to receive the Eucharist, a posture of respect that is just as appropriate as kneeling
It became clear at this point that Laughery had an agenda, and the opinions of parishioners were of no concern to him. Days before Laughery removed the communion rail, RCF received a phone call from a newspaper reporter in Dallas who had some questions regarding Fr. Laughery.
According to Palm Beach Post newspaper reports from December 24 and 25, 1998 and January 10, 1999, two students from Palm Beach Community College in Florida became concerned when they found out that their horticulture teacher, Walter Weerts, at times had a live-in 8-year-old adopted grandchild he called Manny and heard that Weerts and the child had said they shared the same bed.
An Internet search by the students revealed that Father Weerts was a convicted child molester, a pedophile Catholic priest, from the Springfield, IL Diocese. In 1986 Weerts was sentenced to six years in an Illinois state prison after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving boys between the ages of 12 and 16. Weerts pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, and the victims' lawsuit, which blamed the Diocese of Springfield, IL, for not preventing the abuse, was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Palm Beach Community College, which sought to hire Weerts (after he was released
from prison) contacted Fr. Laughery for a recommendation and received what was
later described as a glowing reference from Laughery, Weerts former
superior, who explained Weerts departure from the diocese as a change of
career. (Fr. Laughery was ordained only a few years prior to Weerts going
to prison. RCF has still not determined who suggested Laughery was Weerts
superior or why this was done. To our knowledge, Laughery held no position of
authority in the Chancery at the time.)
I answered the questions I was asked, Laughery said. At that point, I was wishing what was best for him.
According to a Palm Beach Post story of 12/24/98, the former Illinois states attorney Thomas Leeper, who prosecuted the case, said he submitted a 225-page report prepared by investigators that concluded Weerts had been sexually involved with boys for as long as 18 years and that Church officials knew of his problem but repeatedly reassigned him to other parishes. The three boys, at least one of whom was an altar boy, filed a civil suit against the Diocese of Springfield and won a seven-figure settlement before the civil case went to trial, said their attorney, Stephen Tillery of Bellville, IL. It was a very substantial settlement that by order cannot be disclosed, Tillery said. The destruction this man caused was horrible. One of the three boys is damaged beyond repair. The toll on the families was devastating. It's outrageous that Weerts would ever be able to work with children again, Tillery said.
During the first three weeks of January, RCF members confronted Fr. Laughery regarding his removal of the Communion rail and his providing a glowing reference for a priest pedophile from the diocese. At a January 28, 1999 Sacred Heart Parish Council meeting, Father Laughery stated (according to the minutes):
Roman Catholic Faithful coming out of Petersburg, will stop at nothing to tear anybody down. They operate in a very un-Christian type of way and urged everyone (sic) not to have anything to do with them. They are guilty of calumny and should not be operating in this Christian community.
At this same meeting Laughery told Council members, When the Bishop sent
me to Sacred Heart, you got the best.
ˇ More Facts Revealed
On February 11, 1999 Fr. Robert Nugent and Sr. Jeannine Gramick, noted apologists for the homosexualist agenda, presented a seminar on Always Our Children. The event was held at the Dominican Renewal Center in Riverton, Illinois. According to an article that appeared in the April 30th 1999 issue of the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit barred Pax Christi Michigan from holding its annual conference in a Catholic Church because speakers included a priest and nun whose efforts on behalf of gays and lesbians are under Vatican investigation. Those speakers were Nugent and Gramick.
What we would like to discuss here is not what this priest and nun had to say. We would like to tell you about several comments made by employees of the Springfield AIDS Resource Association (S.A.R.A. Center). The S.A.R.A. Center was founded by Mary Ellen Rombach, OSF and has an office located next to the Cathedral in Springfield, Illinois. Two sisters and three lay women from the S.A.R.A. Center attended the seminar. Several RCF members also attended the event. Three RCF members were outside the Renewal Center handing out flyers. During several group discussions RCF was mentioned as was the bishop (Ryan) being gay. One S.A.R.A. Center employee stated: we all know it when the comment was made that the bishop was gay. One S.A.R.A. Center employee made it clear that they (S.A.R.A. Center employees) knew who the gay clergy were in the Springfield Diocese. She claimed they obtained this information from their gay clients.
VATICAN DISCIPLINES TWO AMERICANS
VATICAN (CWN) July 14,1999 The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith forbid Father Robert Nugent, SDS, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, from exercising their pastoral ministry among homosexuals, because their views on the morality of homosexual acts have been judged "unacceptable."
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has signed a note from the Congregation, with the express approval of Pope John Paul II, pointing out that Father Robert Nugent, SDS, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, are at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church insofar as they do not recognize the intrinsic immorality of homosexual acts. The note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was made public on Tuesday, July 13, 1999. For more than 20 years, Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have directed New Ways Ministry, a Washington-based organization dedicated to promoting "justice and reconciliation" for homosexuals and lesbians. They are the authors of the book Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church (1992), and editors of Voices of Hope: A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Gay and Lesbian Issues. They have also been influential in the preparation of documents such as "Always Our Children," a statement on homosexuality issued by the administrative committee of the US bishops' conference.
The note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith observed that Father Nugent and Sister Gramick had repeatedly and publicly "called into question" several important elements of Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality, and had continued their pattern of dissent despite the fact that several Church authorities had invited them to change their positions. The final stage in the Congregation's process came in 1998, when the two Americans were asked to sign statements of support for the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexual acts. Their declarations, which arrived in Rome in August 1998, were finally judged unacceptable, and the Congregation chose to declare their positions "doctrinally unacceptable.
The July 13 note from the Congregation states that Father Nugent and Sister Gramick are "permanently barred from any pastoral work regarding homosexual persons. "[emphasis RCF] They will also be ineligible, for an undisclosed period of time, for any position of leadership in their respective religious institutions.
(Editor's note: August 6, 1999 the Rocky Mountain News (RMN) reported on the Dignity meeting held in Denver August 5-8. Charles Cox, executive director of Dignity, was quoted as saying: When (the Vatican) expresses the belief that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, theyre talking about the acts of love and intimacy that my partner and I express to each other. I frankly find the reference to intrinsically evil acts very disturbing and distressing. Bishop Gumbleton, who spoke at the conference, was asked if he would like to see homosexual marriage happen. The Bishop answered: Yes.
According to an August 12 report in the RMN The Rev. Jim Morris, an active gay priest from the Brooklyn diocese who is a member of Dignity, claims that his bishop, Bishop Thomas Daily, knows he is an active homosexual with a life partner and has allowed him to remain a priest in good standing. "The bishop doesn't say it's OK, but he does know (about it)," Morris said. "He's never met my partner but he's expressed an interest in doing so. According to the same RMN report: Saturday, Morris presided over a Catholic liturgy, consecrating bread and wine in the Adam's Mark Hotel ballroom. Beside him at the altar was Sister Maureen Fiedler, a Sister of Loreto nun and activist from Washington, D.C., and Bob Lohrentz, a member of Dignity's Denver chapter.
The three wore stoles over street clothes. Morris held up the bread. Fiedler and Lohrentz held up the wine. The 300-member community said the words of consecration.)
RCF has contacted the offices of Bishop Daily and Bishop Chaput asking for their response to this public scandal. If no corrective action is taken by Daily or the NCCB then ..? )
Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. (RCF) is calling for the removal of Robert R. Boyle as Education Commissioner at Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church (OLMC) in Chicago. (OLMC is home parish for Chicagos Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, or AGLO.) According to Stephen Brady, President of the not-for-profit organization based in the Springfield, IL diocese, Because of his past public living arrangements, it is a scandal to allow Mr. Boyle to hold such a position at a Catholic parish. An obituary published in the August 8, 1998 Chicago Tribune listed Robert Boyle as the life partner of the deceased, Joseph Edward Spurgeon. A Mass was celebrated the following Tuesday at Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Church.
RCFs attorney and board member, James Bendell, stated: This is just
another example of how Cardinal George has disappointed orthodox Catholics who
had hoped he would clean up the sewer left behind by [now deceased Joseph]
According to Brady, an investigation of the allegations will continue. Brady stated he received letters from clergy regarding these problems. We have also received mail concerning problems at Mundelein Seminary (in the Chicago Archdiocese), Brady continued. We will continue our investigation until the hierarchy acts to correctly remedy these abuses.
When asked to justify RCFs authority to investigate such matters, Brady commented: Youd better ask Cardinal George that one. Ask him, along with any number of other bishops, why so many priests, seminarians, and lay persons call us. The American bishops have failed those entrusted to them by God.
(The July 22, 1999 issue of The Wanderer carried a story on AGLO)
April 21, 1999 (+St. Anselm)
The Most Reverend Alexander Brunett
I am a Board Member for Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., a lay organization dedicated to promoting orthodox Catholic teaching and fighting heterodoxy and corruption among the hierarchy. We publish a national newsletter, Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam. The purpose of this letter is to address the issues of concern prior to our next newsletter.
1. There is a book entitled Vermont Unveiled which purports to be a book detailing the activities of a religious nudist colony. On page 43 of the book, there is a picture of 3 nude priests enjoying the facilities there. One of them is Fr. Leseter "Jerry" McCloskey of St. Francis parish. Could you please advise whether Fr. McCloskey is still a priest in good standing of this diocese, and whether any punitive action was taken against him because of his participation in these nudist activities.
2. Despite the requests of the Holy Father concerning the wide application of the Traditional Latin Mass as expressed in the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, your Excellency still forbids such a Mass in this diocese. Why do you refuse to obey the Holy Father, even though you are willing to devote time, money and human resources to such questionable activities as the "Gay and Lesbian" ministry, whose activities are organized in part by a priest who was previously embroiled in a homosexual scandal at the Archdiocese?
3. Enclosed is a copy of the latest issue of Christifideles, a publication of the St. Joseph Foundation which is committed to defending Catholic Truth. In each issue, this publication highlights dissenting or anti-Catholic writings found in dioceses across the country. You will note that, at page 6 of the latest issue, the heterodox column of Fr. Jan Larson is featured. Why does your paper continue to print such columns, including those by dissident priest Fr. Richard McBrien. Don't you feel a moral obligation to protect the souls of the faithful by assuring that only authentic Catholic views are expressed in this newspaper?
I look forward to your response.
In Christ Our King,
Archbishop Brunetts response
Dear Mr. Bendell:
I am writing in response to your letter dated April 21, 1999, in which you raise three concerns you have asked me to address.
1. The matter regarding the behavior of the priest cited in your letter has been dealt with comprehensively in accordance with the Code of Canon Law and archdiocesan policy. While I am not at liberty to provide you with specific details regarding personnel matters, I can say that the prescriptions of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the application of the principal of fraternal correction has resolved this matter to my satisfaction.
2. In 1991, the Ecclesia Dei Commission issued guidelines for bishops considering implementing the 1998 apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei. As I review the pressing pastoral needs of the people in the Archdiocese of Seattle, I am aware that the rapid growth of the Catholic population has outpaced my ability to provide resident pastors in all of our communities. The value of supplying quality pastoral care to all of the parishes and the ensuring the regular celebration of the Eucharist in all of our parishes is my first priority. Once I am assured that this value can be maintained in a stable and consistent manner, an application of the pastoral priorities outlined by the Ecclesia Dei Commission will be given full consideration.
3. The Catholic Northwest Progress is an important vehicle for providing information and education for the people throughout western Washington. For this reason, I have committed myself to write a weekly column so that the faithful will have the opportunity to receive instruction and authentic teaching from the local Ordinary. In due season, I will introduce other changes that will continue to improve the quality of the newspaper.
Mr. Bendell, I noted that you forwarded a copy of your letter to his Eminence, Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State, Vatican City. In the future, I would ask you to make an effort to spell Cardinal Sodanos name correctly, as it is an embarrassment to have people from my Archdiocese using a misspelled name for Vatican officials.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Alex J. Brunett
RCF ACTION PLAN
Write to Archbishop Brunett expressing your opinion on his letter,
including his avoidance of the topic of the Seattle priest organizing gay and
lesbian activities even though he himself was embroiled in a homosexual
scandal. Make sure you dont offend the Archbishop by spelling any words
Archdiocesan Gay & Lesbian Ministry in cooperation
with St. Joseph Parish invite you to Mid-Afternoon Catechism: A picnic for Gay
& Lesbian Catholics, their families and friends. The Picnic will be held at
St. Joseph on Sunday afternoon, August 22 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. This is
an opportunity to socialize and share stories of growing up Catholic and Gay or
Tuesday August 3, 1999The Guardian, a London newspaper, reported on a recently released book detailing Claims of freemasonry, satanism and homosexuality at papal court.
The book Gone With the Wind In the Vatican is expected to be on British bookshelves soon.
According to the Guardian report:
"Negotiations are under way for an English edition of the bestselling Italian book - ineffectually banned by the Vatican - which claims to expose corruption, freemasonry, homosexuality and satanism in the papal court, the Curia.
"The clumsy attempt by the Vatican to get the book pulled from bookshops has magnified sales tenfold and has brought international publishers to the door of its publisher Kaos Edizioni...
Among the controversial allegations in the book are that:
A priest was denied a
cardinal's hat after being arrested trying to smuggle a suitcase of cash over
the Swiss border.
The book was apparently written by Monsignor Luigi Marinelli and several other unnamed Vatican clergy.
RCF will let its members know when the book becomes available in the US.
RCFs beginning was brought about by a string of events that took place in Petersburg, Illinois, a small river community 25 miles northwest of Springfield the See of Bishop Ryan since 1984. By worldly standards, Petersburg is as nice a place to live as any small US community, but worldly standards are not what we are called to live by. The real danger here, as I see it, is the lack of truth the truth that is necessary for salvation. The truth that helps us raise our children and strengthen our families. The truth that is only wholly found in the Catholic faith. Rev. Francis Spirago in his book, The Catechism Explained, states, "Experience teaches that as religion decreases in a land, the number of suicides increases." Unfortunately his words are all too true. The truth may be painful and difficult for some to deal with, but the truth is all we have left. Only by possessing the truth can we recover what we have lost.
On January 22, 1996, I was sitting at my desk when I received a phone call. It was Nancy from Springfield and you could tell by her voice that something terrible had happened. Nancy had just received a frantic phone call from her best friend Rita and was unable to get to Ritas house until her husband returned with the car. Rita had returned home from work to find that her 15 year old son, Hugh, had taken his life. My wife and I were at Ritas house in a matter of minutes. As my wife did her best to comfort the parents I felt somewhat ashamed not knowing what to say or do to ease their pain. Hugh was the same age as our oldest son and attended the same religion class at St. Peters Catholic Church in Petersburg. While my wife and I had not met Hughs father before that dreadful night, Rita would often visit with us at our pizza place while our sons attended religion class. Rita is a kind and loving person whose faith is an inspiration to us all.
Hughs death might have been just an isolated tragedy had it not been the third suicide of a Petersburg Catholic in just 18 months. The first of the three suicides was that of a 45 year old religion teacher at St. Peters. How could one small parish community of just 700 suffer so much in such a short period of time? Something was terribly wrong. "Experience teaches that as religion decreases in a land, the number of suicides increases."
My wife, Jo Ann, and I were married at St. Peters in 1979 by Fr. Swiatek, a holy priest who was retired in 1984. It was then that Fr. Holinga moved in as Pastor of St. Peters Parish in Petersburg. Shortly after Holingas appointment as pastor in Petersburg, he was named Vicar General and Director of Clergy Personnel for the Diocese of Springfield. Father would have to deal with all the priests problems including those who were sexually propositioned by Bishop Ryan. As you will see later, Holinga would do his part to protect the bishop.
As Father settled into St. Peters, his renovation began. The stations of the cross were painted the same color as the walls. Statues were removed and the Crucifix was replaced with a risen Christ. Extraordinary ministers seemed cheaper by the dozen and the choir was moved to the sanctuary while the Tabernacle was hidden in a back room. First Communion came two years before First Confession while Altar servers were told they could not kneel during Mass. The 1992 parish directory said of Father Holinga:
Fr. Toms arrival at St. Peter sparked new life in our community. The parish has grown to 250 families who actively participate in Church ministries, religious education and social programs. This has enabled our small community to grow not only in numbers but in friendship and faith. Fr. Toms ability to listen and willingness to reach out to all is truly a gift.
The friendship and faith at St. Peter began to show itself in the fall of 1992.
Phillip, our oldest son, was twelve years old and in the seventh grade at Porta High School in Petersburg IL. One September evening my wife was searching for a past due library book and opened Phillip's book bag to see if it was there. She came across a book called Youth Yellow Pages. Jo went to Phillip's bedroom and asked where he got this book and Phillip replied "That's mine!" as if to say his mother had no right to ask. The book my wife had found was given to every student in Phillip's class at school. The book contained, among other things, the name and phone number of Planned Parenthood and suggested it was a place to go for counseling and birth control, parents permission not needed.
On December 11, 1992 I sat in on an "Adult Living" class at Porta High School in Petersburg. Phillip was not in this class, but his home-room teacher (Mrs. Raikes) taught this class and she had invited Planned Parenthood to speak to her pupils that day. I wanted to hear what they had to say. As expected, they promoted birth control and encouraged the children to come to them for help instead of their family doctor. Once again, parents' permission was not needed. Since my son knew of Planned Parenthood's visit and because of the fact that Mrs. Raikes also taught a religion class at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Petersburg, I knew I had to say something. Phillip attended CCD class at St. Peter's. I was concerned about what the Catholic children of Petersburg would think about a Catholic CCD teacher inviting Planned Parenthood to speak to her public school class.
After leaving Mrs. Raikes' class I went to see Fr. Holinga, the Pastor at St. Peter's, to ask him not to allow Mrs. Raikes to teach Religion class at St. Peter's. I explained to Father about her inviting Planned Parenthood to her class. I also asked Father to speak with the three Catholic school board members on the Porta School Board (Mike Nechvatal, Patty Van Etten and Mark Wankel) and ask them to work to keep Planned Parenthood out of the public school. Father said "no" to my requests. He gave no reason for his answer.
On December 17, 1992, I attended a school board meeting at Porta High School. A minister from the Four Square Church of Petersburg came with us to help encourage the school board to kick Planned Parenthood out of the school. I was there with the hope that we could convince three Catholics and one pro-life Protestant school board member that they should not allow Planned Parenthood into the school. I spoke for about thirty minutes on the evils of Planned Parenthood. Although I had done my homework, it did not pay off.
In January of 1993 the school board voted to keep Planned Parenthood.
In March of 1993, I put up a 9' x 12' billboard on an empty lot one block from the County Courthouse in Petersburg. Anyone passing through Petersburg would see the sign that read:
Over the next few months, there were several letters to the editor in our local newspaper concerning the sign. To most people, the sign was an embarrassment. I did find out who my friends were.
In April, we pulled Phillip out of his home room class with Mrs. Raikes, a St. Peter Catholic. The class was going to discuss birth control and any other sex questions the children would bring up.
On Oct. 4, 1993, after reviewing the sex education materials used at Porta Jr./ Sr. high school, I notified the school, in writing (as state law allows), that I did not want our children in any class that discussed birth control, abortion, masturbation or homosexuality. These subjects were all presented in a positive way in the books the school used.
In November of that same year, I ran for the school board and lost by only a few votes. Presently, we have four Catholics on the school board at Porta (Mike Nechvatal, Patty Van Etten, Mark Wankel, and J.D. Stewart). One would think that, since Catholics hold a majority on the school board, things would improve, but that was not the case.
Just after midnight Sunday Dec. 5, 1993, my phone rang. It was the Petersburg police department. They informed me that my billboard, protesting Planned Parenthood in our schools, had been cut down and they had caught the responsible individual. I asked for the name and was told, "you have to come to the police station now and sign a complaint or we will have to let him go." I dressed and went to the police station expecting to find a teenager full of remorse. But that was not who I found. As I pulled into the jail parking lot I noticed two women in tears standing outside the door. All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind. I knew these women but could not put names to their faces. A few minutes later, inside the police station, I was told something I did not want to hear. Jim Haddick, 47, a city alderman, had been arrested for cutting down my sign.
The next few weeks I received phone calls and interview requests from TV stations, radio stations and newspapers all over the country. I also received many encouraging letters from all over the U.S. It was nice to get this support even if it was short lived.
Haddick was facing felony charges because of the cost of the sign. Several people, including the mayor and Pat Potter, the godfather of two of my children, asked me to drop the charges. The State Police were called in to investigate because several people had stated that certain people, including city officials, had discussed cutting down the sign several days before it happened. According to State's Attorney Mike Atterberry, Kim Smith, who was Jim Haddick's lawyer, was aware that Jim wanted to cut down the sign. Kim said he thought his client was kidding. No conspiracy was ever proven, even though several people admitted knowing beforehand that the sign would be cut down.
Because of all the publicity, the Haddick family was taking a beating. I really felt bad for the family. The State's Attorney asked me if I would accept a plea agreement in which the felony charge would be dropped to a misdemeanor and Jim would resign from the city council. He would have to pay a $500.00 fine and restitution. I agreed. The family had suffered enough and a trial would only hurt more. It was time to end this mess.
Within days of being cut down, the sign went back up. We made it clear the sign would stay up until Planned Parenthood was out of the school.
Jim's family was not the only casualty. Our familys pizza place lost business and many Catholics would no longer give us the time of day. They felt I had gone too far.
On January 3rd, 1994, Phillip, now thirteen, was sitting in his health class along with about thirty other children. Mr. Guinan, the teacher, was also a Catholic and a parish council member at St. Peter's Church in Petersburg. I was told a substitute teacher taught the class on this day. The class was shown a film called "A Conversation with Magic". The film, starring Magic Johnson and about ten children, was about safe sex. At the end of the film the children were shown how to use a condom. The narrator put the condom over two of her fingers, showing the children the proper procedure. The condom demonstration was not the worst part of the film that came at the beginning when the children were told:
You have a right to know this information. You don't go to heaven if you die dumb.
It was becoming very clear that the Catholic community was the biggest single source of scandal in Petersburg. Instead of being a guiding light and an example to our children, the Catholics were the problem. Most of our support came from the Protestant community. At the school, Phillip was taking a beating and some of the Catholic kids were the leaders. "Jesus freak" and "faggot" were just two of the names Phillip was called. And why? Because his father and mother fought to keep society's views about sex and abortion from being forced upon their children.
We pulled Phillip out of school in the spring of 1994.
I felt that if the truth were known, the Catholic truth, things would change. I started looking to our spiritual leader, Father Thomas Holinga, the pastor of St. Peters, in Petersburg. The previous fall, St. Peters was searching for religion class teachers. They were having trouble finding volunteers. On several occasions, I offered to teach. I was told by Marie Gabrielsen, (the Director of Religious Education) I was not needed ("We have enough teachers"). In November, 1993, I attended a Parish Council meeting. Religion class had not started yet and the topic of conversation was the shortage of religion teachers. I asked to speak and was allowed to do so. I informed the council that I had offered to teach and was told, by Marie, that the parish had enough teachers. "I was lied to" was the next statement out of my mouth. Father Holinga promptly spoke up and called a "foul". I responded that a lie was a lie, no way around it. "The least you can do is be honest", I stated, and with that I dropped the subject. But there was another subject I wanted to address.
The high school religion class was going to be using books by Richard Reichert. In one of the books, Decisions and Dilemmas, was the following statement:
"You also have a legal right to believe that abortion is sinful. But this doesn't automatically make abortion wrong either".
The Parish Council and Fr. Holinga found nothing wrong with that statement, so I left the meeting.
On December 1, 1993 I attended a parish Council meeting. That morning I had received a letter from the council which stated, in part,
We recognize Fr. Tom Holinga as the undisputed spiritual leader of our parish community. We also reaffirm his role as our primary religious educator. Further, we regard his selection of religious curriculum, textbooks, and teachers as being above reproach."
I knew then exactly where I stood but attended the meeting that night to see if anything else was said on the subject. Although my name was listed on the agenda, nothing was said. There was one interesting comment made by Mr. Richardson, who was one of Holingas team. Richardson had recently attended a deanery meeting and the topic of discussion was the implementation of parish councils in every parish. Richardson stated:
A couple of priests wont form parish councils but they are old and will croak soon.
In January of 1994, several religion teachers invited a pro-life speaker to talk to the high school religion class. Barbara Weitekamp was the speaker. No one, including Fr. Holinga, knew that I had met Barb several weeks earlier and we were friends. One of the things Barb told the class was that they should be proud to have a man in their community like the one who erected the billboard protesting Planned Parenthood in the schools. Barb told no one that she knew me. My wife attended this meeting and told me that as Barb was leaving, Fr. Holinga followed her out the door and did not return for about 15 minutes. After my wife got home that night she told me what had happened. I called Barb to find out what Fr. Holinga had said to her. According to Barb, Father called me a kook and an embarrassment to the Church. He spent 15 minutes telling Barb how wrong I was about everything. Barb suggested I leave St. Peters, because of the things Fr. Holinga had said. I said no.
In January of 1994, I sent a letter to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington D.C. I explained how Fr. Holinga was sending our children to First Holy Communion two years prior to first confession. "We were told it was approved". I also sent information about the books by Richard Reichart that were being used in St. Peter's religion class. Saturday, February 19, 1994, one day before a meeting at St. Peters for parents of children about to receive First Communion, I received a letter from the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio. In the letter he confirmed Can. 914, that First Holy Communion must be preceded by Sacramental Confession. He also stated "Please rest assured that I have also carefully noted the information which you provided concerning religious education". I thought this was all I needed. The next day I attended the meeting at St. Peters and no one seemed to care what the Church taught. Marie Gabrielsen did say, "That is the official teaching of the Church but we don't have time to do everything. If you want to send your children to confession first, you will have to prepare them yourself".
I continued to send out letters to Catholic school board members, teachers and Fr. Holinga, reminding them of their responsibilities as Catholics. Mr. and Mrs. Mike .., godparents of one of my children, came to see me one morning after they had attended weekday Mass at St. Peter's. Father had obviously shared my letters with them. Mike and Carla suggested I leave St. Peter's if I did not like what Father taught there. "Everybody lies at confession" Carla said. "We should do away with confession altogether." I could not believe I was hearing this.
We kept the pressure on the Catholic school board members, constantly reminding them that Planned Parenthood kills babies.
In June of 1994, our efforts paid off. Thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Charles Gallina, President of the local Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) group, the Petersburg-area PORTA School board voted not to allow Planned Parenthood back into the school. There was a down side, though. One Catholic board member, Mike Nechvatal, voted for keeping Planned Parenthood in the school. School board member Patty VanEtten (an extraordinary minister at St. Peter's) made it clear they were going to change the messenger and not the message:
"We were wasting a lot of board time on an issue that doesn't deserve that kind of attention," VanEtten said. "We've not censored anything. We've not changed the curriculum. We've not changed the message. We've changed the messenger."
Once again, the children of Petersburg were scandalized. The next day I took my billboard down. The Springfield, IL. State Journal-Register in their June 25, 1994 issue covered the story.
Oct. 13, 1994My son, while attending a religion class at St. Peters Catholic Church, was told by the teacher regarding the use of contraceptives: There are several interpretations of Catholicism, and it is up to the individual to find what is right for them. Complaints to the chancery went unanswered.
In the fall of 1994, we signed Phillip up for band class at Porta High School. Band was the first class of the day. My wife and I felt no harm could come to him in band class. Phillip was fourteen and being homeschooled. His brothers and sisters were still in the local public school but they too would be pulled out and homeschooled before entering the seventh grade. The seventh grade is when Porta school district starts to hit hard on sex education for the children.
On December 5, 1994 the silence was broken. Phillip, while attending band class, was given a sex and drug survey to fill out. Even after all we had been through, after all we had said and done, the school made no effort to respect our wishes and keep this sex-ed garbage from our child. On the survey, children were asked questions like:
Do you use protection? Have you ever had sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
They were also asked about possible problems at home. On December 7, I went to the school office to talk to the principal about the survey. The principal was gone and the assistant principal was busy, so I decided to leave a message. I was talking with Mrs. Hollis, the school secretary, when in walked Liz Anderson, the teacher responsible for the survey. Mrs. Hollis made the comment, "It is only a survey." That was the straw that broke the camels back. I told the two women I would take my own survey. "How many times a week do you masturbate?" I asked them. "Have you ever had oral sex with anyone besides your husband?" They never said a word,. They were shocked and they were mad. "How do you like being asked questions about your sex life?" I said. Then I drove the point home. "You have no right to ask my son those types of questions, just as I have no right to ask you. You can walk away or slap my face, but my son could do neither." I left the school without hearing one word from either woman.
The next day the sheriff's office called. Dan Wright, the school superintendent, had contacted them and he wanted me arrested. I went over to the Sheriff's office and answered their questions and gave them my side of the story. I never again heard from the Sheriff's office, but on December 12 I received a letter from the PORTA School board. I was informed that I was not allowed on school property for the rest of the school year. The next day we pulled all of our children out of school and started to homeschool them as well.
In February of 1995, we started publishing the newsletter Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,. The first newsletter was sent out to several hundred Catholics in surrounding communities. It covered some of the problems and abuses at St. Peters Catholic Church in Petersburg. The response was swift.
"I hereby demand that you immediately cease all further illegal and disruptive conduct as to Father Holinga and St. Peter Parish." [signed] Carol Hansen Fines--Attorney at Law.
I also heard from many Catholics, priests and laity alike. "Thank you", "God bless you" and "Keep it up!" were some of the words of encouragement I heard. In the next twelve months, with each additional newsletter, our numbers grew. With each passing day I learned more about the condition of our diocese. The most disturbing information I received with regard to our children was the fact that we had sex education in some of our Catholic grade schools. New Creation, Fully Alive and other objectionable programs. I heard horror stories from parents all around the diocese.
The first year of the newsletter's existence was full of trials. I attended any class that the diocese offered. When I heard a lie, I would print it. Hate mail and death threats were not uncommon but I could see a change. Catholics were starting to speak out and defend Church teaching. Several priests came to my aid and guided my actions.
We knew we had their attention when the Bishop's lawyer, Brother Patrick Shea, asked for a meeting. When I met with Brother Shea I received another let down. He did not want to talk about the abuses, he just wanted me to lay off the bishop. Don Bartolazzi attended the meeting with me. Don is a true Catholic and a cousin to Fr. Holinga. Don's presence sent a real message.
During the month of October, I attend four Thursday night classes at Christ the King School in Springfield. The classes were offered by the Office for Catholic Education, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, and approved for catechist certification. The class instructor was Sr. Helen Vahling. The title of the class was, Overview of Catholic Teaching. We were taught that contraception and masturbation were not sinful, the pope was not infallible, almost any marriage could be annulled, Christ did not establish the priesthood as we know it today, and on and on. There was no end to the heretical statements that came from this nun's mouth. But worst of all was the fact that the ten or so teachers attending this class went along with all that sister said. I was the only one that raised an objection. I spoke to the principal and the pastor about what went on but no one seemed to care.
On November 17, 1995, Father Paul Marx, O.S.B. of Human Life International. came to Springfield to help out. With the help of others we rented a conference room at the Springfield Hilton. Fr. Burnett of Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield had originally agreed to sponsor Fr. Marx's visit but someone changed his mind.
Three hundred showed up to hear Father Marx, and he gave them what they needed: the Truth.
Another Catholic group formed in 1995. The Catholic Speakers Forum of Central Illinois. The group started bringing Catholic speakers into the Springfield area. They later changed their name when Bishop Ryan stated that they did not have the right to use the word Catholic in their name without his approval.
In the December 14, 1995 issue of The Wanderer, Paul Likoudis did a story on our fight and the situation within the diocese. Thanks to Paul's story, many more doors opened. Because of this story a story that named names the St. Peter's Parish Council, sent out a July 4 letter to all parish members. The letter condemned me for my attacks on Father Holinga and the bishop. The letter read:
St. Peter Church
January 4, l996
Dear Fellow Parishioner,
For the past two years Bishop Ryan and Fr. Tom have been under personal attack by a member of St. Peter Church, Stephen G. Brady. These attacks have taken the form of telephone calls, letters, newsletters sent throughout the diocese, and accusations delivered in meetings. This has caused great distress to Fr. Tom and to those of us who have been aware of what has been taking place. Additionally, Mr. Brady has leveled his attacks at the Parish Pastoral Council, our coordinators of RCIA, Liturgy, and Education, our Music Director and our Parish School of Religion, as well as other members of this parish who serve our community in public office.
Although we have sought reconciliation with Mr. Brady, the attacks have escalated. We have tried reasoning with him by letter and in person with no success at all. We now know that it is important that all our parishioners be aware that this situation exists so that Fr. Tom, the Bishop and those in ministry may feel our unified support.
Rather than enumerating the details in this letter, we are making available upon request information regarding the particulars of this matter. If you would like to have more information, you may contact any member of the Parish Pastoral Council.
[Signed by: ]
A copy of their letter was given to me by a parish member. Several days later I sent them an answer.
January 14, 1996
Dear Parish Council member,
I just wanted to let you know that I believe the letter you sent out Jan. 4, 1996 was something that was needed. It was something you had to do. Going by what I have heard from parishioners, you have started them thinking. Some were hurt because they did not receive the letter. But they are thinking now and that is a plus.
I do realize you had to condemn me. If you had not, you would have condemned yourself with your silence. If you had not condemned me you would have to condemn the Parish Council member that taught my son how to use a condom. You would have to condemn the Catholic religion teacher that brought Planned Parenthood into her public school classroom to teach those Catholic kids about safe sex and contraception. You would have to condemn the religion teacher that told my son birth control is a personal choice. You would have to condemn the Extraordinary Minister who, at a church meeting, with a former Parish council member present, told me how Planned Parenthood needed to teach our children about safe sex and how contraception was good. You would have to condemn the liturgical director that told my son he could not kneel while a server at Mass. No dear people, you had no choice. Just because the Church requires that children go to Confession before First Holy Communion does not mean we should expect that at St. Peters.
You say these attacks started two years ago? It was two years ago this month that Father followed a pro-life speaker out of the Parish center just to bad-mouth me. Ask Father about Barb Weitekamp. It was two years ago that I asked Tom Zimmerman to talk with Father and see if he would talk to me. It was three years ago that Father started sharing my letters with his friends. Just for the record, every request I made for a meeting the last four years was ignored.
Yes, you had no choice. Just because people who have publicly supported birth control and Planned Parenthood have been allowed to hand out Communion as if they were giving out potato chips no one would expect you to act. I am sure God understands the disrespect He is shown.
I received a letter from the Vatican two months ago. I
was told of a document about to be published that requires Catholic Parents to
remove their children from classes that promote safe sex or condom use.
The document also states that Pastors must help parents in fighting sex ed in
public and Catholic schools. Ask Father, I am sure he knows about it.
[Signed:] Stephen Brady
On Monday, Jan. 15 1996, I went on a radio talk station, the One Eyed Jack Show (WMAY 970 AM). On this show One Eye read the letter that the parish council sent out and he gave me a chance to respond. One hour after the radio program, the radio station called to give me a phone number of a priest who had called to thank them for airing the program. Rev. Francis J. Corrigan had been listening to the radio when I came on the air. I had purchased some of Fr. Corrigans books at a Church auction I had attended in Livingston, IL. several months earlier. I went to see Father. He was living in the diocesan retirement center at the Pastoral Center in Springfield, IL. His apartment was in the same building as the Bishop's office. Father told me how the Bishop had forced him to move to the pastoral center. "Inhumane" was the word Father used to describe his treatment. After Fr. Corrigan had his stroke and after the Bishop forced him to move, he was contacted by the Parish council of his former parish. He was given 15 days to remove his belongings from the rectory where he spent 31 years ministering to the people of that parish. Because of Fathers health and age (81) he had to depend on others to retrieve his belongings. Father got back some of his things and the rest were sold at auction.
God works in strange ways. I was the person who purchased his personal property and by the grace of God our paths crossed and I returned his belongings. Among the items I returned was a Catechism that belonged to his mother and a Crucifix that belonged to his grandfather.
On March 25, 1996, we held our first meeting of the Roman Catholic Faithful at the Springfield Hilton. Over 400 Catholics attended.
On May 15, 1996, RCF became a not-for-profit corporation. The next few months included a meeting with Fr. Hardon and a bishop from Poland. Both men gave RCF direction and encouragement to move forward with our work. (Fr. Hardon introduced me to Fr. Alfred Kunz of Dane, WI. at that time. Hardon suggested that RCF work with Fr. Kunz and take direction from him as he was well respected and a canon lawyer. Two years later Fr. Kunz was brutally murdered.) Meetings were held in different parts of the country and The Wanderer covered many of these events.
On Monday, Nov. 4, 1996 I went to Quincy, IL to visit with a former employee of the Peoria diocese. He had known bishop Ryan for some time and shared, with RCF, his correspondence with the bishop. The information he provided regarding the Springfield diocese was shocking to say the least.
On Tuesday. November 5, 1996, I had lunch with a priest from the Springfield diocese. We met at a restaurant in Jacksonville, IL. Father promised to write a statement detailing what he went through as a young priest working for Bishop Ryan. Father told me how the bishop would request sexual favors from him. The following is part of his statement:
Events of my Roman Catholic priesthood
While assigned to a parish in the Springfield Diocese, Bishop Ryan asked me to escort him on a trip which would require us to spend an overnight. While in a motel in St. Louis, Missouri, around July. Bishop Ryan came out of the motel room bathroom clad only in his underwear to grab me and kiss me on the lips stating he loved me very much. He being my superior I felt "obligated" to take his come on. This is the first time I had ever been "forced" into a situation such as this.
On another occasion Bishop Ryan and I stayed at a motel in Paletine, Illinois which is a motel/spa. Once again, in the motel room Bishop Ryan embraced my face, kissed me and said "I hope you know I love you very much".
Another trip to the same motel in Paletine, Bishop Ryan again kissed me on the lips, hugged me for a long time and stated again how much he loved me. The next morning around 6:30 a.m. I awoke to find the Bishops bed empty. Not knowing where he was, I decided to take a swim before breakfast. When I got to the spa area I dressed in my swimming trunks, swam a few laps, and entered the steam room. In the steam room I found Bishop Ryan with another gentleman in a "compromising position. I immediately left the steam room and swam a few more laps. No mention was ever made of the steam room situation...
While assigned to another parish in the Springfield Diocese Bishop Ryan asked me to join him at the Best Western Motel in downtown Hannibal, Missouri for an overnight stay. Again while in his underwear only, he grabs my arms to pull me to himself, he kisses me, rubs my back and tells me he loves me very much.
I enjoyed traveling with Bishop Ryan, but I felt awkward about his forceful kissing and hugging. Yet, as a fairly new priest I felt I had no say-so in all of this. I definitely did not come on to the Bishop, nor did I invite his approaches. Often times I was ridiculed by other priests of the Diocese for being the Bishops pet but I felt embarrassed to tell them things I had to endure with him .
In the following summer I disclosed to Rev. Thomas Holinga, who was the Director of Priest Personnel, about these events with Bishop Ryan but he only laughed at me, and told me I was making all of this up. I finally turned to another priest whom I trusted and disclosed all of this information, this priest was very sympathetic and confronted Holinga and Bishop Ryan only to be told I was making this all up. Because these events were disturbing to me I began to dislike and distrust Bishop Ryan. At one point in a parking lot of a parish, Bishop Ryan attempted to approach me, but I told him to stay away from me. He said his heart was feeling for me, but I told him to keep his heart and rest of his body away from me. From that time on the Bishop ignored me and treated me like I didn't exist.
Father told me of another priest who suffered in much the same fashion. Father also told me of an apartment on the south side of Springfield where the bishop would visit a young man he was keeping. RCF later located that apartment and obtained a statement from the landlord who knew of the bishops activities.
On Wednesday, Nov. 6 1996, I called a well- known priest who was going to contact the papal nuncio and try to arrange a meeting.
On Thursday, Nov. 7 1996, I met with another priest from the Springfield diocese. We met at 10:30 am at the Denny's restaurant in Collinsville, IL. Bishop Ryan was attempting to force Father into a mental facility for evaluation (a common practice by bishops to destroy the credibility of clergy they see as a threat). The following is a summary of Fathers story.
At the request of the Bishop, Father moved into the Cathedral Rectory with the Bishop. He stayed there until Palm Sunday. While living there the Bishop was constantly kissing him. He would turn his head and the bishop would place his hands on both sides of his face, turn his head back and kiss him on his lips. On one occasion, the bishop had him change a battery in a smoke detector. While Father was on the ladder, the bishop had his hands on Fathers rear end. The bishop took him on a Confirmation trip, and stopped at a local store to purchase a swimsuit for Father. The bishop wanted to spend the night at a motel in Carlinville and wanted Father in the hot tub with him (thankfully, the hot tub was not working). Father knew of one occasion when the Bishop had another priest meet him at this Holiday Inn. On one Palm Sunday morning, the bishop came to Fathers room and asked him to give him a shave and like many other times he refused. He also spoke of occasions when the bishop would request certain sexual favors. This priest had told another diocesan priest, Fr. Mank, of the bishops actions. Father gave me the names of clergy who knew of Ryans activities. Father told of a Christmas party he attended at the bishops house in 1984. The bishop, drunk, was sitting on the couch with a priest from Joliet. The Joliet priest had his bare feet tucked under him on the sofa and the bishop was caressing the feet of the Joliet priest.
November 8, 1996: At this point, RCF had statements from two priests who had sexual contact with and/or were sexually propositioned by Bishop Ryan. We had been in frequent contact with Fr. John Hardon and had attempted to contact and arrange a meeting with the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. RCF sent the following letter to Bishop Ryan:
Most Rev. Daniel L. Ryan, D.D. J.C.L.
For the past year or so RCF has been working with Illinois priests in an effort to correct the disordered state of affairs with regard to deviations from Catholic teaching and other abuses occurring in the dioceses of Illinois. Although we are truly moved by the widespread support we have received from Catholic laity, we regret that we have received no positive response from the Diocese. In fact, our efforts have been attacked by diocesan officials.
While working with these Illinois priests we have come to learn that some of them have suffered abuse and persecution. One form of this abuse has been the sexual harassment of priests by Your Excellency, their bishop. In some cases you have engaged in physical sexual harassment of these priests. This is a scandal of the highest order and an affront to God.
Accordingly, as a Catholic of this Diocese I am requesting that you announce your resignation as Bishop within 5 Days of this letter. If you do not step down, I am prepared to take whatever other action is available to me in Canon law and Civil law in order to effectuate your removal. I regret the public scandal that would result from the publicity that accompanies such proceedings, but I feel that it is better than allowing this corruption to continue.
The following day RCF received the following letter sent by Federal Express.
Mr. James M. Bendell
Dear Mr. Bendell:
I am in receipt of the fax letter addressed to Bishop Daniel L. Ryan by Stephen G. Brady (Roman Catholic Faithful) of November 8, 1996, copy of which was directed to you, as well as your letter of November 7, 1996, to Stephen G. Brady (copies enclosed).
We represent the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois and its Bishop, Daniel L. Ryan.
The letter from Brady makes allegations of the most
baseless falsity. It is directed to "Bishop Ryan's eyes only"
demanding resignation within 5 days, otherwise he (Brady) will "take
whatever other action is available to him in Canon and Civil Law to effectuate
Your letter, on the other hand, advises that you will represent aggrieved Illinois priests who feel that they have sexual harassment claims against their Bishops.
We know that there is absolutely no truth to these baseless claims made in the Brady letter and know that you would, with an absolute minimum of investigation, find these claims are utterly fantastic.
We do not know if you represent Mr. Brady with regard to the fullness of his letter or not.
We must advise, however, that should Mr. Brady proceed with any further threatened publication of these false, unsubstantiated defamatory allegations, we will advise the Diocese and this Bishop Ryan to respond and assert their legal rights against Stephen G. Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful, his or its counsel, and others so involved, to the fullest extent of the law.
I am sending a copy of this to Stephen G. Brady
On November 11,1996, I called Graham and said we would proceed. I am confident the priests testimony would prove all if push came to shove, I said.
On November 12, 1996, Fr. Hardon called and asked RCF not to take any action yet. Father spoke to the priests RCF had interviewed and promised he would help. One of the priests provided Fr. Hardon with a 4-page detailed statement regarding Bishop Ryans sexual misconduct.
On November 17-18, 1996, RCF spoke with two other diocesan priests who confirmed Ryans misconduct. One knew of a male prostitute who visited the bishop at the cathedral rectory.
On Friday, December 27, 1996, I had a conversation with a Springfield area doctor who knew of a diocesan priest who was an active homosexual.
On December 31, 1996, I spoke with Fr. Hardon, who informed me the Papal Nuncio did not want to get involved. Hardon stated: These are the worst times in history of the Church and said he could not forbid me to proceed. I told Father of RCFs plans.
On January 10, 1997, in an arranged phone conversation, I received advice from an orthodox Catholic bishop.
On January 11, 1997, I called one of the priests who provided a statement and told him of RCFs plans for a press conference.
By Monday January 13, 1997, Fr. Hardon had been in contact with Bishop Ryan. Hardon also found safe haven for one of Ryans accusers. Several weeks later, Father Hardon traveled to Rome with a Springfield priest and met with Archbishop Hoyos, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy.
On February 11, 1997 RCF held a press conference, which was detailed in The Wanderer:
Roman Catholic Faithful Accuses Bishop Ryan of Sexual
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - At a press conference held on Feb. 11th at the Springfield (Ill.) Hilton, Stephen G. Brady, the president and founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., publicly accused the Most Rev. Daniel L. Ryan, the bishop of Springfield in Illinois, of the "physical sexual harassment of priests."
At the conference, attended by several members of the local media, broadcast and print, and by the communications director of the Diocese of Springfield, Kathleen A. Sass, Brady gave a brief history of the origins of Roman Catholic Faithful...
Brady indicated that he started the organization because of problems he was experiencing in his own community, Petersburg, IL.
The growth of Roman Catholic Faithful prompted several priests to contact Brady about problems they had been having with Bishop Ryan. Two priests, whose identities have not been revealed publicly, gave Brady detailed information concerning alleged incidents of having been sexually harassed by the bishop. One of the priests, who gave an exclusive, detailed telephone interview to The Wanderer shortly after the press conference, provided this reporter with extensive corroboration of the charges Brady has made against Bishop Ryan. The Wanderer has no immediate plans to publish this interview.
After having gathered statements from these priests, Brady wrote Ryan a letter. Dated Nov. 8th, 1996, it stated in part:
Brady then demanded the bishop's resignation by Nov. 13th, 1996. Failing that, Brady wrote, he would have to make the allegations public knowledge. An attorney for the bishop wrote to attorney James Bendell, who serves on the Board of Directors of Roman Catholic Faithful, that Brady would be subjecting himself to a lawsuit if he made the allegations -- which Ryan vehemently and categorically denies -- public.
Brady, however, did not go public with his accusations. He sought the counsel of many individuals, including leading canonists and a bishop. At the urging of one priest, the documentation of these allegations was provided to the papal nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, in November, 1996. A meeting about these allegations was held at the nunciature on Nov. 15th, 1996. Unbeknownst to anyone, however, Cacciavillan had provided all the documentation that had been given to him concerning these allegations to Bishop Ryan, including a detailed four-page statement by one of the priests (who had been promised strict confidentiality in the matter). Ryan thus had all of the evidence against him, including the names of his accusers. Cacciavillan never once contacted either of the two priests involved in this case at this juncture.
Brady went on to state at the press conference that Cacciavillan now considers the case "closed," even though no investigation had been conducted. He said that this was a terrible betrayal of the trust that the priests had placed in the papal nuncio, as well as a breach of all propriety in the conduct of investigations of this nature. A woman who answered the phone at the nunciature in Washington told this reporter on Feb. 11th that the archbishop had "no comment" on the entire story. When told that the nuncio would be criticized for his betrayal of the priests, an action which helped to precipitate the public revelation of these accusations, the woman said that she would relay that message to him.
Brady also said that the press conference held on Feb. 11th had been scheduled originally for Jan. 22nd. After consultation with a number of individuals, however, he decided to postpone it in order to allow individuals at the Sacred Congregation for Bishops to review material sent to them on Jan. 13th, 1997. Given the actions of the papal nuncio, though, Brady believed that he had no choice but to go public with these allegations, if for no other reason than to let Bishop Ryan know that he is going to be held accountable for them even if the nuncio has decided that the case is closed.
Quoting from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae, Brady sought to justify what might be considered a breach of respect for the office of the bishop:
...The priests making the allegations against Bishop Ryan fear that they will be punished for: a) not responding to the bishop's alleged romantic advances; and b) for bringing these allegations out into the open. Brady expressed the belief that the full facts of the case may not be known publicly unless action is brought in civil court at which time the bishop and his accusers each would be deposed in the discovery process. Brady said that he is not certain whether the priests will bring an action of their own at this point; however, he said that all avenues, including that of using the Signatura in Rome, remain open to exploration.
...Brady went on to state that he was going public to give support to those priests in the diocese (and elsewhere) who have been sent away for psychiatric treatment solely because of their doctrinal orthodoxy.
...Attorney and RCF board member James Bendell wrote a letter to Archbishop Cacciavillan on the same day as the press conference, Feb. 11th. Noting that he was "disappointed (but not surprised) to hear you have decided to 'close the file' on the matter concerning the misconduct of Bishop Ryan," Bendell went on to remark that Cacciavillan had not even had the courtesy to acknowledge an earlier letter that he had sent to the nunciature. As a result of the nuncio's action in this case, Bendell wrote that:
The Wanderer has interviewed the clergy involved. One priest interviewed acknowledged that bishop Ryan had offered him the parish of his choice and stated he could make him a bishop in return for sexual favors.
On February 15, 1997, The State Journal Registers City/State section contained a newspaper article (Bishop Denies Sexual Allegations, by Ralph Loos) covering RCFs conference:
On February 16, 1997, The Catholic Times, the Springfield diocesan newspaper, mentioned the press conference. (Bishop Denies Allegations, asks for prayers of support)
On the same day, RCF received a copy of the following letter that was sent to the State Journal-Register after they ran a story of RCFs press conference.
To Mr. Ralph Loos, Staff Writer
I don't know if you know it or not but you have just hit the all time jackpot on "news stories" for 1997.
I am a... lifelong resident of our great city and I have known the "street life" of Springfield, Illinois for the past __ years... I know the gay life styles, the gay bars, the names and customers of many, many hustlers, hookers, & yes I have known for the past many, many years of the sexual life activities of Bishop Ryan. I am shocked that it has taken this long of a period of time to report it to the "John Q. Public"
I am [not the kind] of a person to get involved in your full scale investigations into the "Bishop Ryan" allegations, but as you go along with your investigation you too will be surprised at the many, many, acts & things that the bishop did through his church and unbeknowing to his church and Ralph Loos as you go along you could run into facts that will make your hair stand on end.
This could be the biggest story since Watergate, Morris
sex scandal, Washington D.C. or President Clintons sexual charges currently
being made at the present time..
I don't want any credit, no money, no publicity nor you "Ralph Loos" make no attempt whatsoever in trying to find out just who I am, or what I do...O...K... is it a deal????? I thought so"...
Ralph, you have to work hard for this story.. But in the
end.. Copely Press, Ralph Loos, and the long run the Catholics of Springfield,
IL will realize that having a "Bishop" in the high seat in the
Catholic Diocesan (sic) that this is just like having the "Fox guard the
RCF received the following letter after an RCF meeting.
...I attended the meeting of the Roman Catholic Faithful which was held at the Springfield Hilton on March 3, 1997, and I thought I would like to regale you with a few of my Springfield diocese horror stories. Since this was my first attendance at an RCF meeting and in the interest of brevity, I chose not to comment during the Question and Answer period, as I had no questions to ask and did not feel that I should consume others' time with comments on things which have come to be normal happenings in this diocese. However, I thought you might be interested in hearing of a few more of the abuses which have been being perpetrated here for several years...
I work with several homosexuals and have become quite friendly with some of them. As long as ten or fifteen years ago, shortly after Bishop Ryan came into his present position, I was informed by a good friend a Catholic who is no longer a practicing homosexual that it was a well known fact in the homosexual community that the Bishop was accustomed to having men come to his quarters for nefarious assignments. Last week I questioned another homosexual friend, a non-Catholic, about this and was informed that he was personally acquainted with another homosexual now deceased -who had actually "been with" the Bishop.
As to Bishop Ryan's unorthodoxy in theological matters, shortly after he assumed his present position, I attended a Mass which he celebrated in which the gospel pertained to the multiplication of the loves and the fishes. In his homily, he explained this away by stating that he believed the small boy with the loaves and fishes shared his lunch with others, and this act inspired others to do the same. He concluded by saying that he believed the real miracle was a miracle of the heart which caused people to share with others who had nothing...
If you care to quote from this letter in any way for any purpose, please feel free to do so.
L. R. (Springfield) The letter was signed with full name.
On April 9, 1999, RCF received a report from a private investigator we had hired to research public records and the information contained in the unsigned letter sent to the State Journal-Registers reporter, Ralph Loos. The report from the investigation stated he had substantiated information contained in the letter received by the State Journal Register. The investigation will continue.
For the next few months RCF followed leads we had received including information that led back to the Joliet Diocese, Ryans home diocese.
On Dec. 22, 1997 RCF received a statement from another Springfield priest:
...Bishop Ryan was somewhat demonstrative in his affections. A warm embrace/hug doesn't bother me but not when the person doesn't want to let go. Also that Bishop Ryan would kiss me on the lips which I was very uncomfortable with. He would do that when he would hug me. He also liked to 'pray' together... I thought that was great, except for the fact that as he sat next to me he would rub the leg. The last time I went on a trip with him he did the same thing except his hand went higher and inside my leg up to my crotch. I gently moved his hand away and moved away from him. That was the last time I went with him as he never called me again. Also he began to either ignore me at gatherings or on occasion make a joke with me as the butt of it. At first I thought I was imagining things but then a couple of priests asked what I had done to get on the bishops list. I told them you don't want to know. One of the priests replied Would it have something to do with rejecting the bishops advances? I told him I would rather not talk about it because I wasn't quite sure.
I know from talking to other young priests that this didn't happen just to me. Every priest that eventually said no to him fell into disfavor and suffered for it
The only other thing that I can add is that there is a religious brother (I was told about) that was at the treatment center with Bishop Ryan who had a sexual affair with him.
It is known by many that the bishop frequents the park in Spfld. in particular the park where the band plays during the summer months. An inactive priest of the diocese has a friend who was parked one summer evening when a man drove up next to him, exposed himself and began to masturbate. The young man recognized the man as his own bishop since he is a member of Cathedral Parish. The young man promptly left the park and called the former priest-friend. The inactive priest is Fr. [name deleted by RCF] I am not sure he would be willing to tell the story.
The Wanderer chronicled
More Witnesses Emerge In Bishop
Nearly fifteen months have passed since Stephen Brady, the President of Roman Catholic Faithful, wrote to Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Daniel Ryan to inform him that two priests had come forward to charge him with sexually harassing them. And one of the priests making the accusation said that Ryan had threatened to send him to a psychiatric center when it became apparent to him that the priest had talked to others about his conduct.
After it was learned that the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, had provided Ryan with confidential statements made by the two priests, Brady decided to hold a press conference on February 3, 1997, to publicly reveal the charges. The Wanderer interviewed both of the priests involved in the case, although the interviews were not printed so as to permit a prominent American priest to pursue his contacts in the Vatican to affect Ryan's quiet removal.
The prominent American priest subsequently took one of Ryan's priest-accusers to Rome in late February of last year. A high-ranking curial official listened to the evidence presented against Bishop Ryan. Although there were reports that the Vatican later made three requests of Ryan to resign as ordinary of the Diocese of Springfield, Ryan remained in power, continuing to deny all of the charges made against him. The priest-accuser who had gone to Rome last year was later given protection by the Holy See, which informed Ryan that he could not contact his accuser. The priest continues to insist that his story is accurate, but he is not willing to come forward publicly at this point.
Above and beyond the salacious charges brought by the priests against Bishop Ryan, the real story in this matter has always revolved around Ryan's abuse of his episcopal power and how the Vatican has ignored the pleas of both the clergy and the faithful in the Springfield diocese to correct the situation there by demanding, not requesting, Ryan's resignation. The faithful were told by the prominent American priest who had gone to Rome to be patient, that the Vatican would act to remedy the situation. But nothing happened. Ryan remained in power, although he continued to be dogged by Stephen Brady whenever he appeared publicly in the Springfield diocese.
Things came to a head in December of 1997, however. A priest in Lincoln, Illinois, which is located in the Diocese of Peoria, was accused of having molested several young men over the course of a twenty year period. The secular press, which had buried the Ryan story, mentioned the charges against Ryan while running accounts of the Lincoln story. When asked to comment on Stephen Brady's accusations about Ryan's personal and ecclesiastical conduct, Kathleen Sass, Ryan's spokeswoman, told The Daily Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) that Brady's comments "are based in ignorance of good church teaching."
Sass's comments caught the eye of one Sandra ...., a resident of Springfield who had never met Stephen Brady. A student at Springfield College who works at a laundromat in Springfield, [Sandra] had been a prostitute in the Illinois capital until 1990. She was thoroughly familiar with the street life of that city, and telephoned Brady to inform him that she had been in a car with two male hustlers on several occasions when they were picked up by "the bish," that is, Bishop Daniel Ryan. She provided Brady with extensive information in an audio-taped interview with him on Friday, December 12, 1997.
[Sandra] named Frank .... and Kent "L." as two of the male prostitutes who had been hired by Ryan to provide him with sexual favors for money. The information Sandra, who is now taking instructions in the Catholic faith, provided about the bishop's sexual trysts corroborated the stories by the two priests interviewed by The Wanderer last year. It also substantiated the information that Brady had received from a number of independent sources, including an anonymous letter he received last year which listed a number of male hustlers who were known to be consorts of Bishop Ryan.
[Sandra] did not know where to find Frank ...., but believed that he could be found in an Illinois correctional facility, which turned out to be the case. He agreed to cooperate with Brady on one condition: that Brady find him an orthodox Catholic priest to hear his confession. Armed with this new information, Brady sent out a press release to announce a press conference to be held in Springfield on Tuesday, December 30, 1997. He notified both the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Cacciavillan, and the Archbishop of Chicago, the Most Reverend Francis George, of the pending press conference.
To Brady's surprise, a representative of Archbishop George contacted him, requesting him to postpone the December 30 press conference. The representative, Jimmy Lago, said that the archdiocese would conduct a thorough investigation of the matter. Brady, who had postponed a press conference in January of last year so as to provide the Vatican with more time to digest the information he had sent them about the priest-accusers, was more than a little skeptical. However, he agreed to postpone the press conference after Lago assured him that a serious investigation of the matter would be conducted by the archdiocese.
The press conference was scheduled to deal with the new evidence of Ryan's homosexual behavior, as well as developments in the Lincoln case. Brady was receptive to not discussing the Ryan situation at that conference if Lago attested in writing that he represented Archbishop George, and that the archdiocese was conducting an investigation into the matter. Brady says that he made it clear to Lago that he would distribute the statement to members of Roman Catholic Faithful and to members of the press as a means of explaining why the new evidence would not be presented at the press conference. Brady kept his part of the bargain and did not mention the evidence possessed by Sandra .... or Frank .....
Lago, however, appeared to double-cross Brady and James Bendell, RCF's attorney. He made a statement to The Daily Pantagraph, published on January 6, 1998, that "There's a lot of allegations, but no proof. Nobody is willing or able to even step forward at this point." Lago knew that two priests had made accusations in 1997, and he was aware of evidence possessed by Sandra ... and Frank .... Lago had even spoken to Sandra personally. Brady and Bendell considered Lago's remarks to be evidence of bad faith. Bendell wrote Lago a letter that same day, January 6, 1998, telling him that "RCF must now consider relations between us as totally broken, and we are proceeding with our campaign to remove Ryan, including the rescheduling of the press conference with the woman mentioned above."
Lago told The Wanderer on January 7, 1998 that he did not give permission to Brady to distribute his statement to the press. He said that he stood by his statement to the Pantagraph, that he personally knew of no one who had evidence who was willing to come forward at that point. When confronted with the fact that there are people who have come forward with first-hand information, Lago stuck to his published comments. He insisted that his investigation was a serious one and that he would make no further comments to the press. He did not respond when asked why he could not have given a simple "no comment" or "this matter is under investigation" when questioned by the secular press.
Brady told The Wanderer that he did tell Lago that his statement attesting to the seriousness of the Archdiocese of Chicago's investigation would be given to the press. He believed that Lago was not serving as an honest broker in the matter, and therefore rescheduled the press conference to reveal the [Sandra] and [Frank] charges on Thursday, January 15, 1998.
Entreaties were made by high-ranking ecclesiastical officials to convince Brady to cancel the press conference. One such official admitted that the Vatican had known all about Ryan's homosexual activity for many years. He said that it would take time to remove Ryan, but assured Brady that Ryan would be removed. Another prominent cleric, the one who had gone to Rome in 1997, argued that the good of the church demanded that Brady cancel the press conference, that it would be unseemly for the new charges to become a matter of the public record. This priest went so far as to telephone Brady's wife, Joanne, to say that the press conference, if held, would be an example of pride and anger, not fidelity to the church.
Brady listened to all of the entreaties. However, it was his judgment that the information had to be revealed publicly, especially in light of the fact that the Vatican had known about Ryan's activities all the time. Too much harm had been done to the state of the church in Springfield to permit this new evidence to languish in the Vatican bureaucracy for another five or six years. The press conference, therefore, went on as scheduled on Thursday evening, January 15, 1998.
Attended by over seventy people, including four reporters from the secular media (and one woman who claimed to represent the Vatican in the matter, a woman who has ghost-written articles about the Springfield diocese in The Wanderer), the press conference began with a moving statement by Jo Ann Brady.
Mrs. Brady made a point-by-point rebuttal of the accusations leveled against RCF by the prominent priest who had telephoned her the day before. Looking straight at the woman who has served as a conduit of information for this priest, Brady said that the press conference was being held out of love for the church, out of a concern for the salvation of the souls of her children. She went on to say that arriving at the decision to hold the press conference was not easy, but that it became easier when it was learned that the Vatican had known that a practicing homosexual was serving as the ordinary of a diocese. Her comments were echoed by Pamela Bultmann, a board member of RCF.
Stephen Brady then read a letter sent to him by Frank .... The letter stated the nature of the charges he was making against Bishop Ryan and three other priests, one of whom has been dead for several years. The charges were identical in nature to those made last year by the two priests.
[The letter stated] "In 1983 I ran away from home in central Illinois. I was almost 16 years old. I had no money, no job, and an attitude of indifference. I wound up in downtown Springfield at 4th [Street] and Washington at the Amtrak station turning tricks in order to have the basic needs of life. In that time frame I heard of a good date that paid well, called 'the bish. . . .'" Frank went on to describe Bishop Daniel Ryan's conduct, explaining that he would "pay between $50 and $100, buy you clothes, take you to eat, and buy groceries, pay rent, and pay utilities if asked and he was in a good mood. These drunken sprees of his continued with me and others until his going into alcohol drug treatment in the late eighties." He also described his illicit activities with other priests. And he wrote that Ryan heard his confession and absolved him of his sins each and every time he had a sexual encounter with him. If this is so, Ryan has excommunicated himself. And it is reserved to the Holy See alone to remove such an excommunication.
[Frank], who is dying of AIDS, wrote, "The only reason I came forward was to stop the abuse of position by this man and others, and to finally once and for all clear my conscience. Before making this statement I was able to find a priest who heard my confession so I could say this with a clean heart. I hope the church of central Illinois strengthens itself out of all this. I was not paid, forced or coerced into making this statement. I am also not the only one who did this, there are at least 6-10 other people I know by name who dated Bishop Ryan too. To them I say please come forward and stop what's happening. Some of these were also minors.
In my background you will find that I was an addict and a convicted felon. Please don't let this cloud you as this is the truth. I say this with my right hand to God and affirm with my dying breath. To Bishop Ryan and the others, I'm sorry I had to do this, but it has to stop for the good of all. For those that wish to slander me and to cover this up or plain don't want to believe this could ever happen, we are all human with all its problems. Sometimes a wolf does come in sheep's clothing."
Brady said that [Frank] was exploring his legal options with James Bendell, who now represents [Frank] with respect to the possibility of the bringing of a civil suit against Ryan. There is also the possibility that the state's attorney's office in Sangamon County will be given evidence for the purpose of pursuing criminal charges against Ryan for having sexually abused a minor.
Brady then introduced Sandra ...., who explained why she had come forward to present her evidence against Bishop Ryan (a typed transcript of her December 12, 1997 interview with Brady was provided to the press).
...Brady then asked this reporter to make a brief statement. I stressed the fact that the evidence presented by [Frank] and [Sandra] corroborated the stories told last year by the two priests. And I then read excerpts of comments made about the serious nature of sodomite behavior on the part of bishops and priests. One such quotation, from the Third Lateran Council (1179) will suffice:
"Anyone caught in the practice of sin against nature, on account of which the wrath of God was unleashed upon the children of disobedience, if he is a cleric, let him be demoted from his state and kept in reclusion in a monastery to do penance; if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated and kept rigorously distant from the communion of the faithful."
...Brady thanked everyone for coming to the press conference. Once again, however, the secular media buried the story. And the woman who claimed to be representing the Vatican let it be known quite publicly to several people after the press conference that it was Archbishop George who had telephoned Stephen Brady to plead with him not to have the press conference. Brady himself had kept George's identity confidential; however, the woman ostensibly working for the Vatican at the behest of a prominent American priest, couldn't resist the opportunity to let people know that she had "inside information" about the events that led up to the press conference.
Brady told The Wanderer after the press conference that he believed it was important to have held it in light of the fact that the Vatican has known about the situation in Springfield for years.
Although questions are raised in an editorial on page 4, one can be raised now: What price is the Holy See willing to pay to keep Bishop Daniel Ryan in power?... Time will tell.
On March 4, 1998, Father Alfred Kunz, who had been working closely with RCF on the Ryan case, was found murdered. Fathers throat had been cut. His murder remains unsolved. A reward of more than $40,000.00 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer(s).
On Friday, March 27, 1998, Dane Country Sheriffs Department investigators traveled to the Springfield Diocese to interview Stephen Brady, Bishop Ryan and others regarding Fr. Kunzs death.
On June 1, 1998, RCF located another individual whose name had been mentioned by several individuals, as Ryans most recent boyfriend. This individual lived in an apartment of North Seventh Street in Springfield. RCF contacted the apartment landlord. According to the landlord, Bishop Ryan had paid this mans rent.
On July 31, 1999, RCF made contact with the ex-wife of Ryans most recent alleged lover, the same man who had rented the apartment on North Seventh Street. Over the next few months, RCF had several conversations with her and she provided RCF with copies of checks and a letter confirming Bishop Ryan had paid some of her ex-husbands bills. She told us how Ryan would call for her husband on a regular basis. They would be gone for a few hours and would return with groceries and gifts. Ryan eventually found out that I had obtained copies of his cancelled checks and showed up at the womans apartment and threatened to damage her if she provided RCF with any help. There was a witness to the threat and attorneys have a statement. Ryan has since called her at work and offered her financial help.
On October 27, 1998, AP reporter John OConnor of Springfield called asking for information on RCFs investigation.
Thursday, January 14, 1999 RCF met with Bishop Ryans current boyfriend. I had called him earlier in the day and he had expressed concerns that RCF would expose him. After our meeting, RCF contacted a Springfield attorney who offered to help him.
RCF spent the next few months sending out informational letters and postcards, regarding Ryans misconduct, around the country. To date RCF has received an huge amount of information regarding clergy sexual misconduct. We are currently in contact with clergy, laity, and attorneys in several dioceses who are working with RCF to gather information. RCF has received information regarding the alleged homosexual activity of, at least, one other Illinois bishop as well as bishops in other states and many Illinois priests.
In the April 18, 1999 church
bulletin from St. Augustine Church in Ashland, IL (Springfield Diocese) the
following announcement was made: Vacation Bible School June 14-18 From 9:00
11:30 A.M. At First Baptist Church (Hopefully) Ages 2 7th Grade Sign Up
Sheets In Back Of Church. Oh well-I guess one religion is as good as the
Priest shortage in the Springfield Diocese? Fr. Eugene E. Costa (Chancellor of the Springfield Diocese), in his August 8, 1999 St. John Vianney parish bulletin, used charts and numbers to point out the fact that the diocese is in need of priests. According to Costa there will be no ordinations for the next two years. What Father failed to mention is that two young men from Jacksonville. IL who had attended the Catholic school there have entered seminaries in other Illinois dioceses. This is the town where Fr. M. Kuse, vocations director for the diocese, was pastor from 1989 to 1995 at which time Catholics from Jacksonville asked that Kuse be removed as pastor of Our Saviour Church in Jacksonville.
Chancellor Costa, who has noted declining Mass attendance at his own parish, seems unable to grasp the concept of By their fruits you shall know them.
In May, 1999, RCF sent out a letter to more than a dozen Catholic organizations in America asking them to stand with RCF and demand justice from Church officials. We did not ask any group in any way to endorse RCF or our activities, but we believe it is both prudent and reasonable to demand a complete accounting from Church officials. Charity and justice, for Bishop Ryan as well as his victims, demand nothing less.
Only two organizations responded. Catholics United For The Faith (CUF) responded negatively and did not want RCF to print their reply.
On the other hand, Detroit-based Call To Holiness (CTH) responded favorably:
Call To Holiness, representing the laity, has said this [Ryan case] and scandals like it cause confusion and scandal.
The Vatican, itself, must step in and either remove the bishop if the allegations are true or take action against Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. and everyone else who goes through such efforts to demean honorable men in the hierarchy.
The text of the RCF letter follows:
Challenges Catholic Groups to Defend the Faith
Last spring, a priest representing both the Holy See and Cardinal George of Chicago traveled to Springfield, IL and met with RCF Board Members and several priests from the diocese. It was made perfectly clear that church officials have known for some time of bishop Ryans misconduct. With this in mind, RCF challenges Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), The Saint Joseph Foundation, and other Catholic organizations to stand with us and demand justice from church officials. We are not asking any group in any way to endorse RCF or our activities, but we believe it is both prudent and reasonable to demand a complete accounting from church officials. Charity and justice, for bishop Ryan as well as his victims, demand nothing less.
Our Mission Statement
Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. (RCF) is a lay organization, with many religious members, dedicated to promoting orthodox Catholic teaching and fighting heterodoxy and corruption within the Catholic hierarchy.
While we accept the authority of the Holy Father and all bishops in union with him, we will not sit idly by, nor blindly follow, while many in the hierarchy allow the Holy Catholic Church to be torn apart and assaulted by the forces of Modernism, Syncretism, Heresy, and the gross immorality of some of its clergy. As parents and teachers, we will not allow our Catholic youth to be robbed of their faith or have their innocence destroyed in the name of tolerance, ecumenism, diversity or any other politically correct ideology of the day.
We object to individuals or groups of individuals being given access to Catholic schools, churches, and church property to promote any belief, teaching, or idea contrary to Catholic teaching as defined by two thousand years of Tradition and Church teaching. We expect every Catholic priest to follow the disciplines of the Catholic Church as he promised. We expect every bishop to do all he can to safeguard the souls of our children by exercising his authority to ensure proper teaching within Catholic schools and parish religion programs. We insist that Catholic colleges and universities either teach the True Faith or cease calling themselves Catholic.
We object to any priest treating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as his personal possession by adding, changing, or removing any part of the Mass on his own authority. Furthermore, we assert that the right of every Catholic priest to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass must be recognized, and we consider it a grave scandal that such a right is not recognized while at the same time countless liturgical and theological novelties are promoted by many in the hierarchy.
We will do everything within our power to undo the last thirty-plus years of watered-down Catholicism that has been foisted upon us. We will not separate ourselves from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; we will stand and fight and demand what is rightfully ours. In that regard, we insist at this time in history that those in positions of authority in the Church proclaim loudly the infallibly defined dogma that outside the Church there is no salvation, as that dogma has been taught and explained by the Church for centuries.
We insist that the Catholic media, especially diocesan newspapers, present authentically Catholic perspectives on social issues and current events and cease being used as forums for heresy and blasphemy.
We express our love for the clergy, and refuse to be silent while holy priests and nuns are persecuted by the modernist establishment holding power within the layers of bureaucracy existing in chancery offices throughout much of the world. At the same time, we refuse to be blind to the fact that a pattern of gross immorality exists among many religious, and that among their victims have been children, and that the hierarchy has for years covered up and enabled these predators to attack Gods children. For this we cry out to heaven for justice, and pledge to our last breath to seek out and expose these predators.
We acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and King, and will fight for His social reign in society. We adopt as our slogan the words of Blessed Miguel Pro just before his murder by the Masonic revolutionaries of his land: VIVA CRISTO REY!
In the July 22, 1999 issue of the Windy City Times (Chicagos homosexual newspaper) you will find two advertisements of Interest.
The first is for The Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) Mass, held at Our lady of Mount Carmel Church in Chicago.
The second is The National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries (NACDLGM) annual national conference for Catholic pastoral ministers and educators which will take place October 7-10, 1999 in Arlington Heights, IL.
Both of these events have the blessing of Cardinal George of Chicago.
The AGLO Mass ad contains the statement: Gay does not mean that God is not on your side Share your faith with us.
The following is a brief description of advertisements that appear in the same issue of Windy City Times.
1. An advertisement for gay.com FIND YOUR SOUL MATE. ..Its Like Hanukkah In July. The ad contains pictures of two gentlemen dressed as orthodox Jews.
2. A story titled: Professor Outs Robin Hood. According to the story Robin was most likely gay.
3. Ads for gay chat phone lines. Some phrases used in these ads are: The Mens Room, One-On-One, Always Hot! The Hottest UNCENSORED Gay Party Lines!!!
4. A Theatre and movie section: FOREVER PLAIDThe Story of a 50s guy-group, killed in a car accident by a busload of Catholic virgins, who come back to perform that one final concert. or how about this one LATE NITE CATECHISM.
5. Personal ads with headings such as: TOPS ONLY, COME TO DADDY, HOT AND HORNY, or WELL-ENDOWED ONLY!
6. And last but not least you
will find the story titled: Windy City Gay Chorus Releases New CD. Isnt
this the group that sang at Cardinal Bernardins wake?