Vatican controlled abusive priest's assignments, Anderson insists
August 23, 2011
Plaintiff's lawyer Jeffrey Anderson, who is seeking to hold the Vatican responsible in a sex-abuse lawsuit, insists that documents released last week by the Holy See show that Vatican officials controlled the activities of a priest who was found guilty of abuse.
The Vatican, in releasing a full dossier of documents related to the former priest, Andrew Ronan, said exactly the opposite: that the documents show the Vatican was unaware of Ronan's misbehavior until he asked to be laicized.
“At all times, Father Andrew Ronan’s life from profession to dismissal was under the control of the Holy See,” Anderson insisted. The noted attorney said that the Vatican was in charge of "the employment, control, retention, and removal of offending priests."
The Vatican dossier shows that Ronan came to the attention of Vatican officials in 1966, when he made a request for laicization. That request was promptly granted. But prior to that request--which came after the abuse that is the basis for Anderson's lawsuit--there is no documentary evidence that the Vatican was aware of the priest's actions.
Ronan's superiors in the Servite religious orders, who became aware of his abusive tendencies in the 1950s, continued to assign him to parish work. There is no evidence, however, that the Servites notified Vatican officials about the problem until the laicization request in 1966.
- Lawyers in case against Vatican say documents show church's control (Journal Sentinel)
- Documents show hierarchy, pope covered for abusive priest, lawyer allege (National Post)
- Vatican releases dossier, rejects accusations in Oregon abuse lawsuit (CWN, 8/17)