Guest Commentary
Bishop Raymond Burke's Strange Nemesis

By Matt C. Abbott
MichNews [Michigan]
December 9, 2003

Bishop Raymond L. Burke of La Crosse, Wisconsin - now Archbishop of St. Louis-elect - is no pushover. He just recently read the riot act to Wisconsin's pro-abortion "Catholic" state legislators. If you don't assent to the Church's moral teachings, you have no business receiving Holy Communion, asserted Burke. Bravo! If only every other bishop would follow suit.

But archbishop-elect Burke has had his share of crosses, like any other orthodox bishop. One of them is a man by the name of Ryan Scott. "Father" Ryan Scott. Or, as he is currently known, Father Ryan St. Anne, O.S.B. You see, Fr. Scott/St. Anne is an independent priest. In Church-speak, he is schismatic - not in communion with Rome. And whether he is a validly ordained priest is, well, debatable.

But Fr. Scott/St. Anne has made some very serious allegations against archbishop-elect Burke. At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) November 2002 meeting, during the height of the clergy sex-abuse scandal, Fr. Scott/St. Anne gave a presentation at a press conference held by The Linkup organization for survivors of clergy abuse ( The following are excerpts:

"On Saturday, October 26, 2002 I stood before Archbishop Timothy Dolanís Listening Panel for Victims of Sexual Abuse by members of the Catholic Clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. As I did so, one of the thoughts that ran through my mind was: "Why am I here - begging you for help?" I wondered if I had sunk so low as to finally seek help from those who abuse and cover-up. My answer was clear - No. I am here because I have hope "As you can see, I am a Priest. My name is Father Ryan St. Anne. I am a Benedictine Monastic Priest, but I am also a Victim of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Clergy in an incident that occurred in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

"In 1996 when I brought this forward in a private meeting with Diocesan Officials - the information I provided was used against me in the form of public defamation, denouncement, libel and slander. Because I came forward, the Bishop had me jailed for 23 days under false charges, and while I was being held, that same Bishop obtained a Restraining Order forbidding me to speak to him for three years.

"Since that time, the same Bishop has continued to use his evil power, authority and influence to attack my character and undermine the success of my monastery.

"In 1998, my Confessor, Spiritual Director, friend and colleague, Rev. Fr. Alfred J. Kunz, from Dane, Wisconsin, was brutally murdered in his church, just prior to substantiating not only my story, but the scandal itself that is rocking the Catholic Church today.

"In the early fall of 1976, as a young Religious, I was brutally gang-raped in the Rectory of St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was lured there under false pretenses by a fellow Priest and set up for humiliation and bodily harm.

"I was robbed of my dignity in a calculated act of violence, while a group of Priests watched and cheered as if they were attending a pep rally. I was overpowered, held down against my will; and my Holy Habit desecrated as I was viciously and repeatedly sodomized. I know I was not the only one abused that night. It was a pre-planned orgy - and I beg the other victims to come forward or to contact me.

"Shortly after I was raped, I was placed under a "Pontifical Vow of Silence" by the Bishop and sent to Tucson, Arizona. After a brief period of time in Tucson, my identity was stolen from me. My name was changed and I received a new driver's license and Social Security card. Any record that I had under my birth name had been destroyed. These changes were made without my knowledge or consent by Chancery Officials in Tucson under the direction of Bishop Frances J. Green.."

Does Fr. Scott/St. Anne's story hold any water? Not according to the Diocese of La Crosse. In a recent e-mail to me, the diocese's Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Richard W. Gilles, stated:

"I am very aware of what 'Fr. Scott' has said about Bishop Burke. It is a complete falsehood and is slanderous of the good Bishop's reputation. In the Diocese we have learned one important lesson regarding all of this: have as little to do as possible with Scott. It is best not to engage him in any way, shape or form. All will be quickly distorted and used against you.

"Again, there is no proof whatsoever that Scott was ever validly ordained."

And, according to Unity Publishing (, the following statement was issued by the USCCB on November 6, 1996 regarding Fr. Scott/St. Anne:

"The Conference has been advised by the Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Bishop of La Crosse, that an individual named Ryan Patrick Scott (born Randall Dean Stocks) has been attempting to raise funds for the 'Holy Rosary Abbey,' which he has established near Viroqua, Wisconsin. Bishop Burke relates that Mr. Scott has claimed, falsely, that he is a Roman Catholic priest. Scott is said to be going by the name 'Father Ryan St. Anne Scott, OSB,' and is reported to have been simulating the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. He is reported to have been, at one time, ordained by the 'American Catholic Church,' also known as the 'Reformed Catholic Church in America,' but he was subsequently excommunicated there from. He is not now and never has been ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, is not a Benedictine and has received no official recognition from Bishop Burke.

"Bishop Burke further advises that Mr. Scott is currently on probation as a result of a felony conviction and is not to leave the state of Wisconsin, but was recently arrested and charged with violating the terms of his probation.."

But there are unanswered questions, and they primarily have to do with the murder of Fr. Alfred Kunz. In a telephone conversation with me a few months ago, Fr. Scott/St. Anne told me that he provided to the police all of the names of the priests who had allegedly assaulted him. (He also said that Fr. Kunz had confronted each of the priests involved in the alleged predatory ring and that none of them denied assaulting Fr. Scott/St.Anne.)

He also gave me the name of an ex-priest by the name of Fred Jones, formerly of the Madison diocese, whom Scott/St. Anne claimed was "one of [the ring]" many years back and who might be willing to talk about the ring's activities. When I asked, via e-mail, Detective Kevin Hughes of the Dane County Sheriff's Office (I did give him an overview of my telephone conversation with Fr. Scott/St. Anne), which is investigating the Kunz murder, if the name "Fred Jones" rang a bell, Hughes responded, "I cannot answer that."

A strange case, indeed.

Matt C. Abbott is the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-life Action League, respectively. He is also a contributor to "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper. He can be reached at

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