St. Cronan’s priest defends work of Catholic pastors

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Jeremy Kohler St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By the Rev. Gerald J. Kleba
Published by CreateSpace, 244 pages, $14.95 (paper)

Priests are supposed to love children.

That’s the message of a self-published book, “Are You Still a Priest?” by the Rev. Gerald J. Kleba, pastor of St. Cronan Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis.

About 14 years ago, Kleba took over as pastor of a parish devastated by sexual abuse and cover-up.

The sex abuse scandal was erupting in the Boston Archdiocese, thanks to the Boston Globe’s reporting into its failures to protect children from predator priests. In the last week of February 2002, as the Post-Dispatch was preparing its own story about secret settlements by the St. Louis Archdiocese to victims of sexual abuse, the archdiocese removed two priests from their assignments.

One was the Rev. Joseph Ross, pastor of St. Cronan. The archdiocese had assigned him there in 1991 after he had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a minor; the archdiocese did not tell members of his new parish he could be a threat.

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