Newark Priest Criticizes Church Official

By Matt C. Abbott
Renew America [Newark NJ]
June 22, 2005

I received the following e-mail, dated June 22, 2005, from the Rev. Robert M. Hoatson of the Archdiocese of Newark (slightly edited):

For the past year, I have been acting as pastoral advocate for Michael Iatesta, sexual abuse victim/survivor of Rev. Gerald Ruane, a fellow priest of the Archdiocese of Newark. [See] When I first met Michael, he was beginning to deal in a more substantive way with the horrific effects of his abuse. His recent 'public' statement about his abuse was a necessary step in his healing. While he is stronger in many ways, he continues to suffer terribly.

I was greatly disappointed to read the statement of Mr. James Goodness, communications director for the Archdiocese of Newark, who added to Mr. Iatesta's stress and trauma by apologizing for the actions of Father Ruane. He referred to Father Ruane's recent violations of his 2002 removal as 'mistakes of judgment.' [See]

What I want to know is: What part of 'You can never, ever present yourself as a priest anywhere, anytime' did Father Ruane not get? And, if he claims 'ignorance' about the conditions of his 'removal' in 2002, the Archdiocese of Newark needs to make his case transparently public so we, the public, can hold him to the terms of his removal.

It was only after media coverage of Michael's recent press conference that we discovered that Father Ruane has continued to violate the conditions of his removal by presiding at 'home' Masses in New Jersey and perhaps elsewhere. And, since Father Ruane was allowed to retire in 2002 without any public acknowledgment of his crimes, he has had three years to make many 'mistakes of judgment.' Perhaps all who have seen Father Ruane at Masses, in his clerical garb, or anywhere since 2002 in which he acted as a 'priest' should report these incidents to Mr. Goodness who, in turn, may report them to Michael Iatesta and local law enforcement.

For most of his priesthood, Gerald Ruane presented himself locally, nationally and internationally as a charismatic healer and used his 'credentials' and Sacred Heart Institute to abuse. It was his modus operandi for abusing Michael Iatesta. If Gerald Ruane violated his terms of removal at least three times in 2005, what else was he doing between 2002 and 2005? I cringe to think what may have happened to others during those years.

James Goodness declined further comment on the matter.

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. He is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He can be reached at