Vatican Agrees to Remove 11 Priests from Ministry

By Maureen O'Donnell
Sun-Times [Chicago IL]
September 27, 2005

The Vatican has affirmed Cardinal Francis George's decision to remove from public ministry 11 priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said Monday.

"We've notified the parishes where they served, so there is some finality to this," said Archdiocesan Chancellor Jimmy M. Lago. For the victims, "I suppose there's some positive sense that 'the archdiocese believes us.' "

The 11 are living "in restricted, monitored settings," Lago said. Most are in a retreat house in Mundelein, while a few are in assisted living facilities, he said.

The Vatican's decision formalizes the men's removal from public ministry. They can't wear collars, won't be called "father" and are barred from performing masses, funerals, weddings or teaching, Lago said.

The statute of limitations had run out on criminal prosecution, because "these are cases that go back to the '50s and '60s and, sometimes, the '70s," Lago said. But advocates for clergy sexual abuse victims criticized the action as too little, too late.

'Shielded for decades to come'

"These men are going to be shielded for decades to come in the church," said Barbara Blaine, founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "They shouldn't even be allowed to remain in the priesthood."

"If they were just thrown out of the priesthood, there wouldn't be any monitoring," Lago said.

The 11 were among a group of 14 priests removed indefinitely from ministry in 2002. Two of the 14, Rev. John Calicott and Thomas Swade, are involved in local canonical trials that will be adjudicated by canonical judges from outside the Chicago Archdiocese. Another one, Marion Sneig, has died.

The Sun-Times has identified the priests as: R. Peter Bowman, Daniel Buck, Daniel Mark Holihan, Walter Huppenbauer, Robert Kealy of Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity in Winnetka, John Keehan, Donald Mulsoff, James Ray, Raymond Skriba, John Robinson and Anthony Vader.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.