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Sep 20 2012

He was a man of 14, I tell you

So there’s this Catholic priest in Illinois who’s been accused of sexually abusing a boy of 14 and was removed from his ministry because of the accusation. There’s this bishop who is letting him go back to just a little bit of ministering because 14 is old enough to say yes to the priest’s overtures.

The bishop says Rome has decided that at the time Ryan allegedly molested a teen[ager], what he did was not considered a serious crime by the Church according to Church law at the time. For that reason, Conlon ruled, Ryan could not be moved from ministry altogether.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says Church law at the time actually said a 14-year-old was at an age of consent.

Ah Church law. Well that’s all that counts, isn’t it. Wait.

Just fancy: Bishop Conlon is head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ committee on sexual abuse.

 

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    According to this website:

    Illinois – The age of consent in Illinois is 17. It is illegal to have sex with someone under the age of 18 if you are more than 5 years older than the minor.

    What Fr. Ryan did may have been permissible by Church law, but the state of Illinois considers it a felony.

  2. 2
    Pierce R. Butler

    Questions of age aside, violating the oath of priestly celibacy is “not considered a serious crime by the Church according to Church law”???

    Wotta buncha hippie moral relativists.

  3. 3
    navigator

    Other than the age issue, which is clearly wrong, doesn’t the Catholic church still hold that homosexuality a sin? It’s wrongheaded of them, yes, but doesn’t this violate their own rules?

  4. 4
    Jafafa Hots

    The Vatican age of “consent” is 12.

  5. 5
    Jafafa Hots

    (according to Wikipedia anyway…)

  6. 6
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Well, when you have God on your side you get a more enlightened view of morality that Earthly laws and lay interpretations of inflexible morality just can’t… huuuuuuuuurgh

    Nope, couldn’t finish without vomiting.

  7. 7
    Brad

    Jafafa Hots beat me to it :/

  8. 8
    Aratina Cage

    Other than the age issue, which is clearly wrong, doesn’t the Catholic church still hold that homosexuality a sin? It’s wrongheaded of them, yes, but doesn’t this violate their own rules?

    A twenty-something-old male priest (he’s 52 now and it happened in the ’70s) and a 14-year-old “man” is more like hebephilia–which is totally OK with the Catholic Church, dontcha know!

  9. 9
    colluvial

    To sum it up, the Catholic Church thinks none of these things is serious (even when done all at the same time):

    Rape
    Sex with a minor
    Sex outside marriage
    Homosexuality

    But only if you’re a priest who has taken a vow of celibacy.

  10. 10
    mnb0

    Indeed, Colluvial – I somehow think that if I try this at my school – a 14-year-old is at an age of consent – Bishop Conlon will be a bit less tolerant.

  11. 11
    sailor1031

    Well at least it’s a change from blaming it on the children because the children entice the priests and lure them into “betraying their vows”. These fucking people are totally without shame or conscience.

    It’s obvious they don’t believe any of that bullshit they shovel to their lay members – if they did they’d never commit these crimes for fear of going to that hell place they preach so much about. But then, who was it said “you can’t graduate from the seminary still believing in doG”?

  12. 12
    Trends

    I know of a catholic priest who was just outed. He’d been having an affair with a married man for the past 15 years.

    So much for clinging to celibacy and all that.

  13. 13
    Corvis illustris

    Well at least it’s a change from blaming it on the children because the children entice the priests and lure them into “betraying their vows”.

    Is it? Note that the good Fr. Ryan “allegedly* molested …” the 14-year-old who was at the canon-law “age of consent.” Unless it’s somewhere in a full news item, the notion that the 14-year-old seduced the young priest is nowhere dismissed.

    Poor P. Groeschel, told to retract in a hurry but not soon enough. The Romans haven’t changed a bit in 2K years: under that Franciscan habit he managed to reveal Corydon pining for the flirtatious Alexis on the hills of Arcadia. And that will be the unoffical mindset of the US Catholic bishops’ committee on sexual abuse.

    *Of course we read this as the usual US disclaimer, but who knows what the bishop meant at canon law?

  14. 14
    hexidecima

    with this, it is more and more clear that any Catholic who claims that the church is worthy anything more than spit, is more than tacitly accepting what their Church does. It takes a willful ignorance and acceptance to keep giving money and time to such people.

  15. 15
    sailor1031

    @13: well they certainly may say that next – it is not ruled out certainly – but for now it appears they’re just using the “14 is old enough” law that exists nowhere except in catholic imagination.

  16. 16
    peicurmudgeon

    Just days after announcing that a priest would be allowed to return to active ministry despite accusations of sexual abuse, the Bishop of Joliet, Illinois, has reversed himself and removed the priest from ministry once again.

    Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, who had cleared Father F. Lee Ryan for “a very narrow priestly ministry,” said that he had “decided to revoke my earlier permission and once again place Fr. Ryan on full administrative leave.”

    Joliet bishop reverses decision, removes accused priest from ministry again

    Sometimes they do bow to public pressure.

  17. 17
    Didaktylos

    @ #2 – Celibacy is not the same thing as chastity. Celibacy just means they can’t get married. Only members of the monastic orders take vows of chastity. I believe that under canon law it is actually no more of a sin for a parish priest to have sex than it is for one of the laity to have sex with someone they aren’t married to. I believe there was a medieval penetential manual from Germany that laid down that masturbation was actually a worse sin than raping a nun.

  18. 18
    eric

    @11;

    It’s obvious they don’t believe any of that bullshit they shovel to their lay members

    Oh, they believe it. Having a double standard is not the same as being insincere.

  19. 19
    Gordon Willis

    RCs, MRAs, they all use the same methods: find someone else to blame, and thus escape one’s personal responsibility. So a 14-year-old is “old enough”, and therefore a 50-year-old doesn’t have to consider adult responsibility towards the immature and vulnerable-to-emotional-manipulation. No, if the 14-year-old says “yes”, or is thought to have said “yes” by the desirous 50-year-old, he’s obviously old enough for a 50-year-old to rape him. So what’s the harm? Obviously, in such a case one can set aside the Christian injunction to have sex only within marriage for the procreation of children, that fornication and masturbation are sin, that priests should be celibate, and so on. Clearly the young man is perfectly fair game, and God isn’t going to be annoyed about it one little bit. Anyone who is “asking for it” cannot blame his Father in Christ if he gets it.

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