In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Archbishop Chaput shares his reaction to a recent grand jury report that details the historical clergy sex abuse and cover up that took place in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
Chaput doesn’t mention that an alleged predator priest mentioned in the report was sent to St. John Vianney in Downington. During the approximate timeline of his stay, Kathy Kane raised concerns about safety at Bishop Shanahan High School and in the surrounding community. The Philadelphia Archdiocese assured her and the press that there weren’t any child predator priests there. And the alleged child predator from Altoona was hardly the only out-of-towner. Vianney seems to have become a destination for problem priests from Cardinal Dolan’s Diocese in New York.
Why would the archdiocese risk housing them? We hear predator priest “patients” like these bring in about $13,000 a month. Call me cynical but I’m beginning to think a profit center like this might help underwrite the cost of victims’ settlements.
You may be wondering why they aren’t in jail. They can’t be criminally charged because of the cover up hid them until the PA statutes of limitations expired. Some are laicized and disappear into our communities. They aren’t on any lists. Those who remain priests go into the prayer and penance program paid for by the Church (your donations). But where are they housed?
For some, the prayer and penance program takes them to St. John Vianney or St. Luke’s in Maryland. There is no cure for child sex abuse according to the majority of psychiatrists. So while they are at Vianney, what is the safety protocol? Admittance is voluntary and it’s not a lock-down facility. It’s not associated with a legally-enforced program.
Although, when we ask questions, they do make them use the back door. We are also told unofficially that they will now be driven into the neighboring shopping centers and movie theater and dropped off rather than having them walk over. Who watches these priests with grounds-only privileges while they are out? When Kathy asked if priests who have child pornography issues are allowed off the grounds, she was told “not necessarily.” So some are? Do we really need more of this in our Archdiocese? These priests have admitted themselves to an inpatient facility. Why the endless hours of recreation out in the community unattended?
More questions. If these priests leave Vianney for good, where do they go next? Are they just shuffled around before anyone gets the wiser?
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Kathy and I urge Archbishop Chaput to stop housing those accused of any child-related offenses near our schools and in our communities. Send them all to the Vatican for shelter, meals and mercy.