Dec 14, 2015

Vatican refused to sack priest convicted of child sex abuse, documents show

Australian Associated Press
December 13, 2015

The Vatican refused to remove a Victorian priest despite his child sex abuse conviction and the pedophile wanted money to agree to be defrocked, documents obtained by AAP show.

The Vatican has still not agreed to remove Paul David Ryan, 67, from the priesthood, nine years after the Diocese of Ballarat asked he be dismissed, documents before the child abuse royal commission show.

Then Ballarat bishop Peter Connors wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2006 telling them Ryan was in jail and asking he be laicised as soon as possible.

The Vatican’s response in 2006 was: “The summary of the case that you have provided, while helpful, is insufficient to proceed with your request that Reverend Ryan be dismissed from the clerical state.”

The Vatican asked for further supporting documentation or that Ryan himself petition the Pope for dispensation from the priesthood, the documents show.

Ryan was stopped from working as a priest in 1993 but the initial laicisation process in 1994 was never concluded.

“Anecdotally it is said that he asked for a large amount of money from the diocese before he would sign the petition,” Bishop Connors wrote in 2006.

Asked about the Vatican’s attitude, Brisbane Bishop and former Ballarat vicar-general Brian Finnigan said he presumed the Vatican was following the requirements of proof.

“It’s been a complaint in the church for a long time but it’s very difficult to process a case for laicisation without the priest petitioning for it himself,” Bishop Finnigan told the commission.

The commission has heard the Ballarat diocese supported Ryan financially until the end of 1996 and asked he request laicisation, which he refused.

“I probably thought ‘OK I’d like to die and be buried as a priest’, not that I wanted to go back to ministry and I thought one of the processes was that they would just laicise me anyway,” Ryan told the commission during a private hearing, a previously tendered transcript shows.

Ryan was jailed for 18 months in 2006 after admitting to indecently assaulting one victim although the church has four abuse claims against him covering 1979 to 1992.

Bishop Finnigan will continue giving evidence in Melbourne on Monday before four other retired and current Ballarat

No comments: