Priest labelled “pedophile” allowed to keep his job

Just when you think it could not get worse for the Catholic Church, there is this:

Two Roman Catholic archbishops moved a troubled priest to new parishes despite dire warnings he was having sex with minors, according to church documents read in a Philadelphia court Tuesday.

Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia assigned the late Rev. Peter Dunne to a suburban Warminster parish in 1987, a year after a therapist warned about any access to children.

And Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua sent Dunne to a northeast Philadelphia parish in 1989 — after a church therapist had diagnosed him as a pedophile and ticking time bomb.

Defense lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn noted that at least three other top aides at the archdiocese knew of the diagnosis. Yet Dunne refused requests to seek laicization, and remained an active priest until his 1994 retirement — and a priest until the day he died, in 2010.

What truly boggles the mind is how much information the archbishops had about Dunne. According to the article, the Church had Dunne evaluated in 1986 after a doctor came forward claiming that Dunne had abused him as a child:

Church therapists who evaluated Dunne warned he had addictive sexual compulsions and should never be around children. They said there were probably other victims.

“(The therapist) stated quite bluntly that that he feels we are sitting on a powder keg,” one 1989 church memo said.

Another memo notes Bevilacqua’s three concerns about the case: scandal, the good of the church and Dunne’s welfare, in that order. The potential risk to children was not mentioned.

Monsignor William Lynn faces child-endangerment and conspiracy charges for allowing Dunne around children. However, Cardinal Bevilacqua does not fair any better. In a memo about Dunne, Bevilacqua voiced three concerns: “scandal, the good of the church and Dunne’s welfare, in that order. The potential risk to children was not mentioned.”

I have said numerous times the child rape scandal in the Catholic Church is more about bureaucracy than anything else. Too many Church officials are worried about protecting the name and image of the Church rather than its flock, and this results in cases where people turn a blind eye to child rape because it is “better” not to make noise.

How can anyone began to solve this problem when you have this level of apathy at play?

1 thought on “Priest labelled “pedophile” allowed to keep his job

  1. In some sense, we aren’t there yet, ready to try to solve anything.

    The catholic church, by it’s actions and inaction, is intensifying the attention on there being a problem.

    I hope we eventually get to a place of looking for solutions.

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