The Archdiocese of Boston announced today the names of seven priests and a deacon who have been laicized by the Vatican. They’ve all been accused of sex abuse. The most well-known name is that of Msgr. Frederick Ryan, who was vice-chancellor of the archdiocese at one time. David Carney, a former student and standout hockey player at Catholic Memorial High School, accused Ryan of abusing him decades ago. What made it very visible was that ex-Boston Bruin Chris Nilan, a friend of the three alleged victims, testified in a lawsuit brought against Ryan and the archdiocese. Since then Ryan’s apparently been living with family in Iowa.
The laicized men, in addition to Ryan, are Anthony Buchette, who was sued by victims in 2002 and whose personnel file was released in a document dump in December 2002 by the archdiocese along with 9 other priests; Joseph Crowley (for whom I don’t have any info, but he’s apparently a deacon); Paul Finegan, who was first accused in 1980 but was transferred several times after that; Thomas Forry, whose record goes back to the 70s, apparently lived with a woman, allegedly beat up a housekeeper, was sent to the National Guard, was sent to Servants of the Paraclete therapy, came back and abused again, was finally pulled from ministry in 2002; Robert Morrissette, who was a priest here in Salem at the now-closed St. Joseph’s parish and was accused of homosexual activity and soliciting young men, but wasn’t removed from ministry until 1999; Ernest Tourigney, who was accused of abusing young men starting back in 1970, was put on sick leave in 1997, and retired in 2000; and Patrick Tague, who was accused of molesting teen boys at a home for delinquent youths in Boston in 1970s where he allegedly told them he could get them paroled if they had sex with him.
Reading through these files brings back some of the outrage of 2002. Time tends to dull the pain, so I need to be reminded. Kind of like the need to see the 9/11 footage every once in a while to remember what the War on Terror is about.
I hope these laicizations are a sign of a speedier process in Rome. For several years leading up to his election as pope, Ratzinger’s CDF was in charge of this. Perhaps now that someone who is very familiar with the details of these cases is pope, he’s pushing them through as fast as due diligence allows.
Update: My original post was in error. I had counted Crowley as a priest because the archdiocese press release did not name him as a deacon.