The Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, refuses to run an ad in the diocesan newspaper for a company connected to an alleged pervet priest, even while allowing another high-profile priest of the diocese to serve on its board. The group Roman Catholic Faithful calls that hypocrisy.
The Catholic Times diocesan newspaper will not take advertisements from Golden Frontier Tours of Swansea because of the company’s ties to the Rev. Robert Vonnahmen. Vonnahmen resigned from the Belleville diocese in 1993 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Monsignor Virgil Mank of the Springfield diocese is chairman of Golden Frontier’s board of directors. Mank, dean of the Alton deanery in Godfrey, served as administrator of the Springfield diocese after the retirement of Bishop Daniel Ryan and before the arrival of Bishop George Lucas.
“How can the diocese be so offended that they won’t run their ads,” said Roman Catholic Faithful president Stephen Brady, “but behind the scenes, Mank ran the company?
“The hypocrisy is so glaring.”
The diocese claims that it cannot dictate how priests spend their private time. Of course, they can, especially when the priest is working for a Catholic pilgrimage company. If a priest is involved in something that causes scandal to the faithful, then the bishop has an obligation to forbid it.
And Msgr. Mank when he was administrator for the diocese lifted the ban on Golden Frontiers. “I didn’t see any reason why it was banned in the first place,” he said. Because endorsing a company connected to an alleged sex abuser might be confusing to some people? Because it’s offensive?