New details about the Erickson case

New details about the Erickson case

Suddenly we’re hearing concerns about the deceased Fr. Ryan Erickson, A Wisconsin priest who killed himself after he became the focus of an investigation that he allegedly killed two men. Several other priests said they were concerned and had suspicions about him going back to his seminary days. Too bad nothing was done about him then. Maybe the two victims might be alive today.

Some bloggers like to characterize Erickson as a traditionalist or conservative priest gone bad, apparently as the counterpoint to the numerous liberal and/or heterodox Paul Shanleys who have made the news in recent years. Apparently Erickson’s so-called conservatism or traditionalism was a shallow facade. While some have focused on Erickson’s strict views and pre-conciliar notions (which is erroneously referred to as “the more conservative church doctrine that prevailed before the changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council”; Vatican II changed no “doctrine”), it looks like Erickson adopted the persona right before graduating seminary, probably as an attempt to counteract impulses in himself that he saw were at odds with that persona.

Rask said Erickson seemed to adopt more traditional or orthodox views between his junior and senior seminary years. That is when he began wearing a cassock. Rask said Erickson was “not smart enough” to preach about complex pre-Vatican II practices and it was clear that he “didn’t know what he was talking about.”

Earlier in seminary, Erickson is alleged to have made inappropriate sexual advances on classmates.

A marginal student, a bizarre priest

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Domenico Bettinelli

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