River Forest Dominicans’ troubles

The pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer, River Forest, in the years when a Dominican brother was reportedly abusing kids at St. Vincent Ferrer in the 70s, himself was reportedly an admitted abuser in two Michigan parishes in the 90s, Wednesday Journal reports.

As part of a long and immensely informative article, writer Bill Dwyer interviewed Rev. Thomas Doyle, O.P., a canon lawyer and critic of abusive clergy in a warning against blaming religious order members for the crimes of their fellows:

Though he has been an unstinting critic of what he sees as the Catholic Church’s failures to deal openly and effectively with the issue of pedophile priests, Doyle said he believes the current Dominican vicar provincial, Rev. Michael Mascari, has reacted to the allegations against Hensley and Bryce “in a responsible and competent manner.”

“Fr. Mascari has done his best,” Doyle said by phone from his home in Virginia. “If he hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t hesitate to smear him all over the sidewalk.”

And while Doyle has not hesitated to blast the church’s top leadership for a litany of failures, he said people mistakenly assume that the criminal behavior of many priests must have been known to those who served with them.

People say, “They all had to know,” said Doyle. “Oh no, they didn’t.”

“It’s very possible in a [religious] community to become almost transparent,” he said. Priests are largely free to come and go as they please, he said.

“You can do all sorts of stuff [without people knowing].”

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