The Vatican has released documents showing that the Holy See never had any knowledge that a priest allegedly molested a young man in Oregon in 1965. The case, Doe v. Holy See, involves the late Rev. Andrew Ronan, a Servite priest, who was moved from Ireland to Chicago to Portland, Oregon; the specific lawsuit relates to what allegedly happened in Portland. The case has yet to be decided.
Jeffrey Anderson’s 2002 lawsuit claims that Ronan was an employee of the Vatican and that the Holy See is guilty of negligence for allowing the transfers. But the documents show that the Holy See never knew of this case until 1966 when Ronan asked to be laicized; his petition was quickly granted.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:
Anderson knew all along that this lawsuit, like so many others he has filed, would never win in court. But to him, winning is not defined by a judge; rather, it is defined in the court of public opinion. That is why he continues to cast aspersions on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, throwing up as much mud as he can muster, hoping some will stick.
Jeffrey Lena, the attorney for the Holy See, knows that Anderson is a hard-core ideologue. Speaking of the Minnesota lawyer, Lena said, “The plaintiff’s lawyers never had support for their calumnious accusations against the Holy See. They have nonetheless chosen to misuse the legal system as a vehicle to pursue a broader agenda—a decision that has misled the public and wasted considerable resources.” Well said.
There is one other issue in this case that no one else will raise, so I will. The documents say that Ronan was removed “because of his homosexuality with the students.” In other words, like most abusing priests, Ronan was not a pedophile—he was a homosexual. More important, how do we know the sex wasn’t consensual? After all, the alleged “victim” was 17-years-old. If someone tried to hit on me when I was 17, I would have flattened him. Why didn’t Doe?